The Voice: The Country Badass Has Left the Building

The Voice S02E15: "Live Eliminations"

Jermaine Paul and Chris Martin were this week's insta-saves. I know, I was shocked too. I think America and I are sharing the same hivemind. It’s so warm and inclusive here; we should invite Carson Daly over to hang out because he spent most of tonight looking like the will to live has been sucked out of him through a bendy straw.

As the teams get smaller, more and more time is being filled by “surprise” guests. Tonight, those guests were The Wanted, a boy band from the UK that made me applaud just because the state of today’s tweens and their apparent lack of a Nick Carter-esque messiah made me sad for them. Really, it’s nice to see the boy band making a comeback. And while I don’t see the appeal of The Wanted outside of the fact that they are attractive and non-threatening “rock stars” that parents don’t mind letting their fifth graders lust after, I have to commend them for their good haircuts. Justin Timberlake may repeatedly bring sexy back, but every time I see a picture of his blindingly bleached late-'90s perm, I laugh. And then I cry, because somewhere in 1998, my fifth-grade self has his picture in her locker and has probably drawn hearts around it with a pink glitter gel pen.

Also “surprising” us with an appearance tonight was Justin Bieber. Something about his new video. It all became white noise up until the Bieber called Carson “brah,” at which point The Boyfriend jarred me from my reverie by questioning Bieber’s usage of the term. “Did he just say ‘brah?’”

“Justin Bieber is totally street. Look at him. Totally hardened by life.”

Oh, and he’s performing on The Voice’s finale in a few weeks. My life is complete(ly sad).

Ashley de la Rosa and Lindsey Pavao of Team Christina competed for redemption. Christina addressed the controversy surrounding her decision to dump Jesse Campbell on Monday by basically telling everyone to screw off. I love how butthurt the judges get when America disagrees with them. I really do. It’s like watching children sulk.

Ashley’s Lady Gaga cover was weak. She seemed to have a hard time finding a tempo. I was bummed by the lackluster performance because Ashley has been consistently awesome in the past, a trait that Adam and Blake both touched on in their assessments of her performance.

Lindsey sang “Please Don’t Go” and it was quiet and pretty and stable, but lacked any real stand-out moments. It was okay. If we're looking at her performance and Ashley’s performance as existing in a vacuum, then Lindsey was the stronger performer. But I thought Ashley’s previous kickassery would gain her some favor that might overshadow her blah rendition of “You and I.”

I was wrong. Christina chose to keep Lindsey, crying so hard through the decision-making process that I thought for sure her make-up was going to end up EVERYWHERE, but apparently that stuff is cemented to her face.

Next up, Raelynn and Erin Willett of Team Blake faced off for his favor. Erin went first, totally kicking Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary” in the pants with awesome. You see? You see what a difference an Adele-free performance makes?

I was worried, though, because Erin may have been awesome, but Raelynn is a country badass, and sometimes that’s hard to compete with.

Raelynn attempted to soften her edges tonight with “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry. I was oddly excited about this performance because I like The Band Perry, and I like “If I Die Young,” mostly for the Tennyson allusions in the music video. I was also legitimately curious about what Raelynn would sound like when she tried for “pretty” rather than “badass.”

Adam said that if he had been Raelynn’s coach he would have had her tone down some of her inflection, which is definitely the nicest way I can think of to say “Get your twang under control.” A good chunk of Raelynn’s problem could be solved by a diction coach.

We almost ran out of time, with the credits rolling before Blake even started explaining himself. Carson did his “Oh-my-God-guys-we-have-to-finish-this-NOW-or-we’ll-get-in-trouble!” dance/pissy sulking-on-stage routine. Everyone ignored him. Carson is the C-3P0 of The Voice—Blake is Han Solo, Adam is Obi-Wan Kenobi, Cee Lo is Lando Calrissian (Cloud City Lando, with the sweet cape, not Rebel Alliance Lando with the boring uniform), and while it kills me to put Christina in the same league as Carrie Fisher, we don’t have a lot to work with here, so I guess she gets to be Leia Organa. Or Oola, the green chick who got eaten by Jabba’s pet Rancor in Jedi.

ANYWAY, time was of the essence, and Christina had soaked up most of the real estate blathering about how in a perfect world she could have Ashley AND Lindsey. So without much pomp and pageantry, Blake chose Erin Willett over Raelynn.

Next week, we do it all over again with Team Cee Lo and Team Adam.

Are we excited? How do we feel about the outcome of tonight’s eliminations?

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