Ah, Thanksgiving week – turkey, stuffing and the Top 8! Now unpack your elastic waist pants, and let’s talk my highlights and lowlights from this week’s “The Voice” on NBC (in order of appearance).
1. Cloning babies.
Are we talking medical and scientific breakthroughs? Ethical or moral research issues? No, this is coach Christina Aguilera in response to James Wolpert’s awesome performance of Queen’s classic, “Somebody To Love.” It makes total sense. A group of male singers in tuxes = cloning babies. 1 + 2 = 3, right? This performance was great, but will it be enough to save James from the death slot of the night (No. 1)? I hope so.
2. We really like you underneath it all.
Tessanne Chin has already proven she’s an incredible vocalist, but this week she went a step further with a fun, charismatic reggae version of “Underneath it All.” This was a brilliant move on coach Adam Levine’s part. Tessanne has always been a front-runner, but because she started so strong so soon in the competition her arc could easily become static for people watching the show (i.e. the Judith Hill curse). Last night she crashed through that static with a performance that showed off her versatility and likeability in full force.
3. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
Coach Cee Lo Green wrote Caroline Pennell a poem and read it on air after her lackluster performance of “Dog Days Are Over.” It was very sweet (and only a touch creepy) but didn’t make up for the fact that this was the most ill-advised song choice of the night. Cee Lo – stop writing her poems and start giving her the right music! She doesn’t need to do anything “left field” or over the top. She just needs a song that will let her special voice shine! How about Feist? More Ingrid Michaelson? Ben Howard? Anything but Florence and the Machine please.
4. Lies in the Sprint Skybox.
Carson Daly and Robin Thicke took some fan questions in the Sprint Skybox, and for once we got a good one (yes!). Someone asked if Robin dances in front of a mirror at home. He responded “absolutely not,” and I say LIES! Robin Thicke – we all know you dance, groom and play the piano in the mirror 24-7. Just speak your truth, my friend, because the truth will set you free. Watch his performance below.
5. What’s your problem with piano, Blake??
Did a piano break up coach Blake Shelton’s first serious relationship? Did it take his spot on the football team? “I Still Believe In You” was a lovely, understated production, but I’m trying to understand why Blake wouldn’t let Cole Vosbury play the piano again this week? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – there is nothing sexier than a bearded man playing the piano.
6. Distress signals.
Matthew Schuler already knows how to work the stage, so why did he require choreography for his rendition of “It’s Time?” The dancers were distracting, and the hand movements just took us further out of the moment. Maybe he was delivering a message to us via his hands – a distress signal saying “save me from his choreography!” I don’t know, but all that extra work took a toll on his vocals. This was my least favorite performance of the night.
7. Tessanne and the Dudes.
Adam was kidding when he coined the name, but “One Day” was basically a “Tessanne and the Dudes” number, because she dominated that group performance. Her male backup singers were super cute though.
8. Biggest surprise.
This HAS to be Will Champlin with his take on “At Last.” When they announced his song choice, I responded with a “Hell no!,” because – Etta James, you guys. Then he got up there and really slayed that dragon. Will somehow managed to bring a whole new dynamic to a song that is as over-used as it is over sung, reaching for some crazy high notes that shouldn’t have worked but did. Just when you thought he was done, he’d go for another and nail it again. It was amazing to watch, and it was definitely my favorite performance of the night. Watch it again above.
9. Can we stop saying the word “swag” now?
Listen, Ray Boudreaux has tons of swag – he’s got a strategically unbuttoned shirt and tailored suit that says “swag” all day long. Now if the word wasn’t uncool already (and it was), Blake has put the final nail in its coffin by saying it multiple times on air after Ray’s performance of “Gimme Some Lovin'”. RIP “swag” (we hope!).
10. You gotta meet a nice boy.
This was Adam’s advice to Jacquie Lee after she powered through a wild performance of “Who’s Loving You Now,” somehow managing to draw on a reserve of angst that seems well beyond her 16 years. You know what, Jacquie? Don’t meet a nice boy, because what you’re doing is working! If you sound like you “swallowed an old lady” (per Cee Lo), you’re winning.
Coming up: Who do you think will survive Tuesday’s eliminations? It airs at 9/8c on NBC. Leave your thoughts in the comments, and I’ll see you next week!
Guess what? My new Christmas single and video is out this Friday (Black Friday, y’all!). Download it and make me a happy girl! Also? If you live in LA, come see my holiday show next Tuesday, Dec. 3 at The Hotel Cafe. Christmas music is MY JAM.