I think we all need to get together and stage an intervention for Cee Lo Green. I understand his quest for uniqueness and I’m behind it. I applaud it, even. I think his general openness to different voices, styles, and personalities opens the door for contestants that the other judges would probably pass on. But I can’t get behind Erin Martin.
There are lots of enormously talented musicians who are “weird” and “unique” and whose voices and styles don’t fit into the traditional box: Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin are all people who broke the mold that shaped their respective times. An argument can be made more recently for the likes of Adele, Amy Winehouse, and dare I say it, Lady Gaga.
But here’s the thing, Amy’s beehive and Gaga’s meat dress aside, both artists were and are legitimately talented musicians, despite their weirdness and gimmicks. Erin Martin spent her entire rehearsal ignoring the advice of Cee Lo and Ne-Yo, balking at Ne-Yo’s declaration that she was “cute” but she wasn’t “sexy.” Gently reminded by Ne-Yo that the Tina Turner song “What’s Love Got to Do With It” is not a sexy song, but a scorned woman song, Martin just couldn't get past the idea that someone wouldn’t find her sexy.
And that, dear readers, is just the tip of my rage iceberg when it comes to Cee Lo’s darling. Her audition, way back when, was painful. Her performance last night, equally so. Her voice is truly wretched—and not because it’s unique, but because it isn’t pleasurable to human ears. I have yet to see this “style” of hers that Cee Lo so often raves about because when she sings, I don’t get the sense that she’s at all conscious of what she’s doing musically. That would be alright if she was willing to learn, but she isn’t. Her voice is ugly. Her personality is ugly.
But as Blake so helpfully pointed out when Carson Daly made his way down the judging line, her body sure isn’t ugly. He didn’t address her performance at all. Not once. He openly thanked her for the revealing attire because he’s married, and women who are willing to wear stilettos with their panties are all he has. I’ve watched episodes of America’s Next Top Model with less open leering from the judges.
That is not to say that I thought the Shields Brothers blew the stage away. In their rehearsal, Babyface likened their performance to watching Wayne’s World, a comparison that made me cringe mostly because it was true. Cee Lo chose Erin Martin because he felt she was the more “versatile” contestant. Frankly, none of them struck me as versatile, but at least the Shields could actually carry a tune.
Okay, rant’s over. Here are the rest of the results:
Team Adam: Nathan Parrett vs. Pip
Oh man, this one was hard. I loved both Nathan and Pip during their auditions. Adam gave them an Amy Winehouse tune, “I’m No Good,” and both contestants held their own in rehearsals, although Nathan’s nervous habits, specifically his penchant for hiding his hands in his pockets, detracted from his performance. Adam really struggled to make his selection at the end of their awesome performance.
He ultimately went with Pip. I don’t blame him, but I would have understood going with Nathan too. Compared to last week, and with the exception of the god-awful Erin Martin vs. the Shields Brothers, I thought the battles were pretty evenly matched.
Team Cee Lo: Erin Martin vs. The Shields Brothers
We all know where I stand on this train wreck. It was an all-around cringe-inducing performance. Adam summed it up as “That was so weird,” but I think he was just being polite.
Team Christina: Ashley de la Rosa vs. Jonathas
Ashley de la Rosa and Jonathas faced off to “No Air” by Chris Brown. Jonathas made googly eyes at Christina throughout rehearsals and Ashley struggled with her shyness. Jewel told her to be herself, which I always think is interesting advice on a show like The Voice. It makes the potential rejection that much worse. Theirs was a pretty solid performance, but it felt more like Ashley de la Rosa featuring Jonathas than an equal duet, and the judges unanimously cast their votes for Ashley.
Team Blake: Alyx vs. Jermaine Paul
Blake pitted these two against one another and gave them the Billy Ocean song “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” because he didn’t think they had enough fun while performing. Jermaine seemed to embrace the opportunity from the start, while Alyx constantly maintained that she was having fun... without actually appearing to have fun. I understand the feeling. I once had a boss who was very very concerned with how happy I was and why oh why didn’t I look happy? I finally said, “I’m happy on the inside.” Unfortunately for Alyx, that sentiment doesn’t cut it in the heavily scrutinized battle rounds. I mean, her judge specifically asked for “fun.” She seemed to bring it late in the performance, but Jermaine rocked it the whole way through and Blake went with him.
Team Adam: Katrina Parker vs. Angel Taylor
This was another one of the harder-to-judge battles of the night, in my personal opinion. Adam handed the women “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis and they sounded great together. They totally did. I leaned toward Angel at the end of the performance, and much like his previous battle between Nathan and Pip earlier in the night, Adam agonized over who to choose. He ends up with some really hard choices, doesn’t he? He picked Katrina, but it could have gone either way.
Team Blake: Gwen Sebastien vs. Erin Willett
I’ve praised The Voice for its ability to present “sob stories” without turning them into melodramas before, and the update on Erin Willett’s family this week was no exception. Her father, previously diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer, took a turn for the worst during the battles (it was later revealed that he passed away) and it was sad, and I really felt for Erin, but I applauded The Voice for not taking Erin’s tragedy and completely exploiting it. Erin herself was dignified and acknowledged her family’s situation without letting it overshadow her performance. I wouldn’t have blamed her for breaking down, but the fact that she didn’t really attested to her professionalism. The fact that The Voice didn’t seem to push the issue either was refreshing, too. I’m always waiting for the drama to explode on this show, but I’m not disappointed when it doesn’t.
Blake assigned Gwen and Erin a Pat Benatar tune, “We Belong,” (nice!) and throughout the rehearsals, both women worked to develop their strengths. Erin sought to prove her versatility, concerned that so many admirers fawned over her “power” that no one would realize that she could be soft as well. She managed to do both brilliantly, and Blake chose her to advance to later rounds.
What are your thoughts on the season so far? Are you eagerly anticipating the day when Erin Martin is pitted against one of the unquestionably talented musicians on The Voice? I know I am.