The Voice Recap: A Song of Nice and Dire

ashley de la rosaWeek 1 of The Voice‘s Season 2 Quarterfinals closely paralleled a pivotal scene in Game of Thrones‘ inaugural season: What appeared to be a character central to the action had his head unceremoniously detached and placed on a spike as the crowd — or at least the three people in my living room — roared approval. The only thing missing was Christina Aguilera emerging naked from the funeral pyre of her Bionic album, its jewel case having hatched into a tiny, fire-breathing dragon.

Of course, there were a few moments where the episode began to resemble the kind of deranged hootenanny described during Saturday Night Live‘s “Stefon” segments: “New York’s hottest club is The Voice: The secret password is ‘rhayyy-LEEEEUHHHNNN!’ It’s got teenage Lolitas, Sears family portraits, washed-up R&B singers Christina Millian, a charity-minded Starbucks, Xtina’s anthropomorphic bosoms, flaming air, and human microphones!”

And while, from a musical perspective, the episode was an unmitigated disappointment, we still have to get on with the business of discussing the evening’s eight solo performances — from the four members of Team Xtina and four from Team Blake. (The less said about the caterwauling group performances the better, no?) Each coach ended the episode by instantly eliminating one singer: On Tuesday’s results show, America’s votes will save one member of each judge’s team, and then Blake and Xtina will respectively send a second contestant to safety, while sentencing the third to the guillotine.

Best Performance: Ashley de la Rosa (Team Xtina) | I’ll admit I disagreed with Xtina’s decision to save Ashley last week, but all I can say now is the “Beautiful” singer has a better ear than me. Ashley’s rock-inflected cover of Jewel’s “Foolish Games” was deeply moving and thrillingly original — veering from a gentle whisper on the verses to a gut-busting glory note that matched anything we’ve seen on The Voice this season. By the time Ashley played with the melody and went into the stratosphere on her final refrain of “you were always crazy like that,” I was firing up iTunes to purchase her rendition of the song.

Most Disappointing Vocal: Lindsey Pavao (Team Xtina) | In theory, I understand why Xtina wanted to push Lindsey to use her voice “in a bigger way,” but in practice, you can’t ask Joni Mitchell to be Celine Dion, or Beck to be Josh Grobin. In other words, maybe Lindsey giving us a stripped-down acoustic Rihanna medley might’ve been more pleasing to the ear than her straight-up-the-middle “Part of Me,” which spun out in the intersection of strained and pitchy every time she went for a big, belt-y note. (Why Adam had to couch his critique by stammering he was stupid for pointing out pitch problems makes me wonder if he should think about sitting quietly with his hands folded in his lap after performances.) Even worse, Lindsey seemed to lose any sense of originality this week: “Part of Me” felt like a WWKPD? (what would Katy Perry do?) cover, right down to the tight white pants, flared bedazzled jacket, futuristic braid, and “human microphone.” Where’s that chick who two weeks ago rocked Gotye better than Glee or Idol or even Gotye himself on SNL?

Biggest Emotional Disconnect: Jermaine Paul (Team Blake) | I cringed 1,000 times listening to Jermaine’s pre-performance interview about how Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” — a song about a desperate, empty man making one last futile plea for his lover to reconcile — reminded him of his journey to succeed in the music business and support his family. (Um, dude, you ever hear the adage about not judging a song’s meaning by its title?) Nevertheless, Jermaine’s performance was a huge improvement on last week’s catastrophic “Livin’ on a Prayer,” although I suspect if it had been worse, a gap would’ve busted open in the Earth’s crust and swallowed him whole. I dunno. I guess the guy can sing. He hits his notes, and there are moments where his tone is meaty and powerful. But looking back at my notes on Jermaine’s performance, there’s a phrase — “big, growl gobs” — that sums up why I don’t find him particularly enjoyable to listen to. It’s like every one of the guy’s notes has to be individually separated from the song and put through a process of melisma, ad-libbing, growl, and/or vibrato. He literally cannot leave well enough alone — and his coach doesn’t seem to have any interest in teaching him the finer points of restraint. Still, I think he did enough to win the public’s vote — and leave Blake to decide between Erin and RaeLynn.

Worst Song Choice: Erin Willett (Team Blake) | I could talk about the peculiar “tree silhouette at night” backdrop or Erin’s hideous dress (color: old book pages), but really, all I can do is shake my head at Erin and her mentor for thinking it was a wise idea to tackle a recent Adele hit, which in 99.999% of cases can only make one sound like a pale carbon copy by comparison. Plus, Adam was right: Erin’s phrasing somehow stripped the song of its drama, turning it into something that bordered on the pedestrian. It’ll take a miracle of 21-topping-the-charts proportions for Erin to outlast both Jermaine and RaeLynn this week, but a big part of me really really wants a redemptive encore in two weeks’ time. Anyone with me?

Most Entertaining in a Terrifying Way (embdeeded below, because you kinda have to see it): RaeLynn (Team Blake) | There was something deeply disconcerting about the sight of this teenage farm girl in a Toddlers & Tiaras tutu, seductively swiveling her hips during her cover of Jason Aldean’s “She’s Country.” RaeLynn may not have the best grasp of pitch, and she needs a lot of work when it comes to breath support (especially on a ditty with a quick cadence), but there’s something weirdly fascinating about the way she doesn’t quite sing, but rather devours a song — kind of like a hyena greedily tearing hunks of flesh off an half-conscious impala. It’s not pretty, but good luck taking your eyes off it. Blake called it the most proud moment he’s had all season. Yep, she’s cawwwwwwn-traaaayyyyuh!

“What the Hell?” Prize: Chris Mann | I wish I could just insert a photo collage of a washing machine, a giant floor fan, Chris Martin, and Ben Stiller in Zoolander to depict my feelings about Mr. Mann’s almost comical cover of “Viva la Vida.” Dude adds vibrato to his music the way Ina Garten adds butter to her recipes, and the layers and layers of vocal affectations overpower the meaning and the message of the music. I agreed with Adam’s not-quite-articulate critique — there was something simply odd about Chris’ performances — and I suspect that Xtina and her main man may be overestimating his chances to go all the way to the finale. Or Lord, I hope so anyway.

Most Underrated: Jordis Unga (Team Blake) | Blake said he had to revert back to America’s decision in the previous round — during which Jordis received fewer votes than RaeLynn, Jermaine, and Erin — since no one on his team faltered badly. To me, though, the decision felt like a bit of a cop out, given that Jordis hit a significantly higher percentage of notes this time around than RaeLynn or Erin, and showed a new and tender dimension on Sara Evans’ “A Little Bit Stronger,” a country ballad that on paper wasn’t really a great fit for the roaring rocker’s voice. (Speaking of a not-great fit: Girlfriend really should’ve juxtaposed her hard-edged look with the inspirational ballad, instead of committing to the baby pink pageant gown, no?) Whatever your take on her outfit, though, I think we can best sum things up by quoting Jordis’ blurted reaction to Blake delivering his verdict, “S***!” Indeed!

Most Overrated: Jesse Campbell (Team Xtina) | Cee Lo, Adam, and Blake heaped praise on Jesse’s performance — although Xtina slyly didn’t mention anything about the actual vocal — which made it a pleasant shock when his coach gave him the boot at episode’s end. Honestly, I’m not sure there was a single note in tune during the last two-thirds of Jesse’s cover of “Halo,” and to make matters worse, the dude’s attempts to make Beyoncé’s track his own steadily devolved into a bizarre stream of wild, screaming hysteria. By the time Jesse started hollering ad-libs like “People of the world! You’ve got a halo!” (no, sir, I do not) it all veered a little uncomfortably into “crazy guy shouting on the subway platform” territory. Yeah, two weeks ago Jesse was the guy touted by the coaches as having a huge shot at the Season 2 crown, but (bringing back our Game of Thrones comparison) Xtina made the right choice in sending this major character to the executioner.

What did you think of The Voice this week? Who was your favorite? Who do you think will survive on Tuesday? And what did you think of Blake and Xtina’s automatic ousters? Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality TV recaps and interviews, 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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  1. Sarah P says:

    I have to say that while Jesse was never my favorite, I can’t believe that Chris outlasted him. He’s obviously a very talented singer, but I just don’t think he’s done that well outside of his genre.
    Also, I’m starting to doubt that my ears work properly because I think Rae Lynn is one of the most infuriating vocalists I’ve ever had to listen to, and yet everyone heaps praise on her. I don’t get it! And I like country music too, so it’s not that I’m just ‘not country’ enough to get her. So it must just be my ears…

    • lady.lightning says:

      I think your ears probably work fine. RaeLynne is the worst. And I like country, too!

    • Ghost of Kelly Clarkson says:

      I was shocked when she cut Jesse, but when I think back to how gawdawful his performance was this week, it made more sense. Maybe it was my TV, but I think he was under the pitch for the most of the first 1/2 of the song. As for RaeLynn — gag. She really showed her limited range during the group number. Great country artists are great artists in other genres, too.

      • Joe says:

        I think Jesse acted like he was running his victory lap in his performances and Xtina wasn’t having none of that. He didn’t deserve to go home, but I bet he had a lot of opinions on how he should be portrayed and handled.
        I’m totally with you guys on RaeLynn. It’s like Blake has a special decoder ring or something to hear what we can’t. It’s tough to watch as an audience member being told someone is the next country superstar when you don’t see it. I saw it with Scotty last year on Idol and I definitely see it with Skylar. Raelynn comes off as a crazy chick who got to Hollywood week and hogged the camera and got sent packing before the shows started to count.
        I have a feeling they were setting up last night that Chris Mann is going to sing opera the rest of the way. Which he should. If he’s an opera singer, go out there and sing your stuff. I just wonder how much of that has to do with the fact that most opera music is in public domain and doesn’t have rights fees so it will save the production serious cash not having to spend anything on those songs.
        Lindsay, who was my favorite, bombed last night. For a moment I thought Xtina might boot her.
        Ashley was the best. Her past 2 performances have been 2 of the best of the season.
        And I really feel bad for Jordis. She’s a far better talent than Rae Lynn or Erin or Jermaine, but she’s not a far better reality show contestant and that’s what did her in. She was great on Rock Star, much better than she was on The Voice, but she’s had her exposure in the business and it’s time to make it or break it on her merits.

        • TheBeach says:

          Good post and I agree with everything you said. Lindsay is way better than she sang last night. She’s not a power diva like Xtina is trying to make her. Leave her alone and let her sing with her guitar. Jordis was the best and most interesting singer on Blake’s team. Chris Mann is NOT a rock singer and should stick to the Bocelli/Groban genre he does best. And what was with him dressing like he was going to a wedding for his “rock” solo? In the group number he had on a motorcycle jacket, jeans and a white t-shirt and looked really good.

      • KBC says:

        I totally agree with you! Also, I *flove* your username. :)

    • allie08 says:

      I like country too and I totally agree. I don’t even mind over the top accents – Sugarland is one of my favs and her accent is just nuts. But RaeLynn is soooo affected and she CANNOT sing. Her pitch is terrible anytime she gets out of her lower register and her breath control is non-existant. And what was up with Blake’s comment about not being able to stand country singers who aren’t “true” country? Does he have problems with Shania and Keith Urban?

    • Stacey says:

      Your ears are working just fine, she’s just terrible! And I’m a country fan as well, if that’s the future of country then heaven help us!

    • Ryan says:

      I agree! My picks to go based on tonight were Erin and Chris.

    • TheBeach says:

      I think most listeners are in agreement (Blake excluded), RaeLynn simply cannot sing. I also like country as well as many other genres but this girl is just a cartoon charicature, and a bad one, of what non-country listeners think a country singer sounds like. Her accent isn’t country, it’s just affected. Reba has one of the strongest accents of any country vocalist and she sounds like she’s from Manhattan when you hear RaeLynn. Just awful.

  2. RD says:

    Compared to this year’s Idol this is all so underwhelming and wrong-footed.

    • Caroline says:

      What RD said. Such an underwhelming season of The Voice. Juliet Simms and Jamar Rogers are the only legitimate contenders, even though only one can make it to the finale. Everyone on Blake’s team ranges from painfully awful to mediocre at best. Adam’s team is a joke. Christina’s team may have potential, unless of course the vibrato-crazed Chris Mann makes it through instead of Lindsey or Ashley. My conclusi

    • Caroline says:

      What RD said. Such an underwhelming season of The Voice. Juliet Simms and Jamar Rogers are the only legitimate contenders, even though only one can make it to the finale. Everyone on Blake’s team ranges from painfully awful to mediocre at best. Adam’s team is a joke. Christina’s team may have potential, but with Christina as the mentor, that potential will probably go to waste. Plus, the vibrato-obsessed Chris Mann will probably go through in place of Lindsey or Ashley. My conclusion: A) I want Dia Frampton back. B) American Idol is a much better way to waste my time.

      • TheBeach says:

        I agree with this also. Last season’s Final 4 (Dia, Javier, Beverly and Vicci) were so much stronger than what we have this year. My favorites are also Juliette and Jamar. It’s too bad they’re on the same team.

    • ET says:

      Agreed, RD. Sadly, this season of “The Voice” has none of the edginess and “hip” factor that so refreshingly characterized last season’s version. At this rate, the show is not gonna last much longer……

  3. Laura says:

    LOVED the Stefan remark!!! Well played. I could hear it entirely in his voice and it made me giggle. Thank you!!!

  4. SRC21 says:

    I cant believe Lindsey Pavao did Part of Me instead of a Rihanna mashup. Do you always have to connect with the lyrics to give an awesome performance? You can just have a good time on stage and come off as authentic.

    I’m also really glad that Jesse and Jordis were given the boot. Jesse comes off as arrogant and I can’t stand how American fawns over singers who just do misplaced run after misplaced run throughout a song. Jordis to me also just seemed so desperate to win, rather than to give a good performance. I dont think any of her performances have been particularly strong.

  5. Tiffany says:

    Thank you!!! I KNEW I couldn’t be the only one happy with Christina’s decision. I’ve disliked Jesse from the beginning. I just never understood what was supposed to be so amazing about him. Yeah, he was good most of the time, but I never got anything from him that felt special or unique.

    • Julie says:

      I’ve been annoyed since he won the battle round as I thought his opponent out performed him.

      • Tiffany says:

        He was up against Anthony Evans, right? Full disclosure, I already was a fan of Anthony before the show, but I agree. With very few exceptions, I can’t stand such cocky performers! Anthony was very humble despite his level of talent, and it made me love him whereas Jesse was always grating.

      • Amy says:

        Agreed! I had never heard of Anthony Evans before the battle round, but I thought his voice was much fuller and more powerful. His emotion felt genuine to me whereas Jesse’s felt calculated. I thought all along that Anthony should have won the battle round, or even better — he should have been chosen by Blake to be on his team originally and then he could take the place of Jermaine Paul.

        • wtfnyc says:

          I agree with every single word of this, Amy. It’s what I thought every time stupid Jesse came on the screen to stylize his way through each song. Anthony’s performance was about the song; Jesse’s was about Jesse. Good riddance.

    • Veevy says:

      Makes 3 of us, Jesse is something we’ve heard before and before that. He’s anote hitter but he’ll be another Javier Colon who by the way people have already forgotten. I’m not sorry he’s gone. Xtina was obviously thinking long term, people like Lindsey and Ashley are young, versetaile, marketable, you can experiment endlessly with them mucically and stretch them. There are people like Rihanna who obviously cnt really sing but as an artist she’s done so much, experimented with Pop, House, RnB, Reggae, soul etc. I think that’s what the Voice is looking for. So what if Jesse wins, we already have Usher, Ne-Yo, R-Kelly in that corner thank you.

  6. Julie says:

    I have been completely underwhelmed by about 75% of the performances this year. Saddest are the people that I know can sing (I’ve heard Tony Vincent live on Broadway) who were pitchy and awkward. Unlike the last season where people improved week to week, this group appears to be going in the opposite direction.

  7. CF says:

    I cringed at Blake’s yammering on about how genuinely country RaeLyn is. She may come from rural roots but when I watch her, it feels like a bad SNL skit skewering the Grand Ole Opry.

    • Tim says:

      Ha ha, that’s a good way to put it. But who knows what sells in country these days, I’m not sure their fans would know the difference if somebody was completely parodying the genre.

    • TheBeach says:

      I felt I was watching an episode of Hee Haw.

  8. L says:

    Can we vote against RaeLynn, PLEASE!?! I don’t get it. Last night was rather underwhelming. I actually really like Ashley de la Rosa and her song choices. I am a Jordis fan from Rockstar INXS, but feel as if she has just had one bad song choice after another – I believe that is Blake’s fault. Her best performance was Wild Horses, which she chose and, of course, you can’t buy it. I’m sorry to see her go, because she is very talented. Other than Ashley, I didn’t think anyone was particularly good. Jesse was off key, Lindsay is weird, Erin is kind of one-note in her singing – she can only be loud. Jermaine was decent although over the top, Chris is not my cup of tea. I look forward to next week. I like Matthai, Jamar and Tony Lucca.

  9. One should never sing Viva La Vida in the a live singing competition. Even Chris Martin could not sing that perfectly everytime.

  10. Kristen says:

    The concept of this show is stupid and last night’s “twist” (I heard about it, as I gave up watching this week…) The show started out with a great concept – contestants chosen by “their voices!” We saw all this drama leading up to who they were going to pick as a coach – which was all to naught. I say that because, starting with the battle rounds (which was a complete “Iron Chef” knock off and incredibly cheesy), the coaches started throwing their people under the bus. It quickly became less about “the voice” and more about the show. The “twist” last night played into this logically flawed concept just as much. Next year’s contestants need to be begging to get on the team with the worst singers….

  11. Kate says:

    I also don’t understand the RaeLynn lovers. She never hits the right notes, and I really hate the way she pronounces words and the faces she makes while singing. It’s like she’s trying to sound “southern” in her pronunciation and it drives me crazy. I even like country music, and I can’t stand her.

    I think that Jesse has a huge ego, and is unlikable, but he did have a really good voice, and I was surprised to see him go. From Christina’s speech I thought maybe she didn’t like him very much on a personal level.

    I also don’t quite get all the Lindsey love. She always sounds just okay to me, and last night I thought she sounded terrible.

    I think it’s becoming increasingly obvious that this year’s winner is going to come from Team Cee Lo. No one can touch Juliet and Jamar.

  12. Jodi says:

    I was surprised about both decisions. I was (and I think she was too) expecting Lindsay to go. The song was safe for her vocals, but her voice wasn’t strong enough to hit those strong notes and she was verry (sorry, Adam) pitchy.
    On Team Blake, as soon as Erin said she was doing Adele, I thought that was a no-brainer. You can’t sing Adele and expect to be here another week. I’m glad Blake saved her though. She was my favorite from her previous performance. But yes, her dress was awful.
    Am I the only one who liked Chris’s version?

  13. Juan says:

    I had to let out a squee of utter joy when Xtina surprisingly cut Jesse.
    Chris has to go home tonight, unless some gets Pipped.

    Blake, Jordis, yes, finally. A little too late for the people whose opportunities were robbed, but still.

    I actually was half expecting Blake to make a similar sacrifice as Xtina did on her team by chopping RaeLynn, because, let’s face it, no matter where she places, country will have a home for her, and we will see her make it big in the near future.

    • TheBeach says:

      Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t see RaeLynn making it big. I think Skylar has a much better chance of success. When you listen to RaeLynn versus truly talented female artists like Martina McBride, Jennifer Nettles, Reba, Dolly, Sara Evans, Carrie, etc she couldn’t clean the cow dung off their boots.

  14. Chris says:

    Team Blake:

    RaeLynn – I understand Blake’s conversation with and his conviction over RaeLynn as being ‘real country’. I also get the mass attraction to her. She’s an entertainer in a teenagers body, who’s just starting to bud. She knows exactly where to slip through and lasso to win. She’s wild and ripe for the picking. I hope he never puts her in a gown and forces her to do a county ballad. Her itunes version is great and if you are going along the lines of what “The Voice” stands for, she is unique and Blake new exactly what he was doing once he turned that chair around. All she needs is a coach! Smart one Blake! This little one has a very bright future and I like it! Folks are already talking about their love-hate feeling over her. Ding ding ding!

    Jermaine Paul – I liked this performance so much more than the Bon Jovi cover/spectacle. I do not like Phil Collins though… I am hoping he’ll get another chance to pick a better song because he has a beautiful and soulful tone that would keep me from changing the radio station. I believe in Jermaine and still think he could be a contender…

    Jordis Unga – I know Jordis has some hype from her past ‘accomplishments’ but I haven’t enjoyed any of her performances. Nothing’s keeping her from choosing the right song and if she doesn’t know how to do that by now and play the game… well I agree with Blake. It’s not a time to get emotional (Jimmy Iovine reference) its time to win the game.

    Erin Willett – I like Erin and I like her voice. I also agree that it was not the right song choice and horrible dress. I don’t understand why Blake wouldn’t strongly advise her to do a different song as CeeLo put it last week “Too soon – too fresh – you will be compared”. I don’t know what will happen Erin or Jermaine…. we’ll see. Someone please help her wardrobe though…

    Team Christina:

    Ashley Del La Rosa – I loved the arrangement of the song. Total kudo’s to whomever came up with the rockier vibe (ala Evanescence) for the song! Her vocals were a little weak to me and she could’ve pulled the performance off a little better (don’t get emotional folks – sing your asses off). I can definitely hear her talent and skill but I am not convinced she wants to be a rock singer. They sing with conviction and you have to so the band compliments not dominates you. She felt more like a kitten. I like her though, more than I did before. The itunes track is great little kitty.

    Lindsey Pavao – what happened to her? I did not like this performance at all. Bummed. I hope she does better next time.

    Jesse Campbell – Christina you have got to get past your ego. Good luck Jesse!

    Chris Mann – I can’t even put into words what I think of that performance. He could have gone in the direction Adam was desperately trying to get out. I am a huge Coldplay fan and I just sat there staring at the screen, blinking. staring, blinking….

  15. Go XTina says:

    God I love RaeLynn. She is so much fun to watch. XTina and Blake were spot on with their decisions. I was soooooooo happy when she got rid of Jesse. I have always thought he is a very talented – yet truly awful – singer. I will add Jermaine Paul to that category. I mean just because you can hit every note under the sun – doesn’t mean you should do them all AT THE SAME time. Thanks, XT.

  16. allie08 says:

    “Where’s that chick who two weeks ago rocked Gotye better than Glee or Idol or even Gotye himself on SNL”? WTH? Please go back and listen to that again. I liked it initially because I love the song but after the novelty wore off it became painful. Truly painful.

  17. MDEP says:

    I, too, just do not get the RaeLynn praise, especially after hearing her in the group number. But I also think every single person last night sounded terrible. Even after listening to them on iTunes, I was not impressed. The only one I enjoyed got booted by Blake. And what is it that I am not getting about singers like Lindsey Pavao (and Dia last season)? I find their pronunciations to just be weird. Why do they sing like that? Is is a style that I am not aware of? I did listen to Lindsey’s Gotye cover on iTunes, and it was kinda awesome, but I am obsessed with that song, as are many people, so that may be why I liked it and why she is the best seller for this season.

  18. allie08 says:

    I think Blake chose Jordis as part of his stratagy to keep RaeLynn safe. Jordis’ fan base is bigger than RaeLynn’s so if he knocked out Erin, Raelynn could have easily been voted off. This way Erin will probably be the one to go tonight.

    • m1667 says:

      Exactly what I thought!

      • MamaLis says:

        Interesting thoughts!! Watching the clip of Raelynn, Blake looked like an over-proud Daddy as he watched her. He was SO disproportionately happy and excited about her performance, he was literally bouncing off his chair. If I were the other members of his team, I would enjoy the time left and call it a day.

  19. Yo' says:

    I must be the only person who did not like Ashley. It wasn’t even a question of liking her, for the most part I couldn’t even hear her.

    • Stacey says:

      I didn’t dislike Ashley, but I couldn’t hear her through most of the song. I’m not a big Jewel fan so I was disappointed in the song choice anyway.

    • MAS says:

      I didn’t like that rendition at all. It lost all the emotional punch.

  20. TinyTim says:

    RaeLynn is a much better performer than any of the puppets on American Ido this season. Make fun of her but at least she looks and acts her age, as opposed to sitting on a piano with a dress from the 50’s.
    Jesse said the biggest competition for him this season was himself and he is right, he just got himself kicked off. We can only take so much smaltz, you have to show you are commercial and he never did that..

    Jordis and Adam had to get bleeped out a few times last night, try to hold the F and S bombs in check please!

  21. No reason Chris should have outlasted Jesse. If dude was so hot on being different and singing opera, why haven’t we heard him sing opera? At least Jesse was being true to himself.

  22. Shein Die says:

    RaeLynn is THE WORST …guess her coach likes blondes! :p

  23. the real wendy says:

    I thought it was so funny that CeeLo had never heard the Katy Perry song!

  24. darcy's evil twin says:

    OH dear. Someone actually sang “Against All Odds”?
    Oh dear.

    • allie08 says:

      Not only that but Blake actually thought he would have a “MOMENT” with it. Maybe in 1985.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        And it was Blake that thought it was a good idea? Double that “oh dear”, with a twist of lemon.
        For some reason the only person that sounds good singing Phil Collins songs is Phil Collins. I don’t know if he’s the only one that can sell them because he wrote them or what, but they just don’t seem to work for anyone else.

        • marie says:

          Somewhat off-topic comment: We’ve seen for many years that what DET says about Phil Collins’s songs is correct. Going way back, does anyone else remember the relevant year’s Oscars show, when that very same “Against All Odds,” up for Best Song, was performed not by Collins, but by Ann Reinking, a very talented Broadway dancer / performer who proceeded to mutilate and torture the number about three hundred different ways? Ugh. That may be the grandmother of all unlistenable Phil Collins covers.

    • FreeHaley says:

      good song

  25. LuraPede says:

    Week 1 of The Voice‘s Season 2 Quarterfinals closely paralleled a pivotal scene in Game of Thrones‘ inaugural season

  26. PFitzDC says:

    Regardless of how I feel about Jesse (ehhh) and Jordis (LOVE!), I am so disgusted by this last-minute switcheroo by Mark Burnett and company to take the power away from America’s voters at this point. (And, seriously, Slezak, how can you not be outraged by that?!) What a waste of my time to be told via social media for a week to get on the “team” for the various contestants, watch for 2 bloated hours, be encouraged to write down phone numbers and vote and then be told–oh, but you can’t vote for your favorite this week because we wanted to give ego-monster judges like Adam Levine more say at this point–even though, as the consumer, I am the one who will ultimately decide on “the Voice” with my wallet.

    Can’t think of when I was more disgusted with the shenanigans of a reality TV competition (and that’s saying something for a regular Idol viewer….).

    There’s some talent left on the show, but I’m done watching.

    • Tim says:

      Yes, it seemed like a panic move to me — uh oh, our ratings are slipping, better do something dramatic. The blind auditions are a great idea, but it seems like this show gets everything wrong after that. The battle rounds are terribly long and drawn out, then once they get to the live shows it’s like they’re in a hurry to eliminate people as fast as possible. And giving out people’s numbers and then not letting you vote for them is just dumb. I’m done watching too.

  27. Stacey says:

    WTH is with this switch of the judges basically having all the power of who stays and who goes? This is one of the many reasons I gave up on AI years ago, I felt the judges had too much say! I’m invested in this season so I’m not deleting it from my DVR, but if it gets another season I may have to just stay away from it.

    As for last night, while I thought Jesse’s version of Halo was terrible, I don’t think he should have gone. That song is horrible to begin with and not AT ALL right for how he sings. It was like Xtina was trying her best to get rid of him. I didn’t enjoy anyone from Xtina’s team so really I don’t care who goes tonight. I don’t think her team has a shot at winning.

    On to Blake, Jermaine is on of my favorites in the competition. I couldn’t disagree more with Slezak, I thought last night was a beautiful, emotional performance. I don’t have an iTunes account but I considered signing up just so I could purchase this song! I’m FURIOUS that Blake got rid of Jordis, I’ve loved her since Rockstar:INXS and thought her song last night was lovely. I thought Wild Horses last week should have been enough for him to keep her last night. This decision is why I hate the new twist, she should have had the oppurtunity to see if America would have realized her talent and saved her this week. Erin W. I want to like her but haven’t been wowed by any of her recent performances. I’m sick of Adele being covered and new as soon as Blake said that’s what she was singing that I would be disappointed. RaeLynn – that was the best of her performances, but was still AWFUL! I just don’t understand how anyone can listen to her and enjoy it.

    I really enjoyed Blake’s team performance, I like that he gives his team the spotlight. Love the song Fighter, but really didn’t need to hear Xtina’s team attempt to sing it.

  28. Manie says:

    Last night was ridiculous, no matter what happened backstage or before the show, Jesse and Jordis were cut unfairly. And I’m sorry Rae Lynn?! Yesterday in the group performance she CLEARLY showed that she was the weakest link of Team Blake, I mean COME ON that girl would have made Simon laugh on American Idol!

    As for Ashley?! No offense but her performance wasn’t that good, we couldn’t even hear half the thing she was saying before she stood up. As I read somewhere, this is called
    “The Voice” not “The best amelioration”.

    And Blake saying that he will go with America to elimination Jordis, that is probably the most cowardly elimination I’ve ever seen on television. Jordis would have been saved this week and let’s face it, Rae Lynn would have been given the boot out. Erin or Rae Lynn should have been cut, actually Rae Lynn shouldn’t even been here, I’m telling you, it’s the flower man that turns the judges crazy! LoL And even though I hope Jermain is the last one standing in his team, I hope he and Rae Lynn will go down in the bottom two, Blake we clearly not have a choice and keep Jermain! LOL Bye bye Rae Lynn! Girl is cute, but she CAN’T sing!

    As for Team Christina, let’s face it, weakest link of the night Lindsey, worst performance of the night (with Rae Lynn’s voice of course). Ashley or Lindsey should have been cut tonight.

    Anyway obviously, we have good hearing, we all saw Adam Levine’s face when Jesse AND Jordis were eliminated. He even so politely comment on it on Twitter.

    • Kyle says:

      I agree with you one hundred percent about jordis being eliminated, it’s obvious that Blake wanted to get rid of her to save raelynn. She horrible, jordis can sing circles around that girl.
      As for lidsay, I agree with u as well. She was the worst performance of her team. But I must say Ashley did fantastic last nite. Although she was quiet at first and I couldn’t hear her too well, when she hit the high notes she sounded amazing.

    • FreeHaley says:

      Lindsey was so strong the week before, I don’t think she deserved the cut tonight. But speaking of someone who didn’t…. Jordis! wow. that was awful! Yeah Adam looked kinda of stunned.

  29. Owen says:

    I’m wondering if this coach’s boot thing was there to assure that Pip gets kicked off next week…rumor has it he had one of, if not the biggest, voting fanbases last week… so let’s see what Adam does next week..

    • Shana says:

      interesting rumor about pip. Your conspiracy theory seems right on to me… Adam will not hesitate in eliminating him

  30. davey says:

    I didn’t think it was possible but Raelynn is more awful and horrifying than the early Kelly Pickler. She will probably make it to the final, making the Voice the joke of singing reality shows. Bring back The Sing Off!

    Oh dear what if it’s a Raelynn-Pip finale?

    Michael, you’ve won me back with your Game of Thrones comparison after driving me nuts with Skylar all the time in your coverage of Idol.

  31. TiaGata says:

    I can’t take this show – the performers all sing badly.

    The end.

  32. BadgerRulez! says:

    Ok, I agree with most of this talk. I’m starting to feel like I’m taking crazy pills, though, because I really liked Erin’s performance of the Adele song. To my ear, she hit every note spot on and made it look effortless (not an easy thing to do with an Adele song). The judges were harsh and the comments haven’t been a lot better, but based on pitch and power, I like she’s the standout on Team Blake. P.S. I do agree, though, that her dress last night was horrible.

  33. Musicfan5 says:

    I think I was most disappointed about the “surprise switch.” Let America get their two top vote picks.
    TEAM CHRISTINA: I’ll have to listen to Jesse again, but I thought Chris and Lindsey were weaker. Ashley continues to show marked improvement.
    TEAM BLAKE: I like Jermaine’s tone. I can’t stand Ray Lynn either, but she sells well on iTunes. I thought Jordis was better than Erin last night. Jordis is also more versatile, so I would have sent Erin home.

    Next year please ditch this “last minute” judge’s cut. I can’t help but feel that the producers didn’t want an older singer like Jesse to win. They seem to be banking on youth this year so the show will have a “breakout” star like Idol.

  34. Natalie says:

    I’m in the minority of people who actually like RaeLynn. She’s not a great singer on stage but her studio recorded versions are extremely catchy and I find myself singing them with her enormous twang relentlessly. I’m not even a country music fan! The girl can seriously perform though…can’t take my eyes off of her when she’s onstage and I find myself not caring that she’s not hitting all the notes or that her phrasing makes certain words morph into inaudible groans.

  35. davey says:

    All I can think is: Can the Voice bring Pentatonix on the show to display what singing on key is all about? Plus originality and inventiveness!

  36. Ellie says:

    Xtina set Jesse up with that song (possibly intentionally?) It’s not a song that is good for his voice. It seemed that her reason to oust him was more of a personality clash than talent related.

  37. marie says:

    It’s a testament to Slezak’s writing that I’ve given up on the show, but still enjoy reading his recaps (and the comments, too, little by little). At least, I think I’ve given up on the show: I started watching last night, got about two and a half performers in, and the next thing I knew, my wife was waking me up after the show had ended, asking if I wanter her to leave it on the DVR for me to watch later. I told her not to bother.
    Very disappointing season compared to the first one. And to have the coaches making so many eliminations vs. having the audience determine who goes home after the (horrible) battle rounds also lessens my enjoyment and adds to a sense of manipulation on the part of the producers. Even on Idol, after Hollywood Week, the judges get exactly one crack – at a SAVE, not at an elimination.
    I’m done with The Voice for this year. May or may not give it another shot next year. (I even give up ogling adorable Adam Levine because the show has become otherwise so unwatchable.)

  38. Ellen Nelsen says:

    Lindsey and Raelynn are equally awful “singers.” These people saying Lindsey should be left alone to sing her typical, bland, one key songs, well, frankly, she cannot even stay on key singing those. She is HORRIBLE.

  39. Kim says:

    If Rae Lynn sounds good in the iTunes download it’s because they’re auto-tuning the hell out of her. Only about half of the notes that came out of her mouth last night were actually on key. She may be entertaining (if you like the Toddler & Tiaras on steroids vibe–personally I found her performance a little disturbing. Kind of like sexualizing a child), but this show is supposed to be about vocal ability. It bugs the crap out of me that none of the judges call her on it.

  40. MamaLis says:

    Picking through this show with my DVR, it seems it should be called something like “Last Shot” rather than “The Voice.” To me – for the most part – it’s a really sub-par, uninteresting talent pool. It also seems rather desperate. And that Jermaine dude, each package presents him as very unlikeable. He’s so full of himself. I agree with Slezak’s post a couple weeks ago: he shouldn’t have been so quick to reject Kelly Clarkson’s offer at backup! Besides, Blake will take him down in a heartbeat over Raelynn.

  41. Veevy says:

    Jermaine Paul should go, just cos he’s Alicia’s backup doesn’t mean he can really sing. He’s too overconfident, the guy sings like he’s being strangled and really tries so hard, way too hard to let it all out. Chris Mann shld leave too, I like him but Josh Groban and Il Divo already have things under control @ the moment in Opera, nothing OMG there. Juliet Simms is okay but she’s a screecher, she just can’t seem to take the screech out so she needs to go too in my opinion.

  42. monssstr says:

    Slezak I know that you don’t like Jesse’s attitude and sometimes overperforming and neither do I and it’s true he can get a little cocky and there was all sorts of pitchy and wrong about his performance of Halo. But I can’t believe how you are buying into the decision of eliminating Jesse as a fair and honest judging decision. Something was up.

    Jesse is one of the top 3 voices in the show and def nr 1 in Christina’s team. One may like the others more as far as the music genre goes but that is fact. Second, he has a huge following. He was praised and voted for every week and even if his performance of Halo wasn’t perfect he still has a huge fan base from his audition and the battle rounds to carry him through. He was a front runner on Christina’s team and in the competition. Ashely is picking up steam (still don’t think she’ll win though) but I seriously doubt Christina actually thinks Chris or Lindsay (I like her but no way she’ll win) have a bigger chance of winning.

    Here’s what I think. Jesse must have done something to really piss the producers off. That is why they pulled off the dramatic twist of putting the judges’ decision before and not after the vote (I know, conspiracy theory 101 for you right there). They did not want him in anymore. Other possibility: they did the twist as (a really poor and useless) attempt of creating drama and turns out that Christina just hates Jesse’s guts. She must really hate his guts to throw away her only chance to win. Anyway, this decision was not about talent, performance, or who could win the show.

  43. C.A. says:

    Go to and watch “The Voice After Show” where Christina Millian interviews Team Christina 2 weeks ago. Jesse is so cocky during the interview, it’s almost shocking. You can tell none of the other contestants like him. I guess Christina didn’t like him either.

  44. FreeHaley says:

    Dang! I thought Jordis was one of the best of the night…. and she cuts auto-cut before we even get to vote! Wow, that was so bad and annoying!

    When Erin sang, while it had it’s strong moments, I couldn’t help but mostly keep thinking about Adele or even Haley.

    And I gotta take Jordis over RaeLynn last night (not that he was EVER going to cut her for numerous reasons such as the country crowd seems to be an easy sell for reality song stars so it’s lotta money there and they vote a lot too and he is a country guy and could bring her along on his tours, etc. etc. but still I gotta say Jordis did deserve it more).

    But man I couldn’t see cutting Jordis after her performance last night. Come on. If all that mattered was the voting last week why even let her bother to sing?

    She took everything to heart and just brought while Erin missed some notes and, as I said, didn’t make you forget Haley nevermind Adele doing Adele.

    I was so stunned he didn’t cut Erin, but I guess they have that bond.

    Dang. I do think the cutting on the show is annoying, so many cut so fast and sometimes one team is a lot weaker and you get some odd ones left and some ones who did great cut.

  45. Lisa says:

    I’m sorry but Erin looks is so obese that I can’t get past how uncomfortable she looks. I don’t think you have to be thin,but I do think she needs to lose some weight to compete in this business, not to mention the health issues

  46. MK says:

    Boo to Blake Shelton for giving Jordiss the boot when Germaine and Erin were not as worthy. And Rae Lynn…too OTT, old and precocious at the same time. Blake’s a fool. He lost my support. I also thought Lindsay was horrible and Chris was way out of his element. But…I guess I won’t be voting for anyone. My thoughts are though, that someone on Team CeeLo will win because now the other coaches all have dreck.

  47. FreeHaley says:

    Ugh! America chose Chris as the top pick?? Maybe I do see why they put so much in judge’s hands. Damn now Ahsley or Lindsey has to go instead. Ridiculous!
    Wow. The worst of the three save outcomes. :(

  48. FreeHaley says:

    Ugh! Ashley gone. At this point I actually would’ve kept her over Lindesy for sure. But I sure as heck would’ve kept both over Chris.

    Sadly this seems like another reality show where it’s going to be guys, guys, guys.

    Wow it stinks when all my favorites may be gone before even the semi-final! Even Idol hasn’t been that bad.

    I may not be invested to watch after next week all that much at this rate….


    • ET says:

      I think that Lindsey was the right pick; she is FAR more interesting and cool than Ashley. But, honestly, America got it wrong; Chris is the one who SHOULD’VE been sent packing!!!

      • FreeHaley says:

        Yeah the real crime was Chris over either one of them! That was the crime. I still woulda taken Ashley over Lindesy at this point though, but listen they both deserved top two for sure. If only iTunes counted over power voting…. putting you money where you mouth is.

  49. FreeHaley says:

    Maybe they should just count itunes downloads only for both The Voice and Idol, when it comes to voting. On iTunes it went for the three remaining: Ashley then Lindsey then Chris and that makes more sense to me than what went down. And frankly this idea just makes more sense in general.

  50. FreeHaley says:

    Weird Blake dumps Jordis because of votes but then dumps RaeLynn who sold better in favor of Erin (not that the choice was necessarily bad this time but it is odd and I sure as heck would’ve had Jordis over Erin so dumping Jordis last night is even worse since I had figured she was goner anyway but she could’be survived tonight, wow.)

    Jordis and Ashley got robbed and Chris got hella lucky.


    • ET says:

      This entire season of The Voice has now officially “jumped the shark”; a lot of it has to do with Blake’s choices, which are mind-numbing.

      • FreeHaley says:

        Yeah I think he just votes by personal connections and he had the country connection with one and the family story with the other and thus Jordis was doomed and so were other in earlier rounds who went against RaeLynn (who clearly lost the battle round she was in).

        But sadly it does seem to be doing some shark jumping since Idol got me so annoyed last season I was hoping for a truly shark-free alternative.