The Voice: Someone's Days Are Over (spoiler alert)
I'm sort of cursing Cee Lo Green right now. Why did he have to put both Nakia and Vicci Martinez on his team on The Voice?
I've been enjoying Nakia and was pleased when celebrity coach Cee Lo saved him from elimination at the top of Tuesday's show.
Fat lot of good it did, though. I doubt that the blues belter can overcome the tiny tornado that is Vicci to make it to the finals. She was the viewers' choice for the first semifinals berth on Cee Lo's team and later performed Florence and the Machine's "Dog Days Are Over" as if she really were running from horses as the lyrics suggest.
Meanwhile, I think Blake Shelton used his heart instead of his head last week when he chose to save one-named teenager Xenia over country singer Patrick Thomas and veteran road dog Jared Blake. Xenia does have a fantastic tone to her voice, but she's nowhere near ready for prime time. Besides, I was pulling for Jared, with his six kids and his vow that this was his last shot at the music business.
After watching four weeks of episodes in one evening, I can say that this show continues to impress me with how entertaining it is. For the most part, we're watching seasoned professionals instead of mere talent show contestants; the coaches' connection to their charges is palpable; and their comments, while more praise than critique, never seem rote.
And we got to see Adam Levine and Blake and Christina Aguilera perform on Tuesday, no lip-synching or Auto-Tuning required.
Unless my instincts are woefully off, or the voters have drastic changes of heart, I think we know who the four finalists are going to be. I've broken it down below team by team:
Team Cee Lo: I wasn't sorry to see country baritone Curtis Grimes and singing sisters Tori and Taylor Thompson go home at the top of the show. A grateful Nakia later performed Adam Lambert's "Whataya Want From Me?" reluctantly when Cee Lo first proposed it. He was in good voice and emotionally committed to the song (although kicking the piano stool behind him was a tad overdone), and earned praises from the coaches for his stage presence and powerful singing. But then Vicci gave the performance of the night. Dressed in a sequinned tank top with her hair swept up into a kind of elegant mohawk, she kept time with drumsticks and drums before sprinting around the stage, delivering intense, perfectly pitched vocals, even when one of her in-ear monitors fell out. Blake said it was like "somebody threw gas on the stage and threw a lit match up there." I expect it will light a fire under viewers too, propelling Vicci into the finals.
Team Adam: It was no surprise that supple-voiced singer Javier Colon got the most votes for a semifinals spot on Adam's team. It was surprising that Adam chose to save high school student Casey Weston over Jeff Jenkins, who wowed the judges last week with "Jesus Take the Wheel." Casey acquitted herself well on "I Will Always Love You," although I wish Adam had picked something besides this overdone ballad for her to sing, and that she hadn't worn cowboy boots with her sparkly dress. (Anyone else think it was creepy that 35-year-old Blake wanted to talk about how "freakin' hot" Casey was?) Despite Casey's glowing reviews from the coaches, I doubt Javier's momentum can be stopped. I didn't love his performance of Coldplay's "Fix You": he struggled to be heard over the band and backing vocals at times, and some of his phrasing was choppy. But Adam says Javier has one of the best voices he's ever heard and I expect many viewers share that opinion.
Team Blake: It's no contest between quirky songstress Dia Frampton and shy high school student Xenia. Not only was Dia the public's pick for a place in the semifinals, her version of Kanye West's "Heartless" made the iTunes Top 20 last week. She pulled out another crowd pleaser on Tuesday, with a lilting version of REM's "Losing My Religion." Dia's showing good instincts in her song choice and has the unmistakeable glint in her eye of someone who really wants to win. Xenia, on the other hand, looked like a scared rabbit during a shaky version of The Script's "The Man Who Can't Be Moved." Yes, she has a marvellous tone to her voice, but she sounded muffled at times, quavery at others, and she looked awkward as hell when she tried to walk across the stage in sky-high heels. The coaches, I think, were overly kind in their comments; the voters, I'm guessing, will be less so.
Team Christina: Frenchie Davis certainly has a strong voice and a compelling backstory, having been kicked off American Idol in its second season because of topless photos she posed for as a teen. But I don't think she hit her full potential in Madonna's "Like a Prayer" despite letting fly with a couple of killer notes at the end. Beverly McClellan, meanwhile, makes everything she sings sound effortless, including B.B. King's "The Thrill is Gone" on Tuesday. Bev also displays a goofy charm in the way she throws herself into songs. She was the public's choice for the semifinals and likely will be again for the finals.
The finalists will be chosen by a combination of viewer votes and judges' scores. Each coach had 100 points to divide however they liked between their two remaining singers, with envelopes containing those figures handed over to host Carson Daly at the end of the show. The results will be revealed Wednesday night.
Tune in at 8 p.m. on CTV and look for the recap here.