Five people are left – two women, three men. Jes is, of course, very upset about her showmance partner going away.
They wake up to a letter from Jewel – “Kiss the Flame”. She appears to tell them that that’s from one of her songs, about running into fire instead of away from it. They are to write hooks about empowerment using that phrase somehow. And they’re all very excited about that – they all have stories. Scotty is gay and coming out has all but lost him his family. Brian lost his mother to breast cancer when he was a teenager. Jes has been underestimated her entire life (as it turns out, she has a much more powerful story that she didn’t want to tell in this hook). Sonyae has been physically and verbally abused. And nobody has ever loved Nick.
Scotty sings about not wanting anyone to “Reign” over him. Brian sings about lighting one last candle for his mother (Brian is probably talking about lighting yarzheit candles – the yarzheit is the Hebrew anniversary of a death, and we use special candles designed to burn safely for at least 24 hours. His last name is Judah, so it’s likely that he’s Jewish.) and letting the pain go. Jes sings about being underestimated. Nick sneers, of course. Nick sings about a relationship (doesn’t seem really empowering to me.) Sonyae sings about Tomorrow’s Too Late. It’s pretty, of course.
The hooks are judged by Doug Brod, who is the editor of Spin Magazine.
Brian wins and Scotty comes in second. There is no third because they’re down to five. Brian picks Jes, Scotty pics Sonyae. Brian passes on Nick because Jes and Nick are NOT a good working relationship. Scotty is thrilled. So far as he’s concerned, he has a team of All-stars. He’s not wrong – Scotty’s strong on music, Sonyae is strong on lyrics and Nick is a terrific team player despite his nasty personality.
Sonyae is happy to be working on a coming out song because she has so many gay friends her boyfriend complains. Nick is happy to not be working with Jes.
There are too many ideas playing off each other in the three person team – they’re willing to work together but it’s too much.
Jes tells Brian her real story – she was rufied and date-raped a few years ago. They want to incorporate that into the song. It’s a powerful story. They want to use it as another reason to let demons go, but I’m having problems with it – getting rid of crippling grief is NOT the same as learning to live with being assaulted. They also decide that, as it’s now focusing on a woman’s issue, it should be sung by Jes.
And then Brian starts focusing on the music and not listening to Jes and the lyrics -and she’s right. A song about empowerment is ALL about the lyrics. This doesn’t happen until the last hour.
By which point, the other team is running out of time and barely has a song together (although they do have a rap bridge which was interesting.)
The guest judge is Colbie Callat, which makes Nick very happy because she’s beautiful, sexy and talented.
Sonyae performs their song, with Nick joining her for the rap bridge and Scotty dancing at the end. Which was cute, but really – it’s not a performance show. Song is good and far more cohesive than I’d thought.
Jes sings their song, with Brian just accompanying on guitar. And, seriously, the thing that impresses itself most on my brain? Brian’s guitar playing.
Scotty’s team wins. They love the message, the melody, how youthful it was and how topical. Since the winner will get an article in Spin magazine, the judges question them closely on who contributed what. And they determine that the best part was a melody in the chorus, which Nick wrote and fought for, so Nick finally wins something.
And now – Brian and Jes. Okay, at this point,they’re all good, but these two are really good. And one has to go home, and it ends up as Brian. Who actually cries at the end, to be comforted by other two guys.