I'm live-blogging this one, kids. Quentin Tarantino is guest-judging. I loved him in '04 — "JPL, you are the geekiest rock singer since Freddie and the Dreamers--all right?--but when you get into your geek mode--all right?--there's no one quite like you" — and I'm thrilled to see him back tonight.
7:01: Kara DioGuardi doesn't know what "provocative" means. And — wait — Tarantino isn't a guest judge. He's somehow "guiding" the contestants.
7:06: "The idea is to direct them."
7:07: Allison Iraheta is singing "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing." (The theme is music from movies.) Q thinks she's gonna do a great job. She shrieks about watching "you" sleep. The judges talk about spicy sauce (because she's Hispanic?). Simon says she's the girls' only hope, disrespecting Lil.
7:15: Anoop Desai does "Everything I Do I Do For You," and I realize I've long thought of it as the same song as "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing." Just move the words around a little and get your instant movie generic love song. Q wants Anoop to growl out the words. Q punches the air to demonstrate and, with that big jaw of his, he looks like Popeye. Anoop has a nice tone to his voice and he's modestly soulful.
7:20: Q only "got a taste" of Adam Lambert, who's doing "Born to Be Wild," and he's excited about tasting the whole thing. Adam is going to take the world in a love embrace. I just love this guy. Very thrilling and cool performance. (Hey, did I ever tell you I saw Steppenwolf in concert in 1970?) Simon tries to criticize him by saying "It was a little like watching the 'Rocky Horror' musical in parts." And Adam's all "I love that musical!"
7:29: "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman." Incredible. I've also long thought of that as the same song as "Miss a Thing"/"Everything I Do." Is everything by Bryan Adams? Matt Giraud, the boring guy who's supposed to remind us of Justin Timberlake. Q tells him to enunciate. He's pretty bad.
7:39: Danny Gokey is doing "Endless Love" and Q's advice is to put his hands in his pockets. Which he isn't doing. Blah. I hate this. Maybe I just hate everything now that Adam is gone. Simon gives him a boost by alluding to Gokey's dead wife — the song must have been "hard" for him to sing.
7:49: Kris Allen is doing some song I've never heard of from a movie I didn't quite catch the name of. Something about a sinking boat. Q has nothing interesting to say to him. The judges are judging 2 at a time, which means we only get to hear from Simon with every other performer. I guess it would be too mean to just kick Kara off the show, but that would be a much better way to save time.
7:59: Lil Rounds — who I said they were overpromoting — is given the finale spot, and she's singing "The Rose" — which Trooper York said Allison should sing. Q tells her to commit to both parts of the song, not just the gospel half. Tedious. Simon tells her she's "getting this completely wrong." And he's been telling her that over and over and he's "getting frustrated." Lil talks back. "I put it in there" she raves as the TiVo times out. So that's the last thing a lot of people will hear. Maybe some will like the feistiness, but it's dangerous to sass the judges on this middle of the road show, even when what they're telling you is — as Simon said just now — that you're too middle of the road.
8:02: I'm predicting Matt is out.