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The Voice recap: Finalists, weirdness and iTunes domination

June 29, 2011 |  6:45 am

This post has been corrected. Please see note at the bottom for details.

Oh no, they bring back Queen! It takes all four coaches to pull off a performance of a Queen song, this time, "Under Pressure," Cee-Lo wears a red dashiki. Adam Levine works very hard and hits some pretty notes. Blake Shelton earns millions of new rock fans. Christina Aguilera: she's Christina. Sometimes I think they leave her mic off so the other voices can be heard.

Good thing it’s a decent performance, placating the audience so there isn’t a Twitter riot over another bizarro rule change. In the performance phase of the live final, host Carson Daly tells us, each contestant will perform a song with his or her coach, and each will also perform a new, original song. The coaches no longer get a vote, and the audience is supposed to vote on only the original song.

Nice things about the show: The live audience was rowdy. “It’s like TRL 10 years ago, I can’t hear anything,” Daly said, smiling to be back at the center of a show people like. Pitbull and Ne-Yo performed their crowd-pleasing hit "Give Me Everything." Cee-Lo got child dancers to do a bonkers Mad Max breakdancing thing for his "Love Is a Battlefield" duet with Vicca Martinez. And Christina Aguilera's top, which had a dangerously revealing cutaway, held onto just enough of her breasts to keep NBC from facing exposure fines.

The competition started with Javier Colon performing an original song, "Stitch by Stitch." In the video prior to the performance, we watch him working in a recording studio, with Levine, his coach, and a producer. So... we watched him record a version of the song we won't hear, because we're going to see him perform live. Well, I guess we can go buy it on iTunes.

Let's take a moment to appreciate the weirdness of "The Voice."


It started out as a blindfold voice competition where only the coaches' input mattered, then turned the judges into coaches who had to make Sophie's-choice like decisions between their own chosen singers, then became a performance-rating call-in show like "American Idol" where the audience sort of determined the outcome, but there were also secret coach votes factored in. Then the top four performers sang new, totally unfamiliar songs; we see them recording the songs and talking about who will win based upon their recordings with famous producers, except the recordings aren't what they're being judged on. So... yeah, it's weird.

Vicci Martinez sang her heart out, but her original song, "Afraid to Sleep," was tragically reminiscent of Bonnie Tyler's '80s solo work -- meaty pop that congeals. Beverly McLellan dueted with Christina Aguilera on "Beautiful," Aguilera's hit, but washed out a little on her solo song, "Love Sick."

Brad Paisley came on the show to perform "Don't Drink the Water," a new song he's done with Blake Shelton, who looked like the jolly country giant when he joins Paisley on stage. Gee he's tall! The height differential is easier to enjoy than the song lyrics, which include "Don't drink the water / That's what they say / But I ain't going down to Mexico / to drink the water anyway."

So far, Paisley's song isn't selling big on iTunes. What is?

As the show was still broadcasting Tuesday on the West Coast, Dia Frampton's solo performance of the new song "Inventing Shadows" was the No. 2 song on iTunes, the top seller of songs from "The Voice." Behind it: Javier Colon at No. 4, the Pitbull single at No. 5, last week's "Moves like Jagger" from Adam Levine's band Maroon 5 at No. 6, Blake Shelton's "Honey Bee" at No. 12, Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" dueted by Adam Levine and Javier Colon at No. 18, Vicci Martinez's "Afraid to Sleep" at No. 22, "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty performed tonight by Blake Shelton and Dia Frampton at No. 25, and Christina Aguilera and Beverly McLellan's duet of "Beautiful" at No. 35.

If that indicates anything, it says that television can sell songs: that's some serious chart domination.

And also, more importantly for "The Voice" fans, that Dia Frampton and Javier Colon are the likely contenders to take the top spot in "The Voice." The results show is Wednesday at 8 p.m., broadcast live for East Coasters, pre-recorded on Pacific.

[For the record, 7:40 a.m. June 29: A previous version of this post spelled Carson Daly's name as Daley.]


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-- Carolyn Kellogg