The Voice Recap: Send in the...Clowns?

lindsey pavaoMenacing mimes. Male strippers. Cee Lo Green in a slinky red jumpsuit with deep-plunging, lace-up neckline and a delicate ladywig. Carson Daly turning superlatives into bowls of lukewarm mush. And enough bum notes to recreate an authentic Ashlee Simpson recording-studio session. Those were just a few of the disconcerting distractions on the menu for the first live-performance round of The Voice‘s second season.

Maybe my expectations were too high going in. And to that end, maybe it’s not fair to make any long-lasting judgments about the season when there are a whopping 24 singers still alive and well and fighting for Javier Colon’s Season 1 title. But by the time the six members of Team Xtina and the six members of Team Blake wrapped the two-hour telecast, the overwhelming urge was not to visit iTunes to download the fruits of their collective labor, but rather to fantasize about a sensory-deprivation tank where I could turn down the noise and the flashing lights and the milquetoast excuses for feedback that created a reality singing-competition judging curve whereby Randy Jackson’s Idol ramblings have been upgraded from an unquestionable F to a comparably impressive C-.

Ugh. I hate myself for typing that.

Let’s instead focus on the good, the bad, and the bizarrely choregraphed performances, with an eye on figuring out which three singers from Team Xtina and Team Blake will advance to the quarterfinals based on the public’s vote, and which vocalists will get saved by their respective judges to round out the pack of eight vocalists who’ll still be standing at the end of Tuesday’s results-show telecast.

TEAM BLAKE
Mortal Locks
Charlotte Sometimes: There’s no way Charlotte’s going to have to resort to asking “Is Denny’s hiring?” after an ultra-dramatic take on Paramore’s “Misery Business.” As Christina noted, Charlotte is a woman who knows when to go big, but also knows when a song calls for calm and quiet. I’m not sure where or how Adam heard pitch problems, but maybe the botched notes of the 10 vocalists who came before her messed with the Maroon 5 singer’s inner tuning?

Erin Willett: “That was technically and passionately the best vocal performance of the night: That is fact,” declared Blake (correctly), following Erin’s big, brassy rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City.” Which means that even if voters got distracted by the “random dancers convening at a speakeasy” staging or by the fact that Erin began the performance playing a piano that looked like it was made of cardboard, she should be able to count on her coach to carry her to the next round.

The Weakest Link
Jermaine Paul: If scientists ever figure out a way for men to have babies, we already know what labor will sound like, thanks to Jermaine’s extraordinarly strained cover of “Livin’ on a Prayer.” Dude was pushing and pushing and pushing for what felt like 12 hours, and it wreaked havoc on any sense of musicality in the performance. My scribbled notesinclude this description: “His voice turns into a squiggle.” And in a weird way, that’s what happened. It was almost as if the long-time backup singer’s throat started to close up from exhaustion, and by the time he hit the octave change, his rocker shriek had turned into something strange and cartoon-like. If Blake turns out to be right with his prediction that Jermaine’s Bon Jovi cover is headed for the Top 10 of iTunes, I’ll eat Xtina’s bedazzled vegetable steamer hat. But if I’m correct in predicting Jermaine’s early exit, that leaves us with three women fighting for the last two slots on Team Blake…

The Question Marks
There were moments during RaeLynn‘s countrified version of “Wakeup Call” where the tone of her voice sounded like she’d just chugged a liter of Pepsi and was about to let out the mother of all burps. What’s more, she’d completely run out of breath by the time she’d reached the final chorus. But I can’t lie: I didn’t not enjoy RaeLynn’s performance. Maybe it was residual good will from the fact that I really like Maroon 5’s original track. Or maybe it was the fact that the song really works with an injection of twang. Or maybe I was just impressed by the audacity of this kid flipping a well-known pop hit into something that could easily find its way to CMT. But even if you think I’m crazy for finding something of value at the bottom of the reality singing competition bargain bin, you don’t think there’s any way Blake is going to the next stage of the live shows without a country artist on his team, do you?

The way I see it, that means an early exit from either Naia Kete or Jordis Unga, and I can’t say I’ll be brokenhearted in either event. As a surprisingly astute Xtina noted of Naia’s cover of “Turning Tables,” “It was cool?” but not without “moments that weren’t great.” To translate that into brutal honesty, there’s something undeniably enchanting about Naia’s feathery light tone, but only on the 40-50% of notes she hits correctly. And what’s the point of covering a power vocalist like Adele if you’re going to bring pitch problems to the party? Jordis, meanwhile, arguably had the stronger performance with her take on Heart’s “Alone,” but while Blake applauded her for doing the “opposite of playing it safe,” I felt like the former Rock Star: INXS contestant was so busy trying to put on a display of vocal firepower that she kind of missed the point of the song. This isn’t a truck-lifting competition, after all. Plus, her sleepy cadence on the verses left me wondering for a moment if she’d missed some of the lyrics.

TEAM XTINA
Mortal Locks
It takes a strong performer to not get upstaged by dancers in terrifying clown regalia, and so cheers to Lindsey Pavao for triumphing over the creepy during her moody cover of “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Lindsey’s smart enough to understand that in 2012, you’re not going to win a reality singing competition on pretty vocals alone, but even more importantly, her synthed-out, almost ’80s-ized take on Gotye’s current smash proved she knows how to rearrange with a purpose, put her own twist on a melody without taking a sledgehammer to its foundation. One week in, and it’s pretty clear she’ll be the last member standing on Team Xtina.

Jesse Campbell: Cee Lo and Adam both declared Jesse as the contestant to beat this season, and that lavish praise — combined with Jesse’s end-of-show pimp slot — is a pretty good indicator that he’ll live to sing another week. Still, if I’m being honest, I’ve got to admit I found Jesse’s rendition of “What a Wonderful World” pretty excruciating. Oh sure, the guy has big, powerful pipes, and he hits his notes the way I eat a box of Tagalongs: Not one gets missed. But what good is pitch perfection when your delivery is so thuddingly affected? Every choice Jesse made in terms of melody and cadence felt like an exercise in “look what I can do!” vocal showboating, rather than a genuine attempt to bring feeling and emotion to his classic ballad. Maybe Jesse is simply my broccoli rabe — a fancy shmancy vegetable that’s always popping up on gourmet menus but leaves me with a case of the voms — but I can’t believe I’m the only Voice watcher whose world would be a little more wonderful without an encore from Mr. Campbell.

The Weakest Link
It was pretty much all downhill for Moses Stone‘s mashup of Kanye West’s “Stronger” and “Power” once the crazy acrobat dude handspringed his way off the stage at the top of the perfomance. I could say Moses’ vocal was flimsier than bargain-brand toiler paper, that you could see livelier dancing from the aged-aunties contingent at any family wedding, that his silver asymetrical half-kilt had bumped Fashion Star from its reigning position as the saddest marriage of clothing and reality TV on the NBC lineup, but why pile on when the guy is about to walk the Voice plank by the end of Tuesday’s results show?

The Question Marks
Of Team Xtina’s three remaining vocalists, I entered the week most excited about Sera Hill, which is why her self-immolating rendition of Drake’s “Find Your Love” was so disappointing. Sure, Sera brought her usual sassy presence (and a cool chandelier-y necklace) to the stage, but by the time she hit the final verse, she was veering off pitch like a three-wheeled grocery cart careening toward an endcap of tomato cans, and the results were predictably disastrous. I’d like to believe that Xtina’s decision to surround Sera with writhing, shirtless hunks threw the contestant off her game — “I was waiting for Christina to start stuffing some $1 bills,” declared Blake with his usual quick wit — but I can’t quibble with voters if they decide Sera doesn’t deserve a second chance to prove her live-show merits.

The judges seemed more enamored of Chris “Pale Ben Stiller” Mann‘s cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” — it was “so so so beautiful,” cooed his coach — but to my ears, the verses were peppered with pitch problems, and Chris’ vocal contained so much vibrato he might as well have been performing atop a washing machine in the midst of its spin cycle. Much like his teammate Jesse, Chris represents a triumph of technique over feeling, and the result was a Bridge on the River Kwai-type situation. Boom!

I’d prefer to see Sera or Chris get booted to make way for Ashley de la Rosa, whose cover of Alanis Morissette’s “Right Through You” wasn’t perfect, but was at the very least interesting. Had the Voice house band not been cranked up to 11, the bubbly teen’s vocal might’ve had even more impact, but as Adam correctly noted, Ashley definitely won the award for most improved. All in all, a pretty solid result for a kid who’s gotten the cannon-fodder edit for most of the season.

LETTER GRADES
Erin Willett: A-
Charlotte Sometimes: A-
Lindesy Pavao: A-
Jesse Campbell: B
Ashley de la Rosa: B-
RaeLynn: B-
Jordis Unga: B-
Naia Kete: C+
Sera Hill: C+
Chris Mann C+
Jermaine Paul: C-
Moses Stone: D

What did you think of the first week of Voice live rounds? Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality TV news, interviews, and 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!

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133 Comments
  1. Amanda says:

    That was a difficult night to set through, there were some bad song choices and a great deal of just bad singing. I admit there were a few gems but it seemed to go on forever before we heard them.

  2. Was not a big fan of Lindsey’s performance or voice for that matter, I think Christina is bigging her up way beyond her worth. Loved Jesse, Chris and Erin, was actually charmed by Raelynne and Ashley who I thought were defo going to be the weakest! For me I thought the weakest were Lindsey and Moses!

  3. SRC21 says:

    glad to see someone else didnt like Jermaine Paul and Jesse Campbell’s performances. Living on a Prayer was a horrible song choice and Jesse reminds me of Javier Colon – all runs and tricks but no substance.

    Lindsey Pavao was the best last night with creativity and modernness. I completely forgot who Ashley was coming into tonight but man she really worked it.

    If iTunes has anything to say, Lindsey is killing it – she’s at #26 and the next closest is RaeLynn at like 70.

  4. Bee says:

    Why was Lindsey Paveo NOT looking at Adam when he was critiquing her??? Her downward eyes and weirdness while he spoke to her were so disrespectful and annoying. I was going to vote for her after her performance, but her behavior during his comments changed my mind. Very strange and bratty.

    • Sarah P says:

      I thought that was really weird too. She did such a good job with her performance, but that was just bizarre.

    • crystal says:

      I so saw what u meant it ! she was horrible

    • Abby says:

      I completely agree! I really liked Lindsey until it was so clear she does not take critism very well. It made me decide she’s probably pretty rude in person. I don’t really like her as much now. What a shame.

      • Amie says:

        Follow her on twitter, she’s not rude, she’s shy and she’s already apologized to Adam for looking that way and thanked him for the critique.

      • Craig says:

        Come one now, in my opinion Lindsey was awesome! The only performances I liked all night were Raelynn, charlotte and of course L Pavao. Give the girl a break. She is an introverted musician/artist who is great performing and not so great at the interview/feedback/standing next to Carson Daly portion of the show. I was afraid people were going to let her post-performance uncomfortableness change their opinion of her. What did she do wrong exactly? She was already looking down before Adam even started to crtique her. She’s shy but damnnit the girls got what it takesto be a huge star. Judge the performance not the personality.

    • 30CamdenSquare says:

      Why does looking down during part of Adam’s comments translate into Lindsey’s a brat? Maybe she was just disappointed in herself because she didn’t perform as well as she had hoped or something. People that make disparaging remarks about contestants based on something as insignificant as a mannerism or facial expression is what I find annoying.

    • bjp says:

      Yeah, it was very noticeable and quite strange, but I felt there was something else going on… like Lindsey was about to break into tears or wasn’t well. In fact, Carson kept on asking her if she was okay. Whatever it was, it’s sad people are so quick to pass judgment on others (“disrespectful” “annoying” bla bla) after seeing a 10 second out of context clip of someone on TV. Without knowing them, or their perspective. This world needs more compassion and introspection.

    • Sherry says:

      So true – I don’t think you are out of line calling her behavior bratty. We all know that you look at the person who is talking to you. I think its especially important when that person is a mentor (she may not be on Adam’s team but that doesn’t mean she can’t learn from him). Also, if you are a singer on a reality show competition you should, at the very least, know how you are expected to act when you are going to be judged by the public.

      • 30CamdenSquare says:

        The are a lot of reasons she could’ve had for looking down. Maybe she was disappointed in herself, maybe she was about to cry, maybe she was really nervous & her mouth was really dry & she had a glob of snot stuck in the back of her throat she was about to gag on. The truth is you guys don’t have the slightest clue why she looked down. You just see something that’s a little out of the ordinary and use it as an excuse to talk sh*t about someone.

        • Sherry says:

          If any of those reasons were true, why was she able to look up at Christina? I think you are looking for reasons to excuse bad behavior.

          • 30CamdenSquare says:

            I don’t know maybe was able to swallow the glob of snot. I mean, like bjp mentioned, Carson asked if she was OK a couple of times.

            Anyway, even if Lindsey did take Adam’s critique too personally and it showed in her face, How does that make her a bad person? To me it just shows that she really cares about what she’s doing. The same applies to Elise when she got upset about the negative comments on Donna Summer night & Haley when she defended herself against Randy when he was laying into her last year.

            A lot of the time, the best songwriters aren’t “smile & be quiet” type of people. In fact great popular music is the exact opposite. It’s the expression all types of emotions. Maybe part of the reason so few Idol finalists have become tremendously successful after the show ends is that letting your emotions show is frowned upon by many viewers, and as a result most Idol alumni, don’t have what it takes to write songs that really connect w/ audiences beyond their on show fanbases.

          • 30CamdenSquare says:

            I want to expand upon one point in my previous post. I said that great popular was the expression of all types of emotion. While that’s true the emotions expressed in the majority of great pop music is heartbreak, loss, & anger that results from getting dumped, cheated on or rejected by the person you love. That’s what they’ve always been about & that’s what they will always be about. So again I don’t see how the ability to “smile & be quiet” translates into the person who’s going to be the next great pop star.

  5. I actually laughed until I cried at your description of Jermaine’s performance. And while I’d enjoy a recap of what it’s like to eat Xtina’s bedazzled vegetable steamer, I’d much rather never be subjected to Jermaine on the live shows again. I initially like him in the blind auditions but it’s been progressively downhill since. I agree with your top 3 performances, and I think I’ll be rooting for Lindsey this season.

  6. darcy's evil twin says:

    I agree the program was dreadful, and at times, downright creepy. CeeLo looked like a contestant that couldn’t decide if they wanted to be on Rue Paul’s Drag Race or What Not to Wear. There were moments when I wondered how Blake was tolerating this holy mess. But…gonna say it – I LOVED RaeLynn’s “Wakeup Call”. It wasn’t perfect, but good for her for what she did.

  7. Danielle says:

    Wow! C+ for Chris Mann? I thought he was amazing last night. But, then again, I’m a big fan of Josh Groban. My favs were Chris, Erin, and Jesse. I actually voted for them (which is kind of a big deal since I never vote for these types of things).

    • dan says:

      I didn’t like Chris much at first, and I didn’t think he should win the battle round, but his performance last night was great. I turned it off about a fourth of the way in, none of the other singers were grabbing me, but I’ll watch more of it tonight.

    • Jaxguy says:

      I’m a little sad about this commentary. I usually agree with most of what MIchael says, but Michael I think your having an off week. Chris’ take on BOTW was stunning. He and Erin were my favorites.

  8. Chris says:

    Oh my God! Chris Mann is the best VOICE and isn’t that the show?! You’re probably one of those enthralled by whiners like Dia Frampton and Erin Martin. Chris will have a loooooong career after they’ve gone back to singing on street corners.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      While I agree with your Chris Mann sentiments, I would not put Dia and Erin in the same sentence. Dia is quite good vocally and can re-arrange a song and write well.. Her old band was great! Erin sounds like a cat being strangled.

      • TheBeach says:

        Exactly. While one might not care for Dia’s emo type of singing, at least she can sing. Erin Martin is just terrible and annoying.

    • Larry McD says:

      He does have a pretty good voice, but he’s got all the character of a slice of Wonderbread with the crust cut off. I’ve heard high school kids sing that song with more soul and sincerity.

      • Kiki says:

        Exactly. Technically, he’s very proficient. But he’s so emotionally disconnected from the lyrics and his audience (other than his mother).

      • TheBeach says:

        So right. His voice sounds over-trained for this type of show. If he were singing opera or even Andrea Bocelli-type opera he would be much more believable. Maybe he should sing “Nessun Dorma”. If not, he needs to put some feeling into his songs and also “sexify” himself with some better outfits.

  9. Meg says:

    Was not impressed at all last night. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one disappointed. I hated RaeLynn’s cover but I also just don’t like her so maybe that’s it. Can’t wait for Team Adam next week!

    • Snsetblaze says:

      Listening to Rae-Lynn, I missed Gwen from Blake’s team. And I’m not a big country fan. I will say, it was better than she was in the battle rounds but that’s not saying much. If she had been against Gwen, we would not have been subjected to that at all.

      • TheBeach says:

        I did too, I think Gwen is much more talented and way more versatile than Rae-lynn. I think Blake made a wrong choice there.

    • Larry McD says:

      Amen!

  10. Edwin says:

    Go to the iTunes store and the opinions of true, record-BUYING music fans are right there for all to witness. Here’s how they stack up, from best selling to worst:

    Lindsey Pavao
    RaeLynn
    Charlotte Sometimes
    Chris Mann
    Jesse Campbell
    Naia Kete
    Jordis Unga
    Jermaine Paul
    Erin Willett
    Ashley De La Rosa
    Moses Stone
    Sera Hill

  11. Sarah P says:

    I feel like a nitpicky old lady for saying this, but it is driving me crazy how poorly so many of these singers are enunciating this season. Particulary Charlotte, Chris, and RaeLynn tonight. I can hardly understand a word they are saying! I keep waiting for someone to point it out, but no one does. It’s so distracting.

    I thought Erin killed it tonight. She was my favorite, by far.

    • Tovah says:

      I agree with that assessment. Many of them have peculiarities in their annunciation. RaeLynn’s issue is twang, which is nbd for country. Chris doesn’t really have any annunciation problems, I don’t know what you were hearing there? I think by far the worst one is Mathai who will perform next week. She and RaeLynn kill my ears with their singing accents.

  12. marie says:

    Well, whaddaya know? I actually enjoyed the last Idol performance show (admittedly an uncommonly terrific one) more than last night’s Voice! How strange is THAT? I thoroughly enjoyed Erin and Lindsey; was disappointed after high hopes for Sera; and thought Chris Mann one of the most absurd singers I’ve heard in a long time: opera singer? Heaven forbid. I grew up on opera (as well as a lot of other genres), still love it, and if I found myself in a theater where he was in the case, I’d walk out and demand a refund. The guy should absolutely NOT sing popular material – he’s really awful at it, and I’d hate to hear him attempt opera either.
    Go Erin and Lindsey (but neither of them, so far, engages me as much as Elise Testone has…)

    • Jaxguy says:

      you need to run straight to the doctor and have your hearing evaluated. Your comments are absurd. You don’t have to like him but you didn’t hear the same singer many of the rest of us did. That was stunning.

      • marie says:

        No, I did not hear the same thing some others heard. No one can control what they like and dislike, what they find pleasing or unpleasant – it just happens and it’s just human nature. I’m sure there are singers I like that you would find awful.

  13. marie says:

    Oh, and thanks for the Sondheim nod in the article title, Slezak!

  14. marie says:

    Hey, sometimes it DOESN’T go so well when the contestants are allowed to choose whatever they want after all, I guess!

  15. TF says:

    I found Rae-Lyn’s performance very poor and easily my least favourite of the night. My #1 choice to be kicked out.

    • Poppy says:

      I hated Rae-Lyn’s performance. I think my ears were bleeding after her singing. Next to Moses, she was the worst of the night for me.

    • gazebo says:

      I completely agree – Rae-Lyn’s song was a hot mess and I thought inappropriate for a girl her age. I’m an old fogey, I know. I am so disappointed by the song choices also – just repitious and not melodic enough for a singing competition. And I think Cee-Lo was obviously drunk and Christina hinted.

  16. If we go by iTunes sales, Lindsey is far and away the winner of the night, followed (more distantly) by Raelynn and Charlotte. Makes sense to me, as they were the only ones who were both a) current and b) interesting to watch and/or listen to. I don’t care about perceived “attitudes” on these shows. We have so little context for these performers’ emotions and reactions. I care about whether or not I want someone’s music on my iPod. So, for me for you (tm Randy Jackson), the best of the bunch was Lindsey.

  17. sam says:

    Idol’s top 8 beats anyone on this show.

  18. Juan says:

    Thank you so much for saying that about Jesse, I’ve been saying that since the battle rounds where apparently throwing in a few shouts of “baby” means you’re awesome. (I hope the kids took notes)

    Jordis definitely missed a lot of lyrics and her power notes were whimpers. If she is still standing, I’d be both shocked and terribly disappointed.

    Lindsay, I thought, was pretty awful. For the love of god, she couldn’t even out-sing a pair of indie singers that will surely be forgotten in a few months. A classmate of mine out-sang them every day last semester.

    Chris Mann, there is no market for a wannabe Groban with no personality and an ego.

    • dan says:

      I agree completely with Juan. I don’t get all the “you’re the one to beat” love for Jesse. I thought I was watching a Las Vegas lounge act with a guy who uses weird facial expressions to convey feeling. Didn’t like him in the battle round, didn’t like him last night. Way too affected! Also agree that Lindsey did nothing for me. She is weird, the clown masks were strange, and the song wasn’t great (guess everybody on itunes disagrees with me). As far as I’m concerned, just about all of them could be eliminated and I’d be fine. Erin can stay for Team Blake, but I’m not sure if any of them from Team Xtina need to hang around (seriously, Sera, you needed like eight or 10 shirtless guys to make your song even remotely interesting…and what was with the stomping around the stage that Xtina praised as “good stage presence”?? just horrible). Looks like the winner will be coming from either Team CeeLo or Team Adam (who seems to have the strongest team).

  19. Chris says:

    You said that right, “Had the Voice house band not been cranked up to 11″ and all the stage antics. Too much too soon… whew! That’s all I have to say about that.

    Team Blake:
    RaeLynn: She was my favorite. I like her tenacity, cutey coyness / part cute kitten – part lassoing that microphone cord around. I would have liked for Carson to have given her a tissue to wipe the lipstick off her chin. I can see why “Nashville” likes this little one. She needs some more coaching on voice and breath control, but I think this one is going to do well. (Secretly I’d like to see her and Skylar from AI have a battle round…shhhh).

    Charlotte Sometimes: I really enjoyed her performance. The most impressive thing to me is the way she does use her voice a vehicle. I won’t mind seeing/hearing her for some weeks to come.

    Erin Willett: I agree with what CeeLo said. She has a great voice to boot…. I’ll get bored with her though…

    Jermaine Paul, Naia Kete and Jordis Unga: I didn’t care for any of these performances. In fact at one point i was asking myself why Naia Kete was even on the stage (terrible of me I know). If I had to pick one out of the three I’d give Jermaine another shot because that song was NOT right for him. Shame on you Blake….

    Team Xtina
    Lindsey Pavao: Hands down my favorite performance of the night. I don’t know if I appreciated her demeanor during her ‘constructive criticism’, but there is a real artist in this chic (and some darkness too). If she can keep that kind of offering up I’d like to see her go to the finale.

    Jesse Campbell can sing pretty but he does nothing for me. I liked the preacher kid he won over in the battle rounds. Am I bitter…? Nah.

    Moses Stone willing to give this kid another shot just because I like that The Voice is letting this kind of ‘artist’ into the mix.

    Sera Hill: I want her to stay in this competition because I really think she could become a front runner. I wasn’t enamored with her performance but I see Mary J in this girl … let her out!

    Chris “Pale Ben Stiller” Mann: Unquestionably a well trained singer… I don’t really know what to say about this guy. He doesn’t want to hold back on his vocal abilities and we knew that going in… Maybe he does need to just work on connection through song to audience from audience back into the song. I dunno….

    Ashley de la Rosa: least favorite of the team. I agree the house band was too loud but I didn’t like her to begin with. I just don’t believe her is all. Maybe I’ll warm up to her. I dunno Alanis is Alanis and it’s weird for anyone to cover her songs.

  20. allie08 says:

    Jordis is a big disappointment. I loved her on Rockstar but she has gotten rid of everything that made her unique and interesting. “Alone”? Bleh. She sounded flat & I didn’t even look up from doing the dishes. Totally agree with your take on Jermaine and he was another one that I had high hopes for yet is falling flat. I almost hit the mute button. My favs of the night were Lyndsey, Jesse, & Erin. I’d like to see Chris, Charlotte, Naia and Jordis again. The rest I could care less about. Stilll… this show is better on it’s worst night than Idol is on it’s best in terms of the judging. Christina looked amazing! And I really prefer the honest criticism to “you sounded beautiful”.

  21. TiaGata says:

    That was PAINFUL for me. I got to watch up through Jordis, and it was awful, Jordis was screaming and off key and they said she was superb, I guess my TV sound was lying to me. For the length of time I watched Naia was the most impressive for me.

    I DIDN’T KNOW any of the song choices – that was an issue for me too.

    I also didn’t like the judges (Christina and Adam mainly) saying “I’m here to be honest,” before giving their critiques.

    This show is far worse than AI – and AI is really bad.

    • dan says:

      Xtina was so obvious is her disdain for Blake’s team even though Blake was being far too complimentary to Xtina’s mediocre team. And I’m tired of the “sexual tension” banter between Xtina and Adam. Will say, however, that Xtina looked much better last night.

  22. Marianne says:

    I think it’s funny someone commented on poor enunciation, when the point I wanted to make is that I DISLIKED how well-enunciated Jesse Campbell sang “Wonderful..”. Nobody. . . NOBODY really says “A” in song or everyday speech as “Ayyy”. It was affected and not natural sounding. I do enjoy his tone, but think he’s just Javier2-the-older-version. Yawn.

  23. Larali says:

    Ups… i might be alone on this one but i didn’t like Lindsey’s performance… i am not saying it was bad but i agree with Adam, it didn’t grew, the song just stayed in one-mood the whole time and it didn’t gain power… maybe is a matter of taste but whisper singing is a nice touch but when the whole song is whispered i feel it is fake: makes me wonder if she really has a voice, that she stays low so the voice wont break. Maybe she has a great voice but i didnt hear that it was being put to the test. I looooved Erin… by far the best singing performance of the night (i am concerned over her numbers in itunes… hope people supports her!!). Oh, and i didn’t hate Chris performance either, i actually felt his emotions in the song!! i was moved… i guess this episode really segmented everyones opinions :)

    • dan says:

      Didn’t like Lindsey either. Loved Erin and thought Chris was ok (although compared to the rest of Xtina’s team, he may have been the standout…not a fan of opera but the guy can sing).

  24. Jewels83 says:

    I agree with the majority here. You can’t help but compare this to AI and AI>The Voice by a long shot because of last night.
    First off, what’s with the over the top stage production and choreography? DISTRACTING!
    to say the least. Even more distracting that Christina’s wardrobe, which was surprisingly better tonight.

    I do have to say the song choices were pretty great tonight. From Goyte to one of my favorite songs from Alanis. I always dreamed of singing Right Through You (not Right Through it, Carson) full out rocker style.

    C- overall

  25. David says:

    Best of the night for me was Jesse and Erin. Pleasant surprises for me were Lindsey and Charlotte. Finally, I would give Chris and Jermaine one more shot. Jermaine had a bad song choice and Chris has actually improved on his quest to become more mainstream. (Note: I think some people have a built in aversion to Jesse. Not sure why.)

    • Snsetblaze says:

      Age is one reason. (Not me but others would not vote on that basis).

      Attitude/ego is another.

      The fact that he’s just ok is a third.

  26. David says:

    BTW, I think the reason that Lindsey was acting that way during the comments from Adam was because she was feeling sick. I’ve seen that look before.

    • Chris says:

      At first I just wasn’t sure about her demeanor and I’m still not. But when she exited the stage I was thinking that too because I noticed Carson asking her again if she was okay. Perhaps her nerves got the best of her and she felt nauseous.

    • MJ says:

      My friend works on the show and he said that she was acting strange after he performance and not in a sick way. Also, they all adore Jermaine and say he’s one of the most genuine and sweetest contestants on the show. I’m sad he got screwed over with that song choice. I’m excited for next week to see if the the other team members improve over this weeks.

  27. Larali says:

    I am a huge fan of your recaps Michael but i sense you are a bit biased against TheVoice maybe? due to your huge love for AI? I just mean the things i’ve been enjoying the most of thevoice are the ones you usually critique about AI (i tend to agree with you on those)… so i kind of expected to be in tune with you once more on the things i appreciate of Thevoice… i mean, coaches are slightly more critical than AI judges will ever be… at least they are not saying nonsensical remarks as ‘emotionally perfect’ and sometimes they do state that it was not remarkable or it was lacking something. I don’t see any fake coreographed standing O and praising awful performances or attacking those contestants that are killing it… overall i am much more pleased with the voice production than uncle nigel’s style which is really pushing me away further and further each week. I can’t no longer watch an entire episode of AI (i record it and press forward everytime nonsense appears). Thevoice is not perfect either but is it as awful as you depict it in your recaps? not for me at least.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      I have to agree with your comments.

      Despite some bad sound mixing last night and uneven performance, the difference between the Voice and Idol for me? Watching Idol sometimes is like a chore. I leave the Voice with a smile on my face (partially because of the judges’s antics though they were better behaved during auditions).

      • Larali says:

        Exactly Snsetblaze, by no means i am saying TheVoice is perfect… there are lots of things to improve… i’d just love to get a thorough and savvy review from the Voice and AI… cause i think i could enjoy both recaps equally and now i am feeling that the good aspects of the Voice are not being highlighted…For one, i LOVE that TheVoice has much more female contestants than Idol… because thevoice doesn’t makes it a subject (AI makes it a subject by selecting 6 and 6) here only matters the voice… and by the look of the itunes and youtube charts, the most popular contestants are females!!! So that’s a huge bonus for the voice. I still can watch a whole episode of it and have fun with it… eventhough yeah… some performances were not good… but we have 24 contestants… is like 12 guys 12 girls performing on idol… at that stage a lot of bagagge is still around… Heejun made it to the top 9!!!! i mean… we can have fun comparing goods and bads of both shows… at least i am having fun doing just that!!

    • NedPepper says:

      Slezak….burying the Voice because you make your bread and butter off of Idol? Very Nigel-ly. Not cool, man. I expect more from you.

  28. Anna says:

    My personal favorites of the night were Naia, Erin and Ashley. I think that staging and volume from the band was an issue but I think for the first live show of the season it was really good. I also think pairing up Blake and Xtina’s teams was smart since both teams are very diverse. Next week is gonna be a bore because I know even if they have a bad day team Adam will blow Cee Lo out of the water. He didn’t choose the right artists to win the battles and if anyone remembers from last season (and this season so far) he does NOT pick good songs for his artists. Anyone remember Vicki Martinez singing “The Dog Days Are Over” with the drums? At any rate I’m interested to see who moves on from team Blake and Xtina.

    • TheBeach says:

      I hate to admit that I agree with Xtina but I also think Naia would have been more memorable by singing “Turning Tables” with a reggae groove. By singing it “a la Adele”, she is forcing an unfair comparison.

  29. RD says:

    Yes,Jesse Campbell can definitely sing but that performance destroyed all of the beautiful melody in the song.While he was singing I actually thought he got lost-it was so convoluted,dated and sucked all the life out of it.I actually thought ‘living on a prayer’ was better.All in all though,it seemed very subpar.Idol last week was streets ahead.

  30. Mac says:

    I have to be honest after watching AI for 11 seasons, The Voice has soooo many “just average to bad singers ” it doesn’t really make for good TV. I spend most of the night listening to a few lines of each and then having to FWD. For Lindsey, I was stuck to the TV and like Adam said it was good and was kind of waiting for her to go a little bigger. A lot of better singers on this show were left out in the battle rounds and thats a shame, there were no votes from the public to have them as wild cards.

  31. Jamey says:

    Way way WAY over the top last night. So overproduced and was sickening to watch. Some of the singers you could barely hear. Thought Xtina was a bit b*tchy… “am I the only sober one”?… where did that come from and so not needed (but looked pretty last night). I have loved the format of the show and the personalities of the judges but last night seemed off to me….instead of auto tuned we have auto produced.

  32. Deena says:

    First time on the voice that I didn’t like one performance. Wrong songs, mostly butchered, music too loud, distracting dancers and lights. It was all too much. Judging on this night only I wouldn’t let anyone live another week. :/

  33. tomitweets says:

    The staging garbage with the miscellaneous unnecessary bodies flinging around the stage. A complete, over the top UGH for me. Tells me that the singers can’t sing when the audience needs to be distracted with dancers and masked clowns. Singers worthy of their salt should be able to command the stage with their presence and voice alone. If they insist on adding the crap later, they need to prove themselves first. TOTAL TURNOFF for me last night.

  34. gracelessk says:

    Can someone clarify how many from each team will be eliminated next week? Is it 2?!

  35. Stacey says:

    Wow, I came here excited to read the recap only to find it’s the complete opposite of almost everything I thought of last night!

    First I have to say I wish they had 3 singers from each team and that the top 8 total went through, regardless of which team they were on. I’m tired of people I dislike staying just to keep things even.

    On to the actual show last night, my top and bottom 3
    Team Blake:
    Stay
    1. Jermaine Paul – being from NJ makes it hard for me to enjoy anyone covering Bonjovi, however I found this enjoyable enough and I’ve loved Jermaine’s past performances. He’s my favorite singer and I gave him all my votes.
    2. Charlotte – Didn’t like her in the begining, but I enjoyed the performance last night. I don’t think she should go far, but out of the six from Team B last night she was in my top 3.
    3. Jordis – Wasn’t thrilled last night, but I don’t particularly love that song. I’m giving her a pass since I loved her on Rockstar.

    Go
    1. Naia – I’m tired of people trying to be Adele. Might have actually liked it if she kept with her actual style of singing
    2. Erin – I’ve liked her in the past but really didn’t connect with that performance at all. Maybe I’m just not a fan of the song, I don’t know. But if I have to choose a bottom 3 sadly I have to put her in it
    3. Raelynn – Really wish I had something to remove that horror show of a performance from my memory. That is one of my favorite Maroon 5 songs and what Raelynn did to it was just horrible. I hate the over the top twang, I know the song and couldn’t understand what she was “singing”. And I’m sorry, but if she’s what current country is all about then I’m apparently no longer a country fan.

    Team Christina:
    Stay – this is hard because honestly I’d get rid of all but Jesse and use the extra 2 spots for Naia and Erin from Blake’s team
    1. Jesse – While this wasn’t my favorite of his performances, I really love his voice. Def. a cd I’d like in my collection.
    2. Lindsey – hated her in the beginning but last night wasn’t too bad. If I have to listen to someone on Team Christina again I’ll tolerate her.
    3. Moses – I enjoy hip hop and while I don’t think Moses is great, I found his performance last night fun to watch.

    Go
    1. Ashley – was mad she was picked over her battle partner last week and now I’m even angrier because that was just horrible. Really want her gone.
    2. Sera – I don’t like Mary J. Blige, and I really don’t like this wannabe Mary J!
    3. Chris Mann – I think he’s very attractive but I’m not an opera fan so I’m not a fan of his. I think he’s technically good at what he does but I have no interest in hearing it again.

    Overall I’m just so disappointed this season. Last year there were so many great singers to enjoy, this year they got rid of most of them during the try outs!

    • Jaxguy says:

      That’s a very poor reason to boot Chris. I’m not a big hip hop or country fan but if the performer does well I can accept it.

      • Stacey says:

        Jaxguy, just because you love Chris doesn’t mean you have to comment to everyone on here saying how wrong we are for not loving him. Not wanting to listen to him again seems to be a perfectly acceptable reason to want him off the show if you ask me. Just because a singer is good technically doesn’t mean that they are a good performer. I don’t like listening to him and I find him boring to watch. From reading the boards it seems he has many fans so my opinion shouldn’t matter to you.

        • marie says:

          Evidently Chris Mann is one of those polarizing contestants. Personally, I’d rather be stuck on a transatlantic flight with a crying infant than have to listen to his singing. But after all, different tastes and preferences are what make these reality competitions so popular.

  36. Snsetblaze says:

    Overall, there were some good performances and some bad ones. I will say the song choice has been way more interesting than on Idol except they really do have to stay away from Adele as well. Thank God though for no Whitney or Celine yet. I found the dancers really distracting and annoying. I don’t know about anyone else, but there were a lot of performances where the band overwhelmed the singer and that was a problem that the sound engineers should have been able to deal with for us television viewers. In fact, I think only (through my TV) only Chris and Jesse came through clearly without band interference at all. All the females were overpowered at some point by the band, some more than others – even powerhouse Erin.

    Despite the technical problems, overall I liked Charlotte Sometimes, Chris Mann and Linsay Paveo the best. I voted for them but have not bought the Itunes releases yet (I’m lazy).

    Jermaine really sounded like he was straining his voice. Rae-Lin was really unpleasant to listen to. From what I could hear from Ashley (she had the worst of the band overpowering her), I liked her. I like the fact that she’s more of a rock/pop singer than R&B. I liked Erin as well but agreed with Christina re Naia (who was one of my favs). Blake should have left the reggea in to distinguish her.

    Did anyone notice how the camera was not following Erin so much but doing a lot of long shots of the full stage and dancers – and not Erin. It seemed like she was the only one treated that way. Yes, she’s a large girl (and that will hurt her despite the show being about the Voice) but that was ridiculous.

  37. Rick says:

    Charlotte Sometimes and Sera Hill won the night for me, by a long shot. And I didn’t even particularly like either of them so much in the first place. Lindsay Pavao is a lock for sure, thanks to all the pre-show hype from her preview audition and her creativity. Jesse Campbell sure can sing, but he doesn’t scream “relevant” to me. And it isn’t because he’s older… Javier was in his mid-30’s and was completely relevant.

  38. Tarc says:

    Eh, Jesse did’t do it for me, but Chris Mann did much better than the reviewer suggests. Sera, Moses, and the (worst by a mile) Jermaine are dead in the water, and Naia is joining them. Ashley, Erin, and Charlotte were true standouts.

  39. MK says:

    I haven’t watched the whole show yet…will do it today…but I was a bit disappointed in Jordiss. I loved her on Rockstar but I think she’s trying too hard. I know at the beginning she said that at her age if this doesn’t work it’s over. This is quite sad because she’s so talented, but I do think that her desperation is making her sing over the top.

    I do hope she stays and Blake can help her relax.

    I think many of them showed their desperation and over did it. That country singer at 17 has too big an ego for my liking and Blake’s admission that Nashville was already talking to her is going to go further to her head. And while I’m not a country fan or a big fan of Scotty McCreery, I can’t help but compare egos vs. humility. Scotty is humble…this gal…not so much. JMO.

  40. PiperPaul says:

    Charlotte Sometimes – Forgettable for me, I can’t remember what she sang the next day.
    Erin Willett – Did a wonderful Broadway performance and I can see her doing Broadway, she is entertaining.
    Jermaine Paul – He is Living on a Prayer after doing this song, not nearly as good as the original.
    RaeLynn – This is what is happening in Country music today so I think she makes it through. Very sexy performer and vocally did better than I imagines she would.
    Naia Kete – Did decent enough that she may make it through, although the song itself was not a very tough song to sing.
    Jordis Unga – Jordis did way too much on this song and was off-key in the middle of it for a moment. At her experience level that shouldn’t happen.
    Lindsey Pavao – Very creepy good performance, I imagine she killed off the guy she sang about, lol.
    Jesse Campbell – Jesse Laid a big egg on this song, not coming close to how magical this song could be like the original. Even RaeLynn could have done better.
    Moses Stone – He is a lock to leave this week, total rapping with little strength.
    Sera Hill – She did great like Erin Willett as a very good Broadway performer and could be a professional singer I wouldn’t mind seeing.
    Chris Mann – He did like Jesse did, taking an amazing song and dumbing it down to where you wonder what just happened. Either he didn’t listen to what makes the original great or didn’t care, adding huge loooong notes when they weren’t needed. He also emphasized the early part of the words vocally which kills a song.
    Ashley de la Rosa – While I also can’t remember what she sang, she did come off more as a solo artist. For her age she was great, and should advance.

    • Jaxguy says:

      If Chris had sang that like Art Garfunkel, everyone would have trashed him even more. In my opinion BOTW is all one big note.

  41. Nora says:

    I’m not going to lie, I still kinda like RaeLynn, but did anyone else just get an image of a 6 year old trouncing around the stage on a home video during her performance? I think between her tutu-like dress, the fact that she spent half the song literally stomping around, and the fact that she half yelled/half sang much of the song, she just came off as very kid-like

    • Tim says:

      RaeLynn is a horrible singer, and I don’t get the love for her at all. But maybe singing ability isn’t important in country music.

    • allie08 says:

      RaeLynn is simply awful. Terrible voice and her twang is over the top obnoxious.By far the worst singer in the competition. I’d never buy a CD of hers. Yet she is oddly compelling, lol! Yes, she did look like she was having a temper tantrum up there – more like a 3 year old than a 6 year old.

  42. I thought the mistakes that the coaches made in the battle rounds came back to bite them this round. I thought Raelynn sounded ridiculous and Moses was not good at all.

  43. Jaxguy says:

    I do think Jesse has a very good voice, but that take was awful. I mean completely awful. I hate it when judges crown a winner so soon because it so often sways the viewers. If Jesse continues in this vein I hope he gets booted and fast.

    • Jaxguy says:

      Before I get attacked for my opinion, let me make myself clear. I think Jessie has a very good voice. It was what he did with the song I didn’t like. He stripped it of all it’s soft beauty. His finish was particularly bad. His singing was ok, but his choice was brutal.

  44. Tim says:

    I think people are being too hard on Jordis, in particular her fans. It’s not easy to just go up there and create a “moment” like she did several times on RockStar. She’ll be fine, she just needs to settle into a groove again. I predict she’ll easily advance.

    • ATLgroove says:

      While I admit I’m a bit of a Jordis groupie, I can admit “Alone” wasn’t her best televised performance. I will agree with Tim that it should be enough to advance her to the next round. I just hope Blake and Jordis can agree on a song that captivated as much as “Man Who Sold the World” did for on RS:I

  45. TheDesigner says:

    Erin Willett: Gurl, can sing. Blake was spot on. One of the best of the night.
    Charlotte Sometimes: She redeemed herself to me. I thought she was a bit too cocky before. Well done.
    Lindesy Pavao: Eh. See ya. I found the sour face off-putting. Yes, act like this the opportunity of a lifetime. It is.
    Jesse Campbell: Totally underwhelming. Michael you were spot on. He totally missed the point of the song and I found his choices odd at best. He blew it – to me.
    Ashley de la Rosa: Fun. I agree: “At least she was interesting.”
    RaeLynn: Loved it. I did. She was as cute as bug stomping around that stage. And I do like her twang. It’s great.
    Jordis Unga: Blew it. I thought she would nail that song. She just sounded desperate – not passionate. There is a difference.
    Naia Kete: Ugh. Go away. Why sing Adele if you can’t blow? Blake was wrong. She should have done a reggae version. It’s the only version of that song that hasn’t been done to death or at all.
    Sera Hill: Disappointing. I wouldn’t mind seeing her go. Completely forgettable.
    Chris Mann: I loved it. Michael we disagree. I though he was totally on last night.
    Jermaine Paul: Ew. He blew it. He can sing – but blew it big time last night.
    Moses Stone: Why is he there? He was out of breath on a rap song and he’s a rapper. He is so out of his league with very limited talent – which I can’t see.

  46. kd says:

    RaeLynn looked utterly ridiculous stomping on the stage. It completely distracted me from her singing. I was waiting from her to fall right through the stage.

    Also Moses was just loud and confused.

  47. 30CamdenSquare says:

    After watching XFactor & The Voice, one thing that I appreciate about Idol is they don’t have friggin’ dancers. I tune in to watch the contestants, not a bunch of dancers swarming all over the place.

    Anyway, my favorite 2 of the night were Charlotte & Lindsey. I liked both of their song choices and the way they delivered them. I agree w/ Adam in that I wish Lindsey had really belted that first chorus a little more, also her first few lines seemed a little shaky, so it wasn’t nearly as strong a performance as her blind audition, but I still liked it alot.

    I liked Erin pretty well and she probably gave the all around best vocal of the night, but I wish she had picked a different song. I love a lot of the Motown & Stax records, but this one sounds kind like Motown meets Broadway to me.

    I also didn’t get that into a couple of performances from two of my (maybe 6) favorites from the blind auditions, Jordis (Maybe I’m Amazed), & Jesse (A song for you), partially because of song choice. If Jesse’s going to sing a 70 yr old song, he needs to create a new arrangements or to sing it in a way that sounds different than what we’ve heard before. Even if it sounded like a 60’s song, that’d be a different spin on this 30’s classic. Anyway he didn’t & It was pretty, but boring IMO. Jordis chose overly covered the 80’s Heart song “Alone” (to be fair, I know that they don’t always get to sing the songs they’d like, even if we’re led to believe they do). I love the way this lady sings, but she was all kinds of pitchy towards the end, which isn’t normal for her. So that was kind of a let down.

    • marie says:

      “After watching XFactor & The Voice, one thing that I appreciate about Idol is they don’t have friggin’ dancers. I tune in to watch the contestants, not a bunch of dancers swarming all over the place.”

      Amen to that!

  48. Karen says:

    Am I the only one who thought Xtina’s comments re Naia were pretty damn brutal? It wasn’t the best version of the song, but come on – those comments were so unkind.

  49. wordgirl says:

    These numbers are so over-produced that how are we ever supposed to hear the singing? Ugh. I was looking forward to last night but, for the most part, it was horrible. Last week’s idol was so much better!

  50. Justin says:

    This show was a HUGE disappointment. Just about every performance was underwhelming in the extreme. I thought – top to bottom – Erin Willett was the best of the bunch. Ashley was somewhat of a nice surprise as it was a nice and unexpected song choice. She’s very attractive and I like the fact she wants to lean more toward rock than maudlin ballads. I also see a lot of promise in Lindsay and enjoyed that performance (though it was far from vocally perfect). I wasn’t blown away by Charlotte but she did well enough to advance. Otherwise, yikes.

    Raelynn pranced around like an insufferable Toddlers & Tiaras contestant. Chris Mann and Jessie both destroyed beautiful songs through too much embellishment. The rearrangement of Jordis’ song was terrible and with no understanding of what makes the original work. Naia should have definitely done the reggae version because her straight Adele cover only showcased her limitations. Jermaine and Sera were flat out terrible. As far as Moses goes. I don’t hate him as much as some of you seem to but it was still on the lower end of the performances.

    Hopefully Cee-Lo and Adam’s teams can wipe my memory of this lousy night. If not, there’s always Elise Testone on Idol to look forward to.

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