Everybody is still abuzz about last night’s instant elimination. It was the gasp heard ‘round the world, and I was stunned myself! Of course, it was at the very end of the show, and in my ear I’m hearing, “You have 30 seconds left!” so in my mind, I have a very formatted job to do: stand with the four, eliminate one, send the three remaining artists off, bring the person getting eliminated to me for their final words, etc. But that decision threw me for such a loop. People were freaking out!
The last time I had this experience was when The Sopranos ended, when they’re in the diner and then it just cuts to black. That’s what it felt like. When Christina said the words “Jesse Campbell,” my brain cut to black, and it was so quiet in the room. If you wonder how I work while in shock, that was it! I don’t even remember the last 30 seconds of the show.
The one thing I do remember is that the whole room was just quiet for a minute. And then as soon as the shock wore off, everybody grouped up and started talking about it. There were mini discussions being had by every single person in that room. Once the emotional part went by, they were just trying to understand it. It instantly sparked dialogue, which is always a good thing. Whether or not Christina made the right move is up for discussion, and by the looks of everybody I’ve seen, people were shocked by it.
Here’s the motivation behind the new rule: Typically, Monday nights are performance shows and Tuesday nights are elimination shows. Adam made a comment last Tuesday night, that it sort of sucks that we’re seeing these incredibly awesome, emotional performances on Tuesday when elimination is on the line. The sing-for-your-life performances have been some of the best performances, and so it got us thinking that the Monday night show is too safe. The easiest way to look at it is that two people from each team are still going home — we just moved one of those eliminations from Tuesday to Monday.
Tonight, one person will be saved by America, and then Blake will save the other (and the same goes for Christina, of course). America saves two, the judges save two, and two go home. None of the math on the show has changed; we just noticed that when there was something at stake, we got the best performances from these people.
There were mixed reviews: Adam thought it was a great idea to have this instant elimination, but Blake didn’t like it and he said it at the top of the show. And Blake went and played the safe route with his decision. He went with America. More people voted for the others last week than they did for Jordis, and Jordis sang for her life and he saved her. But he felt like he couldn’t keep saving her. He had to let America’s numbers from last week force his hand, so he decided based on who he thought America liked more. It was ironic that Jordis said in her interview piece that she’s never been more confident. I thought her performance was great; I liked her singing a softer song. That surprised a lot of people, as did her elimination, but obviously it was much less surprising than Jesse.
You also have to remember that we’re not like other shows. There’s a relationship now between the coaches and the artists who they’re trying to mentor. This isn’t just a black and white issue of who can hold an F sharp longer than the next guy. There’s a lot more at stake here, so don’t underestimate the relationship between coach and artist.
There were comments that said that Jesse must have done something wrong, but Christina made a few remarks that alluded to some things that kind of say, what can she really do for a 42-year-old guy who’s an incredible singer? She was looking for versatility and people who have room to grow, and maybe she just thought with Jesse that what we see is as good as he’s going to get. She can’t coach him anymore, so she’s sending him off into the world.
NEXT: The coaches and the artists take the stage to perform
Aside from the shocker, it was a solid show last night. It was great to have Maroon 5 there, Wiz Khalifa in the house, Blake singing, Christina doing her thing. I think the backstage buzz was that people really missed it. This is the first time in season 2 that the coaches have performed with their teams, and every time our coaches hit the stage, it’s an instant reminder that we have four of the biggest names in music, and they’re all awesome singers.
I loved the moment between Christina and Blake during Christina’s performance, when she had the male dancers give him a little treat from the stage. Blake didn’t know about it, but he was such a good sport and put the stripper’s cowboy hat on and just had some fun with it. Everybody had a big smile on their face, and that’s what I love. And then we had the Crenshaw Choir come out and sing; that whole thing was like a Grammy performance. Whenever the coaches perform, it brings a whole new energy to the show.
I loved RaeLynn right off the top of the show. I think she needed that moment last night, singing that Jason Aldean track; it was a strong performance at a really strong time. Miranda Lambert was there last night, and she told me a fun story backstage: Miranda wears a chain around her neck, a little sterling silver pistol for her side project, the Pistol Annies, and she told me that she and the two other girls in the Pistol Annies are the only three that have this chain, and they all wear it. And she gave one of those to RaeLynn as a small thank you for choosing to sing their song. I think that was a sweet thing, she actually gave her one. RaeLynn’s got a lot of support in the country community already, and this just speaks to that. She has a huge, huge support system, especially in Nashville.
Lindsey Pavao has a tremendous following, too. She’s got the highest social networking numbers, and the most iTunes sales from this season. What’s interesting is that RaeLynn represents all those country fans, but I can’t put my finger on what Lindsey represents. But it’s something. There’s this sort of ’90s resurgence lately, and Lindsey has a touch of that ’90s vibe, but she’s also got a little teenage angst. It’s fascinating to watch her deconstruct Katy Perry with a Skrillexian haircut. I saw her in rehearsal do “Part of Me,” and I saw her do that song six times in a row while they were working out the blocking, and she sang it different all six times. She reminds me of Lady Gaga to some degree, to be honest. I don’t know what it is, I really don’t — but people react to her and like her and download her stuff!
I want to see Chris Mann sing Bocelli. I think he did a nice job with the chorus of “Viva La Vida.” It’s a big song by Coldplay, and he obviously can sing it, but he looked a little out of his element. I think Chris and Christina tested the water last night by having him do Coldplay, and I think that it came back unanimously, from the vibe and from the coaches, that that performance was odd at best, and as much as it seemed like Christina was putting him out of his comfort zone, it felt forced. If he has an opportunity to sing for his life, he might want to just give us that opera again and remind us why we loved him in the blind auditions.
Ashley is like the comeback kid. She was on the verge of going home and sang for her life, and since then she’s really won the hearts of our coaches. I think they see so much potential; unlike Jesse Campbell, she’s like the antithesis of that to these coaches. She’s 17, she’s got her whole life ahead of her, and she’s got a great foundation. There’s so much room for her to grow and I think that’s such an attractive quality to Christina in particular. She continues to take steps forward and not backwards, and that’s a good thing now that everything’s on the line.
I think with the elimination of Jesse, it’s safe to say that Jermaine Paul is the most confident man in this competition now. No one got a better night’s sleep last night than Jermaine Paul. In his mind, nobody’s more ready to make it than he is. He’s very confident, but we’ll see how that confidence plays out. Adam reminded him to be careful and not oversing it, and it’ll be interesting to see how he takes that advice.
If the instant elimination got you going, then that’s what it was designed to do. Not that the show needed a resuscitation, but we looked at it this way: this is the most exciting singing competition on TV, and if it needs that sense of urgency — if there needs to be some danger in place — and we’re going to eliminate somebody Tuesday night, then why not do it at the end of Monday? It served that purpose. Seeing how everybody’s reacted to it in pop culture… there’s just so much buzz going on about it. I think it gave us all a good jolt.
(As told to Marc Snetiker)