Now we are six. And the next challenge takes place immediately after the last one – Jackie’s perfume would still be in the air. Jewel tells them to write their names on pieces of paper, fold them and put them in Nick’s hat to choose three teams of two. Jes and Scotty (who are pleased), Sonyae and Brian (who are also pleased) and Nick and Johnny (who are horrified.) Jewel gives them two hours to write as many hooks as they can – any genre they please.
Jes and Scotty play off each other well but write their own hooks; Sonyae and Brian have difficulty because Brian wants to toss off music with gibberish for Sonyae to write lyrics to, and Sonyae can’t erase the gibberish from her head. They end up with one single hook after the two hours.
And Johnny and Nick? Nick’s a great collaborator, but something about Johnny just doesn’t work with him and they cannot get anything done. They each write a bunch of hooks, but not together.
Next day, they meet with Evan “Kidd” Bogart of BMI. He asks Jes and Scotty for an “uptempo male pop/r&b artist” hook. Scotty picks one of his because he’s sure Jes won’t have one. Evan likes it, and thinks that if they made it younger, it would work for Justin Beiber.
He asks Sonyae and Brian for a “strong, female, soulful voice” hook. They adapt their one, poppy hook to this sort of genre, right in front of Evan. He invokes “Beyonce” and they are THRILLED.
Evan immediately notes that Johnny looks up and Nick looks down. And then he asks if they’re familiar with Gavin DeGraw, and says that Gavin is writing in the next room, and will join them. Johnny believes he has a hook that sounds sort of McGrawesque, so he pulls that out. Evan and Gavin like it and that’s what they’re going to go with. Nick is pissed he didn’t get to pitch a hook of his own.
The teams start to work together. Johnny explains his song concept to Nick, and Nick gives lyric and melody, but Johnny only hears Nick, not his music. Sonyae focuses on lyrics, while Brian focuses on music, but they manage to work together. Scotty and Jes bounce things off each other, but Scotty is pretty sure that Jes is too white for this challenge (too white for Beiber? Well, I guess, given Usher.)
Brian is tracking the music; Sonyae is writing and wants feedback. She ends up writing outside the studio.
There is no cooperation between Johnny and Nick. They simply will not listen to each other – they won’t even listen to each other trying to help. Nick has decided it’s totally on Johnny and he won’t have a thing to do with it, and he eventually just walks out. He decides Johnny is sabotaging him – relying on his track record to keep him in the game even with a bad song, and thus getting him kicked out. Johnny…doesn’t deny it. He even says that by the next night, they will be Nick-free.
Scotty and Jes – well, Scotty thinks it’s all on him, but Jes thinks they’re working very well together.
They perform for the judges – Jewel, Kara, Keith and Evan, after saying how well they worked together. Sonyae and Brian are “We just shared our passion for music.” Scotty and Jes said, “We bounced ideas back and forth. It was great.” Johnny and Nick said, “It was awful. It was the worst experience ever.”
First, Jes and Scotty, and the song is good. Very Beiberesque, very catchy, and just slightly more mature than what he’s been doing.
Then Sonyae and Brian and it’s terrific. I can totally hear Beyonce singing this and on the radio. In fact, I’d love to hear that.
Then Johnny squeezes Nick’s leg and goes up to perform all by himself. And it’s not a good song. I can’t say if it’s Gavin DeGraw or not, but it’s not something I enjoyed hearing. It’s like all the negativity got into the song.
And they love Sonyae and Brian’s song because it’s great. They like Scotty and Jes’s song because it’s good, although it could be better. And then it gets ugly. Because Johnny’s song is just not Gavin, and it should be right in Johnny’s wheelhouse. And he and Nick argue and blame and say that the other was impossible to work with and it was nasty. Kara uses the word disgusting and Jewel can’t believe Nick would let himself get shut out.
Johnny goes home, and while I dislike Nick and think Johnny is talented – it was his hook, his bad interpretation and his refusal to work with Nick, who has proven that he can work with anyone, even Jackie. So, yes, it was his time to go.