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The Voice recap: 99 Problems (And Xtina Ain't One)

Juliet, Jermaine, and Chris fight to the finish, while Tony takes a swipe at one of the coaches.

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The Voice

TV Show
Reality TV, Music
run date:
Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson
Current Status:
In Season

They came. They sang. They conquered. Also: they covered Jay-Z.

With only one episode remaining this season, it was a very dramatic night for The Voice. Soon, there will be eliminations, tears, and at least one Hall & Oates performance. But that’s not going down until tomorrow. As Bob Seger once said, we’ve got tonight, babe. Why don’t you stay?


You’ve got to love Jermaine: the man can really handle a challenge. Otherwise, why would he choose a song that’s become such a universal punch line, it was sung by a talking dog in the movie Good Boy? And yet, somehow, in his white tux, Jermaine made R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” sound classy. His voice was slinky-smooth during the verses, he raised his eyebrows and scrunched down his brow for dramatic effect at all the right times, and he extended that final fly-eye-eye-eye as if his jaw could wiggle up and down forev-er-er-er-er-er. “You just sing with so much heart!” Christina gushed. So true! And it didn’t hurt that he cried.

For me, the best part was how much Blake loved him. Later in the show, Jermaine would put an R&B twist on Blake’s country inspirational “God Gave Me You” (“Way better than the original!” joked Carson) and perform an odd-couple duet with Shufflin’ Shelton on Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man.” But long before that, Blake was ready to pay tribute to his favorite team member. “I continue to feel like I learn things from you, Jermaine,” he said. “If I could channel what you channel when you perform? You gotta teach me that.” Blake, all it takes is a little R Kelly magic! He should take on Trapped in the Closet one of these days.


Recently, Chris admitted that the way he sings isn’t exactly “cool.” That was a little heartbreaking, especially when he got choked up about it. But honestly, I think it’s way cooler that he’s never tried to, like, cover a Japandroids song. He’s much better at facing Christina’s “The Voice Within.” The guy knows his niche:  ballads that play at some rich person’s wedding while 50,000 turtle doves are released into the sky.

Chris’s duet with Christina, “The Prayer,” even looked like a wedding. He was wearing a tux. She was wearing a sparkly gown, cut all the way down to her… uh, dress. (“Yeah, Christina’s dress,” Chris later quipped. “I saw that.”) Together, they stood together under an altar, singing in some romance language that Blake probably can’t pronounce. And their voices were booming. Didn’t they sound amazing? Christina overpowered her mentee a bit, but if they’d held this ceremony in a real church, they both could’ve blown out the stained glass windows.

By contrast, Chris’s take on Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up,” was less exciting. There’s no denying that he’s got the most technical skill in this competition, but he’s so earnest and stiff, you want to untuck his shirt for him, just to loosen him up. Still, he’ll get some votes from that ASL translator who joined him on stage. From the passionate way she was signing, you could tell she was totally into it.

NEXT: Tony Lucca, Juliet Simms, and the bird you cannot change