The Voice’s battle rounds are getting bloody, and they claimed their biggest victim so far this season on last night’s episode, when big-haired, big-voiced Jessica Childress was sent home after battling it out against fellow Team Usher-ite Vedo, on Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven.” As my colleague Samantha Highfill noted in her recap, Childress is the show’s “cutest personality” — and her blind audition with Mars’ “Marry Me” was all kinds of fizzy (cruel irony). So what are we to do after her departure, Voice fans: mourn? And more importantly: What about Jess?
But hey, the age of reality competitions teaches an important lesson to its most tenacious cast-offs: If you’re good enough to earn a spotlight, carry it with you off the stage. In the interest of positive thinking, here is some unsolicited/expert advice on where Childress’ career can and should go next:
Best friends with Adam Levine: Though Levine didn’t use his remaining steal to save her from elimination, he did ask Childress to be best friends — prompting her response, “Let’s bro down!” But seriously, Adam: She’d be a great BFF, spirit guide, or harmony partner. Or all three!
Reality show star: If her Voice experience proves too traumatic, Childress can return to her career in PR, where her sleeveless professionalism would slot her well as a weekly half-hour on Lifetime, Oxygen, or OWN. If you tell me you wouldn’t watch her promote hard-working (probably scrappy) clients, you’re lying.
Talk show host: Chatting with Childress? Just Jess? The syndicated daytime arena runneth over with gadflies and quasi-buzzy professionals with good teeth. Childress is already both of those. Possible segment: “The Makeover Mafia,” a gang of for-contract stylists who leave each guest leather-clad beneath a gorgeously deconstructed afro.
Broadway: Already the land of misfit Idols. Possible productions: Motown, which has big numbers and an even bigger ensemble; or Once, the musical whose whole throbbing heart is wrapped up in vocal dexterity, its ability to touch and wrap around another voice, and which regrows around each new lead.
Recording studio: The obvious choice — someone gives Childress a recording contract and a few weeks to herself this summer to work on a collection. Also known as, “The Melinda Doolittle.” The bad news is that its conventionality would probably lose her rising star in the shuffle of other new releases. The good news: Jessica Childress has a singing career!
What else would you suggest?