6 Finalists Compete: With Ryan Seacrest, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson. Ryan reminds us the 125,000 have been winnowed to six. We’re introduced. Casey looks like he just woke up.
The judges stroll out. Ryan tells us we’re less a month away from the finale. Tonight’s theme comes from Carole King, who wrote “Will You Still Love Me tomorrow” and songs sung by Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin and Rod Stewart among others. She and James Taylor recently collaborated on the DVD “Live at the Troubadour”.
The mentor this week was Kenny “Babyface” Edmunds, a 10 time Grammy winner who has worked with pretty much everybody, including Carole King.
Jacob is up first with “Oh no, Not My Baby,” which Jimmy counsels him to riff on. In rehearsals, we see him sing it like “65 times” he says. Jimmy thinks he’s an incredible singer, but is in jeopardy. He sings and struts.
“We all knew you could sing, we were all wondering when you were going to shake your tail feathers,” Steven tells him, saying it was beautiful. Jennifer sees a couple “spaces” where it wasn’t perfect, but he “killed it.” Randy, who is wearing a varsity sweater with a big R on it, liked the scatting. “Hopefully America will give you some votes and you’ll stick around baby,” he says.
“It feels good, I went out there, I gave it my all. I think I gave the judges what they were looking for, I gave them that ‘rrrr’,” Jacob says.
In rehearsals, Babyface tells Lauren to go for the high notes. Jimmy brings out Miley Cyrus, who says she’s a big fan of Lauren’s music and advises her to sing for herself and not worry about the criticism.
Lauren sings “Where You Lead, I’ll follow” and picks a boy out of the audience to sing to and walks around.
Randy isn’t sure he loved the song for her, “it was a little safe and boring.” But he says she came out with a vengeance.
“I saw you shine tonight when your voice broke,” Steven tells her.
“When those people with talent manifest the light, they sometimes can become dartboards for other people’s doubts, fears and insecurities — don’t let it in there. You keep shining the way you do,” he says. Lauren wipes away tears.
Ryan pulls the boy back out of the audience. Brett is 19, Lauren is 16. Back in the audience he goes.
Lauren calls the experience “emotional.”
Ryan tells us Bruno Mars and Crystal Bowersox are visiting tomorrow. Haley and Casey are next with “I Feel the Earth Move”.
“Hey Weird Beard, how much in love with Haley are you?” Steven asks Casey. He tells them there’s nothing he didn’t like about the performance.
After a week when the judges told him to raise his game, Scotty works on “You’ve Got a Friend.” Jimmy and Babyface counsel him to start soft.
Randy says he liked him starting with a “buttery” tenor instead of baritone. He advises him to not fall off the high notes. Steven says he’s never sung better. “When we hear you sing a song like that, that’s why we couldn’t let you get away with what you did last week,” Jennifer says.
Ryan sits down with James. He’s singing “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” which people requested on the website.
In rehearsal James sings alone, accompanying himself. Babyface says he was blown away. Jimmy think he’s 100 percent the child of rock and roll. He says what happened in rehearsal was so “intense and exciting” that he hopes it happens on the show. James starts out a capella then the rock n’ roll comes in.
Steven thinks the beginning was great. “That’s the first song I ever made out to a girl with. I was in a bowling alley – and no, Randy, I didn’t strike out,” he says.
Jennifer thinks he’ll be the star of the night and points out he’s been great every week since the top 13.
Randy thinks he proved he wasn’t just a great rock singer, but a great singer. “That was one of the performances of the last couple months,” Randy says. “This guy might just win the whole thing!” he predicts.
Backstage, James says the performance was for Heidi.
Lauren and Scotty prepare for their third duet. “Is there more than a musical connection here, Lauren?” Ryan asks. “We’re like brothers and sisters,” Scotty says.
They perform “On the Roof.”
Jennifer tells Lauren she sings her (she pauses for a long time to avoid cursing) “brains” off.
After the break, we return with Steven with a little girl on his lap. Ryan says hi to Carole’s daughter, Sherry. Casey works on “Hi-de-ho”, made popular by Blood, Sweat and Tears, and jams with Don Was. Jimmy gives him credit for taking risks. Casey starts out at the piano, then wanders around riffing off horns and harmonica.
Randy says the song took him back to his New Orleans. “I’m excited every time you’re up there because I know I’m going to see something different and entertaining,” Randy says. Steven likes the performance. “You made my scalp itch it was so good,” he says.
Jennifer urges him to loosen up his legs a little bit.
Ryan wanders around the audience and says hi to Penny Marshall, who is sitting next to Lorraine Bracco. Haley is singing “Beautiful.”
Babyface helps her with the flow of one section and says she caught on pretty quickly. Before she can perform, there’s a brief technical glitch while she makes sure she can hear herself in her ear. Then, after Ryan checks, she starts right in.
“I just saw God, I heard God in your voice,” Steven says. “You’ve got one of the best voices in this competition,” Jennifer tells her. Randy didn’t love the beginning, but the end was great.
Next up is a duet with Jacob and James, singing “I’m into Something Good.” They both wear white pants. The song choice is as odd as their wardrobe.
Steven says he doesn’t think it was the award-winning performance it should have been. “Man, where were you going with that?” he asks.
And with that, it’s time for the numbers and the recap.