The Voice recap: Three is the Magic Number
With just a few singers left on each team, Trevin, Terry, and Bryan make the best case for hanging on until the end
We’re down to just three singers on each team, which means the coaches no longer have control of who gets eliminated. Now, the fans have that power. How does Christina feel about that?
“Normally, yes, creatively, I do like to have control…” she says. And that’s when the rambling impulse kicks in.
“But I’m actually happy that, some of the control action, I’m happy to give it away a little bit, and I know America is gonna pick, y’know, well. Everything is meant to be. So, uh, now I’m nervous about it. I’m nervous about it! Oh my gosh, hearing myself talk, I just backtracked myself and…”
Deep breath, Christina! It’s okay! As Carson says, “Relax and enjoy.”
TEAM BLAKE: Michaela Paige
All dressed up in her finest tutu, looking like a pop-punk ballerina, Michaela takes on Pink’s “Blow Me One Last Kiss,” which isn’t all that easy to sing. “When Pink sees it on her set list, she probably has to take a deep breath,” insists Blake. But it’s the perfect song choice for Michaela, who’s a tomboy like Pink. She brings just enough tough-girl attitude to the song, riding every high note like a dirt-bike queen. I love her performance so much, I almost don’t notice that she’s shellacking down her signature mohawk, leaving a rainbow-colored bob with the world’s tiniest hat on top. (“Look at your little hat!” squeals Carson. “It’s adorable!”) Suddenly, Michaela seems to be everyone’s favorite, but no one is more excited than her coach. “My heart is pounding right now, it was so good!” Blake gasps. “Please vote for this girl! Please! I’m begging!” Hey, there’s no need to beg. Obviously, the girl was good.
TEAM CHRISTINA: Dez Duron
You can always tell that a Voice contestant might be in trouble when there’s a giant wall of flashing LEDs behind him. The greater the singer’s talent, the less he needs to rely on visuals to boost his performance. So it can’t be a good sign when Dez takes on Lauryn Hill’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and the whole Manhattan skyline lights up on stage around him. Yes, he has a lovely, smooth voice with jazzy inflections. And yes, he seems like a nice kid, even when he’s doing his Frank Sinatra impression. (Cee Lo insists that he’s got “natural sex appeal.”) But I can’t help but worry that Dez might be a little bland. Even Blake seems to have nodded off during his performance. “Man, Frankie Valli! I love that song!” says Blake. And when Christina whispers that this is Lauryn Hill’s version? “Hey, I’m an old bastard,” he admits. “Look at me.”
TEAM CHRISTINA: Adriana Louise
When Carson mentions your day job, it’s also a bad omen. This week, he introduces Adriana as “the New York waitress who’s working hard to show America her true potential.” But from the moment she launches into Carrie Underwood’s “Good Girl,” it’s clear that she’s working way too hard. There’s a little too much mugging, some awkward canoodling with the guitarist, a few too many yelled notes, and that awkward, I’m-singing-two-inches-away-from-your-lips flirtation with Adam. (“Adam loves girls that get up in his face!” jokes Christina.) Everyone’s grasping for positive things to say. Cee Lo says that Adriana is “continuing to improve.” And Blake insists, “The best is yet to come for you.” But will she stick around long enough for her best performance? (Hint: the answer is no.)
NEXT: The night’s most disappointing performance
TEAM CEE LO: Cody Belew
If there was a Mr. Personality Award in this competition, Cody would win it. He might be the funniest guy in the competition, and his struggle with stuttering makes him very relatable. Plus, he’s the only guy here who could get away with wearing a head-to-toe sequined suit. (Though sadly, he tells Christina Milian, the show’s costume team would only let him wear the sequined vest.) He might also be the only one brave enough to sing Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best,” a song that practically begs his detractors to joke about how he isn’t. Luckily, he holds up alright, working the crowd with a chicken-strut dance, and attacking each chorus with genuine musical-theater pizazz. Adam says he’s one of the best natural performers, “like Prince when he doesn’t have his guitar.” Christina wants to see something more uptempo from him. (In her words: “More bopping, please.”) But Cee Lo’s rooting for him. “You remind us that this is still fun,” he says. “Win, lose, or draw, man, I enjoy you.” So, that still counts as a win, right?
TEAM ADAM: Amanda Brown
How is this the same woman who took a vocal blowtorch to Aerosmith’s “Dream On”? For me, Amanda Brown’s flawed cover of Florence and the Machine’s “Spectrum” is the most disappointing performance of the night. Last week, she obliterated every note with pure fearlessness, but this week, she’s losing confidence, missing a few notes, and nearly strangling a few others. Every time I hear her get to the line “every color illuminates,” I find myself making the Britney Spears Oops! Face. Cee Lo blames the song choice for being “constricting.” And Christina admits, “I’m still waiting to connect with who you are as an artist.” But Adam still believes in her. “The thing is that it wasn’t perfect,” he confesses. “But I’m not perfect. No one’s perfect… I know that you deserve to be here and I think you could win this entire thing.” I agree with him. But she’ll have to step it up next week. She might look like a superstar tonight, but for the first time in this competition, she doesn’t sound like one.
TEAM ADAM: Bryan Keith
Bryan says his goal as an artist is to “bring back an older feel in rock music.” And by “older,” he means circa 2006, back when ancient rockers like Amy Winehouse would etch lyrics onto boulders and hurl them at Woolly Mammoths. Sorry, I just like to tease Bryan, probably because he can take it. His version of Winehouse’s “Back to Black” ranks among the best of the night, showcasing his awesomely gruff voice and his swanky lounge-singer charm. (No wonder Christina calls him “a modern-day raspy Sinatra.”) It’s a classy performance, one that’s more about conjuring the right mood than hammering home the right notes, and the coaches love it. “I think you just took the lead for Team Adam over there,” says Blake, and Christina agrees. Are you watching this, Dez? Because this is how the Rat Pack thing gets done.
NEXT: Who leaves “nothing but blood and guts” on the stage?
TEAM BLAKE: Cassadee Pope
The coaches keep complaining that they don’t know who Cassadee is. So this week, before she sings Kelly Clarkson’s “Behind These Hazel Eyes,” she tells them a story. “It’s about a relationship gone sour,” she explains, “but it reminds me of my relationship with my dad.” Apparently, her father walked out when she was young, and she’s hoping that The Voice will inspire him to get back in contact. She even gets slightly choked up during the performance, sounding like a more heartbroken Avril Lavigne. I still get annoyed that she wears her guitar like a hobo bag, swinging it way over her shoulder like an accessory, but at least she’s able to elicit some real emotion this time around. “You just have this thing that people love you,” says Blake, “and I’m one of ’em.” Okay, so that’s one vote down. Just one billion votes left to go.
TEAM CEE LO: Trevin Hunte
What’s left to say about Trevin? That he’s a “natural-born champion”? That his voice is a “miracle”? That he leaves “nothing but blood and guts on the stage” when he’s done? Well, the coaches tell him all of those things tonight, and it’s still not enough. After a rendition of “When A Man Loves a Woman” that’s powerful enough to rattle every exploration rover on Mars, with a Sam Cooke-worthy cascade of ahhh-ahhhs toward the end, Adam delivers the understatement of the season. “It’s hard to say much after that,” he says. Well, maybe four separate standing ovations will do.
TEAM ADAM: Melanie Martinez
Melanie chooses Young the Giant’s “Cough Syrup” because, she says, “it’s about being an outcast in society, and I’ve kind of always felt like that.” Come on, Melanie. One Cruella De Vil hairstyle does not an outcast make. I’m getting tired of the coaches taking about how “different” this girl is. If you close your eyes to her Minnie Mouse fashion, she just sounds like any other teenage girl who thinks she’s the first one at her high school to discover 1930s jazz records. The only thing “unique” about her is that she always seems like she’s out of breath when she sings. Good thing Adam can’t save her again.
TEAM CEE LO: Nicholas David
“Nick, you are so strange and beautiful,” Adam says after hearing this bearded white guy approach Huey Lewis’s “The Power of Love” like the second coming of Al Green. I love the way Nicholas reinvents the song in the studio, pounding away on the piano, doing a bluesy version all his own. But Cee Lo says he needs more “star power,” so Nicholas puts on a suit, and suddenly he’s strutting down the stairs, backed by a full horn section, easing into baritone notes so low, James Earl Jones probably can’t hear them. It’s a hugely entertaining performance, one that causes Cee Lo to spout off all kinds of philosophical praise. “There is no greater success than the realization of self!” he exclaims. And then: “You are truly art imitating life!” Meanwhile, Carson waxes eloquent about the backing band, which “totally nailed Huey Lewis and the News.”
NEXT: Whose heart will go on (and on, and on)?
TEAM CHRISTINA: Sylvia Yacoub
Sylvia sounds a little crazy bellowing out “My Heart Will Go On.” But then again, so did Celine Dion. “Make it more, like, Beyoncé-ish,” Christina suggests, so Sylvia tempers the Vegas-ness in her performance, but only a little. She still has to close her eyes and open her mouth very wide when she vaults her way toward the power notes. And, in her defense, she hits them—well, most of them, anyway. “That’s like the Top 5 hardest song to sing, ever,” notes Carson, who’s obviously very impressed. Cee Lo hears some nerves in her voice, but for Christina, there’s only one word that describes the performance: “fearless.” This is, after all, the anthem that sunk the Titanic. And if Sylvia’s not careful, it might sink her, too.
TEAM BLAKE: Terry McDermott
Terry sticks with his usual classic-rock theme, selecting Boston’s “More Than a Feeling.” But he says this song is his biggest challenge yet: it will force him to demonstrate his falsetto. Listening to him aim for the high notes is like watching someone swing at a fastball, hoping to hit a grand slam—which he does, over and over again. “That was damn good, bro,” Cee Lo tells him. Adam goes even further. “I don’t even know if you guys realize how good Terry is,” he says. “You are rock n roll music.” By the time Blake calls him “a gift to rock music,” Terry looks like he’s going to cry. I’m guessing it’s because he knows that he could win.
For tonight, I’m picking Terry (Team Blake), Trevin (Team Cee Lo), Bryan (Team Adam), and Sylvia (Team Christina) as my favorites. But we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see who stays and who goes. Until then, don’t get nervous, Voice fans! As a wise man once said, “Relax and enjoy.”