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Dr. Dave is darting around the room, nervous that the sound levels aren't quite right but most of the people in here are laymen with no or little ear for the nuances of sound. And anyway, it's so loud in the room as it is that the judges can't hold a streamlined conversation:
Judge #1: "How old is Rachel?"
Judge #2: "I think she's 20 or 21."
Judge #3: "I can't imagine being 21 anymore."
Judge #4: "Rachel's 21?"
Judge #2: "Is she?"
Judge #4: "I don't know - that's what I thought you said!"
Judge #1: "Didn't you do the write-up on her? You should know."
Judge #4: "Maybe I did ask her. I don't know. I'm like a fish, man. I can't remember one minute to the next."
Judge #3: "You're a Phish fan?"
And so on. All of this is spoken over a Gothic take on Billie Jean. It ends to considerable acclaim, and Dr. Dave appears through an even denser forest of elbows to say, "I've been working on an acoustic version of Billie Jean for 10 years!"
Way to go, Dave!
Contestant #3: Jenny Maccormack
Weapon of choice: Keytar; two guitars and a handrum
The judges, now half-sauced, were expecting big things from Jenny and her band. We're an unpleasant crew when we're disappointed - all snarling fangs and foul dog breath, howling for the blood of the insufficient. We four judges demand exuberance and perfect pitch and technical proficiency from our amateur performers.
Maybe it was because their entertaining performance the week before was so unexpected, or maybe Jenny's nerves are getting to her this time around, but this jambe -driven version of Jolene, while pleasant, isn't wowing us and the crowd's chatter has swelled to such a volume that her vocals and the guitars are difficult to hear.
The judges all agree, and all we can focus on, it seems, is that she should be fronting a jazz quintet in a basement bar in some metropolitan city centre rather than spittin' Tribe Called Quest rhymes to a group of 22-year-old ski bums on a Thursday night.