In the second night of live rounds, we’ve seen all 20 remaining artists hit the stage before they’re whittled down to 12 on Thursday. Tuesday night’s performances lacked the hokey choreography of Monday’s show and featured singers venturing out from their comfort zones. Also, fair warning: Miley lives again in these rounds, as one artist wrecks the original version apart. The tone of the coaches’ commentary was again overwhelmingly positive, and notable for a very restrained Christina who seemed buried in her notebook most of the show. Carson read a fan’s inquiry regarding the contents of her tome, to which she responded that it contains “a lot of stuff, a lot of thoughts.” Well, we’d like to know them! We also saw her perform with A Great Big World in such a subdued, understated performance that she was almost unrecognizable from her usual power-belting persona. Also, can we talk about how much more interesting Carson Daly is as a host when the shows are live? We see him awkwardly (but adorably)
death-gripping embracing the contestants, giving them kisses, fake-sparring with the coaches, and even attempting jokes. “Do you want to be my friend?” he asked Caroline Pennell after she sang “We’re Going to Be Friends.”
First up is Team Cee Lo…
TEAM CEE LO: Amber Nicole
The song: “Wasting All These Tears” by Cassadee Pope
The performance: Cee Lo chooses this song for Amber Nicole because he wants to showcase that she has “a range that a lot of urban artists don’t have.” I get that he wants to associate her with greatness, by picking a Season 3 winner’s single, but it was a bit too on-the-nose and a waste of Amber Nicole’s talent. Her performance felt breathless and rushed, as if her R&B voice couldn’t keep up with the country/alt-rock pace of Pope’s song. It also exposed the nasally quality of her voice. Not Cee Lo’s best song decision.
The feedback: Adam and Christina noticed a big note that Amber Nicole couldn’t nail, but generally responded positively. Adam thought it was refreshing to see a different side of her. Christina lauded the Rihanna quality of her voice and how confident she has become. Blake is totally unhelpful and merely says “I thought it was good.”
TEAM CEE LO: Jonny Grey
The song: “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve
The performance: In general, this is a fantastic song. It’s a simply built one that requires some punchy attitude. Does Jonny deliver? Well, sorta. Jonny’s trademark shaky vibrato matches Richard Ashcroft’s vocals in the original, but Jonny just sang it straight, failing to add anything special. His voice has this quality of sounding like it’s riding on eggshells, as if it’s going to shatter suddenly from all the shakiness. The judges seem to love that trait, but I think it’s boring now.
The feedback: Adam acknowledges that it is “a snarling beast of a song,” but still craved more explosive energy. Christina praised his accuracy, but also wanted some excitement from Jonny. Cee Lo thought he did a great job and really represented America with that song. Whatever that means.
TEAM CEE LO: Tamara Chauniece
The song: “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
The performance: Cee Lo chooses the everywoman anthem for the Texan gospel singer, and it’s a perfect fit. Considering the wordiness and iconic status of this tune, Tamara did a fantastic job. On a technical level, she’s always solid and thus it’s hard to critique her, but her consistent goodness actually renders her a bit forgettable. I usually can’t recall particular moments from her performances, I just have the enduring memory that it was good.
The feedback: Adam declares it her best performance. Cee Lo jabbers on about his mission statement of exposing youths to classic songs like the Gaynor one. Blake finally acknowledges the overly congenial elephant in the room: “Ain’t it amazing how nice we are being to each other this week?” (No, not really — it makes for terrible television.) He adds, “Next week, I’m going to be mean.” (Yes, please!)
NEXT: How to tame a kitty Kat…