Last week, America saved Bryan Keith, Amanda Brown and Melanie Martinez of Team Adam, Sylvia Yacoub and Dez Duron of Team Xtina and Cassadee Pope and Terry McDermott of Team Blake and Cody Belew, Nicholas David and Trevin Hunte of Team Cee Lo. The top ten perform tonight, with the two singers, regardless of team, with the least number of votes, going home tomorrow. Sylvia sings “Girl on Fire;” Terry, “Summer of ’69;” Melanie, “Seven Nation Army;” Cody, “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce; Bryan, “New York State of Mind;” Amanda, “Stars” by Grace Potter & the Nocturnals; Nicholas, “Lean on Me;” Trevin, “Scream;” Cassadee, “Over You;” Dez, “Feeling Good.”
Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton world-premiere her song, “Just a Fool.” The powerhouse performance will be difficult to top, although the song pales in comparison to, say, one of my favorite songs, “Come On Over Baby (All I Want is You).” Their voices blend well enough, but there is no connection between the two.
The guy who started it all for Christina, Ron Fair, helps Christina coach law student Sylvia Yacoub, who sings “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys while playing the piano in the beginning. The fire background is beautiful. She sings to the crowd, looks like a star and the song suits her well. Carson Daly says that she set the bar high. Christina said that the challenge of the song was to make it interesting even though the refrain kept repeating the same set of notes, which she did. In the Skybox, Christina Milian tells Sylvia that she kills it.
Blake Shelton brings his producer Scott Hendricks to coach his team. Terry McDermott sings “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams. He sings the difficult song effortlessly, outdoes Sylvia, but I expected the song and him to be more fun. Blake gives him a standing o. Christina thinks that his singing on tiptoe is cute, that it’s his signature move. Does he do it to reach the high notes? Terry says that maybe he just wants to be taller. Cee Lo Green says Terry reminds him of what he loves about rock and roll and that he’s ready to hear Terry’s own music. Adam is angry watching him; he hasn’t gotten over losing Terry.
Carson acknowledges the cast of Guys with Kids in the audience.
Melanie, the youngest–at 17, and to Adam, the liveliest, contestant, sings “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes, while playing the guitar. Coach Adam Levine, who looks like a cute Alec Baldwin in glasses, tells her to explode. Her laid-back, high-pitched voice reminds me of Alannis Morissette. The song does not climax; she could have chosen a more powerful song. Blake says that he loves the song, especially the Oak Ridge Boys version, and wants to work with Melanie more than anyone in the contest. Cee Lo likes the cool version, and Adam supports her, too. Adam reveals that Melanie fought for the song and her cool rendition.
Jennifer Hudson helps Cee Lo coach Cody Belew of Arkansas, who surprises with “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce. Now we’re talkin’. He wears something like what Adam Lambert wore when he sang with Kiss on AI, and gets Cee Lo and Blake dancing in their seats. The audience cheers, thinking that the song has ended; he again surprises with “I ain’t done yet,” and dances at the end of the performance, which makes Christina and me smile. He’s the man tonight. He may dance more like Ellen than Beyonce or J. Lo, but it doesn’t matter, especially with the energy of the back-up dancers. Adam says that he’s cocky, playing with the crowd, and cracks him up.
Blake says it for me: “Is this the guy who sang Joleen?” And adds, “People in Arkansas are saying, ‘Did we raise this boy?’ ”
Christina says that he sang like a true diva.
Bryan Keith sings “New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel, a song that Bryan relates to, because he’s proud of his city. Adam thinks that the song is part of his soul, and urges him to show even more of himself to the audience. The song is more about the lyrics than the tune. If he wanted to do Billy Joel, “Big Shot” would have had more impact. He sings “New York” better than Billy Joel, though: more feeling, more power.
Blake says that he’s a fan, and that Bryan’s laid-back style reminds him of Buble, which is funny because I mistook Blake for Buble when I listened to Hit Man: David Foster & Friends, the other day. Was it “Wildflower?” Anyway, Adam says that Bryan sang it like a man, and made it his own.
Adam was watching Jay Leno when he saw “Stars” by Grace Potter and thought that it would be a great song for Amanda. She sings it well, but the performance is not memorable.
Blake kids that he can’t stand Adam sometimes. Blake doesn’t know the song, and says that that’s the best way to be introduced to the song. Christina also doesn’t know the song, and commends her for the emotional performance, and says that the song has a country vibe to it. Adam says that the song is country/rock. Cee Lo says that if she wins the whole thing, he wanted people to know that he discovered her. Adam says that people will remember the song because of her, and that it was a good song to follow “Dream On,” which was a more oomphy song for me.
Before Nicholas sings “Lean on Me,” he goes, “Holy buckets, it’s Jennifer Hudson.” From the rehearsal snippets, it sounds like he’ll put a different spin on this song that we’ve heard a few thousand times. He stands up briefly as he plays the piano as he sings, but the gospel back-up interests me more. I knew it, he should have picked a less well-known song.
Carson says that it was fun to watch. The crowd cheers. Adam says that when Nicholas lost control of his left leg, Adam knew that Nicholas was feeling it. Blake says that tonight was the best episode of The Voice. Blake says that it was like watching a legend. When Christina says that it was like chicken soup, Carson adds, “legendary chicken soup.” Christina lauds him for his song choice. Cee Lo says that he heard the voice of a generation, that gospel music is his blood type, and that Nicholas’ performance made him cry.
Trevin was star-struck when he met Jennifer, “You look beautiful.” He wants to mix it up, remind the audience is he’s 18, and do “Scream” by Usher instead of another ballad. Jennifer thinks that the audience might be confused. Cee Lo decides to trust him, and lets him take the risk. His rendition is gay and therefore different. I think that he struggled a bit with the high notes when he dances a bit, but gets the rest of the song down pat. Usher or Chris Brown he ain’t.
Adam says that it wasn’t his favorite moment, but he can sing the dictionary. Christina disagrees and thinks that this is his favorite moment. Cee Lo thinks that it paid off, and there’s no arguing with him when he hits the power notes.
The Voice shows a clip of Jennifer Hudson belting it out in Smash.
Carson commends Paul Mirkovich and the band.
Cassadee sings “Over You,” which Miranda Lambert and Blake wrote when they wrote it for Blake’s brother. In rehearsal, Blake and Cassadee cry when she sings the song. I believe them. The camera zooms in on Blake with his hands clasped under his chin as Cassadee sings in front of him. Maximum milking, which I don’t mind. He gives her a standing o.
Christina thanks her for taking her on the ride. Christina got emotional when she saw tears well up in Blake’s eyes. Cee Lo commends Blake for sharing something so personal with Cassadee. Aside from the emotional connection of the song, Adam says that this country song suits her the best. Blake says that Cassadee made him feel that he was listening to the song for the first time. Cassadee has parted the Red Sea with this song. Dez Duron will have a tough time closing the show.
Yale football player Dez sings “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble. He tries a bit harder than Buble’s more straight-forward style. I didn’t expect him to do better than Buble, but he did, bending over with the mike, full of himself. Cee Lo loves it and says that it’s a wonderful way to cap the evening. Blake says that that’s where Dez fits in musically. Christina says that he made people’s hearts melt tonight.
Who’re going home tomorrow? Melanie and Bryan?
Tomorrow, Rascal Flatts performs.
To vote, you can download the songs on iTunes, or call or text these numbers:
Texting is available only through Sprint. ITunes songs that make it to the top 10 get ten points per vote.
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