This week we’re treated to a Motown theme and the opening group number is "Land of 1,000 Dances" by Wilson Pickett. I keep bringing up Fame during these big group numbers because it’s really quite appropriate – it’s too pop to be Broadway and too Broadway to be pop, but still enjoyable. One other thing I noticed is that pretty much every male on the show is a tenor. That may be an issue considering the songs in the Motown repertoire.
First up is Team Bruno’s pre-taped package. At the top of the segment, The Big B announces to the team that they’re going to be performing Aretha Franklin’s "Think." He makes this big deal about giving the lead to someone really soild and blah blah blah, trying to build up suspense but everyone knows it’s going to Lacey. Because, really, the only other girls who can pull off that song ain’t on Bruno’s team. Also, we see that they’re doing another team/trust building excersise at the beginning of a rehearsal. It’s that "fall back and let us catch you" one. Lacey can’t bring herself to do it because, as she explains to Bruno when he has a sit-down with her afterwards, her life experiences makes it hard for her to trust people quickly. He says that that’s life and something she’ll have to deal with. Only it sounds a little less harsh when he said it.
So, the number was okay. I didn’t really like the arrangement so much and Lacey lost her support on a few notes, leaving her sounding breathy, but this is an Aretha song so you can only be so judgemental. The choreography was good, though it kind of reminded me of the opening to the Emmy Awards. Bruno heaps praise upon praise on his team, which is such old hat at this point, while Carrie Ann points out that if Charity and Kelsey can only hold two lines in the song, that maybe his team isn’t as strong as he thinks it is. The Big B gets his panties all in a twist about that but she’s totally right. There’s no way Charity or Kelsey could ever hold down this song, though Kelsey wins the vocal duel between the two but only marginally.
For Team Carrie Ann’s first taped segment, Chris says he felt bad about the mic going out during the performance of "Run It" last week until a mob of teenies accosted him in the hallway and had him autograph some stuff and sing. The next day at rehearsal, Carrie Ann congratulates the team on a good job and plays a little indoor football to lighten things up (which she did in high heeled boots, thank you very much). The clip ends with C to the A addressing her troops and saying that Bruno’s team thought they had it in the bag, that you could tell by their behavior. But, she’s adds, they ain’t seen nothing yet.
"Papa Was A Rolling Stone" by the Temptations is their first number and, accordingly, everyone’s dressed in the same outfit – a pinstripe suit with a hat and some layered hoodie action. Modern, yet classic, as C to the A had mentioned several times. Qis starts out – very solid. Bradley started off a little shakey again (he was off in the opening) and we actually got to hear Chris this week, who thankfully did well. I really liked the vibe of the whole thing. They had hand-held microphones with stands as well as headsets and, unlike Bruno’s team in the the first number, used the props to their fullest. There were a few note baubles but really good overall. As a matter of fact, I expected the audience to start chanting "Served! Served! Served!" after they did a step sequence in the middle of the number. Carrie Ann is happy with the performance overall and then Bruno once again talks about how they’re not together or "slick enough." Everytime he says that I want to smack him because it’s such a one-dimensional, cop-out thing to say.
While evaluating the team as to who would have to go home in the second taped segment, Bruno points out that Charity and Tony both have presence issues. Their second song is "Caught Up" by Usher, a great song that I’m sure they’re going to senselessly bludgeon to death. And man, sometimes I hate being right. Tony and Philip started out in the wrong key…but different wrong keys. I’m not sure how that’s possible. Yet it happened. Holy crap…AND Zack is wrong – right key, bad notes. I…I just can’t write about it anymore. They hurt my feelings. And after the mercy tonguebath from Cap’n Bruno, Carrie Ann was so even-keeled and nice about her feedback she should be an Ambassodor for the UN. She could negotiate hostages out of war-torn countries because that ish was terrible. She generously gave them credit for singing a difficult song that has very little musical support for solos. Which is true, but geez. The singing was so bad, I can’t even critique the dancing. Oh…it burned my eyes. Happily moving on.
"Extend it. Move it. Look it." That was C to the A’s dance mantra while showing the girls the choreography for their second number. It’s so random, I’d wear it on a shirt. Alyssa, Elizabeth and Bradley are on her watch list so she talks to them one on one to let her know her concerns and hear their sides.
Diana Ross’ "Upside Down" is the second number. Bradley starts off with a fantastic dance solo. The vocals weren’t as great as last week but it’s a difficult song – Ms. Ross isn’t exactly known for her vocal prowess so when people who have big pipes cover her tunes, they often have uneven results. But the girls were all good and had some really nice harmonies at the end. It was a welcome salve for my injured and weeping eardrums. Plus, we got some kick-can partner work from Bradley and Alyssa. It was leaps and bounds better than Team Bruno’s second number. I mean, not even the same league. And what I don’t get is how Bruno has the nerve to tell them that their vocals were off and that they have to really "pull it together" and "focus" considering he just slobbered all over his peeps’ sub-standard vocal serial killing. The nerve.
And, because the gods don’t like ugly, Team Carrie Ann won and she gets to keep all her people. Now, Bruno must kick one member to the curb. He keeps Lacey, Philip, Tony and Zack, leaving Charity and Kelsey to sing solos for their preverbial lives. I’m surprised Tony wasn’t in the bottom two because he messed up bad.
To make matters worse, the girls have to round robin "Don’t Leave Me This Way" by Thelma Houston. Why don’t you just have them sing "All By Myself." Both are such weaksauce singers, it really doesn’t matter who stays and who goes. That being said, it’s absolutely no surprise that The Big B keeps Kelsey since he’s been all over her since day one. And now Drew Lachey has the unenviable task of sticking a microphone in her face while she’s crying for her final words.
And I still don’t know what they win at the end of the series.
Am I the only one completely horrified by that second number from Team Bruno? Is it possible that it actually sounds good on-stage to justify Bruno’s completely unfettered bias? Do you care that Charity left? Any thing else you want to add?