'The Voice' recap: America loves singing lesbians!
Of the eight semifinalists in "The Voice," only two are openly lesbian, but that's a pretty high number: 25%. And both those two were saved by the viewing audiences' vote, which has to say something: America loves singing lesbians!
Or maybe it's just that Americans who watch "The Voice" noticed that the competitors in question, Beverly McClellan and Vicci Martinez, are really compelling singers. People who want to vote for them -- or the other six singers -- had to be paying attention, because the show's voting rules changed, yet again. Votes must be made before 10 a.m. Wednesday Eastern Time. That's 7 a.m. for us in Los Angeles.
Last week's audience votes were announced at the beginning of Tuesday's "The Voice," during which the eight semifinalists each performed (competing for your votes, should you have noticed that early voting deadline). Two coaches performed, too -- Adam Levine, with his band Maroon 5's new single "Moves Like Jagger," and Blake Shelton, who sang his country-rock "Honeybee."
First, the elimination:
The new Team Cee Lo: Tori and Taylor Thompson, Vicci Martinez (audience save), Nakia, Curtis Grimes. Nakia, who got onto the show singing Cee Lo's hit "Forget You," was saved after Cee Lo called him "my brother from another mother," or "my brotha from anotha motha," if you're less WASPy than me.
The new Team Adam: Casey Weston, Devon Barley, Jeff Jenkins, Javier Colon (audience save). "Our friendship does not end here," Adam Levine said as he let the remaining two men on his team go. "And I mean that -- it's not just me saying that on television." They'll see ya at Thanksgiving, Adam!
Other highlights: Adam Levine's Maroon 5 showcased their new single, "Moves Like Jagger." It's not bad, hitting just the right skinny sexy guy singing falsetto notes (but it wasn't quite as live as it seemed). More -- including the video -- after the jump.
A tip: Never share the stage with Christina Aguilera. She can steal any song without even trying.
After Adam Levine's shaky performance of Queen a few weeks ago, he was remarkably perfect doing this new single from his own band. Maybe that's because it was pre-taped, and he got more than one take for the "live" performance.
This isn't about the coaches' performances, however. It's a singing competition. The eight semifinalist contenders, in order of appearance:
Frenchie Davis sang Madonna's "Like a Prayer." Christina Aguilera coached she should do it "churchy." But what she sang was still more dance-club -- clearly Frenchie's comfort zone -- than holy. In the translation it lost Madonna's put-on shy piety and had no momentum for the song's celebratory turn. This is the problem with disco, my friends -- you start high and end high and fill the middle with high, and eventually you start to notice it's really, really boring.
Nakia sang a lousy song I've never heard by someone I don't know (neither does Adam Levine! All right, it's "Whataya Want From Me" by Adam Lambert). "Confidence becomes cool, know what I'm saying?" Cee Lo told his uncertain singer. "You can trust in me, dawg." Great performance, great white suit, but why does Cee Lo hate his "brother" so much? Why not let him sing a song he could do well?
Dia Frampton, who showed off last time by playing a grand piano, showed off this time by playing an acoustic guitar, and sang R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion." This small girl -- who, it turns out, has put out a couple of albums, including one on Sire Records -- is a total powerhouse.
Casey Weston sang the Worst. Song. Ever: "I Will Always Love You," penned by Dolly Parton, made pop-famous in the '80s by Whitney Houston. "I know I'm only 18, but I've been in love once," Casey says during rehearsal, protesting that she could feel enough to sing it. During the opening bars of the song, the words were muffled, about as clear as a tax form. Her dress was nicely flowy, though.
Beverly McClellan sang "The Thrill is Gone" by B.B. King. Good call, coach Christina Aguilera! This is what Nakia should have sung, or something like it. McClellan had a hard time dialing back into the song's relaxed groove, instead of bringing more of her so-intense-it's-almost-freakish performance skillz. Did I just write "skillz"? Sorry.
Javier Colon sang "The Fix" by Coldplay, accompanying himself with acoustic guitar before rocking out with a band. It was more manly than the other songs he's sung, and his performance was again flawless.
Xenia sang The Scripts' "The Man Who Can't Be Moved." Again, as Blake Shelton has said, she shows a knack for finding moments and notes in songs that feel unique but also true, like a good jazz singer. But young Xenia lacks the polish of the other remaining performers, which may work against her.
Vicci Martinez sang "Dog Days are Over" by Florence and the Machine. There were boy drummers with black raccoon-eye makeup. Vicci had a quavery start. And yet: The performance was killer in the end. No wonder they decided to let her close the show.
This week's voting in "The Voice" will close Wednesday at 7 a.m. Pacific. The coaches get to vote, too. How do the audience vote and coach vote combine to determine who will be finalists? Let's let "The Voice" FAQ explain:
After the semifinals performances, both coach score and audience vote will determine which artists advance to the final performance round. Each coach will have 100 points to split between the two artists on his or her team. The number given to each artist is their "Coach Score." Each artist will also receive an "Audience Score" that reflects his or her share (or percentage) of total votes cast for the team. This number is calculated by dividing the votes the artist received by the total votes received by that artist's team. Each artist's "Coach Score" and "Audience Score" will be added, and the artist with the higher overall number on each team will advance to the final performance round.
OK, right. Whatever. See you next week.
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photo: The judges of "The Voice" with host Carson Daly, center. Credit: NBC