The final three deliver their last performances—and a few inappropriate songs

By Melissa Maerz
Updated April 14, 2015 at 10:45 PM EDT
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The Voice

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Before we get to the big finale, can I just rant for a minute?

I know the coaches’ hearts were in the right place when they decided to use Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” as a tribute to the victims of the Sandy Hook shootings. But this is a totally inappropriate song for that occasion. If somebody actually bothered to listen to the rest of the lyrics (“I remember when I moved in you / And the holy dove was moving, too / And every breath we drew was hallelujah”) they’d realize what it’s really about. Yes, it’s about religion, but it’s also about sex. Couldn’t they have used a different song?

Okay, moving on. We’ve got blazing fires, miniature Cee Los, and a shirtless Adam Levine to attend to.

TEAM CEE LO: NICHOLAS DAVID

Could this guy be any sweeter? Every song he performs is about love, and tonight is no exception. Yeah, it’s a little weird when he dedicates his mash-up of Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Great Balls of Fire” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” to his family. (Psst! Those are songs about sex, too!) But he lights up so brightly on stage that no one really cares too much. With his sparkly gold suit, his warm voice, those crazy-spirited runs on the piano, and the fact that his piano is literally bursting with flames, Nicholas is a great, bearded ball of fire himself. And he gets major bonus points for his cute, knock-kneed dancing and his samurai kicks. I agree with Adam: it’s nice to hear him choose a fun, entertaining song rather than slog through a more obvious “inspirational” track. And Coach Cee Lo is proud: “Your fire tonight burned this house down!

Later, Nicholas treats us to a heartfelt version of his season highlight “Lean on Me,” which is mostly just him pouring some Bill Withers-flavored soul into his piano while gospel singers testify in the background. You get to really hear his amazing voice here, and even though Adam makes fun of his flannel-shirt-with-sweater-vest outfit (“You look like a principal!”), Nicholas continues to prove that nothing can drag him down from his recent, arson-induced high. “Thank you!” he says, smiling. “See me in my office after the show.” Ha!

Further proof that Nicholas is funny? He and Cee Lo choose Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music” for their duet, knowing that Nicholas is a white boy who favors music of the funky variety. Plus, he’s wearing giant sunglasses and a pompadour. And he allows Cee Lo’s friend Milo, who looks exactly like a miniature Cee Lo in his matching zebra-print outfit, to get down on stage! I actually find myself squealing out loud, watching that little guy scuttle around like the wildest wind-up robot you’ve ever seen. Holy miniature awesomeness. Is that the best thing that’s ever happened to Nicholas? Why, yes. I believe it is.

Overall grade for Nicholas tonight: B+. Overall grade for Milo: A++++

NEXT: Do you want to know what love is? Terry McDermott can show you.

TEAM BLAKE: TERRY MCDERMOTT

Despite his affection for dirty hobbit jokes, Terry presents himself as a family man. And he proves it by dragging his wife and little boy over to Blake’s house (“It’s pretty big of a house!” the little guy marvels) and singing an Aerosmith song for them. Again: it’s a little strange for him to team up with Coach Blake, claim that they’re singing “Dude Looks Like a Lady” in honor of his family (what?!?), and then get two young back-up singers to squat down near their boots while these two good ol’ boys gasp, “Do me! Do me! Do me! DO ME!”

And, yes, maybe it’s a little uncomfortable to see Blake sing certain lyrics (“She whipped out her gun and tried to blow me away”) while pretending to shoot a machine gun. (Bad timing, guy.) But, hey, Terry’s a powerhouse as usual, and they’re having so much fun that Adam Levine joins them on stage, shirtless, dressed like Axl Rose. Plus, Blake’s working so hard, it’s tough to hold anything against him. “Is there blood coming out of my ears right now?” he asks later. “That was high!”

Terry also appeals to his family by covering his son’s favorite song, “Broken Wings” by Mr. Mister. Sadly, his voice is a bit flat on the high notes here. But Adam compliments him for recognizing that something was wrong, technically, and fixing it along the way. “You friggin’ nailed it,” he says. “You got out of that hole. And that’s a big thing.”

Last up, Terry reprises his popular version of Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is.” His performance sounds so incredibly serious and reverent, it comes complete with violins. But he hammers his way through all the vocal runs like a true professional. “Your voice must be tired, but you’re still plowing it through every time…” says Christina. “It will kick your ass, and honestly? You are kicking it right back.”

Overall grade for Terry tonight: B. Overall grade for Terry, if you think he deserves extra credit for inspiring Adam Levine’s shirt removal: B+

NEXT: Cassadee is still not over you. Yet.

TEAM BLAKE: CASSADEE POPE

Best performance of the night? My vote goes to Cassadee’s newest take on her recent hit, “Over You.” Wearing a gorgeously sparkly dress, and making subtle use of the smoke machine (if such a thing is possible), she’s surprisingly understated here, really letting the emotion come through in her quiet-but-determined voice. When she really goes for the big notes at the end, she’s earned them. Even Christina is charmed by her, dishing out the compliments. (Can I just say how much I love Nice Christina? You can practically see a real human heart beating under that sequined top! And can we all agree that she looks adorable in that jazzy little top hat?) And Blake almost gets teary talking about the song, which he co-wrote about the death of his brother. “You know how I feel about that song and you singing it,” he says. “It’s perfect.” Gulp down those tears, now!

Surprisingly, all three of Cassadee’s picks tonight are country songs. (No pop punk for this Warped Tour princess.) She brings Blake on stage for a down-home rendition of Sheryl Crow’s “Steve McQueen,” complete with a bullhorn breakdown. And her final Nashville moment comes with Faith Hill’s “Cry,” which is actually a kind of moving choice, considering what she’s been through with her dad. (After abandoning her for most of her life, he finally called once she made the final three.) The set is awesome: It looks like she’s in some kind of magical forest, with autumn leaves raining down around her. Her gorgeous ball gown is a mullet triumph: short in front, party in the back, with a train so long, it needs its own Amtrak schedule. And her voice is liquid amber. Blake only really has one thing to say: “Congratulations.”

I’ll admit: I was never a big Cassadee fan before this week. She always struck me as kind of vanilla. But tonight, she’s winning me over. After Javier Colon and Jermaine Paul, two phenomenal singers who won The Voice but disappeared immediately afterward, Cassadee might make a good Kelly Clarkson: the girl next door with real staying power. I wouldn’t be surprised if she becomes the show’s first female winner. Cue the headlines: Cassadee Makes Historee.

Overall grade for Cassadee tonight: A. Overall grade for my terrible headline: D+

Alright, Voice fans, who do you think should win? List your picks below. In the meantime, where can I buy a t-shirt that says, “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For Milo”?

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The Voice

A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.

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