The Voice Review: I'm Moving to Charlotte
Yes, we've finally arrived at the live shows on the second season of The Voice! There were a number of amazing performances this week, along with:
Blake Shelton unable to get past the male strippers on stage; Cee Lo donning a James Brown-esque wig; and the season's attempt at a social media room failing just as horribly as the first time around.
Who were the coaches’ favorites? Who were our favorites? And who were your favorites from Team Blake and Team Xtina on the first night of the Top 24 on The Voice? Let's take a look at what all went down...
Jermaine Paul gives it his all.
Jermaine Paul - "Livin' on a Prayer"
He opened the show and came up out of the stage, so things got serious quickly. I thought it was much more produced than we were used to seeing thus far on The Voice, and by the end of the episode, it proved to be one of only a few that were overproduced. Jermaine was good, even if he was a bit flat near the end, but the way he performed on stage made up for that miscue a bit.
Jermaine thought it went by quickly. Christina said he milked every opportunity to make it his own. Blake said the girls are going to like Jermaine singing that song.
RaeLynn - "Wake Up Call"
Next up for Team Blake was his little country girl, who he called a stylist. I think statements like that may have gone to her head a bit, because this performance made it seem like she was trying way too hard to be a stylist, to be the character of RaeLynn even, instead of just singing the song to the best of her ability. What she did vocally was much better than her Battle, but the performance was too over the top.
Carson said that RaeLynn was brave for doing one of Adam's songs, and the Maroon 5 singer said she broke his heart for the second time for doing it justice. Blake, meanwhile, told RaeLynn that she was representing the new generation of country music very well.
Naia Kete - "Turning Tables"
Naia is also a "stylist" as Blake would like to say, but she took a step back from her shtick a bit by losing the reggae feel of her performance. She still weaved her mark through in the performance, though, especially in that bold beginning with the quiet acoustic sound and the soft vocals. She whispered one too many times, and then missed a few of the bigger moments, but a lot of the things she tried with her lower register were very interesting.
Xtina trashed Naia a bit, saying that there were a few moments that weren't great. Blake, on the other hand, said that her tender moments were so special.
Jordis Unga - "Alone"
She started out in a very haunting manner on the side of the stage in some dark lighting, but then she picked up some steam and started rocking it out! Her voice wasn't as strong as I was expecting it to be during some of those huge moments in this song, but her simple scream in the middle of it definitely got me going.
Cee Lo thought Jordis's high notes signified her vocal talent, while Blake thought that her performance was the opposite of playing safe. So it was playing dangerously?
Erin Willett - "Living For the City"
Team Blake really started to pick up steam toward the end, beginning with Erin. I thought it was a bit strange that there was an all out Broadway play going on in front of her piano to start, but her voice more than made up for that. Her vocals were so powerful that she was able to do what most would have failed to do with an up-tempo Stevie Wonder song... not make it karaoke! Having said that, I'm not sure this performance gave us a good feel for what Erin would be like as an artist, because I don't think this was it.
Cee Lo said that she was a champion tonight, mostly referencing Erin's strength in dealing with her father's recent passing. Blake stated that her performance was technically and passionately, the best of the night.
Charlotte Sometimes - "Misery Business"
I loved this so much that I had to go back and re-watch it immediately after she finished. She might not be the all out best singer in the competition, but I think Charlotte has IT. Between her weird singing accent, her powerful lower register, the falsetto, the growl, and the amazingly engaging mannerisms she displays on stage, it all adds up to gold. How long did she hold that one note? For a phrase or two near the end, Charlotte managed to out-quirk all of the quirky and "unique" contestants on the show, and then went right back to the powerful vocals. This was my favorite performance of the night.
Adam said she has a unique voice, but there were some pitch issues. Blake and Xtina both immediately shot Adam's pitch claims down. The former also stated that Charlotte was a true artist with a vision, while the latter was surprised at what a dramatic performance it was.
Team Blake Rankings
1. Charlotte Sometimes
2. Erin Willett
3. Jermaine Paul
4. Jordis Unga
5. Naia Kete
How could you not want to see more of Charlotte Sometimes?
Chris Mann - "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
Unlike Team Blake, Xtina's squad began with a bang... a bang in the name of Chris Mann. His voice is so powerful, and it worked perfectly with this song. He let his emotions come through in the performance, and he was perfect on every note. I only worry that at some point he will run out of songs that will both fit his voice AND not make him sound too much like opera.
When asked, Chris said that he hoped Kansas was watching him instead of basketball. Cee Lo really enjoyed it. Adam thought it sounded amazing. Xtina said it was so beautiful, and that Chris truly owned it.
Moses Stone - "Stronger"/"Power"
That wasn't good. I'm not sure what he was trying to do with the performance, but he didn't seem to succeed at whatever it was. He didn't rap all that much and he didn't really sing. It seemed like a whole lot of talking and dancing. He performed well on the stage, but he didn't live up to the potential that his battle round showed.
Cee Lo appreciated his stage presence. Adam said that Moses has more potential as a singer than a rapper. Blake said that he's already sounding like a better singer. Xtina said the kid does it all.
Lindsey Pavao - "Somebody That I Used to Know"
I have a feeling that this was a performance that I liked a lot more than America. Maybe the mimes were a bit much, but other than that, Lindsey was awesome. Her voice is solid, and the fact that she made such a strange song choice only made me like her more. There were definitely moments when she went all out and knocked it out of the park, and there were others when she stayed softer. Lindsey had complete control over this performance.
Adam, like me, said the dudes in the clown suits freaked him out. Xtina said that she loved that Lindsey brings her own unique style. She could listen to Lindsey all day.
Don't be afraid of the weird clown people behind Lindsey.
Sera Hill - "Find Your Love"
Between her new hair and the pant suit, Sera didn't get off to a good start. It didn't get all that much better from there as the song choice was not a good one. There were no verses and hardly any lyrics. She made up for it at times with some dynamic vocals, but then she seemed to be forcing it a bit, and ended up missing some notes near the end.
Blake couldn't get past the fact that there were male strippers on the stage. Xtina said that Sera sounded phenomenal.
Ashley De La Rosa - "Right Through You"
I felt like Ashley was a big underdog coming into the night, and I don't think she did enough to combat that with this performance. It was the first since Jermaine Paul's that I thought was well overproduced, and it also seemed like she was doing a bit of an Alanis impression. It's a shame, because Ashley did sing well, but the whole performance was a bit off.
Adam said that Ashley was the most improved of the night, while Xtina was just happy that she got to sing a song that she absolutely loved.
Jesse Campbell - "What a Wonderful World"
It is really difficult to make an argument that Jess isn't the best singer of the bunch... but of course, I will. This was a beautiful performance, but I've heard this song done, done again, and done just as good as this, so it was hard to fall in love with it on this particular occasion. He had some nice vocal runs, and his tone is perfect, but I have some trouble figuring out if Jesse could be a commercial star or not.
Cee Lo said that Jesse is THAT one, dude. Adam jumped on Cee Lo's sentiment, saying that he was the dude to beat. Xtina said Jesse can sing the phone book.
Team Xtina Rankings
1. Chris Mann
2. Lindsey Pavao
3. Jesse Campbell
4. Ashley De La Rosa
5. Sera Hill
6. Moses Stone
So, America will pick its three favorite contestants from each team that performed on Monday, and those six will move on to the next round. The remaining six will sing again, with one from each team moving on. It will be in the hands of each coach to pick the fourth team member to move on to the Top 16.
Who was your favorite from Team Blake?
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Who was your favorite from Team Xtina?
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Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.