As a bonus, Kara will be judging the hook challenge, which will be to write a song about taking a road trip. There are postcards upstairs which have a word on it that must be incorporated into the challenge. (Away, free, view, change, escape, explore, wheels, direction, pack, and road.) Nick is disrespectful to Jackie (he basically calls it that she will give a long-winded thing about how much she likes her word—and he’s right) and Kara calls him out on it, saying he’ll lose jobs like that.
Jes– “Free” her voice is eh here, but the song isn’t bad, Jewel likes her vulnerability
Melissa– “Change” Kara “wows” it
Scotty– “Pack” Jewel thought he did a lot right
Jackie– “Road” Kara feels it is a perfect statement
Nick– “Wheels” (“hi I’m Nick I’ve toured because I’m awesome”) Kara doesn’t think he can put feelings into music yet
The contestants really stepped it up this week. Maybe road trips are just something artists can easily connect to (especially since so many of them are not from LA). Either way, this week it didn’t sound like disaster after disaster which was a welcome change.
3- Jackie (strong melody and hook)
2- Jes (vulnerable, yet hopeful with honest lyrics)
1- Johnny (perfect marriage of music, melody, and emotion)
As the winner, Johnny gets to pick his entire team first. He chooses Brian and Scotty (after a teaser about choosing Nick). Jackie and Jes then take turns. Jes chooses Amber, and Melissa. Jackie chooses Karen, Sonyae, and Nick. Nick is chosen as last as possible (Jes even passed on him), which just goes to show that you shouldn’t be so mean.
For inspiration, the contestants go on a road trip and write in the cars. Karen still seems to be struggling with writing non-childish lyrics and Sonyae has no qualms calling her out on it. Jes decides to incorporate Melissa’s hook into her song because it really resonates with her. (Jes’s song is interesting because it is a slow road trip song.) Jes struggles with the fact that Melissa uses imagery for imagery’s sake. (Melissa gets frustrated because she can spell better than anyone.) Jackie is surprised at how great it is to write with Nick. Sonyae is more of a thinker and then a “gem-dropper” while Karen is more of a dropper and the occasional gem. Jackie is entirely satisfied with her song; it is a surprisingly smooth writing session. Meanwhile Johnny frets over whether or not his song is perfect. Jes and Johnny get some flirting going because there had to be at least one couple on the show.
Competition time. Natasha Beddingfield is the guest judge. (Is it weird that Jewel never like “here is someone I have worked with”? What is the point of a celebrity if they use none of their resources? Sort of how the Voice uses the coach’s friends…)
Team Jackie– “The Road is Where the Heart Is”
I’m finding that I really like Jackie’s voice (sorry Nick). I would listen to this song.
Team Jes– “Home for Me”
I don’t like Jes’s voice quite as much but the song isn’t bad either.
Team Johnny– “Going Where I Need to Be”
He’s actually got a good voice too. I don’t love some of the lyrics, which feel overly image-based, but I like the melody.
Nick struggles because he has usually concentrates more on the melody than the lyrics and in this competition, lyrics are key.
The judges say this week’s hooks are the strongest in the competition so far. Team Johnny and Team Jackie are called up first. One song had the perfect blend of lyrics and melody—Johnny’s team. Natasha liked its symbolism. Team Jes is asked to join Team Jackie. One song was not as strong as the rest, Team Jackie’s. Team Jes is safe. Natasha was touched emotionally and she thinks she could sing it.
Karen gets called out for her lyrics again, because it isn’t the most unique way. Jackie says her lyrics aren’t useable and are somewhat elementary. Nick plays the melody, which he came up with. Kara thinks that part is brilliant and a missed opportunity for the song. They don’t like Jackie’s opening line. The song overall felt too generic. Sonyae’s bridge line is solid. (Backstage Jackie breaks down into tears, she is sure she will be going home.)
The judges have decided. Nick is safe. As is Sonyae. Karen and Jackie are in the bottom. Jackie wrote a hook with potential, but she didn’t drive it home. Karen has a long way to go with her lyrical story writing. Jackie is safe, which means Karen will be going home.
Now that I have seen a few episodes, I have concluded that Jewel is the weakest part of the show. She feels like a Barbie doll—no personality, very stiff. I want her to have some personality. There’s no quoting her because she never says anything interesting (there isn’t even anything to joke around and imitate). If I could change one other thing, it would be getting real singers to sing the final products. Most songwriters sell their songs to other people, so let’s hear artists sing the final products so that the audience can really hear how it should sound and not the bad-voiced versions of them. (Maybe they can audition some singers or something each week to sing the song.)