The Voice: “Live Eliminations, Week 2”
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The Voice: “Live Eliminations, Week 2”

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The Voice

“Live Eliminations, Week 2”

Season 2, Episode 17

Now that we know how much the Voice voters hate women, the results and the saves in the Adam/Cee Lo week of the semifinals were predictable, almost down to the moment. This meant that they were by and large as just as they could be given the circumstances, but there wasn’t much in the way of the thrills and OMGs that are the lifeblood of this kind of show. The key flaw of this particular structure is also becoming much more glaringly obvious in this season, as the team structure forced Adam to decide between two contestants who were far more viable recording artists than many of the others still in the competition. A few of you have commented that it would make much more sense if the “teams” competed against each other instead of themselves, and I’d say that in that case, you’d love The X Factor, but just kidding, I would never say that.

Florence & The Machine kick things off tonight with “No Light No Light.” I’m always impressed with how well Ms. Welch manages to hold her own when she guests on these overproduced live singing shows. She just shows up with a hundred gauze-clad dancers and does her special cult-y thing for a few minutes, with no cringe-y “What’s up The Voice!” pandering, then leaves. This was easily the best guest performance of the show so far, though that’s not exactly saying much.

Can we also talk about how chilled out Carson was tonight?  There was definitely more breathing room in tonight’s show, with only one performance aside from the four save-me songs, and those five extra minutes made it seem like the host had just come back from a week in the Bahamas. But as soon as I realized I was no longer fearing a live on-air Carson Daly meltdown, the hour was that much less fun. Maybe we all watch this show for the wrong reasons.

Alright, results. Do we even need to bother? There was one guy left on both Team Adam and Team Cee Lo, and surprise, surprise, they were both sent to safety. “I’m going to trust that America has good taste,” says Cee Lo right before his results are announced, which is easy to say coming from the guy who had two truly great and weird pop anomalies hit the Hot 100. It’s not that I think that it’s in bad taste for Tony and Jamar to make it through—these are still two talented guys—but it’s just so very boring. Who would have though The Voice would follow down American Idol’s she-girl woman-hating path so quickly?

Team Adam’s singers are the first up, and Mathai comes out as swinging as one could hope with “Cowboy Casanova.” If Blake was her coach, then I’d say this was pretty shameless, but it was a surprisingly smart song selection—aggressive and sweet like Cee Lo said, which is Mathai’s strongest zone. But it was still shaky in spots, and it had a little too much dead space to really be the barn-burner (semi-pun definitely intended?) that it needed to be. Katrina’s rendition of “Perfect,” on the other hand, didn’t bother with sweetness at all, and went back to the pure intensity that got her saved last time around. Weirdly, when asked for their opinions, the other coaches decide to use this opportunity to rag on Tony Lucca: “Tony got the vote, but Katrina is the best singer on your team,” Blake tells Adam. Christina agrees, saying that it’s too bad that the vote often comes down to song choice. Are you saying you were not fond of Tony’s song choice last night, Christina? Whyever for? While we’ll have to wait until next week to find out if Adam agrees with the anti-Tony sentiment, tonight he ends up picking the singer that grew on him the most over the early favorite, and Mathai is sent on her way.

Cee Lo’s girls are up next, and gosh, I wish Juliet wouldn’t look so nervous and miserable. You’ve got this in the bag, girl! Don’t sweat it! Cheesa tries to do a repeat of her last save-me song strategy (big ballad + lots of flubbed notes + ONE SUPER BIG AWESOME NOTE), and while Blake was won over, nobody else was. I know I said I was off the Cheesa train, but I’ll admit she’s actually quite good when she’s singing with that controlled intensity in her lower range—much better than when she bellows those glory notes. Juliet’s out next with “Torn,” a song choice I actually LOL’d at once I recognized it, but the song worked very well for her voice and the situation. (That’s what’s goin’ on! Nothing’s right, she’s torn!) Blake admits he’s come around to Juliet, which feels like important praise: “It’s an acquired taste, and I’ve got it now,” he says. Cee Lo says it would be “ironic” (i.e. inappropriate) for Cheesa to not go forward in a show called The Voice, seeing as her voice is the most “classically trained” (i.e. Idol-esque,) but he has to go with Juliet’s rawer, more immediate style. Then everyone checked their watches, realized it was 10 p.m., and sent Cheesa off without a goodbye.

I think several of the coaches are having the same experience watching the show week after week as we are at home—so many of these singers were so exciting and showed great promise early on, but were never able to surprise or delight us in the same way again. That seemed to be the logic behind both eliminations tonight—remember how head over heels Adam was with Mathai after her audition? And even though Cheesa grew a bit over the last few weeks, there was never a memorable spark there to justify her sticking around. A lot of this show is going to end up being a battle of who lets the judges down the least, which is more than a little anticlimactic. So let’s hope the producers decide to add in at least five more musical acts next week, so at least we’ll have the thrill of watching Carson try to singlehandedly make this show run on time.

Stray observations:

  • Adam on the Pip backlash: “Several people tried to kill me, and I was very sad about that.”
  • Jamar’s mom is adorable. I love her seizure-like Dance of Joy.
  • “Here we are with Tona Lucca.” Poor Tony, even Christina Milian can’t get his name right.
  • What is going ON with Juliet’s styling this week? The first-year Hermione Granger hair, the dorky barrettes… all she needed was a retainer, and the reverse makeover would be complete.