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'The Voice' recap: who will rock you?

June 8, 2011 |  7:00 am


When it comes to the celebrity coaches, the answer is Blake Shelton. Blake Shelton will rock you when singing Queen, and Cee Lo will try. But Adam Levine, while handsome and quip-ready, wavered in "Bohemian Rhapsody," proving he's no Freddie Mercury. Hey, it's really really hard to be Freddie Mercury. Christina Aguilera is the only one who can pull off Freddie Mercury's style -- pleather hotpants and shiny motorcycle jacket over a tiny tank. (But the girl's gotta sing -- maybe her stylists could bump her up from a size 2 to a size 4 so she can get some air in her lungs?) And even Aguilera's powerful, showy vocals didn't quite measure up to the original Queen.

The coaches' Queen medley opened "The Voice" Tuesday night; the show's voiceover reminded viewers that this is "the world's most exciting singing competition," in case anyone watching isn't affected by a little Idol fatigue, or had missed the wince-inducing lead-in show, "America's Got Talent." In its first season, the show has just gone through another procedural shift: For the first time, the decision about who stays and who goes is partially in the hands of viewers. Two will be stricken from each team of four, but your votes will save one singer from each team; voting remains open until Monday at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Singers from two teams -- Christina Aguilera's and Blake Shelton's -- competed Tuesday in a two-hour show. In order of performance:

Raquel Castro, very cute and very young, sang Ke$ha's "Blow" before a phalanx of backup dancers. She was a little pitchy and a little nervous, and didn't do the dance moves she'd been rocking in rehearsal, but all the judges loved her performance. Especially all the male judges.

Jared Blake sang "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon. It sounded lackluster to me, but I'm not sure I can blame that on Jared Blake -- if I heard this song on the radio I would change the station.

The rest... after the jump.

Beverly McLellan sang "I'm the Only One" by Melissa Etheridge. Despite having a cold, she appeared to have an absolute blast on stage. Bald, not skinny and wearing a masculine jacket and skirt (yes, on Beverly McLellan, a skirt looks manly), McLellan may be a test case for whether "The Voice" is really about voices. Because she has one. But will she stay in the competition?

The demure Dia Frampton sang "Heartless" by Kanye West, playing a grand piano in a performance that was surprising and bold and confident, all the more unexpected after a rehearsal scene in which the shy singer talked about her stage fright. "That's probably the greatest rendition of a song I've ever heard," Cee Lo gushed, and the other judges lined up in adulation.

The even more demure Xenia sang Jessie J.'s "Price Tag." She's just a wee young thing with a pretty, silky voice. Can a mistake-free performance, during which she had a little bit of fun, be enough to keep her in the competition?

Lily Elise sang "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie, wearing a Lady-Gaga-reject jacket with jagged plastic all over the collar. The male dancers were a little distracting, but maybe added needed drama. Coach Christina watched with a kind of frozen happyface experssion. The Cristina-meter is a pretty good meter.

Country boy Patrick Thomas sang "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack, which he dedicates to his sister. His voice has lovely rich low notes, and he went big for a high note. But the song is a little low key. Maybe some male dancers would spice it up? Yeah, no.

Frenchie Davis sang "When Love Takes Over," by David Guetta with Kelly Rowland. Practically the opposite of Thomas' song, this was a leap-to-your-feet dance party track. (Which left me equally cold. But that's just me). 30-something Frenchie, who was pulled from "American Idol" for past transgressions, has an impressive voice that perhaps deserved a more soulful showcase.

We also got to see the coaches perform with their teams: the vastly charming Blake Shelton and his crew sang "This Love" by Maroon 5, putting a smile on the face of fellow coach Adam Levine, and Christina Aguilera rocked "Lady Marmalade" with her four ladies.

Next Tuesday we'll find out who won. And maybe the stylists will get Aguilera a bustier that's big enough for her two girls.


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-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: The judges of "The Voice." Credit: NBC