Once again, this week "The Voice" differentiated itself from its chief competition, "American Idol," in many welcome ways. The main way it did so? This week's RESULTS! See, on "Idol," females always seem at a disadvantage, but so far on "The Voice," girls rule. Of the four contestants who made it through on Tuesday--two voters' picks, and two judges' picks--from last week's competing Team Xtina and Team Blake singers, all of them were female. (Yes, Christina Aguilera's team was an all-girl team anyway, so that was a given...but still, reason to celebrate.)
That was also when the men finally struck back, to borrow a lame old slogan from VH1, because there were a couple of excellent male contestants this week who just might give Beverly, Frenchie, Dia, and Xenia some serious competition in the "Voice" finals.
Here's how everyone did this week...
TEAM CEE LO
Nakia - This was my overall favorite performance of the night. Kings Of Leon's "Sex On Fire" might have seemed like an odd song choice for the burly, bearded, bear-like soulman, but in this case Cee Lo knew exactly what he was doing. Nakia is one fiery man who was clearly born to perform. He was so charismatic I barely even noticed the bizarre and unnecessary backup flame-jugglers who seemed like they'd wandered in from the "America's Got Talent" set. Nakia was on fire this evening!
Curtis Grimes - I didn't quite understand at first why Cee Lo picked Curtis, a dyed-in-the-denim, straightahead country singer that seemed more Blake's type, but this week it made a little more sense. Cee Lo chose the Robert Palmer classic "Addicted To Love" for Curtis, and I was pleasantly surprised with the results. I could have done without the boot-scootin' cowgirls shimmying behind Curtis (old-style Palmer fembots in black Lycra and slicked-back hair, maybe playing banjos instead of guitars, would have been more awesome), but Curtis sure seemed to enjoy their company, and I must give him credit for countrifying such an iconic '80s song so fearlessly. This was addictive fun.
Devon Barley - There was a time when I thought Adam Levine had the strongest team on "The Voice." But after two so-so performances from his team members, I started to seriously doubt this. Devon should have NEVER been picked over his superior Battle Rounds rival Rebecca Loebe, a fact that was never more apparent than after his pitchy struggle through OneRepublic's "Stop And Stare" this week. He had zero charisma, and he didn't quite handle the song's biggest notes. Time to go back to medical school, Devon.
Jeff Jenkins - Jeff has always seemed like a frontrunner on this show--he was one of the few contestants who inspired all four judges to turn their chairs around during the Blind Auditions--but this week I think he faltered a bit. In rehearsal he struggled so Adam decided to change the key of his song, a fix that I'm not quite sure did the trick. I remember Jeff sounding better than he did this week, and I know he is capable of more. But he showed all the ways in which "The Voice" IS like "American Idol": He milked his universally heartstring-tugging sob story (by dedicating his performance to his recently deceased mother) and sang a huge, God-fearing hit by one of the biggest Idols ever, Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take The Wheel." This guy may not have the same fanbase as, say, Beverly McClellan, but he's going to get votes for sure.
Javier Colon - Clearly, Adam waited till the end to pull out the big guns. Placing this season's biggest breakout star in the "pimp spot" was a wise move, even though a contestant with momentum like Javier's probably didn't need the help. Javier delivered a soulful, tender, gospel-tinged piano performance of Sarah McLachlan's "Angel," and for once I could hear that song without images of shelter mutts and abandoned kitties playing through my sad brain. Instead, my emotional reaction could be traced directly to the amazing Javier himself. This was the performance of a true star. How did this guy not tell tons of records back when he was signed to Capitol years ago? "The one that got away," indeed.
So now it is prediction/picks time. It seems a no-brainer that Nakia and Vicci would advance from Cee Lo's team, with America probably voting for Nakia and Cee Lo then saving Vicci. But after Curtis's fun leftfield performance, I wouldn't rule him out just yet. As for Adam's team, Javier is a shoo-in for the votes, and I'm pretty sure Adam would go with Jeff as his own pick. Jeff may have not been at his best this week, but he has much more potential than Casey or Devon.
Tune in next Tuesday to find out if I'm right--and to see the remaining eight compete in the next round! Reason to flash your V, for sure.
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