The Voice: “Live Semifinal Eliminations”
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The Voice: “Live Semifinal Eliminations”

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The Voice

“Live Semifinal Eliminations”

Season 2, Episode 19

Every results show of The Voice should have felt as suspenseful as tonight’s did, and we really only have the judges to blame for the fact that they haven’t—their often dubious judgement during the battle rounds meant that it took us this long to get to the point where everyone more or less “deserved” to be here. I’ll repeat what I said last night: even though they weren’t all as bankable as artists, the top eight could all sing, and a lot of the results should have been toss-ups. Still, one couldn’t help but feel like Juliet’s “It’s A Man’s  Man’s Man’s World” was still echoing in the rafters as each increasingly disappointing pro-bro decision was made.

There was also the added fun/awkwardness of having the top four from season one back—itself an insult to winner Javier Colon, since the producers obviously knew that having him alone as a guest performer would not be that much of a draw. Fan favorite Dia Frampton is up first, looking like Lyla Garrity at a church picnic. I like Dia, but the strain of singer/songwriter that she always had going for her seems to have been wiped away completely from the oddly named “Don’t Kick The Chair,” and she’s essentially just singing airy, brainless refrains to Kid Cudi’s NyQuil-rap.

Team Christina’s results are first, starting off a night of queasy-making face-offs. In the closest vote of the night (Christina opted out of throwing her influence into the mix with a 50/50 score) Chris Mann beat Lindsey Pavao 104 to 96. Take that, Lindsey Pavao and your semblance of relevance! (If you’re reading this and would like to use that as your band name, Lindsey, consider it my gift to you.) So, fantastic, during the finals we’ll get a XMannTina duet (sorry guys, that one’s gonna cost you), and I’m off to Home Depot to pick up some ratchet straps, as I am in grave danger of accidentally throwing my television out the window next week.

Vicci Martinez is the second alum to take the stage, performing with Cee Lo in full Penguin regalia. I’m gonna give the edge to Vicci’s single “Come Along” over Dia’s—though I couldn’t hum either for you less than an hour after hearing them, I think I could fake it better with Vicci’s song.

Team Adam’s results are next, and even though I had a feeling Adam wouldn’t take the diplomatic route and split his points evenly between Katrina and Tony, I was not expecting him to favor Tony, nor to favor him 60/40. Katrina looks completely broadsided and stung by this, and I would be, too if I hit No. 24 on iTunes last night (Tony reached No. 30, for the record. Can’t we just have this show solely judged via iTunes sales?) With the home votes added in, Tony wins by 16 points, which means that without Adam’s influence, we would’ve had Katrina in the finals. Look, I’m happy for Tony and all, and it’s a comeback story and a big middle finger to Christina Aguilera (which I can always get down with), but it’s times like these that I miss Idol’s purely popular vote.

Beverly McClellan, the season-one singer with the most conspicuously absent post-season support from her coach (Christina) got up for a duet with an even better aging, stumbling, incoherent blonde. Look, I’ve got nothing but respect for Cyndi Lauper, and so it is a compliment of the highest order when I say this was one of the most fascinating live TV train wrecks I’ve seen in a long time. The two sang “Money Changes Everything,” but good luck Shazaming that if you missed Carson’s song ID at the top—this was basically two weird ladies screaming and hitting each other for three minutes in front of a background of floating dollar signs. Beverly seemed to be her same “fuck it, I’ma sing the shit out of this and have a blast” self; I could not even begin to guess what was going on with Lauper.

Javier Colon had the unfortunate task of following that up, with some sleepy piano ballad about heaven and its relative proximity to him. I was mostly distracted by his outfit, and kept thinking about how uncomfortable it would be if Jamar won this season and suddenly in season three everyone started wearing blazers and baseball caps to their blind auditions. (Spoiler alert, this ended up being a bit of reverse foreshadowing!)

Team Blake is up next, with the fairly predictable elimination of Erin Willett in a landslide (Blake did a 50/50 split, but Jermaine still won 123 to 77.) Erin is all smiles as she leaves, though, easily making the most graceful exit of the four eliminees tonight. The normally unreadable Carson Daly seems genuinely disappointed to see her go, remarking not one, but two times how fun it was to have her on the show. Aww, Carson likes things and people sometimes! In all seriousness though, it’s nice to have someone eliminated that you know you don’t have to worry about post-show; that strength that Blake is always praising Erin for was never more evident than tonight.

The producers save the most contentious elimination for last, with Team Cee Lo’s Jamar and Juliet up against each other. In my notes, I had started to write that if Cee Lo divided his points any way besides 50/50, he’d be asking for a fan backlash—there’s no diplomatic way around a race this close, even if Jamar has a bit of an advantage with that Y chromosome and all. So I was actually pleasantly surprised that he split it 40/60 in favor of Juliet, then immediately suspicious that the producers, seeing an imminent all-guy finale, intervened and made Cee Lo give Juliet a leg up. It ended up not mattering though; even without Cee Lo’s points Juliet had a 22-point advantage over Jamar, which itself is more shocking than the actual result. Jamar went blank after the winner was announced, and unlike Erin, I do worry for him a bit post-show. I think he’s proven himself immensely and it would be a shame if he didn’t have some sort of a career, but I also genuinely hope that if he doesn’t, he can be cool with that.

Stray observations:

  • Okay, I’ve been holding this back ever since the blind auditions because it seemed like a nitpick, but now that Chris Mann is heading to the finals I have got to get it off my chest: STOP REFERRING TO CHRIS AS AN OPERA SINGER. Perhaps Chris has been in an opera before, I don’t know, and I’m afraid I’ll fall asleep if I look up his Wikipedia page right now. But Ave Maria is a piece of classical sacred music, and furthermore, Chris Mann has never sung opera music on The Voice. (Yes, that’s right, Andrea Bocelli songs don’t count as opera, even though his name is Italian and doesn’t sound like Bruno Mars.)
  • Christina swapped her crazy subway-lady tiara for an ice queen headband tonight. Y’know, Cee Lo may have started slacking on the supervillain outfits as the season went on, but Christina definitely picked up his slack, in addition to also becoming an actual villain.
  • I’m not sure if it was noticeable in SD, but Lindsey’s eye makeup was pretty incredible this week: half Vampire Diaries, half Katy Perry in the “E.T.” video. And it extended into the shaved part of her head!