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The Voice: Bring It On


Cee Lo shows his dominance by not even using the cushions meant for him to sit on while others stand.

Wait wait wait. Last season, the battle rounds were only an hour long. I rejoiced because, well, I find the two-hour episodes to be brutal. Luckily, the seeming endlessness of the 2-hour auditions is eased by the storytelling and competitiveness of the battle rounds…which NBC has deemed should be two hours long this season because they are sadists.

The maturity that I think sets The Voice apart from the other talent show programs is still present with the added bonus of our judges: Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, and Adam Lambert, taking on the additional role of mentor to their respective teams. I dig it. Sometimes it’s easy to cynically dismiss pop stars as living products made out of plastic and good marketing teams: Christina is popular because she’s hot, Adam is popular because he makes teenage girls swoon, Cee Lo became a household name singing “Forget You” which we all know is not the actual title of that song, and Blake…actually I don’t know much about the country scene, such is the backlash that results from the fact that I didn’t realize that there were other genres of music besides country until fourth grade (thanks, mom). So, it’s great to see all of the knowledge and insight that these four massively successful musicians bring to the table.

Each judge is assisted in their mentoring by a guest musician, which could have very quickly turned into a game of “How Many Celebrities Can We Cram onto This Show,” but The Voice managed to avoid that trap by each assistant mentor actually, well, mentoring. Adam Lambert enlisted the help of Alanis Morissette and Robin Thicke. Blake Shelton turned to Kelly Clarkson and his wife, Miranda Lambert. Cee Lo Green called in Babyface and Ne-Yo while Christina Aguilera had Jewel and Lionel Richie at her disposal.

So, onto the battles!

Team Adam: Tony Lucca vs. Chris Cauley
Adam pairs Tony and Chris up and assigns them U2’s "Beautiful World." The duet is awesome. This is a problem for me while watching The Voice, that I get so caught up in how shiny and awesome the duets are that unless someone completely drops the ball, my objectivity is sated by the sweet harmonies. And Tony and Chris had some sweet harmonies. I might have to take iTunes up on some of those performance downloads they hock at every commercial break. Both guys rocked it. I personally thought that Chris had the more consistent performance, but Adam chose Tony to advance to the live rounds arguing that his performance was more passionate. Okay, I can live with that.

Team Blake: Adley Stump vs. RaeLynn
Blake assigns Tom Petty’s "Freefallin’" to RaeLynn and Adley. I’m seriously loving the song choices. RaeLynn, however, seriously did not love some of the high notes in that tune and fretted that Adley’s more powerful voice would blow her away. It’s a legit concern, but Miranda Lambert pointed out that while Adley has power, that’s…pretty much all she has. RaeLynn has a distinctive sound and style. Personally, I equate her style to the Dixie Chicks, and I find the Dixie Chicks to be grating on my ears, but she was surprisingly fierce during the performance and, citing his desire for a “storyteller” voice I totally see why Blake chose her over Adley to progress.

Team Christina: Chris Mann vs. Monique Benabou
You guys, this was one of the best performances of the night. Christina paired the duo up on "The Power of Love." Yes, a Celine Dion tune. When I was a wee fourth grader out to rebel against my parents’ moonshine flavored musical taste, I rebelled with Celine Dion. Tame, I know, but it made my dad threaten to throw the stereo out a window, so mission accomplished. Monique worried that Chris’ classical training and polished performance would knock her out of the competition. Christina emphasized emotion, which Monique had in spades compared to Chris. The performance was phenomenal. Seriously. Google it. Go. Now. No, finish reading the review first, THEN go Google it. I didn’t have an opinion in the end, I just wanted them to keep singing duets. Christina chose Chris because he managed to find his emotion. I’m sad to see Monique go, but someone had to be eliminated.

Team Cee Lo: Cheesa vs. Angie Johnson
Ooh. "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Good choice, Cee Lo. I’ve mentioned how much I’m loving the musical choices right? Yes. Awesome. This is a tune that I’ve heard many covers of, usually at karaoke horror shows. Angie Johnson and Cheesa, however, are insanely better than the average karaoke belter. However, they were also the first of the contestants who were paired up and don’t seem to gel particularly well with one another. This was a competition and they didn’t try to pretend anything otherwise. Women are catty, man. I’m allowed to say that because I am one and these two were just going for the kill at every rehearsal. Angie had the key upped knowing that Cheesa struggled in the higher range. Cheesa didn’t appreciate it. Their performance was pretty awesome, though I kept getting the vibe that each one desperately hoped that the other one tripped and fell on her face during the battle. Angie was warned not to hold back, but hold back she did, and Cee Lo picked Cheesa.

Team Blake: Brian Fuente vs. Jordis Unge
Blake found his storyteller in RaeLynn in an earlier battle, and pitting Brian and Jordis against one another, he sought out his “rocker.” He gave them Alanis Morissette’s "Ironic" (ah, the sound of my angry, post-Celine youth) and Brian worried that given a song originally written for and by a woman, he was at a disadvantage. Really, dude? You know you can change the key, right? I mean, my musical knowledge doesn’t extend much past high-school marching band (Mellophones represent!) and I know that. And it’s not like "Ironic" is a particularly GRR GIRL POWER song. Kelly Clarkson warned him that he had to commit to the song or risk sounding “shaky,” but shaky is exactly what he sounded, and Blake went with Jordis.

Team Christina: Anthony Evans vs. Jesse Campbell
Another download worthy performance, Christina paired Anthony and Jesse together and gave them "If I Ain’t Got You," an Alicia Keys’ song. This was the last battle of tonight’s episode and definitely the hardest one to judge. Evans and Campbell performed so well together. When one faltered, the other excelled, but neither exhibited a fatal flaw in his performance. The performance was more of a team effort to perform the song well rather than an individual effort to kick the other guy’s ass and they complimented one another so well that even Christina had a hard time deciding who to keep and who to let go. She ultimately chose Jesse, but she might as well have just resorted to Eeny Meeny Miny Mo for all the decisiveness she showed.

Did you agree or disagree with the judges’ decisions tonight? Did any of the performances utterly blow you away?

Comments (26)
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Honestly, the mickey mouse guy and jesse pretty much had a free pass, I dont think it was necessarily a competition for those two, but the judges knew they wanted that person in the live show as long as they didnt screw up the battle round badly. I honestly thing battle wise they were out done by the other -- especially Anthony, but since they were lamb to the slaughter I dont think they really ever had a shot.

Monique had to go home because the classical singer guy is just too unique to let go.
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And Monique should've been picked over Chris aswell...smh
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Adley, Angie and definitely Anthony should've been chosen...

i absolutely loved Jesse Campbell, but Anthony so should've been picked...

why on earth would you choose to pair these two up though Xtina?? Dumb dumb dumb...

They both are top 3 and should've been in the live shows together...still baffled!
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Not Adam Lambert----> Adam Levine!!!
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Raelynn over Adley, really Blake?! Ditto with Angie and Anthony going home...
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Why do you have another show representing a diverse group of women and no Latina? We watch your shows too. hire me.
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Christina Aguilera is latina ; )
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I disagreed with the judges the first couple of times. I felt that Tony received a bit a favoritism because they were trying to make up for the fact that Christina didn't recognize him until somebody told her that she worked with him in the Mickey Mouse Club. I thought Chris excelled and deserved the spot. I also thought Adley was infinitely more talented then RaeLynn but the later posesses the youth, quirkiness,look, and even the name befitting of commercialized Country music.She's adorable basically. And I thought Angie did a hell of a better job than Cheesa who was pitchy and screechy.



I think it sucks sometimes that they try to have the one token person for each genre of music on their teams so they end up pairing up two very strong singers, guaranteeing that a really good person would be going home. I also sometimes feel like the song choices are a bit skewed to one person's favor over another. Like in the case of Blake's team with Brian and Jordis...no key change in the world would have made him sound better singing Ironic over Jordis...not because he isn't talented, but because that song is catered to a stronger female vocal.
More+
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um.... Adam Lambert isn't on The Voice.. that's Adam Levine...
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First I have to LOL because I wish it was Adam Lambert, but it is Adam Levine. Adam Lambert is The Voice to many people. Also I'm not sure I will keep watching because so many of the chosen ones were not the best in my opinion. I think the point made by @gsander2653 is valid, re: pitting two of their best singers leaves a weaker team.
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haha It's not Adam LAMBERT. It's Adam LEVINE. Why do people keep mixing up their names? lol I can't believe Blake kept RaeLynn over Adley. I think that will prove to be a huge mistake on his part.
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The last one was so hard! I ended up pulling for Anthony, but Jesse deserved it just as much. If only they hadn't both been on Christina's team, they might both still be in the game!
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it is NOT adam lambert BUT levine!!!
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I agreed with all of them for the most part. I like the duets. It brings an interesting dynamic to the competition, but there is an inherent problem with it. If you pit 2 of your best team members against each other, only one can advance, while you will have to advance a lesser talented singer later. This happened last night. I think Christina made the right choice with Jesse Campbell, but Anthony Evans was amazing too. Besides Jesse, he had the best performance of the night, which is sad because we lost an amazing singer.
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Amen. I was rooting for Anthony all the way...

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Ummm, yeah, Adam Lambert isn't a judge. He was on that other singing reality show. You know. The one that has J.Lo now.
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Haha Think the writer meant Adam Levine, which I like, but Adam Lambert is the ultimate Adam! Would love to see him on the Voice ! He's a great mentor. honest, fair and very constructive. Love to hear him speak almost as much as sing. A duet with Christina would be spectacular!
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apart from Adam Levine's first choice (Tony) and Blake's second (Jordis), they all royally screwed up their other decisions and the ones they picked weren't nearly as good as the ones who went home.. Blake only picked RaeLynn because 1) she reminds him of his wife and 2) she was about to cry.. when she's not purposefully throwing in her twangs, she was alright but it's obviously done on purpose.. Chris is good and all but I have nothing else to say other than I prefer Monique, I would never buy Chris' music. Cheesa only sounded alright when she was trying to belt it out, her lower singing sounded like she was grumbling.. Jesse, who just seemed full of himself, honestly didn't sound as good. Anthony was better which is why he's had multiple albums under one of Sony's Christian/Gospel labels.. but whatever.



thank God it's Adam Levine not Adam Lambert.. couldn't stand him on American Idol, I wouldn't have ever watched The Voice is he had been the coach/judge..
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Thank you Kevin! I though I was the only one thinking Blake chose this artist based on what she looked like/reminded him of (his wife!)...Really disappointed with him...I also preferred Monique and was shocked Chris was picked! And to be honest I rooted for Angie to win since Cheesa (?!) was behaving like a bitch towards her (very unprofessional), ditto with Jesse.
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Turn about is fun... since Levine didn't recognized that Adam Lambert sung the hit What Do You Want From Me song... it is fun that this writer has Lambert and Levine inter-twined. Wish Adam Lambert had time left on his busy schedule to appear on the Voice... then I would watch the show
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LOL I like both Adam's but I LOVE Adam Lambert. Talk about THE Voice. OMG this is a riot!
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Adam lambert will get a kick out of this. I think you meant A. levine of Maroon 5.
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Ah I think you mean Adam Levine not Adam Lambert, Although I'm sure they both make little girls swoon in their own particular way.
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however, little girls swooning for Adam Lambert are wasting their time...
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Women have been swooning for gay men since the beginning of time...and vis versa. How many times do guys make it a challenge to bag a lesbian in hopes of it leading to a threesome? I'm just sayin'. Acknowledging and appreciating someone's attractiveness and all around awesomeness via swooning etc. isn't a waste of time given they aren't actually expecting anything to come of it.
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why tho.. what's wrong with girls swooning over a gay man? i think people need to redefine that old meme. i'm not a lesbian but find a lot of girls hot to the point of swooning over them. with celebs your most likely never gonna end up having sex with them anyway so simple swooning should be fun no matter sexual preference.
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