Reality Check: Jacquie Lee Rocks The Voice! Plus: Debating the Coaches' Final Saves

Sixteen-year-old Jacquie Lee is the youngest contestant on Season 5 of The Voice, but she also might be its shrewdest. Her Live Playoffs performance last week of “I Put a Spell on You” was so out-of-left-field scintillating, it’s got my Reality Check co-host Melinda Doolittle shouting things like, “You don’t do that to nobody’s children’s hospital!” (Don’t worry — it’ll make sense in context.)

RELATED | Details on The Voice‘s New Twitter “Instant Save”

Fret not, though, Melinda and I don’t just spend this week’s episode in total agreement. In fact, we wage an intense debate over the merits of Team Adam members Preston Pohl and Will Champlin, and whether their coach made the right call in choosing the latter contestant as his third and final artist to advance to the Top 12.

RELATED | The X Factor Voting Snafu Forces Top 13 Performance Redux: Seriously, Simon?

Not only that, but we dish controversial decisions made by Cee Lo and Christina Aguilera — and question the “Crazy” singer’s overall coaching strategies.

So press play below for this week’s full Reality Check experience, and for all my Voice-related recaps, interviews, news and exclusives, 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. Ginger Snap says:

    Michael, I agree with Melinda on everything. Not much else to say.

    • Tyler says:

      I agree with Melinda more than Michael because overall she’s a lot more consistent. I mean, one week Michael isn’t crazy about Will, then he is, and then he isn’t again. Who knows? Maybe next week he’ll be crazy about him again. Same goes for Jacquie. One minute he hated her performance of House Of The Rising Sun. And then the next minute he loves You Put A Spell On Me. IMO–they were both terrible because of their screechiness. But Michael goes from one extreme to the other.

      However, I agree with Michael that Adam made the right decision to save Will instead of Preston. Although Preston has a unique voice, Will has a bigger range. I think Will will be able to sing a lot more songs successfully than Preston.

      I wonder if Cee-Lo’s making bad decisions because he’s distracted by his legal issues. And, yes, Michael and Melinda, I’m already getting bored with Caroline’s singing. But I don’t think it’s Cee-Lo’s fault. He tried giving her something different like a White Strips song. I think it’s Caroline’s stubbornness to sing every song the same way. I realize she’s young, but IMO she has a long way to go before she can call herself an artist.

      I have no idea why Xtina likes Josh so much. Back in the battle rounds, I couldn’t understand why she chose Josh over Michael Lynch. And then in the knockout rounds, she could’ve kept Will instead of Josh and didn’t. Makes no sense.

      I still think Adam has the strongest team, and last week’s group performance proved it. Did Adam choose that Capital Cities song? If so, Adam proved that he can make the right song selections. That song was perfect for his team this season.

      • Tom22 says:

        My guess is that Xtina enjoys her time working with Josh in terms of trading run ideas? She might even find it inspiring for her own creativity thinking of the best places to edit and how shed do it better? He might be able to follow directions in practice more to her liking? We see so little guessing like that would only make sense if the gave us representative clips of rehearsal.. something we never could trust Idol to do. The clip we saw of her with Stephanie was “make it more blues than ballad” and, to my ear, Georgia sounded very ballad-like . Its probably a personal preference thing, but I really want to have the song sound more nostalgic and confiding to the listener. It was just a little “NYC, there’s something about you” direction for me…(not nearly that throughout – but here and there and enough to put me off in a big way )

        I’ll give Michael some credit fro consistency on Georgia.. the exact clip he showed of what he though was talent-show-legendary was precisely what I didn’t like. Two-fold in that, I’m not a big note guy and it made a intimate song to me kind of cheesy… Personal Preference. Unfortunately Xtina’s preference was what counted and its hard for a coach to want to work with someone who doesn’t follow advice (again, one sentence in a clip only makes for a theory.. certainly they could have picked and unrepresentative clip).

        • Tom22 says:

          BTW Thanks Michael and Doolittle and the creative guy behind the scenes that editis it so niceley to make it come accross polished and fun etc. I really look forward to it each week.

  2. Olive says:

    Still think Xtina was smart to pick Josh. She, and everyone watching, knew Stephanie Ann was (is) the better singer but if she wants her top 2 (Jacquie & Matthew) to go far, she has to keep at least one singer around as cannon fodder. Stephanie Ann may have actually drawn votes away from M or J. Strategic, no?

    • JM says:

      Yes, I was thinking the same thing.
      BTW, I found a YouTube video of him on Rockstar:Supernova, and the band was critiquing him, saying he has to watch the number runs he does. More than a decade later, he still hasn’t learned.

      • The Beach says:

        Wow, that’s just crazy. Thanks for the 411 on the Rockstar video. He has a good voice but his runs are ridiculous (and that’s the old connotation of the word, not the current one:)

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Olive, this is the first theory that makes sense on this elimination. And I have to admit … it’s just a super smart strategy. I was okay with Josh being picked. To me, it was a toss up. Each has strengths and weaknesses. But now, I can better understand the choice, and I kinda dig Christina thinking like a winner. :)

  3. Hugh says:

    Come on Slezak, give X Factor some love. It’s much better this season! Better than The Voice!

    • Timmah says:

      No way. Everything about The Voice is better than XF this season.

    • Ron says:

      Are you kidding me?!?!?! I started out with the X Factor this season, but after the first 2 weeks I gave up it was so bad. Last week, I was flipping through the channels and saw that it was on and that they were in their live rounds. I stopped for a few moments and turned it after 15 minutes (at most!) because the contestants were horrific. If, what I heard, was the best singers the X Factor could come up with this season, then they are definitely done for. From what I heard, even my least favorite contestants on The Voice would vocally wipe the floor with those I heard on X Factor. And the judges (maybe except Kelly) over on the X Factor should pack it in. Paulina is an incoherent, babbling idiot. Demi has always provided horrible direction for contestants. And it’s pretty obvious Simon doesn’t care anymore because he knows the show’s a mess. No need to cover X Factor at all.

      • cindy says:

        Agree. X Factor was horrible. I watched one episode for about 10 minutes and couldn’t stand it. ITs boring, the songs are stupid, and the judges have no chemistry or personalities. Sorry, But Demi Lovato is the worst. She has major personal issues and brings them to the show. Hate it.

        They are getting 5 million viewers an episode. Sure it will not be renewed.

    • Tyler says:

      You’re joking, right?! IMO XFactor is amateur hour

      • Mike says:

        Actually X Factor has better singers on right now compared to most on the Voice.

      • Tess says:

        It always cracks me up when people say XF contestants are awful and The Voice contestants are so much better – truth of it is, if say XF’s over 25’s were all on The Voice (since The Voice doesn’t have contestants as young as XF I won’t suggest the other categories) then the people who currently trash them would suddenly love them, just like if current Voice contestants were on XF instead then the people who currently love them all would hate them. It has nothing to do with the talent of any of the contestants at this point for most people and everything to do with public perception of each show in terms of format and judges and so on.

        Personally, I find most Voice contestants have a penchant for over-singing. But I also happen to still prefer the format of X Factor to The Voice.

    • Montavilla says:

      It would have better like kicking a dog to comment on the X-Factor this week. A big, ugly, sloppy dog that just left a dump on your new white carpet. But still, kicking a dog dog is not — as Captain Hook would say — good form.

  4. Timmah says:

    I sort of see where CeeLo is coming from. There is something interesting about Kat, even though she isn’t the best singer, and the other two are more straightforward generic singers IMO. Not that it really matters, because none of the three had a realistic chance to compete against the likes of Caroline/Matthew/James/Jacquie.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      All CeeLo needs is Caroline. Her songs sell like crazy. He just needs to ride that wave (and not screw it up) all the way to the Top 3. I feel like CeeLo is his own worst enemy – because his song selection is just bizarre sometimes.

    • HTGR says:

      Exactly. And she is the only real rocker left. I have to once more say I was disagree with Michael on this one. We have others like Amber and Tamara…. only some of the others like them are better (not that Tamara, in particular isn’t quite good). Kat brings something interesting and some rock. When has CeeLo ever not had some of that? And enough with the hotpants cheap shots already.

  5. Kathy says:

    Remember instant saves start this week with the show using Twitter to save 1 of the bottom three.

    • JM says:

      It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

      • Lee says:

        I think it’s another way for NBC to confirm that Blake won’t win this season. How many of Blake’s followers use twitter?

        • Ian says:

          Blake has 4.4 million Twitter followers, vs. 1.7 million for Cee-Lo and 4.6 million for Adam. I’m pretty confident his fans use Twitter.

    • Britt says:

      How does this Instant Save work for those of us on the West Coast? That doesn’t seem fair

      • Timmah says:

        They say you can still participate by following them on Twitter where they’re going to announce who is up for the save. But how many people on the West Coast are even going to remember that the show is on at 5 in the afternoon or whenever? It seems pretty unfair.

        • Britt says:

          That’s what I thought. Why would I watch the show, if I already know who is in the bottom/going home? And most people are just getting off of work at 5PM.

          • Cassandra says:

            It’s still unfair but it won’t be right at 5. It will be towards the end of the episode which airs at 9 EST and it only goes on for 5 minutes. So it will probably be around 9:50 EST which is 6:50 PST. It does seem like a pretty stupid move because where is the motivation to watch on the west coast.

        • HTGR says:

          That is tricky. And considering the large southern voting base for these shows that might give that block even more power.

  6. Matrix says:

    I agree with Melinda. The song choice for Preston was off.. He needed to do material more in line with Electric Feel.

  7. Mark says:

    The only save I disagreed with was Adam saving Will instead of Preston. Will has a nice voice, but he is never, never, never going to give you something that you haven’t heard before. Preston has the capacity to be much more original, although last week’s song didn’t really give him a chance to demonstrate. Still, I can see myself buying his record, while Will’s just isn’t ever going to move me. None of the other saves were very consequential. I couldn’t see any of the people who were sent home having any kind of a chance to win, although I expected Shelbie Z to go further. But winning? Not so much. And if the persons eliminated have no shot of winning, where’s the harm in sending them home?

  8. Cassandra says:

    I completely agree with everything Melinda was saying about Team CeeLo this week. He should be ashamed of his song selection, especially in regards to Amber and Tamara, aand then he goes and saves Kat. She actually was given a decent song that could have garnered sales if she had tried singing it like it was for a broadway musical.

  9. Mike says:

    Jacquie needs to go, Josh is great, but think Adam has the winner!

  10. Babybop says:

    I didn’t like Will’s performance at all. I’m with Matt on this one. He didn’t connect to the song and the way he sang it wasn’t even close to the way the song actually is.

  11. Agree with Melinda on everything. Jacqui Lee brought down the house! Was not expecting her to emerge as a front runner.

    The voters saved all the right people. James’s version of “Case of You” was one of the most beautiful performances I’ve seen on a reality show, and it coincided perfectly with Joni’s 70th birthday. Caroline did the same thing she always does but her voice sounded beautiful. I was so glad Tessanne introduced me to “Many Rivers to Cross”…such a good song choice, and so true to her heritage. And Cole and Austin are really talented (even if I can’t tell them apart), and Matt Schuler’s version of Wrecking Ball was vocally faultless.

    How did the judges get it so wrong though??? I know Josh is from Manchester and I’m from Manchester so I’m supposed to cheer for him or something, but Stephanie Anne was amazing! So soulful and interesting, both during this week and during her Norah Jones performance. I had a feeling America wouldn’t “get” her, but I voted my fingers off for her! And for Ceelo to not pick Tamara was absolutely insane! She somehow took the most karaoke song her and sang the daylights out of it. Between the two of them and Donna Allen I’m starting to think there’s some kind of conspiracy to keep strong black women from competing.

    Speaking of Ceelo…can we just fire him already? He’s really creepy and he gives all his contestants terrible song choices (I didn’t think it could get worse than making Amber sing “Wasting All These Tears”, but having Kat sing the Mary Lambert song to her husband was uncomfortable for everyone.) The one interesting thing he’s done in 4 seasons on the show was having Juliet Simms sing “Roxanne” in the second season, but that was his peak.

  12. Maymay says:

    The reason I cannot possibly get behind the Jackie Lee hype is that I feel she is IMITATING other singers. Her House of the rising sun was note by note imitation of Haley Reinharts version. Same for wannabe Amy Winehouse first audition. I put a spell on you seems like an imitation of Joss Stone’s sound in the song (phrasing is a bit different, but the sound to me is a subpar version of hers). So that’s the first reason I’m not sold on her.

    I’m ALSO not convinced about Jackies voice being genuine in the way she is singing right now, I think her voice it is screechy and forced, not her real open relaxed natural voice. And while I may be wrong on this, I am sure I’m right about the style and interpretation of the songs. Not hers. Not that special, really. I like this type of music a lot and I don’t get the fuss with Jackie at all.

    She is obviously talented and at moments very impressive with her pitch in this weird (I suspect a tiny bit forced) way she sings, and imitating other artists is normal for a singer her age. And she has chosen well, I’ll give her that. But please please stop telling me she is giving us something undeniably revolutionary and inspiring. I’ve seen this style and songs done so much better, more raw, honest and believable. I’m at this point utterly irritated at how hard Michael is pushing her.

    So I’m putting this probably unpopular opinion on the record – I didn’t believe her emotions in the song all that much, I think she a girl well-trained for a talent competition. But far from a compelling artist. At least not yet.

    • Maymay says:

      I realised, if I criticise I should also support. I think having no mention of James Wolpert in the recap this week (or ever) is silly. He was great, more than that. Somewhat of a revelation to me. He had an amazing emotional connection to the song and just has a ridiculous voice. The tone, the depth, the power, and even the control – that last run was everything! I loved him this week, he seems to take chances and goes for different things, so I’m really excited to see what he’ll do next.

      • Paul says:

        I also think it was ridiculous that there was no mention of Tessanne’s brilliant performance. I agree with Maymay–it just all seems like manipulation on Michael and Melinda’s part.

        • Maymay says:

          Well I don’t necessarily think it’s intentional manipulation, I just really disagree with them. I can’t really fault Michael and Melinda for thinking what they’re thinking, I just had to say something cause they’ve been raving endlessly about Caroline (whom I like) and Jackie the past two shows like nobody else exists.

    • I actually agree that Jacquie’s version of House of the Rising Son was an imitation of Haley Reinhart’s version. Which was why I didn’t like it that much. Her version of I Put a Spell on You knocked my socks off though; I didn’t think it was screechy at all. (At least not in a bad way.)

    • HTGR says:

      I gotta disagree.

  13. Karrah says:

    Michael, can we please get a little love for James. I’ve watched his performance of “A Case of You” at least six times since last week and I literally get chills every time. I liked him before but now I LOVE him.

  14. Davey says:

    Melinda was so right about Stephanie Anne and Will. And tonight Kat and Will showed they were worthy of saving, Josh not so much.

  15. Sea L says:

    If we work collectively we can make our voices heard. Tweet, email, download or whatever it takes on as many sites as you can to show support for Preston. It could help him get a recording contract. Preston now has fans in Malaysia as well as US, Canada, Brazil, Germany and France.