Has The Voice, a series that prides itself on surprising its viewers, finally become predictable? Though eight contestants still remain in the competition, I’m going to be pretty gobsmacked during tomorrow’s results show — yes, there is a results show tomorrow; yes, I was unaware of this fact until Carson announced it during tonight’s broadcast; and yes, this means I’m going to have to postpone my plans to see Super 8 yet again, mumble grumble — if the last four standing aren’t the quartet of singers America has already designated its favorites: Beverly, Dia, Vicci, and Javier. Their direct competitors — Frenchie, Xenia, Nakia, and Casey, respectively — put up a good fight, but none of their performances were quite spectacular enough to catapult them to frontrunner status. This doesn’t mean the finale isn’t going to be exciting; on the contrary, I can’t think of another recent performance-based reality show that’s had such a great crop of talent duking it out for a title. It does, however, mean that the results show will probably feel even more perfunctory than these things normally do.
But before we talk about the Elite Eight, let’s take a moment to pay tribute to their fallen comrades. Farewell, two-headed Thompson beast, Chicken Little, Curtis the Charmless Cowboy, and Jeff Jenkins! Jeff’s elimination felt doubly poignant; I once thought he was the best singer in this whole darn competition, and Adam also made a point of telling Jeff that he had decided at the last minute not to save him. Perhaps other aspiring reality show singers can learn from Jeff’s mistakes: Don’t beat your sob story into the ground, and don’t be afraid to stray outside the box, especially if the box is covered in a fine mist of mawkish sentiment. And, when at all possible, be a hot teenage girl. Particularly if a dude in a band is deciding your fate. The more you know!
After the eliminations were complete and Cee Lo had managed to make everyone feel uncomfortable yet again — “You guys are so sweet, so beautiful, so innocent, so delicate, my little flowers,” he told the teenaged Thompson sisters, adding, “I never want to hurt you. I would never let anybody hurt you” — Frenchie Davis kicked off the performances. Christina had asked her to sing “Like a Prayer,” a tune beloved by lazy choreographers the world over. (“I’m down on my knees” — it’s like the song is telling you which moves to do.) Frenchie revealed in her pretaped segment that she was worried that the Madonna hit was out of her comfort zone — probably because her voice has a lot more in common with the gospel backup singers on the original recording than Madge herself.
Maybe that doubt is what made Frenchie go off-tempo at the very beginning of the song. Soon, though, she found her footing, and she managed to deliver another poised performance. But this time, Frenchie’s regal bearing worked against her. She seemed a little stiff, especially compared to the choir-robed dancers flailing wildly behind her. And, in what may be a first for someone from Team Christina, it often didn’t seem like Frenchie was singing enough — she kept on getting drowned out by her backup singers, and by the end of the song, she wasn’t belting out a melody so much as occasionally hooting.
NEXT: Nakia’s growl takes on Adam Lambert’s shriek