The musicians are having a rough go of it when we see them at the beginning of this week’s episode. Kiyomi is still furious that Aimee is still in the house, and Candice is on her own for the first time in forever. They are all called into the studio as a group, where Linda surprises them by playing “Beautiful,” the song she wrote for Christina Aguilera that went on to be a huge hit. The musicians are moved by Linda’s rendition which is broken down and played on acoustic guitar.
Afterwards, Linda explains her emotional process of writing the piece and how she no longer connects to it in the same way, hence the cover treatment of her own song. She tells the musicians to prepare a cover of “Beautiful” for this week’s challenge. Instead of playing in the studio or in front of an audience, they will record the song at a special studio, which specializes in creating high quality vinyl records on the spot.
Linda informs them that they will only have only one chance to record the song, so they better make it the best it can possibly be. She won’t be watching their performance this time, but rather she will listen to the vinyl to see how everything carries into the recording. Everyone does their own thing, including Aimee who is finally taking the lead on her own. When they gather back at the studio to listen to the records, Linda is pleased for the most part. She’s into Candice’s rootsy version, and thinks that this might be Hunter Valentine’s best work yet. Anjuli also gets high marks for writing rap verses and really changing the feel of the piece. Linda is less than thrilled with Gabriel’s low energy version, and the fact that VanJess went back to the sound that is familiar to them. “Cruise ship entertainer” is what Linda calls the sound. The sisters go from being pleased with themselves to worrying if they just sang their way out of the competition.
Linda calls VanJess into the studio to give them a talking to and work on a new piece. The song sounds awesome and is exactly the kind of thing that Linda is looking for, but Linda is frustrated that she has to keep creating a sound with VanJess, rather than them finding it on their own. It’s too late in the game to have to VanJess take a major step back. Ivana and Jessica know that things are looking grim.
Next it’s Gabriel’s turn, and as far as Linda is concerned, it’s his last chance to show her what’s beyond the surface. She has the band bring out a mirror and Gabriel sings a heartbreaking song to himself. He also begins to cry and open up to Linda. He tells her about some very heavy trauma from his past, and finally she feels like he’s connecting emotionally with the music. Baring his soul, just helped Gabriel stay in the competition.
That can mean only one thing. Linda has to let VanJess go. She tells them over chips and salsa, which is just cruel. The sisters are disappointed, naturally but Linda doesn’t doubt they will be successful one day. It just won’t be with her. When Ivana and Jessica return to the house to say their goodbyes, everyone is shocked and sad to see them go.
As Aimee and Linda work on a tune together, Kiyomi, Candice and Laura sit outside discussing Aimee’s new role as solo artist. Linda decides the new song needs drums, so she brings Laura in to play with Aimee. This is a terrible situation for Laura to be in, because how can she tell Linda no. Kiyomi is quietly furious when she hears Laura join in, and her anger carries into the next day when Linda confronts her. Linda accuses Kiyomi and Laura of being bullies, and suggests that the problem might just be them, not the revolving band members. Kiyomi tells Linda that there are things about Aimee and what Hunter Valentine has done for her, that she simply doesn’t know. Linda doesn’t seem to care, and leaves Kiyomi to deal with her frustration.
Later, Kiyomi pulls Laura aside to tell her that she’d really like to leave the competition. This thing with Aimee and Linda is sucking away her creative spirit and making her a ball of anger. She tells Laura that she could stay and play for Aimee instead, and Laura just shakes her head. Laura is frustrated herself with this development and would consider leaving a huge mistake. The band is now at an impasse. Will Hunter Valentine come out of Make or Break stronger, or even further apart?
Next time on Make or Break: The Linda Perry Project: Linda makes her final decision.