Simon perfectly described the reason why this final sing-off would be very close. Jordin is a great singer, but not a wowing entertainer. Blake is a wowing entertainer, but not a great singer... complete opposites - these two. Tonight would be a fight-of the best performance, of the crowd involvement, and of the fan bases.
I had to laugh at Ryan introducing Simon as "Simon Cleavage." Hehe. Hey, that's sexy. Leave him alone! Despite the fact that she broke her nose while trying to avoid falling on her Chihuahua, Tulip (gotta love an animal lover), Paula's here to do her duty.
Last week, after the infamous coin was flipped, Blake won the toss. He chivalrously elected to sing first, giving the second spot to Jordin. Hopefully, that's a move that he won't regret. Singing three songs each-a favorite from this season, a brand new song, and the winner's single-this is how it went down.
"You Give Love a Bad Name" by Bon Jovi (as arranged by Blake Lewis) - Yeah, I know he uses a computer program and all that, but I have got to give Blake points for originality. Although it doesn't give me goosebumps, this is awesome in a whole new way. First of all, it was even better than the first time he sang it. I don't know if he was simply working off of that "time-of-my-life" adrenaline, but he was pumped, and he poured all of his energy into his performance. Teddy Campbell, the drummer, was as brilliant as ever. Randy Jackson, wearing some monstrosity of a jacket, gave him 10 out of 10 for the beatboxing, but thought the singing was just alright. Paula thought he was far superior to his previous studios performance. Simon said he is the best performer, but his singing was flat. Regardless of what the judges say, I would so love for Blake to release this as his single instead of that other song. What do y'all say?
"She Will Be Loved" by Maroon 5 - Blake's dad remembers hearing him beatboxing and thinking, "Oh no, someone bought him a set of drums!" Hehe. Seeing Blake sitting on the edge of the stage took me back to the first week of this competition, when he sat on that stool and blew us all away with the Keane song. I marked him as a frontrunner then. Why oh why oh why did he not sing something like "Sunday Morning?" Because I knew that his last song would be a ballad, I sort of wished that Blake would have chosen something more upbeat. I like his voice well enough, but the head voice just didn't sit well with me. He strained to reach the high notes and had a bit of a nasal tone. I couldn't help but notice that he kept looking toward the ceiling like he was saying "Help me?" Sigh. At various intervals, Blake's decision to use or not to use beatboxing and sound effects has either helped or hindered his performance. I don't know how, but he could have used some help here. Based on vocals, I think he lost the battle right here.
"This is My Now" by Jeff Peabody & Scott Krippayne - Blake started out well enough, but there were so many pitchy and flat spots throughout the song. He wasn't feeling it, and several times I caught the look on his face like, "I can't believe I'm singing such a cheesy song!" This is the feeling I get...either Blake has to internalize the song, or there has to be some other kind of distraction, like a beat. Simon said it was odd, questioning all of the jumping around in the middle, and saying he looked a little frustrated. Paula called him on not liking the "genre of music." This song felt and sounded exactly like part of a praise and worship medley. Jeff Peabody is a pastor. I could have sworn that I've heard Scott Krippayne singing CCM hits before. He seems all too familiar. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but this song was all wrong for Blake. I've heard some of you mention it, and I am inclined to agree. I wished the producers had chosen two different songs and had Jordin and Blake each sing one. Personally, this song would have been perfect for Phil Stacey. When I listened to it, it sounded just like him. But when it comes to ballads, females come into it with the upper hand as they are sometimes able to emote better...sometimes, I said. So Blake did what he could with it, but I don't think it will help him much.
"Fighter" by Christina Aguilera - Hey, why don't we add Christina Aguilera to the list of forbidden female artists? You know, Whitney, Mariah, Celine? Yeah, she distinctly belongs there because no one who ever does her music on this show manages to measure up. As always, Jordin's voice is up to par. But her diction was off at the beginning. To me, this is a little bit of a bad-girl song, and with the pretty hair and frilly blouse, I was getting anything but that from Jordin. She needed to put some streaks in her hair or wear some leather or something. I don't know, but she didn't sell me on it. I squirmed through Randy's and Paula's comments about flowers and puppies, and yelled "Yes!" when Simon called her on the screeching. That right there-that yelling near the end-was an imitation of Christina's vocal stylings. For that reason, it had that talent-show feel. Jordin will forever be able to knock a ballad out of the ballpark but, as evidenced this season, she struggles with up-tempo songs. Thankfully, this was her first selection.
"Broken Wing" by Martina McBride - According to her mother, Jordin has been singing "since she could make sounds." There's no doubt about it....that upper register is her strong point. This was phenomenal. I could see the relief on her face when she finished..."two down, one to go." Randy says she was flawless and unbelievable--better than the original. I'm sure Ms. McBride thanks you for that! Paula said she was soaring. In the words of Simon, "Now that was good." I know that she hasn't solidified herself in one genre just yet, but I would love to hear Jordin singing some Country. Her style of singing would sound beautiful on songs of this nature. One thing that she has been able to do is emote very successfully when she needs to do so, and I thoroughly enjoyed this effort. Well done!
"This is My Now" by Jeff Peabody & Scott Krippayne - This was the perfect song for Jordin. She struggled with the vibrato a teeny bit in her lower register. But the emotion of the song, how badly she wants to win this, and the battles she may have had to go through to get to this place (yes, 17 year olds do have real problems), were all evident as she claimed this moment as her own. I heard some flats; I'll attribute this to her maybe not being very familiar with the song... no worries...she is probably going to be singing this until she's sick of it. The only thing that she may need to work on is keeping the crying from hindering her vocally. But I fully understand the emotion of the moment. Simon said that she wiped the floor with Blake on that song. It was beautiful!
The beautiful, wonderful, sexy Mr. Chris Daughtry graced the stage and sang "Home." Yeah, that was his gravelly voice that sent the contestants home each week.