The Top 8 are singing for your votes again – must be Monday on The Voice. But first, if you found yourself missing guest performers, you’re in luck: Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is in the house to perform “My Life,” his new single featuring Adam Levine (as well as Eminem, who is not in the house). In case you’re not familiar with him, 50 Cent has brought a giant “50” with him. It goes nicely with the fog machine. The song itself is a little hard to judge, in part because the audio keeps breaking up, perhaps due to the network censors. If you enjoyed it, though, you can download the new tune here.
Once the smoke has cleared, it’s time for coach chat. Adam admits that he still misses Bryan Keith (so do I, coach!) while Carson points out that Cee Lo is the coach with the most artists left in the competition. “It’s just a matter of continuing to just make the right song choices,” Cee Lo tells him. Conversely, Christina is down to just Dez Duron. “He’s my last man standing,” she reflects. “I’m rooting for him all the way.” The ladies in the audience cheer. And then Carson goes spoils the surprise by revealing that Terry McDermott will be singing one of Blake’s songs tonight. “I made him do my song,” Blake quips.
Back to the real action: it’s Team Adam’s Amanda Brown batting leadoff tonight, with Adele’s “Someone Like You.” Adam suggests she try “kicking its ass a little bit.” That’s a wise choice, given that another member of Team Adam, Angel Taylor, did a great straightforward version of the same song just last season. While Angel’s take had a certain poignancy to it, Amanda brings back the attitude she imbued “Dream On” with, and the audience loves it. Mission accomplished, Adam.
Blake says he “really enjoyed that” and points out that Adam is usually hard on folks for trying to do Adele songs like Adele, but this time they made an Adele song an Amanda Brown song. Christina calls the performance “really dynamic” and says “you definitely went for something different.” She adds, though, that she still doesn’t quite understand Amanda as an individual artist. Cee Lo says that he really appreciates Amanda’s bravery. Adam chimes in that he’s never seen anyone do that song the way Amanda did it. “I think everyone’s extra hard on you because we expect so much of you,” he tells her.
Team Cee Lo’s Cody Belew draws “Somebody To Love” by Queen, which Cee Lo gave him because “I believe the torch can be passed from Freddie Mercury to Cody.” That’s a ringing endorsement if there ever was one, and it’s a little more daunting for Cody because the rock legend is one of his heroes. It’s a totally different number than his huge Beyonce performance last week; in fact, he took a page from his teammate Nicholas David’s book, because now he has the choir backing him up. Carson wants to know how it felt to stand on the piano.
Adam says that’s one of his favorite songs and tells Cody that “there were little things that I noticed” but that overall, “you did a fantastic job.” Blake again comments on the “right connection” between Cody and Cee Lo: “It’s just the perfect combination, it really is,” he says. Christina remarks that “you are definitely a risk-taker through and through” and calls the song “a good vocal challenge” for Cody, suggesting that “we need to hang out.” Cee Lo praises Cody’s growth and ability to perform well under the pressure of live nationally-broadcast competition.
We then take a break in competition for a group number where the members of Team Blake join forces with the sole member of Team Christina and one-half of Team Adam. Terry, Cassadee, Dez and Melanie unite on All-American Rejects’ “Move Along,” and once again, I complain about not being able to download group performances on iTunes.
Next up is Team Blake’s Terry McDermott, who takes a huge step outside of his classic-rock comfort zone by performing Blake’s song “Over”, which Blake calls “better suited for Terry than it ever was for me.” He tells Terry that he wants Terry’s version of the song to erase his, and while it doesn’t do that simply because Blake has more power to his voice, it’s a pretty great rendition that proves Terry is far more than a one-genre pony.
Christina tells Terry that “it was a little unexpected for me this time around but it was still a solid performance.” Cee Lo makes strange analogies before saying that Terry reminds him of great rock vocalists and should keep going. Adam quips, “So that’s what that song’s supposed to sound like!” before complimenting the precision with which Terry hits his notes. That brings the discussion back around to Blake, who tells Terry, “You just performed that song the way I always wish I could…You just proved yourself as the real deal.” Will America agree? Here’s hoping so.
Team Adam’s Melanie Martinez is performing Alex Clare’s “Too Close.” When she mentions that she’s going through a breakup, Adam tells her that Maroon 5’s first album Songs About Jane was basically a breakup album, and saying that he’s like a big brother, volunteers to kick someone’s ass for her. He’s a full-service coach! Carson pokes fun at this by referring to Team Adam as ‘Team Big Brother’ before he introduces Melanie, who puts her own spin on this song in the same way she did with The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” last week.
Blake really likes Melanie bringing back the tambourine but that’s as much as he can muster. Christina calls the set “so cute” and the song her favorite performance of Melanie’s thus far. Cee Lo compliments Adam for his new arrangements of songs, calling the rendition “a success.” Adam tells Melanie that he’s sure her ex-boyfriend feels like an idiot right now, before complimenting her artistry.
Next we come to Team Christina’s Dez Duron, who is performing a Justin Bieber song called “U Smile”. Hey, we already had covers of One Direction and Carly Rae Jepsen, so we were kind of due for Bieber. Dez lends a certain smoothness to the song that makes it much better than expected. If he doesn’t win this show, he’s got a career with his own Vegas lounge act or something similarly hip and awesome. It’s also worth noting that Paul Mirkovich is playing an awesome bright red piano emblazoned with the Voice logo in the background. Hopefully he gets to keep that thing as a ‘thank you for being everywhere, ever’ gift.
Cee Lo calls Dez “well rounded” but admits that he doesn’t think it was Dez’s best performance. Adam compliments Dez on having the guts to walk away from Yale to make it in music. Blake says that everyone’s always known that Dez has “star quality” and thinks the performance had the same kind of groove as his previous one. Christina tells her artist that he “killed it” and compares Dez to Mackenzie Bourg, although she can’t remember his name.
Team Cee Lo’s Trevin Hunte takes on the late Whitney Houston with his version of “Greatest Love of All”. After his Usher performance last week, he’s back to the ballads. Cee Lo calls it a “big mountain to climb” but reassures Trevin that if anyone can do it, he can. The fog machine makes yet another appearance in the episode during Trevin’s performance, and he’s got his own choir behind him, but for all that, the rendition is not as strong as some of his previous outings.
Adam says he hopes that when he dies, that’s what he sees in heaven. “It’s so tranquil,” he comments, before telling Trevin he doesn’t think there’s a song that Trevin can’t sing. Blake thinks that “this song was more in your wheelhouse.” Christina calls it a “wonderful job, as usual.” Cee Lo is amazed at Trevin’s humility and tells him that Whitney would be proud.
There’s another group performance afterward, this one involving the four folks you didn’t see in the last one – Amanda, Nicholas, Trevin and Cody – who are singing Journey’s “Any Way You Want It.” It feels strange for there to be a classic rock song without Terry McDermott somehow involved. But that’s okay, because Terry’s busy having an on-air reunion with his wife and son, which is one of those ‘aww’ moments, at least until Carson jokes that he was watching Terry and his wife making out. That’s just a little creepy.
Team Cee Lo’s Nicholas David brings his good feeling to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” after that. He’s shocked when the legendary Bill Withers, whose song he performed last week, walks into the rehearsal room and gives him some advice. (Cee Lo has all these great friends and Adam can’t get one person to crash his team’s rehearsal? What’s up with that?) There’s really nothing to say about Nicholas that hasn’t already been said. He’s found the niche that he’s very, very good at and he’s sticking with it.
Adam comments that he’s super-jealous of Nicholas because of his song choices, and that he’s just going to be a fan of his forever as both an artist and a human being. Blake jokes that he “didn’t realize until this week that you’re blind,” which falls flat, before thanking Nicholas for being on the show. Christina is skipped over in order to go right to Cee Lo, who talks about music being “a healing property” before telling America to vote for Nicholas. Meanwhile, Carson decides to see what he looks like with sunglasses on.
That means Team Blake’s Cassadee Pope is closing out the show – maybe owing to her deservedly reaching #1 on iTunes last time out – with her version of Michelle Branch’s “Are You Happy Now”. Blake calls the song choice “the right next step” as she once again draws on everything she’s been through to deliver another emotionally-driven performance. It’s also pretty much in her wheelhouse, more on the pop side of Branch’s pop-country catalogue.
Cee Lo says he’s not happy now because Cassadee could win the competition. Adam tells her that Maroon 5 used to open for Michelle Branch and takes a detour to bash The Roxy as a concert venue and say he was momentarily scared by the fan on the set before coming back to call Cassadee the frontrunner. Blake wishes Cassadee’s mom a happy birthday before telling America that we’re seeing something important.
With that, everything is in America’s hands. Voting for The Voice is open until 10 AM EST tomorrow morning and the results will be revealed 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.