Ah! We're in the South tonight, where -- chances are! -- we'll find the best singers.
We're in Birmingham, home of Ruben Studdard, Taylor Hicks, and Bo Bice.
Our first contestant, Erica Skye, is pleased to serve up what we know to be Simon's favorite song, except she calls it "Unchained Melodies." It's as if "Merrie Melodies" is intruding on the solemn grandeur of "Unchained Melody." She's a power singer, but ... she's not hitting the right notes. This is a deep shame that has prevented me from singing anywhere for decades, so I think it's kind of cool that a 19-year-old woman hasn't heard of this particular inhibition. But... she's crap... and she deserves the insults. "Erica, it was like a neverending torture." She's so horrendous -- yet powerful! -- that Paula is propelled off-stage. They tell Erica they hate her, and she does this little brushing gesture on her shoulder. Simon has to say, "What's that mean?" And Paula's response is bleeped.
Next is this crazy dorky girl who talks like a baby, but her singing makes me cry. Why? The singing is desperately mannered. There is something in it. There's a person in there. That's my theory anyway. Simon says no, but Randy says yes. They drag out the tension with Paula, and Paula agrees with Randy. We're not surprised, but we love this dear girl, Katie Bernard. She's this year's Kellie Pickler.
Next is Tatiana McConnico. She sings "I never loved a man the way that I loved you..." in a way that doesn't make us wish we could hear Aretha instead. Beautiful!
Bernard Williams II. He's going to rock with us! Paula thinks he's off-key. But Randy and Simon say yes, so he needs to find the key for Hollywood.
"I've got you standing in front of me, looking like some Easter Bunny nightmare experiment," Simon says to Margaret Fowler, who looks more fowl than bunny and in no way seems 26, which is what she claims. They demand the truth and eventually she admits she's 50.
Jamie Lynn Ward... she's 16 and her father shot himself, because her stepmom was cheatin' on 'im, and he's paralyzed from the waist down. She's not good enough. But Paula says something that makes them see the part that is good, and they let this sweet child through.
Chris Sligh is next. He says people tell him he looks like Jack Osbourne. I think he looks like Mark Volman. He sings "Kiss from a Rose" and gets a rise out of Paula. He's good.
There's still a third of the show left. but really it's not worth talking about. There's a woman whose hair is extremely long, but let's just leave all the rest unsaid.