Jamie Foxx: ready for his close-up on 'American Idol'
Jamie Foxx, last season's winner of Worst 'Idol' Mentor Ever, has been asked back because, some news reports say, he's under consideration to replace Simon Cowell as the show's Alpha Judge.
"He made such an impact we asked him back," show host Ryan Seacrest gushes at the start of the show.
Once again, Foxx doesn't coach the Idolettes - he creates camera angles for himself as he acts out scenes from his new movie, "Jamie Foxx: The Return of the 'American Idol' Mentor."
Foxx has a new gimmick this season - Insult T-shirts! Idolettes who don't treat him with due reverence will get a "Contestant" T-shirt, and only the very deserving will get "Artist" T-shirts.
Foxx has one trick in his Bag O' Mentoring - to get right up in an Idolette's face to throw him off balance. He used it last year on an Idolette. This time, he explains it's an authentic movie-director technique he learned from Michael Mann, who directed him in "Miami Vice," "Collateral," and "Ali." Unfortunately, Foxx decides to use "The Michael Mann" right off the bat, and the first up is Lee DeWyze of The Esteem Issues.
"No, no, no!" Foxx lectures as Lee sings "Kiss From a Rose"; Foxx leans in and gets within licking distance of Lee's face.
"Jamie Foxx kinda got right in my face and had me sing it," Lee says unhappily.
"Once I'm that close to you, what are you gonna do?" Foxx wonders - the answer "crack under the pressure of being so close to an actual movie star" oozing from his pores.
Sadly, Lee does not go with our choice: "Sock you in the kisser." Instead, he just sits there, looking miserable.
"If you smile and you laugh and you giggle and you say 'I can't do it" that means you can't perform in front of ten thousand people," Foxx says, with knuckle-headed logic.
"Can you do that? Can you do that?" Foxx goads Lee, adding, "I'm gonna give you this, but don't make me come and take it away from you," as he hands over an Artist T-shirt.
Not surprisingly, Lee gives his shakiest performance in weeks. Judge Randy Jackson says Lee did nothing with the song and Ellen The Generous agrees, while Kara DioGuardi says he got lost in the tune and Simon Cowell pronounces it "verging on karaoke."
"Let's dance!" Foxx chides Michael Lynche because he doesn't think Lynche is moving enough during rehearsal - of course Lee wasn't either. The mentoring session between Michael and Foxx has been heavily edited and is very, very short, suggesting things did not go well at all. And, at the end of the session, Foxx tries to give Michael a "Contestant" T-shirt and Michael refuses to accept it, which stuns Foxx. We like Michael all the better for it.
Michael sings an utterly pedestrian version of "Will You Be There" in which the back-up chorus does most of the work. He also does not move around much while singing it. So much for the "mentoring."
Randy says he doesn't know what's going on tonight. Ellen notes the flick from whence the tune came, "Free Willy," is one of the great movies of all time. Kara didn't feel any goosebumps like she has from Michael's other performances. "I can't connect a whale called Willy with what you just did," Simon says, adding "What's it about - a willy?" The American Idol Decency Police don their flak jackets.
Lee and Crystal Bowersox sing a duet of "Falling Slowly" which, mercifully, Foxx did not get to mentor. While they sing, they're facing each other up close (though not Jamie Foxx-close); it's like watching a couple perform on "Dancing with the Stars" in which each one is trying to lead. But Randy calls it "amazing," to which Ellen The Generous adds, "God, that was great!" and Kara says it's one of her favorite moments from the entire season. Simon doesn't know if he would call it a good song - he'd call it a fantastic song! At the end of all that praise, Crystal confesses Lee is her "musical crush." And a new 'Idol' storyline is born.
Casey James, who spent weeks of this competition living down the Kara's Boy Toy gag with which he got saddled during the auditions, has decided to embrace it and goes with "Mrs. Robinson" from "The Graduate."
Fox mistakes it for a love song - geesh! - and orders Casey to seduce him while singing it:
"Just act as if I'm a woman - look right at me and seduce me," Foxx says to Casey while giving him a dewy fan-girl look. Now that's acting!
"All right," Casey says, dubiously.
"If you can get past me looking you in your eyes and asking you to seduce me, you can really perform that song," Foxx tells Casey with more knuckle-brained logic.
"It wasn't about him really seducing me," Foxx assures the 'Idol' camera. "It was about him looking past me and understanding the bigger picture of it is, 'Now I'm being an artist'."
He gives Casey an Artist T-shirt.
Casey sings a slightly unhinged version of the tune, after which Randy teases that he wants to know what inspired Casey to choose that song. "A lot of things," Casey simpers coyly. Randy points to Kara; Simon points to Kara.
"Stop it! Don't listen to them!" Kara shouts to Casey. Has anyone else noticed how Paula Abdul-like Kara looks tonight?
The judges mostly like the performance though Simon thinks he did not make the kind of impact he needed to this late in the competition. Simon has chosen to ignore that viewers supported Casey last week, in spite of his breathtakingly bad performance of a Sinatra tune.
Crystal chose "I'm Alright" from "Caddyshack" for her number and, when she flubs a line during rehearsal, Foxx tells her to "get yourself together - don't ever stop" adding, "raise those pretty blue eyes and let people see that you're alright." Foxx has apparently mistaken the unflappable Crystal for a less confident Idolette.
Randy likes her performance; Ellen The Generous reaches into her Bag o' Canned Jokes and says the tune "just got Crystal-ized." Kara agrees with her and Simon says she's back in the game.
Michael and Casey sing a Foxx-mentor-free duet of "Have You Ever really Loved a Woman." With Casey focusing on his guitar playing and Michael taking lead vocals, they cover each other's weaknesses well.
"As a matter of fact - yes I have loved a woman!" Ellen exclaims. Da dum dum! Randy likes it; Kara notes the duets were so much better than the solo performances tonight - gee, I wonder why? Simon also gives Foxx a ringing non-endorsement, calling the duets "a million times better than the solo performances."
And, in conclusion, Foxx tells Seabiscuit he's looking for that person who will turn from a caterpillar into a butterfly, ending his second season of music-advice-free "Idol" mentoring.
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