mentor, Dolly Parton just loved this crew to pieces, you can imagine how she felt about one contestant in particular - Michael Johns. "He could make some good records," she said, "and I could write some good songs for him."
Michael sang her, "It's All Wrong, But It's All Right" and let me show you just how right it was! WATCH THIS!
"A blazing hot performance," Randy cheered! No more jeans and worn out T. Dressed to kill, Michael spiked the barometer tonight with a sexy vocal and look that says STAR.
Singing his very own arrangement of Dolly's, "Little Sparrow," David Cook proved his originality and range. Simon noted, "If you can make a song about sparrows good, which actually you did, congratulations."
Dolly mentioned that Cook has the heart to know what to do with a song like that. She's also gathered he's a performer who has no problems reaching. "And when he reaches for it he catches it."
"Here You Come Again" was a soft (but strong where it needed to be) performance by Carly Smithson. Dolly thought it was the perfect song for her. She looked as beautiful as can be. Simon, however, had an issue with her wardrobe. "Have a word with whoever is dressing you." He added, "without sounding rude... you have to look like a star."
What a beautifully emotional performance from David Archuleta! Simon called it "on the money." He sang "Smokey Mountain Memories" using his emotion that Dolly said was feeling "exactly what I had written in the song." Archuleta said the song reminded him of home and his family.
Jason Castro's voice reminds one fanatic of a Colorado postcard. The girl wrote Jason a handfull of fanmail. One piece read: you're voice is as relaxing as the scene on the front of this postcard.
Dolly called Jason funky looking and kind of cool. She also liked how he chose "Travelin Through" because she thought it deviated from what he's been doing. Paula agreed, "it's one of your strongest performances.. your voice was so strong and rich."
"This is where I lose my pass to Dollywood," Simon jokes (in all seriousness). Didn't like that at all. Don't think the music suits you. If this had been the first time I had seen you or heard you, I wouldn't get it." Randy thought it started rough but it picked up in the middle and he started believing in Jason.
"I Will Always Love You" by Syesha Mercado was what Dolly called a good combination of both Parton and Whitney Houston. Syesha started out so simple and I thought, why if she has the big voice to support a power range that's Whitney-like? But she brought it eventually and knocked it out.
Paula told Syesha she's growing and that her velvet tone is it for her. Simon thought otherwise, "the first part was good... the second part paled in comparison to Whitney." And Randy commended her for taking on the "biggest tiger of the night." Anyone else notice Ryan rushed to commercial after Simon finished his bashing? I don't know, but something seemed unfair.
Speaking of inequity and observances, let's move on to Kristy Lee Cook. Who out there got the sense that Ryan knew a little too much about Kristy's toes? I know she played the barefoot bumpkin on this country night, but I get a notion there's some big time flirting going on between those two.
Now on to... oh yea, her performance. Is that why she's here? With "Coat of Many Colors," Dolly told Kristy Lee her mother will be proud. But the contestant said at this point she'd rather impress Dolly than here mom. She didn't impress Simon with this one. He called it pleasant, but forgettable. And remember, he's the one who wanted her to be the "country girl" of this season. Randy said country music is definitely her "wheelhouse."
Dolly likes the honesty in Brooke White and described her as sweet and warm. Brooke sang "Jolene" and Randy said she had pitch problems. But he also said the music suits her voice and she could make an album. When Paula mentioned that Brooke makes an emotional connection with each song," Simon snapped back, "What was lacking in that song was any emotion." Then he takes a jab at the two performers on stage with her, "I thought all of you looked very odd together as a group." In Brooke's defense Randy pointed out, "She's not a group."
Ramiele Malubay finally let go a bit! Even though she was a little scared to sing a Dolly song for Dolly... she had some fun tonight with "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind"! Parton liked her spunk and personality. Simon thought she sang it well, but was forgettable "like what you'd hear on a cruise ship." Randy gave her a 6.5 out of 10. Paula was proud of Ramiele who she said, connected with her audience.
In the end, that's what it's about... connecting and making fans so they will dial your number every week.