Get ready for a night of duets. And quartets. And endless pirouettes!
Okay, I made up that last part. There isn’t nearly enough pirouetting tonight on The Voice. But, on the plus side, there’s more than enough 50 Cent. The rapper starts off the show by performing “My Life,” the new single from his upcoming album Street King Immortal, with his favorite hook-singing coach, Adam Levine. Later on, Dez, Terry, Melanie, and Cassadee tackle All American Rejects’ “Move Along.” And then Amanda, Cody, Nicholas, and Trevin harmonize together for Journey’s “Any Way You Want It.” If only Lady Bird and Purrfect would team up for a song.
But enough about group performances! This is a competition. So let’s evaluate the best and worst singers before all those musical combos get whittled down to one.
TEAM ADAM: Amanda Brown
There are certain artists that one should never cover on a singing competition. Simon Cowell has a whole list of them. (Don’t even try with “Unchained Melody” unless the ghost of Patrick Swayze is lurking nearby.) And until now, Adam Levine didn’t want to hear any Adele tracks, because they can’t possibly do justice to the original. But Amanda Brown finds the loophole in his rule: What if this Adele song doesn’t sound like Adele at all? Amanda’s version of “Someone Like You” transforms it from a happy-for-you-but-sad-for-me power ballad into a great, crazy-ex-girlfriend revenge song. And it sounds fantastic, especially when she’s head-banging her way across the stage, hollering through the high notes. As Blake says, “You took an Adele song and made it an Amanda Brown song.”
TEAM CEE LO: Cody Belew
If Cody has a spirit animal, it’s Freddy Mercury. So when Cee Lo selects Queen’s “Somebody to Love,” Cody is thrilled with the song choice. “It’s a zing-ah!” he gushes. But he downplays some of that zing on stage, choosing a more straight-forward performance than usual, tempering his signature Vegas-lounge pizazz. I love his Morrissey pompadour, and he brings some excellent glam-rock vibrato to the right notes, even if he doesn’t quite hit some of them. Also, it’s fun watching him dance on the white piano while those gospel singers shake their jazz hands around him. But somehow, I just want a little more wildness from him, you know? Why just sing when you can be a zing-ah?
TEAM BLAKE: Terry McDermott
Another Team Blake contestant, another Blake Shelton song. That’s twice in two weeks. First, Cassadee Pope hit No. 1 on the iTunes charts with a cover of “Over You,” which Shelton co-wrote with his wife Miranda Lambert, and now Terry decides to belt his way through “Over” by “little known country singer Blake Shelton.” It’s a smart marketing decision, but it’s not a great fit for him. When is this guy going to pick a Brit-pop song? I mean, his son is named Liam! Doesn’t that require him to cover at least one Oasis track? His version of “Over” is definitely professional, but it’s not very memorable. The only thing that stands out is that Elvis Costello lookalike who roars through the guitar solo. Still, who’s going to criticize the song choice? Certainly not Blake. After hearing Terry perform his own song, Blake assures him, “You just became the real deal.”
NEXT: When does a football player not sing like a football player? (Answer: When he’s covering a Justin Bieber song)