Tuesday night’s episode was a total knockout for two reasons: One, we finally got a final performance worthy of Carson Daly’s favorite hyperbolic “epic” phrase, and two, we got to see some performance train wrecks. I’m kind of surprised we got this far into the competition without anyone forgetting their words, taking a tumble, or letting their nerves get the best of them. There must have been something in the boxing ring air because three artists flubbed their songs. Also, two coaches stole back their original team members — oh to toy with those poor contestants’ putty hearts! Well, I hoped you watched this episode, because it was definitely an ear-catching one, full of pleasant and not so pleasant sounds.
Get ready to rumbleee…
TEAM ADAM: LINA GAUDENZI VS. PRESTON POHL
Songs: Lina sings “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James; Preston sings “No Woman, No Cry” by Bob Marley
Battle: Adam pairs these two because they’re “both soulful.” Lina sings a perfectly respectable, albeit boring rendition of the James tune. Preston goes full smoke-out and it’s clear his style and personality overtake an otherwise decent singer.
Verdict: Cee Lo tells Preston, “You have my undivided attention.” Christina points out the limitations of the simple Marley song and praises Lina for choosing something that solidifies her style. Coach Adam chooses Preston.
TEAM BLAKE: RAY BOUDREAUX VS. E.G. DAILY
Songs: Ray sings “Hard to Handle” by Otis Redding; E.G. sings “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt
Battle: Originally I was rooting for E.G. Granted, I was influenced by my Nickelodeon nostalgia — but I thought her raspiness was a nice quirk. After Tuesday night, I now think it’s annoying. When she holds a note or goes for a high one, there’s an ear-piercing quality to her voice that makes me cringe. The Bonnie Raitt song really exposed E.G.’s weaknesses — namely lack of range, especially when she messed up during the final notes. Ray on the other hand, is a man — a very bodacious, Dean Martin-channeling man — in his element. His rendition is so him and so effortless.
Verdict: Christina favors Ray for exhibiting more vocal control. Coach Blake chooses Ray.
TEAM CHRISTINA: ANTHONY PAUL VS. JACQUIE LEE
Songs: Anthony Paul sings “The Other Side” by Jason Derulo; Jacquie sings “Stompa” by Serena Ryder
Battle: Christina pairs these two because they are both “young pop singers.” In rehearsal, Christina tells Anthony that his song choice is limiting his actual talent. She advises Jacquie to work on her physical performance. In battle, Anthony Paul really drops the ball and delivers the worst performance of the competition. If you hadn’t heard him sing before, you would wonder how the heck he made it this far by judging from Tuesday’s round. His voice was all over the place, and don’t even get me started on the pantomiming choreography. Jacquie sang well enough, but next to Anthony Paul’s train wreck of a show, she won by default.
Verdict: Cee Lo tells Anthony, “You’re such a better singer than this performance.” Coach Christina tells yet another young female singer that she reminds her of a younger version of herself. She chooses Jacquie.
TEAM CEE LO: TAMARA CHAUNIECE VS. STEPHANIE ANNE JOHNSON
Songs: Tamara sings “No One” by Alicia Keys; Stephanie Anne sings “Don’t Know Why” by Norah Jones
Battle: I don’t know why anyone would choose a Norah Jones song, especially one from the first album, for these particular knockout rounds. I love Norah Jones, but her coffeehouse, subtle-smoky jams are not fighting songs; they are songs you sing after you’ve demonstrated your technical limits. Also, Stephanie Anne’s version was schizophrenic as hell. She careened from one vocal personality to the next, from pixie indie girl to diva to a weird Jewel-esque yodel-ly thing — what was that?! Tamara on the other hand, was a breath of fresh air because she played it straight by focusing on singing on not over-embellishing.
Verdict: Adam calls Stephanie’s rendition unfocused and said he would choose Tamara. Christina must have been watching a different battle because she seems to be excited by both performances. Cee Lo calls out Stephanie on her nerviness. He chooses Tamara. Shockingly, Christina steals Stephanie Anne, who was originally on her team before.
NEXT: A four-chair-turner loses his mojo …