After Team Adam and Team Blake took the stage on Monday night, Wednesday night on The Voice belongs to Team Christina and Team Cee Lo.
As in the previous installment, the show opens with a joint performance by both teams. Teams Christina and Cee Lo draw the My Chemical Romance hit “Sing,” for which they’ve color-coordinated their wardrobe, but despite some great individual moments it doesn’t quite have the same pop as Teams Adam and Blake’s take on Boston’s “Peace of Mind” from Monday. There’s a Samsung spot featuring coach Blake Shelton and Season 2 champ Jermaine Paul that follows, which brings back fond memories of Season 2.
But it’s time to look forward to Season 3. It’s Team Christina’s Adriana Louise who gets the leadoff spot, singing Katy Perry’s “Firework,” which Christina describes as “a lot of notes that have to be accurate.” The choice is right up Adriana’s alley, and she knows how to get the audience into the song, so it’s a wonderful choice to start the night. (On an unrelated note, there’s a bug in the corner of the screen that reminds us Adriana is part of Team Christina. Maybe there really are too many contestants this season if NBC doesn’t think we can remember who’s on what roster.)
Feedback time: Cee Lo tells Adriana that “Team Cee Lo does consider you worthy competition,” which is an odd compliment. Adam notes that it’s “a total bitch to sing that song,” and tells her she did an “incredible job.” Blake remarks that “it’s a big deal” every time Adriana performs and quips that he doesn’t like it. Christina tells the world that Adriana is “sweet and genuine” (which she is, if you haven’t interacted with her on Twitter yet), and thanks Adam for pointing out the difficulty of the song. “I don’t know if I’d be up for that challenge,” she admits, but Adriana clearly rose to it.
Team Cee Lo’s Cody Belew gets the second spot with George Michael’s “One More Try,” which Cee Lo handed him to give him “a very intimate and emotional moment.” This proves to be a pretty good idea, because Cody does very well with the song, and even gets the ladies swooning a little bit.
Adam calls it “a genius choice of song.” Blake tells Cody that he and his wife Miranda Lambert are fans of his. Christina concurs with Blake. Cee Lo praises Cody’s charisma and stage presence. Could Cody be a dark horse in the competition?
After Carson helps NBC plug Chicago Fire – while quipping that Blake won “CMA Employee of the Month,” which makes up for the forced feeling of the cross-promotion – Cody is followed by Team Christina’s De’Borah with the Pink song “Who Knew.” In rehearsal, Christina hopes that De’Borah relaxes and finds her confidence. De’Borah is far from reserved when she’s on stage, though, and the crowd clearly loves her.
“Hearing great music is one thing; feeling it is something else,” says Carson afterward, weighing in himself before throwing it to Cee Lo, who says “I feel your confidence,” so obviously it’s mission accomplished. Adam tells De’Borah “there’s nothing regular about you” and Blake adds that he’s envious of her energy on stage: “if that would’ve been me, I would’ve hyperextended something.” Christina declares that De’Borah commands the stage.
Next up is Team Cee Lo’s Diego Val, coming to the stage with Enrique Iglesias’ “Bailamos,” another Cee Lo choice and a curious one since he has to ask Diego what the title means. Either Cee Lo doesn’t know Spanish, doesn’t know the song that well himself, or both. Diego admits he’s not as comfortable with the song selection as his coach thinks. (But hey, we found Purrfect the Cat!) Carson calls Diego “the Peruvian Magic Mike” after the ladies start squealing.
It’s when we get into the feedback portion that things get interesting. Adam thinks that Diego wasn’t a hundred percent into the tune, but still calls it “a good performance.” Blake admits that “I didn’t know what you were saying anyway” but thinks Diego’s cool regardless. Christina echoes Adam’s comments (“It’s a miracle!” Adam quips) and asks Diego what his favorite song is. Diego admits something that a lot of Voice artists would concur with – that he prefers his own music and that doing covers of someone else’s songs can be difficult. After hearing that as well as Adam and Christina’s thoughts, Cee Lo seems somewhat apologetic for his selection, though he also says that he doesn’t think it was Diego’s best vocal performance. Will taking his coach’s direction do Diego in?
After Diego is his teammate Mackenzie Bourg, and since he’s done “Good Time” and “Call Me Maybe” before, it’s not that surprising that Cee Lo wants him to do One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.” Although his coach says he doesn’t want people to think Mackenzie is a one-trick pony, his choice of song seems like it just reinforces that idea. Mackenzie has to be given credit for taking on a track originally sung by five people, though. Ultimately, while it’s a good performance, it’s too much like what he’s already done.
Adam is also a little critical, saying that “You’re an American Idol but I don’t know if you’re the winner of The Voice…I just kind of want to see more happen.” Blake needs a moment to understand Adam, but believes Mackenzie’s popularity could help him. Christina agrees with Adam, wanting Mackenzie to “step out of the box a little bit more.” Cee Lo thinks Christina made a great point, but then says that it was a great song choice and wants more energy from his artist, so make what you will of that. Oh, and Carson wants to remind you to audition for Season 5.
Team Christina’s Devyn DeLoera is next to perform with Leona Lewis’s “Bleeding Love,” which Katrina Parker knocked out of the park in Season 2. While Devyn’s version is not on that level, judging by her performance, you wouldn’t know that she had to work to connect with the lyrics. Carson thinks that it might have been “the right song at the right time” for her, and I’m inclined to agree with him. One must also give Devyn credit for not tripping on the train of her dress.
Cee Lo, however, disagrees with that assessment, saying “I know you’re a much better singer than this performance suggests.” Blake was looking for more of Devyn’s softer side. Christina’s surprised that Adam doesn’t get to give feedback, but then doesn’t agree with Blake, telling Devyn that “this was definitely showcasing a softer side of you.”
It’s Team Cee Lo’s Nicholas David that follows Devyn, and he’s got Barry White’s “You’re The First, The Last, My Everything,” which is another Cee Lo choice. The coach wants “swagger” and Nicholas doesn’t know what that means. He doesn’t really need to, though, because his distinctive voice earns plenty of applause from the audience despite the fact that many of them probably don’t even know who Barry White is, as Adam points out. “I want to make a baby now,” he says, a statement that the women in the crowd approve of.
Blake calls Nicholas “my favorite singer on Team Cee Lo and it blows my mind because you’re not supposed to look like that and then sound like that.” Christina gets skipped over in order to go directly to Cee Lo, who thinks Nicholas “can do no wrong in my book.”
Team Christina’s Sylvia Yacoub is next, with another Katy Perry song, “The One That Got Away,” and she gets behind the piano for her performance, with the same goal as her teammate Devyn – to show that she’s more than a powerhouse vocalist. While there’s an amount of that in the song, she’s at her best in the beginning, when she’s much quieter and more vulnerable. Bringing the piano into it also showcases her ability as a musician, not just a singer.
Cee Lo calls the rendition “my favorite performance of the night” and Adam likes the intimacy of it. “You definitely deserve to move forward,” he says. There isn’t time for Blake to comment, so Christina calls Sylvia “a tried and true artist…you came with this whole vision.” Will it be enough to distinguish Sylvia from Devyn and Adriana?
Then it’s Team Christina’s Dez Duron, who has already proven to be one of the favorites this season. Christina has chosen Hunter Hayes’ “Wanted” for him, which isn’t in his genre but that’s the point. “It’s important as the competition progresses to keep on showing new and different sides of yourself,” she explains. The ladies love Dez yet again, but even if you took that out of the equation, it’s a solid performance and one that’s miles away from the Dez who tried out for Season 2 (not that he wasn’t good then either). The fact that Carson has to silence the crowd afterward suggests that Dez should move into the Top 12 easily.
Adam points out that Dez’s popularity with the ladies isn’t what we’re talking about here, and compliments Dez’s precision between his vocal runs and “you shop at the same stores as I do, clearly.” Blake is mock-offended that Dez is singing a country song, but agrees with Adam. Carson skips Cee Lo and goes right to Christina, who gives Dez a one-woman standing ovation.
It’s really no surprise that Team Cee Lo’s Trevin Hunte gets to close the night out, given his own immense popularity throughout the entire competition. He gets Michael Bolton’s “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?” because Cee Lo thinks it’s right in his wheelhouse, and Trevin betters the original while also looking fabulous. This may be the first time a Michael Bolton song is cool with the under-25 crowd.
There’s very little time for feedback on his performance, but it’s not as if everyone’s not all thinking the same thing. “Every time you get on the stage, you move me,” Blake tells Trevin. “You have everything it takes to win The Voice.” Christina seconds that, with the “but” that she wants Cee Lo to push him further. Adam gets skipped over, and Cee Lo says “nobody’s going to miss out on you.” It’s a perfect way to end the evening.
Now that we’ve heard all four teams perform, who has the edge in Season 3? The early advantage has to go to Team Adam and Team Blake. Compared to Monday night’s show, Wednesday night’s was missing something. Team Christina has a lot of talented singers on the roster, but as Blake pointed out during the knockout rounds, several of them are good at the same thing, which only serves to divide the popular vote. Looking at Team Cee Lo, there’s cause for a little concern, as it seems like Cee Lo is calling most of the shots and his choices worked for some artists and may have hindered others. In contrast, the other three coaches seem to be taking more feedback from their artists. All four teams, though, have at least one artist that’s won the viewers over so far, so which individual performer might win it all is still very much up for grabs.
Now that the performances are over, it’s time for fans to start doing your part for Season 3. Make sure you’re voting for your favorite artists to stay in the competition – because the Top 12 will be revealed live tomorrow night at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC!
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Appears at Starpulse, Examiner & Fanbolt with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.