The Voice Recap: Coaches Take the Wheel

The second quarterfinal round of NBC’s The Voice was a sexy, sexy, sexy affair — at least in the eyes of randy, rambling Christina Aguilera. For those of us whose brains aren’t permanently stuck in “French brothel” mode, however, Tuesday night’s episode was a mixed bag of raw talent, strange song choices, squandered potential, enthusiastic dancing, cheerleader-y critiques and counterintuitive advice from coaches Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine. Oh, and as a bonus, we got some extremely encouraging results from last week’s quarterfinal showdowns involving Team Blake Shelton and Team Xtina. Let’s start by recapping this week’s performances in chronological order:

Tori and Taylor Thompson: The Andrews Sisters’ “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”
The looks of panic and defeat plastered on Tori and Taylor’s faces during rehearsal continued to percolate below the surface of their painted-on smiles once they hit the stage in their USO pinup costumes and limped their way through a song they clearly didn’t know, didn’t want to know, and definitely didn’t like. The only way the sister act could’ve had less fun with the performance would’ve been if Cee Lo had grabbed the mic before they went on stage and announced: “For every note the girls miss, we’ll club a baby seal back in their dressing room!” Tori and Taylor never really got comfortable with the lightning fast cadence and perky disposition of “Boogie Woogie”; vocally, they sounded rushed and breathless, fading into the background of white noise created by the Voice house band, the random blasts of spotlight, and that dancing band of horn-toting soldiers. Blake made an uncomfortable comment about “loving every minute” of the girls’ “sick” outfits, Cee Lo used the phrase “wonderful job” not once but twice, and host Carson Daly tried to excuse the mess by declaring, “It was Flag Day!” Sorry, dude, the stars and stripes deserved better.

Casey Weston: KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”
Oh how I wish Adam had compromised with Casey on her desire to do a slow, stripped-down version of Tunstall’s jaunty 2005 hit. Instead, he overruled his protegee and demanded she closely mirror the tempo of the original track, which left her with few chances to upgrade her rendition from good-to-excellent karaoke, and no chance at outshining the warp-speed boogie of those wacky backup dancers. Imagine, though, if she’d tackled the first verse all slow and dramatic-like, accompanied only by her own acoustic guitar, then kicked into the rapid-fire chorus while the entire band joined in? (Also: Imagine if the poor girl hadn’t been saddled with a literal backdrop featuring an animated black horse and cherry tree?) Casey definitely took some sweet liberties with the tempo and melody of the “no, no, no, no” breakdown, and it says plenty about her artistic instincts that those tweaks turned out to be the best part of the performance. I just worry that if America doesn’t vote her through, Adam might pass on saving a singer who he could tell was “not so excited” about following his directions.

Vicci Martinez: Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”
Thank goodness Cee Lo was man enough to let his “assertive” artist have her way and tackle Dolly’s classic tale of a woman’s plight against a husband-eating temptress. I loved the quiet drama of Vicci’s intro, the almost tropical percussion that whispered in the background, and the way she handed off her guitar and began to stalk the candelabra-lined stage as the intensity of the ballad began to build. Vicci may have the richest, most evocative voice in the competition, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t gasp just a little when she wailed the line “Whatever you decide to do, Jolene!” As Blake noted, you get the sense that Vicci’s voice can explode at any second of her performance; but as far as I’m concerned, the fact that she chooses restraint over flair, that she only unleashes her power in short, shocking bursts, makes her a more intriguing artist than the vocal peacock who closed the show. (More on that in a moment.)

Devon Barley: OneRepublic’s “Stop and Stare”
If I wasn’t already irked that Adam chose Devon over the sublime Rebecca Loebe in the battle rounds, Devon’s deeply demoralizing rendition of “Stop and Stare” gave new focus and depth to my feelings of loss, resentment, and rage. The likable med student had all the confidence of a newborn kitten dropped in the center of an alligator pit, his tremulous voice missing note after note after note, his physical presence steadily retreating to the point where he was upstaged by even Adam, Blake, and Cee Lo’s tattoos. I’m not big on Carson’s barely concealed critiques, but his post-performance question to Devon was apt: “Are you glad that’s over?”

Nakia: Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire”
What was with all the pre-perfromance chatter about Nakia being forced out of his comfort zone and into a growly rock motif? Isn’t that kind of his wheelhouse? Or was the burly dude performing Enya ballads up till now and I’m just having some kind of repressed memory experience? Nevertheless, I thought the burly dude sounded pretty solid here, hitting the bulk of his notes, adding a little extra soul and longing to the track, and managing to command my attention despite the strange presence of lady firedancers working the stage behind him. (Bonus points for that So You Think You Can Dance-style spin and knee-drop.) I just wish The Voice‘s styling team had worked out Nakia’s hair situation, which kind of looked like something your plumber would extract from your bathtub drain before billing you $500.

‘Platinum Hit’ Recap: Long and Winding Road Trip

Jeff Jenkins: Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel”
As a fan of Jeff’s audition and battle-round work, it pains me to say that his Carrie Underwood cover was a hot, honeyed mess. I mean, seriously, if Jesus was at the wheel for this performance, he should’ve been pulled over by the California Highway Patrol and cited for an excruciatingly off-pitch opening verse, excessive quaver, and total lack of charisma. Deep down, I think this was a case of nerves and inexperience triumphing over Jeff’s sweet instrument and demeanor, but I think my overall ruling can best be summed up by the following conversation between my husband and me:

Me: Wow, I have to say, even Danny Gokey sang this better.
Hubby: Seriously.
Me: Wait, you remember when Gokey sang this on Idol?
Hubby: Not really. But I don’t remember hating anything of his quite as much as I hate what’s happening on our TV right now.

No matter how poorly Jeff performed, however, I don’t think it warranted a “Good job, Bubba” from Carson. I mean, Bubba? Srsly? Maybe Jeff can go find comfort in the arms of (as he so sickeningly put it)) the legal Thompson twin.

Curtis Grimes: Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love”
On paper, I loves Cee Lo’s idea of “sprinkling some country” on Robert Palmer’s pop-rock ode to having an Xtina-esque brain. But alas, Curtis (AKA the “hard working country boy from Texas”) was not the man for the job. Curtis’ delivery was a mumbly, torpid mess, and I haven’t seen a bump-and-grind that uncomfortable since MC Hammer’s “Pumps and a Bump” video. Adam’s exhaustive effort at offering a positive critique — “You really wear a cowboy hat!” “It was like a country version of that Robert Palmer song we all love so much!” — spoke volumes.

Javier Colon: Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel”
No doubt Javier has a powerful voice that hits notes with machine-like precision, but Adam’s pre-perfromance comment (“his biggest strength is his range — he can do anything — which is also his biggest problem”) really sums up my central conundrum concerning Javier. Adam asked the guy to tone down the aggressive runs and melisma, and Javier himself said he planned to approach “Angel” as if it were a lullabye he would sing to kids. But isn’t the goal of a lullabye to soothe a child to sleep, not to cause their tiny eyes to pop open with shock and alarm and think “WTF is going on? How come daddy turns even the simplest phrase into a 40-syllable hoo-hah-gitchee-yah-yah-ta-ta?” Particularly egregious were Javier’s delivery of the word “reverie” and the way his penchant for runs forced him to rush the phrasing on a number of lines. Oh, also, his slightly askew cap. (J’loathe!) I wouldn’t be so hard on the dude if I didn’t think he had the raw talent to be terrific, but if he’s going to insist on dousing all his musical dishes in a gallon of artificial vocal syrup, then he might not be headed toward the victory march some pundits have predicted. On the plus side, though, when Javier dials it back and sticks to the melody, he’s pretty damn fabulous.

Before we forget, there were also group performances by Team Adam and Team Cee Lo (coaches included). Let’s sum ‘em up in 10 words or less:

Team Adam, “With a Little Help From My Friends”: Why have Gospel chorus when they obliterate individual team members?

Team Cee Lo, “Everyday People”: Wig, Vicci, Nakia, and Cee Lo overcome Curtis, pig farmers.

And as for the results of last week’ Quarterfinal performances, let me raise a glass to America, Xtina, and Blake on scoring a perfect 100%!

Team Christina
America’s Pick: Beverly McClellan (Didn’t see that coming, but pretty righteous, no?)
Xtina’s Pick: Frenchie Davis (Oh hell yes! The Redemption of the Lady Aguilera!)

Team Blake
America’s Pick: Dia Frampton (She coulda looked a little happier, no?)
Blake’s Pick: Xenia (Didn’t see that coming, but couldn’t be happier about it!)

And finally, let’s get down to tonight’s letter grades and some predictions for next Tuesday’s eliminations…

Tonight’s Letter Grades
Vicci Martinez: A-
Casey Weston: B
Javier Colon: B
Nakia: B
Tori and Taylor Thompson: C
Jeff Jenkins: C-
Curtis Grimes: C-
Devon Barley: D+

TEAM CEE LO
Will go through: Vicci Martinez, Nakia
Should go through: Vicci Martinez, Nakia

TEAM ADAM
Will go through: Javier Colon, Jeff Jenkins
Should go through: Javier Colon, Casey Weston

What did you think of The Voice‘s second set of live performances? Who was your favorite? Who will and should go home? And are you planning on downloading any performances? Take our poll, sound off in the comments, and for all my reality TV recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

137 Comments
  1. el says:

    Agree with so much of this, really good recap. Javier has a beautiful voice but I hated that it went “really rushed, really looooong, repeat”. It felt less like a song then some kind of voice warm-up. Jeff seems like a nice kid but… that song would have been the worst of the night if it wasn’t for Curtis WTH Grimes.

    Going into this, I thought Team Adam was the strongest and Team Blake was the weakest, but last week was a lot more interesting and had a lot more standout performances then this one, so… having a good voice doesn’t make a good performance I guess. Thank goodness for Vicci, basically!

    • Eli says:

      Really? Jeff Jenkins was worse than the frickin’ Thompson Twins?

      • el says:

        Okay I forgot about the Thompsons.

        They were really cute singing normal songs, singing THAT was like a double negative. I don’t know what Ceelo was thinking giving them a difficult song to sing and making them dance a lot too.

        • bluedevil says:

          Wow Javier is really killing iTunes. Debuts at 13. Impressive. But even more impressive is I guess how Dia not only keeps hanging in the chart, a week after her performance, but actually improves to top 10.

          If Adam has the balls to do what Blake did yesterday, he’ll pick Casey over Jeff. But I don’t think he can ditch Jeff after all the melodrama about his mom and god …

          • Sara says:

            I agree! My biggest fear is that Adam will pick Jeff over Casey.

          • Stephanie says:

            What is UP with young girls dressing like The Golden Girls recently? I mean, Lauren Alaina was horrible for it, but I do think Dia is even worse. Huge flowered prints, big throat bows, puffy sleeves…Meet me out on the lanai, Blanche…we need to discuss your fashion taste (or lack thereof).

  2. Mel31602 says:

    I can’t believe you gave the sisters a higher score than Jeff. They had the only performance that made me want to mute the tv. Switch them with Devon (who was at least tolerable) and move Jeff up to an A- or B+ and I’d agree with your rankings

    • B.Rich says:

      Jeff was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen and you want to give him an A-?

    • mel says:

      the sisters gave the WORST rendition of bugle boy i’ve ever heard. It was a disgrace.

    • djm says:

      OK, I get this show is called “The Voice” and we aren’t supposed to be basing things on looks, but it sounds like when it comes to Jeff that is EXACTLY waht’s happening. Or, people feel bad about his best friend/mom kickin the bucket (sorry, but I always have to wonder when people say their mom is their “best friend” – especially young people. I can see a 40-50 year old having a more friend-like relationship with their parents, but a young person? Not so much. Your parent should be your parent, not your friend. Just sayin…). Either way, based on last night’s performance he shouldn’t even be on a singing show – that was a hot mess. I hope he goes home because he’s clearly not supposed to be on TV singing.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        I absolutely agree. It’s a difficult song and even Carrie sounded like crap on that song the first few times she sang it live.

  3. Fan says:

    Javier definitely oversang his song. It was hard to listen to. He lost the melody for me. Too bad, he has a beautiful voice. I loved his audition performance. Vicci Martinez is as good a singer as Javier, but she knows when to rein in.

    • The Wheeze says:

      ITA! Vicci, Javier, and Jeff have been my favorites since the beginning. I think Javier has one of if not the best voice on the show, but he needs to stop with the vocal olympics ASAP and just sing. Also, I do not know what happened to Jeff last night, but what a disappointment! Did anyone else think Jeff looked sick last night? I do not know if he made himself sick with nerves or what, but he just looked pale, plus I do not think Adam suggesting he move the key up an octave helped him either. The only saving grace for me was VICCI! You go girl that was AWESOME. My favorite performances from last night are Vicci and Casey.

      • susela says:

        He didn’t move it up an octave! A half-step or two is all. But you’re right, Jeff didn’t look at all comfortable and he strained at those notes.

    • Kari G says:

      I agree completely. Before watching last night’s performance I assumed Javier would blow everyone out of the water. He has such an amazing voice, but my God, the runs! They were out of control. A little goes a long way and he can’t seem to get that through his head. I think it could potentially be his downfall if he doesn’t reign it in a bit.

    • Rhama says:

      Great voice but terrible performance.

  4. Ablo says:

    Some not good performances on the week’s show. Some were truly awful. And none were great, though some were ok. I guess I agree that Vicci’s was the best of the night — though does she have to lean over and squat every 12 and a half seconds? But then a lot of contestants were doing the squat (is there a producer holding up a SQUAT sign?).

    The country singers were all bad. The sisters were bad. Devon was beyond bad. Casey was ok. Javier can sing, but he needs to know when to just sing.

    I’m ambivalent on the Frenchie save. Based on last week’s performance there is no way that she deserved it. Based on what she went through in her life — esp. AI, maybe she deserved it. But if she can’t do any better than last week, it will be a short-lived reprieve.

    I guess I am less excited about the show as it goes on — the performances get weaker, the Twitter room gets more on my nerves — and the coaches/judges comments get less and less interesting.

    Oh well, it’s a Tuesday night.

    • seattlejohn says:

      yeah…I was all excited by this show at first but it is wearing on my nerves…should be renamed THE PUPPETMASTERS as it increasingly de-emphasizes vocal strengths and focuses on folks being assigned questionable, idiosyncratic songs with the dueling more onstage with the performers trying to not get lost among hyper back-up dancers and distracting stage antics…am already fast-forwarding thru the twitter room and judges commentary (being nicey-nice and overly-praised like those AI guys)…it would be good if each person got to do a judges choice PLUS a personal pick featuring non-judge influenced staging/styling/arrangement etc for comparison plus to reward the singers for entrusting their careers to their so-called “mentors” with their too fast torn-apart “teams”…as it is the show barely lets us whet our appetites as we only hear 2 or 3 songs from most contestants before they get gone…the end result is more about the judges and not so much about breaking new artists in a respectful way…it is fun to watch Carson and Blake’s back-and-forth wrangling and I’m enjoying Bev and Vicki

  5. Davey says:

    Casey Weston’s song last night is selling well in iTunes. I think Michael you’ve underestimated her appeal to the American public. If Adam doesn’t see her commercial potential I’d be surprised. I think she’s even more marketable than Javier.

  6. beth t says:

    Once again, Mr. Slezak we are pretty much in agreement on everything. I do have to say, though, that while i agree Casey’s performance would have been much imporved by her sticking to her guns and doing a slowed down acoutic verse first, it was still my favorite performance by a slim margin over Vicci’s.
    Best surprise of the night for me was Blake choosing to save Xenia – and I loved what he said about why – he could affect change for her in a way he couldn’t for the other two. Also that he knew Dia and Xenia would bring out the best in each other. He seemed much more interested in creating a win for his singers than for himself…

    • casey slow says:

      Casey’s audition song was slow, acoustic, guitar, etc. If she had done it again here, it’d be like “oh there goes Casey again”, just as ppl are saying “oh there goes javier with the melisma”. Plus, Casey has a distracting goats-bleet of a vibrato which only gets highlighted on slow songs. No, I agree with Adam’s choice of having her sing this song uptempo. It showcased her tone, hid her goaty vibrato, and made her sound retro-contemporary. No wonder her ITunes are doing so well, right behind Vicci’s Jolene.

      • Jeff says:

        Now that would be the exact thing that I would say about Beverly McClellan. Just about everyone else got moved out of their comfort zone. She sang the same exact type of song 3 times in a row.

    • GC says:

      Yes, Beth T, I totally agree… Blake surprised me in the best way by choosing Xenia… her tone is fantastic and he knows someone special when he sees it. Even if he can’t get her to be better improved performance wise, she can be a great recording artist. The fact that he wanted to keep the two shy ladies together for moral support was not only wise, but heart-warming.

      Xtina also surprised me with choosing Frenchie– I was 100% happy also about both saves! I think Frenchie deserved it the most. Her performance and vocal were not perfect, but she was the most refined one there. It is about time for her to get the public recognition she deserves. Raquel was better than I expected, sure, but she had more bum notes than Frenchie in my opinion. She is still young and needs time to mature and hone her vocals. She got some exposure and I think Xtina may help her even after the show, so it’s not all lost.

      I’m impressed with who’s left– two baldy powerful ladies on Xtina’s team, and Blake has two soft spoken more unique artists.

      I hope Team Adam will be Casey and Javier and that team Ceelo will will be Vicci and Nakia!

      I really like all 8 left,if those are the next 4, and so it’s really anybody’s win now!

  7. kel says:

    Once again I completely agree with your recap of the Voice. Now if could just the right w/ your idol reviews. ;) I readout don’t know why so many people are exclaiming they didn’t see it coming when Blake picked Xenia.. I knew all along that Dia would be the viewer pick and Xenia the judge’s choice. It was clear how much Blake loves her and he’s spot on about the fact that she would benefit most from how guidance. I’m so ally by his decision as I see in her the same thing that he does.

    As for last night, my personal favorites were Javier, Casey and Vicci. I agree that while Jeff has a really great, natural voice, he didnt do himself any favors last night. However, the fact that he’s wildly popular will probably help him sail through to the next round anyway. Casey was quite a bit better imo. Too bad they have 2 people leaving.. Adam has 3 very good singers on his team (I’m also still pissed over Rebecca.. after last night, even more so).

    Vicci was by far the best on team Ceelo. She’s got an amazingly raw voice. Nakia was second best.. he wasn’t great but still better than the Bobsy twins and Curtis. I also still surprised that NBC let him keep the “head when I’m driving” line. Lol the Voice certainly can’t be confused with a family show. The 5th judge (aka Xtina’s boobs) help insure that.

    • Mel31602 says:

      I wasn’t surprised he picked Xenia either. I thought she was the most popular on his team after Dia. I don’t see what all the fuss is about over his pick

      • sa says:

        Probably because her performance was worse then country kid’s in every way, and I don’t even like country music. They’re both young, but he had stage presence and a strong voice. A unique tone doesn’t make up for everything.

    • kel says:

      Gahh, damn autocorrect. Readout=really. Ally=happy

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I wasn’t surprised at all that Blake picked Xenia. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but as I recall her turned his chair around pretty quickly on her during the initial blind rounds. I really don’t think Blake is just “in it to win it” :-) I think he truly believes she has the most current voice and he can work with her.

  8. perfesser says:

    I’m a Slezak fan, but you lost me. Melisma can be overused (Mariah, Boys 2 Men) but is sublime when it is used purely. Javier did that. I-Tunes, polls, even Entertainment Weekly agree. Slezak’s credibility has taken a worse clubbing then “Addicted to Love.”

    • The Wheeze says:

      From reading the comments I think you will find A LOT of people (myself included) agree with Slezak that though Javier can sing; his vocal olympics or diarrhea of mouth he displayed last night, is not appealing to everyone. Polls, I-tunes, and the Holy grail(LOL!) Entertainment Weekly be damned. ;-)

    • different strokes... says:

      While I agree re melisma, and I thought his Cyndi Lauper audition performance had too much melisma, I thought his melismatic touch to the Sarah McLaughlin song was spot on. If he just sang the melody, he’d just sound like Sarah. While he could have used less melisma, the melisma seemed to flow from his soul, and I found it very moving. Even others who watched with me choked up to the song in a way they never had with Sarah’s original. Yes, Javier needs to learn to reign it in, but it was “emotionally perfect” here.

      My fav performances of the night: Vicci, Javier, Casey.
      The rest can go home.
      Biggest disappoinment: Jeff. I was blown away by his Rascall Flatts audition.

  9. Danielle Notaro says:

    I walked away from the tv when the twins were singing. Nuff said. Nakia, Vicki and Jeff (though he sang poorly tonight, I love his tone) are my fave’s and Bev too.

  10. G. says:

    SLEZAK:

    Where is the Haley Reinhart Idoloonies Interview? I have been waiting every day…

    Looking forward to it.

  11. Michael says:

    Ok….Michael your comments on Nakia’s hair above has caused me to soil myself. Stop it! I am at work and it is unpretty. :)

  12. Denise says:

    Your husband really thought that was worse than Dream On???

    • Renee says:

      Denise! That was my thought exactly:) I mean I agree it was a hot mess, but, c’mon, Gokey cannot be let of the ‘Scream On’ hook so easily~~

    • kel says:

      I believe his reference to Gokey was just a referral to his Jesus Take the Wheel performance. Jeff could never be worse than Dream On.

  13. Eli says:

    What is up with all the hate towards Jeff Jenkins?

    No, I’m not talking about his performance, which wasn’t very good. I’m talking about his slightly inappropriate joke to the twitter-room reporter.

    So far today, I have read 3 different recaps of last night and all three recappers have called his joke/comment sick or disgusting. Maybe its my less ‘policor’ (that’s short for politically correct btw) European mindset, but I don’t see how a silly joke warrants such a strong response?

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Granted, standards are a little different in England and certainly on the continent. My mother was English and there’s one newspaper that has a topless woman on page three every single day – it never stopped surprising me when I opened the paper.

      That said, I think was bothered people was it was so out of character for Jeff, or appeared out of character. It just seemed strange. If a good-looking, young, macho contestant that had been flirting with Christian all along had made that comment it might not have seen so weird. Jeff is a cherubic kid that lost his mamma, who was his best friend, and that comment just wasn’t what I expected to come out of his mouth. I don’t know, but that’s my take on the situation.

  14. Karen says:

    Javier is undoubtedly my favourite, but I do agree with you Slezak, that he should tone down the vocal runs a little.
    And even though it’s not gonna happen, I really hope that Jeff will exit next week. I liked him in the beginning, but now he’s just annoying, and tonight wasn’t good at all.

    Also, Carson Daly is possibly the least exited person on the Voice (and not Dia :-) – also, he has not aged at all in the past 20 years (or however long its been since he hosted TRL)

  15. julie says:

    I have a feeling this show will end up coming down to Javier vs. Dia in the end, although Vicci is also a contender. Can’t see anyone else making Top 3, unless Xenia suddenly gets over her extreme stage fright.

    Last night, nobody was great but Vicci and Javier were way above everybody else. Javier needs to dial back on all the runs and vocal tricks, but he is very very talented.

  16. ddutchie88 says:

    YES! I agree 100% with you!! I thought Vicci was the best and Javier, though obviously blessed with enormous talent, was very annoying with his runs. But still, I thought he was the best of Team Adam. I find Casey Weston to be kind of bland, but still a very decent performer.

    Jeff didn’t came of as very likable last night, with his constant milking of his mum’s death and that ridiculous comment about ‘the legal Thompson sister’ (ugh). And on top of that he gave his worst performance so far. Disappointing. I liked him in the blind auditions.

    I’ve never liked the Thompson Sisters. They look cute, but that’s about it. They can’t sing at all. Also never been a huge fan of Curtis and after last night he has definitely blown it. He should have stepped up, but in stead was just very weak and out of tune a lot. (He almost ruined that otherwise fabulous Team Cee Lo performance)

    I find Devon extremely lovable and I was really rooting for him, but alas, he didn’t bring it. (and I’m pretty sure Rebecca Loebe would have killed it)

    Nakia wasn’t very original but gave a pretty damn fine rendition of Sex on Fire and he deserves to go through.

    And talking about making it to the next round, I was so happy with the 4 that America and the Coaches picked :) Espescially Bev and Dia! I think the voting system for this show is so much better than Idol. I love that itunes sales count and that obsessed teenage girls can’t vote unlimited.

    So I think for Team Cee Lo
    -Vicci and Nakia should go through (and I will be very shocked if they don’t)

    And for Team Adam
    -Javier should go through plus either Casey or Jeff (I’m ok with it either way. I think I would even be fine if Devon went through)

  17. Bill says:

    Man I can’t wait for the X Factor simply for the fact we will finally get a music show not afraid to critique the contestants again. Between these “coaches” and AI’s “judges” it has been who can lie the most. I am sick of it.

    • Brian D. says:

      If we want judges who will critique, we shouldn’t get current music stars to do it. They’re never going to be mean because people don’t buy records from artists who are “mean” or “have an attitude”.

      Imagine if any of those coaches gave stank-eye to little Xenia and made her cry — how many people will crucify them online and stomp on their CDs?

      Simon and Randy can get away with being jerks because they’re not trying to sell anything.

    • Jan says:

      They are COACHES on The Voice.

      • eh says:

        T-ball coaches, maybe. Anybody coaching above that level ought to know how to dole out some constructive criticism. I suspect that is in fact happening behind the scenes, but if they’re not going to say anything interesting on camera, why are we wasting so much time listening to them? I’d be perfectly happy if they cut the post-performance feedback segments, or kept them to just a few words from the contestant’s own coach…

  18. Ruby says:

    I was so icked out by nakia performing sex is on fire, I couldn’t even concentrate on the performance. Just… No.

  19. Judy says:

    Your comments about Javier cracked me up.

  20. DonnaRonna says:

    Not a Jeff fan, really, but does anyone else remember Adam telling him to take the song up an octave (or something like that), in the pre-performance clip? I’m thinking that really hosed the performance, especially since he said he and his mama loved that song and sang it a lot. (yes, enough with the dead mom stuff).

    Loved Vicci, Casey, Nakia, and most of all — the wig.

  21. Rolando Dans says:

    iTunes chart

    11. Angel – Javier
    12. Heartless – Dia
    23. Jolene – Vicci
    32. Black Horse and Cherry Tree – Casey
    43. Price Tag – Xenia
    84. Time After Time – Javier
    121. Sex On Fire – Nakia
    123. Jesus Take The Wheel – Jeff
    171. I’m the Only One – Beverly
    183. Breakeven – Xenia

  22. Matt says:

    Nakia only getting a B? I thought that was an A performance, even better than Vicci’s version of the over-covered “Jolene”. I think you are being looksist.

  23. Taylor says:

    I completely agree with everything you said.
    Vicci owned the night both in her solo & in the group.
    Nakia did a good job, but there wasn’t anything new about it.
    The Thompson sisters were a train wreck, but when I re-watched it, I liked it a bit better. Whichever one has the lower voice sounded better.
    Curtis was practically inaudible. His low voice and mumbling were completely drowned out.
    Casey sounded great when singing Black Horse slowly, but I can see why Adam suggested she sing it at regular tempo. The rest of Team Adam did slow songs, so her quick song did help her stand out.
    Javier WAY overdid it!!! I didn’t catch it at first, but I did the second time. He has an amazing voice, but he needs to listen!!
    Jeff just came off as disgusting with his comment about “the legal Thompson sister” complete with wink and tongue click. His Kermit the Frog voice was extremely nasal.
    Devon was a big FAIL. Still can’t believe he stayed over Rebecca, my favorite person this season.

    Carson’s still bland & Allison’s still annoying.
    Cee Lo’s group routine was funky and enjoyable. I think it became my guilt pleasure ;)
    Adam’s was good, but the choir in the background drowned out his team.

    Super happy about Beverly, Frenchie, Dia & Xenia making it :)

    • matt says:

      Yeah another person said Nakia did nothing “new” with the song too. I disagree, I felt his performance brought a strong, crystal-clear passion to the song that the original Kings of Leon version doesn’t possess. And I loved the firegirls LOL.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      thanks for clarifying Jeff Jenkins’ comment – I was watching the show and cooking (exhaust fan running, mixer running) – I looked up at the TV and thought, “did I hear what I think I just heard?”. Yep, he made a creepy comment about the Thompson sisters. I thought they were twins. Whatever. Jesus, take that wheel and drive him off of this program. His performance was dreadful.

      And thank you, Slezak, for this comment – “If I wasn’t already irked that Adam chose Devon over the sublime Rebecca Loebe in the battle rounds, Devon’s deeply demoralizing rendition of “Stop and Stare” gave new focus and depth to my feelings of loss, resentment, and rage”. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

      I felt sorry for the Thompson Sisters getting stuck with “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”. They had to sing a three-part harmony song in two-part harmony and it just wasn’t interesting.

  24. rochelle says:

    aThis is going to sound really terrible bit when Jeff Jenkins would whine out ‘Jesus take the wheeeeeeel’ all I could think of was the ‘squeal’ scene from deliverance. There was a disturbing similarity

  25. jason1313 says:

    Gokey Scream On will be remember for the most worst and hated performance ever on tv because he took away what should have been the best, most awesome, most loved,never seen before ,truly must see final 3 ,rating killer, idol tour sell out, best there was, best there is, best their ever will be, top 3………..allison,adam,kris….kadason

    • cookie love says:

      Oh pul-eez. So dramatic. Gokey had a good voice and people liked him. (Many people. Not all.) Allison was talented but made bad song choices (and wardrobe choices).

  26. julie says:

    My rankings:
    JAVIER A (I hate the song, don’t like melisma or runs as a rule, and still thought this was terrific)
    VICCI B+ (I liked it fine, but don’t like the “war dance” crouching tiger, hidden singer thing)
    CASEY B+ (Shut up, Adam. This would’ve been an A if she’d got to do it her own way.)
    NAKIA B- (His voice was fine but what a stupid song choice. Goes nowhere and not right for him.)

    —-big gap—-

    THOMPSON TWINS D (Stupid, stupid choice.)
    DEVON D- (Warbly and all over the place.)
    JEFF F (Pretentious, puffed-up, pandering and AWFUL. He was screechy, strained, flat and sharp every which way, and incredibly fake, as well. Plus the pervy Thompson thing. YECHHHHHHH.)
    CURTIS F (Abysmal. To be worse than puffed-up perv Jeff just shows how bad he was.)

    • Jan says:

      How old is Jeff? For him to be considered a perv, he’d need to be a LOT older than the legal Thompson sister.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        I didn’t consider him to be a perv – it was just a bit creepy, and it seemed odd coming out of this kid whose whole back story is his mamma/best friend dying, and then he sings “Jesus Take the Wheel”. Weird.

  27. RD says:

    The main problem with this show is we’re not getting the opportunity to see these performers grow.All we see are some pretty grumpy,(Casey),nervous,(Devon), over the top ,(Javier-what happened to the verse melody?),average,(Vicki and Nakia) and downright bad,(Curtis and the Thompson Twins),performances.And all are just lavished with praise- a strategy which still leaves a bad taste in my mouth from this season’s Idol panel.
    I’d hoped for more-a lot more.Too bad.

  28. Ella says:

    Good recap, Slezak! Agree practically on everything.
    I just don’t get the set up of the show: seriously, for people who has life besides The Voice, American Idol and such it’s kind of hard to keep track of who is who and why. The thing is I totally forgot who sang last week and it also felt kind of confusing to have “result show” mixed with “performance show”. Why not to have all performances one night and results the other +teams performances?
    This format doesn’t give you time to develop some attachment to the singers, and where is no attachment therefore less interest.

    All in all it was kind of entertaining, but I didn’t get most of the song choices. Boogie Woogie? Seriously? That arrangement was absolutely awful and I can’t really blame the girls for this since you mentioned correctly that they didn’t even want to know this song (and so do I btw).

    Judges are becoming boring and irrelevant. Christina is starting to get on my nerves with her “flirtiness” that smells a lot more like “trashiness”…well, the show started great, but progressively getting downhill. I don’t think there is a big future to it and this is just unfortunate, because there is a need for a show like that.

    • rochelle says:

      I actually think its refreshing to not have to.sit through 5 minutes of results and 55 minutes of filler. And maybe I’m in the minority, but I love that we don’t really get backstories on the contestants. This show may actually end up being about singing rather than other things which is so overdue

  29. rochelle says:

    I have to say that unlike Idol, where the constant praise of contestants’ lackluster performances made me want to put my hand through the tv screen, on the voice it doesn’t bother me at all. I think it would look pretty shady if cee Lo started tearing down a contestant that another coach has worked with. The kids are getting critiqued while working with theory coach so I don’t think true negative feedback after live performances would work in this case.

    • Brian D. says:

      It’s true, most of the coach’s work is done on the front end (helping them pick the song, arranging it, giving them advice, etc).

      Imagine if all they had to do was sit there and repeat a catchphrase (or cheerlead for the Chose One) while collecting million-dollar paydays.

      Unlike Idol, these coaches are actually earning their paychecks and doing real work. I don’t mind that they’re a bit soft on their critiquing, because that’s not their real job anyway.

    • tnsmoke says:

      I agree. The coaches were very vocal about the singers in the blind auditions and during the battle rounds. Now they respect the job each other has done and there is not point in being mean to another coach’s singer. The live rounds are up to the viewers and the coach, so, why dump on anyone? Vote or don’t vote for them.

  30. susela says:

    Am SO grateful that Blake chose Xenia! It was a smart thing to do, considering how well she’s doing on iTunes. (It’s all about record sales, yes?) And if Adam also uses the iTunes chart to help make his decision, then perhaps he’ll take Casey over Jeff. Casey, Javier, and Vicci are the only three from last night’s performances to make the Top 100.

  31. Bob says:

    Did anyone else notice a point when the audio cut out during the critiquing? Was it just me, or did NBC censure something? Anyone know what was censured if that was it?

  32. rk says:

    I think there needs to be a ban on OneRepublic songs being performed in singing competitions. No one can sing them except for Ryan Tedder. I was a fan of Devon before that hot mess.
    Love Vicci! Best performance of the night.
    I’m not so sure about the Nakia performance. He’s just not sexy and that performance was icky. KoL are HOT, and that was just creepy.
    I think the Thompson girls and Curtis received the short end of the stick from Cee-Lo, maybe he wanted to dump them to make his other contestants look better.

  33. Lauren says:

    Jeff was terrible. Agree 100%.

    But I don’t think, as you note in the article, that it is possible for the Thompsons to be twins, but for only one to be legal.

    • craig says:

      I thought the same thing when I read the article. Come on they can’t be twins but have one legal and one not unless one was born before midnight and one after it the show was being taped on the 18th birthday of the first born. Ridiculous but still hilarious. They are the Thompson Sisters not Twins. One is 19 and one is 17…I don’t know or care which is which after Cee Lo made a horrible decision and had them sing Bugle Boy or whatever the hell it’s called. Last weeks live show had much better performances. Dia needs to up her personality a bit if she can in order to have a chance to win this thing. Love the voting system. If this was Idol the public would have voted through the cowboy last week and vote through the cowboy again this week.

  34. Jane says:

    Just went and re-watched Javier’s Angel. I don’t get any of the negative comments. I thought he brought some honesty and beauty to a song that is very very overplayed. Sorry to bring up Jacob Lusk, but he is an example of too much vocals, too many runs (and mostly off key to boot). At least Javier’s song was in tune and he didn’t hit any bad notes. He was by far my favorite performance last night. It’s funny how the older contestants (except Xenia) are all doing better that the teens. I’m glad The Voice is showing that training and hard work can beat cuteness. Go Bev and Frenchie!!!
    I hope like others that Adam chooses Casey over Jeff. I didn’t like her at first, but she has improved since the audition round and her voice is unique. She deserves to stay on talent alone. She doesn’t need a sob story to help her get votes. Sorry Jeff, she was better.

  35. Tomitweets says:

    The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy was a train wreck. Sluggish, when I think of the Andrews Sisters and Bette Midler, plus Xtina’s Candyman in true 40s style.

    I wanted Jared to go through. Xenia is going to fall apart.

    WTH did they put extraneous distractions like fire twirlers behind Nakia. HELLO WORLD: COMPLETE STUPID AND UNNECESSARY! Nakia/Sex on Fire, great mix. Dancers with it. Give me the barf bag. This is called THE VOICE. Not “let’s have ‘em sing with distractions for the viewers.” Keep the dang dancers OFF THE STAGE.

    • Ablo says:

      The problem with Jared is that there are 1000s of guys who sing like him in bars all across America. I don’t mean that as an insult — they’re fun guys to listen to, but it’s hardly special.

  36. Linderella says:

    Definitely not loving the runs delivered with every Javiar song – he seems to use them to compensate for missed notes and it’s annoying. His voice is good enough that he doesn’t need all the camouflage! Whoever is in charge of choreography and set dressing needs to lighten up! The background singers are way, way distracting and do no service to the competitors.

    Her performance as a judge has not exactly endeared me of X-tina. She acts like the show is all about her! Blake, Cee-Lo and Adam genuinely appear to care about helping their team members as individuals. I think Cee-Lo’s attempt at camp with the Thompson Twins could have worked if the girls were able to actually sing the song – the arrangement was just too complicated for them – which kind of speaks to their overall musical ability.

    I’m sure by next season the producers will fine tune this series – loved the idea of the artists singing one coach-chosen song and one which they chose.

  37. janie says:

    vicci far an away beat everyone… not only does she have the best voice but she listened and took advice.. she even sounded the best in the group song… I like Nakia’s voice but did anyone else notice he has a bad lisp and when he was singing Sex on fire.. he lisped everytime he said Sex.. that kind of bugged me

    • Pbo says:

      In your opinion, and it’s a fine and valid opinion. She’s fine. There are singers who have better tonal quality (the divine Ms. Doolittle, for example), but nice passion. She would probably tie for second with Nakia (is that his name) WAY behind Javier for me. My opinion.

  38. Yo says:

    Odd how you can cash in this show at ten for “The Good Wife” and not miss a whole lot (that you can catch later on Youtube).

    Christina needs to find a sexual outlet outside the show and Javier needs to turn his hat around so it gouges his neck. Dude looks some kinda not smart, as do most people with the new bigger visor, mashed head caps where the ears look about to take flight. Looking low IQ is not helpful in music (well, MOST music). I liked Casey and Vicci, natch, and didn’t mind the heavy-set fella. I spent Devon’s song time restyling his hair; he looks like a doc, but there are rock guys that look like accountants, so… If Devon grew an Afro, he would feel more wild and crazy. Hair counts. Sad to say, I have read so much about Cee Lo’s short arms, I devoted a full thirty minutes to mentally hacking beef off his sides to see if an arm could scratch an opposite shoulder. Verdict: Yup. But the hands are so small he is in trouble with a big itch.

    • mel says:

      ‘turn his hat around so it gouges his neck’ theres a difference between critiquing and being unnecessarily rude.

  39. Tavis says:

    I hate the way Javier sings. I don’t want him to advance AT ALL.

    I hope Casey and Vicci make it through! They were my faves tonight.

    Agreed with America’s save (Bev and Dia), but I would have preferred Raquel over the awful Frenchie. I liked Jared, but I approve of Blake picking Xenia.

    Gosh, this show is addictive! Crazy Xtina makes it all worth it.

  40. ryan says:

    Biggest bogus thing of the night was america Saving Dia. Dia is not that great.

    Jared and Patrick both far better.

    Saw Blake saving Xenia a hundred miles off and good.

    Casey and Vicci best performances of the night.

  41. KfromHouston says:

    Frankly, I cannot give accolades to any of the contestants. None of them stand out as “exceptional voices.” Dia Frampton does, however, hold the most promise for a future recording artist. I was also disappointed with Jeff Jenkin’s rendition of “Jesus Takes the Wheel.” He was very off key and didn’t deliver that song last night.

    Thought! Taylor Swift is the worst of all country singers and has made millions. Go figure! It doesn’t take singing ability to dupe the teeny boppers into buying awful “music” – only creative marketing. I guess I can’t count out any of The Voice’s singers to be future stars – if Taylor can succeed at mastering deception.

  42. jayem says:

    So much for everyone who swore The Voice was going to be everything that American Idol wasn’t, huh?! After these last two shows, I’m thinking Idol actually had the better talent. I like The Voice’s “coaches” better, but their singers aren’t really anything special. There are Idol contestants I would much rather hear sing than most of these people. *cough*Haley*cough* LOL! But not just her. I miss Idol.

    I agree with this assessment 100%. The Thompson Twins were AWFUL. Javier’s runs were way too overwrought and ruined a beautiful song. Jeff was majorly pandering and didn’t sound all that great. Everyone else ranged from meh to UGH, except for Vicci, who was awesome! I was worried for her, cause the last time I heard this song, John Mayer, Norah Jones and Keith Urban sang it on the Grammy’s (look it up, it’s amazing) and I thought she couldn’t top that, but she was great. Just like last week, the judges performances with their teams were my favorite.

    I’m so glad Beverly was the viewers choice. Like Vicci, I love her rawness. I don’t have the same love for Frenchie that everyone else does and I think she has FAR too much experience, but seeing as she wasn’t voted in, I don’t think she’ll pose a threat. I like Dia, but I am thrilled that Blake chose Xenia. I love her voice. I’m very surprised she wasn’t the viewer’s pick, based on all the reviews and comments I’ve read.

    Oh, and I also thought Rebecca would have done a marvelous job if she were still around. Adam might never live that one down.

  43. Lee says:

    I don’t care what anybody says–I’m still shocked that Blake chose the girl who SAID “Look to the right; look to the left” over Patrick or Jared, who IMO are far better vocalists. And who are buying her iTunes? Remind me never to pick Blake’s team if given a chance. He is the most irrational judge I have seen.

    • Faz says:

      Yea, but you might be only one who thinks Patrick and Jared are better. Patrick was awful, Jared is ok, but not distinct at all.

  44. mentorship says:

    What’s really interesting and counterintuitive is that Christina & Blake have turned out to be better Mentors than Cee Lo or Adam. Whereas if I were a contestant, I surely would have wished for Adam or Cee Lo to mentor me (unless I were a power-diva or a country singer). But Christina really knows the difference between one power-diva and another, and how to showcase each distinctly to their strengths. And Blake seems to be a lover of music overall, not just country music, and really appreciated what different qualities and strengths each of his artists brought to the table. By comparison, Adam & Cee Lo were trying to tell their artists what to do instead of listening to what their artists can do (exception: Vicci, who I think Cee Lo just let her do her thang).

  45. peb says:

    Michael, The Voice has only been okay at best. The important thing is…when are you going to have that promised interview with Haley Reinhart? Thanks.

  46. sherimoonzombie says:

    Bwaahaahaa! –“…looked like something your plumber would extract from your bathtub drain before billing you $500.”

    I needed a good laugh today and Slezak delivers as usual.

  47. Wendeeloo says:

    I don’t get this show. It’s supposed to be the anti-idol yet they are afraid to give negative reviews. And since they are pitting these teams against each other – the judges should be free to say exactly what they think of the performances – If they were honest it would be so much better – and punch up the dynamic that they are COMPETING. They seem to be afraid to be negative – Just. Like. Idol.

    • Tim says:

      You’re never going to get artists to be overly negative about other artists, because they appreciate how difficult it is to perform. You need someone like Simon on a show if you want to hear negativity on a regular basis.

    • Brian D. says:

      They don’t need to be negative. They’re mentoring these singers (helping them pick songs, with arrangement, with choreography, etc) on top of having done the blind auditions, battle rounds, and now the coaches’ save.

      Can you imagine any of the Idol judges ever doing that? These Voice coaches have so much more work than the judges on Idol have ever done on all 10 seasons. Randy, Jennifer, and Steven basically sat there repeating catchphrases and collecting millions of dollars.

      Also, a lot of people forget that these coaches are artists who are also trying to sell CDs. Imagine if one of them tries to stink-eye Xenia and make her cry? You’d have people stomping on their CDs out in the street. Simon and Randy can get away with being jerks because they’re not trying to sell you anything.

  48. Pbo says:

    The Slezak crowd is interesting. Just like there were MANY more Haley fans on this site than other AI sites, there is a lot more Javier negativity here than others.

    • Tim says:

      Yes, and both sentiments are out of touch with any kind of normal reality. I mean, Javier is not my personal favorite, but you’d have to be deaf not to acknowledge he sang that song beautifully.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Clearly the guy is polarizing. I posted before that I changed the channel when Javier sang so I can’t comment. I would rather be boiled alive than listen to any Sarah McLachlan song. I would not listen to Haley Reinhart sing that song. I postively hate “Angel”. I can’t believe anyone likes that whiny music. If Javier makes it through I’ll listen to his next song.

  49. Tim says:

    “Not as good as Gokey”? I mean, I can see you don’t like the guy Michael, but that’s a low blow.

  50. Goat Girl says:

    Dia has been getting the Mormon vote and they are the ones buying her songs. She has an okay voice but she’s not that interesting or “today” in any way. The poor thing looks like a frumpy mom. Shocked that Blake picked Xenia over Jared or Patrick. I love Xenia’s voice and straightening her hair was brilliant (she’s 100 times cuter now) but she needs some serious work on projecting her voice and gaining confidence in herself. Love Frenchie. Not a fan of Beverly. Adam REALLY needs to listen to his team. I too wished that Casey would’ve stripped down her song. Still loving this show more than Idol. Also love that iTunes downloads count as votes (if Idol did this, would Hayley have won Season 11????)