The Voice Review: She's A Heartbreaker
There were performances by contestants, performances by coaches and a pair of instant eliminations on the first episode of The Voice's Quarterfinals.
Team Xtina performed "Fighter" together, and the coach's outfit was one for the ages. I also loved that she added to the running joke of Blake and male strippers, as she had two shirtless dudes on stage with her during a second stint of "Hillbilly Bone."
Maroon 5 also rocked out their new single "Payphone," and Team Blake sang "Heartache Tonight." I wasn't surprised at all that Blake gave his team members much more of an opportunity to shine than Christina did earlier in the show.
Let's get to the important performances, though. One member from Team Xtina, and one member form Team Blake were going to head home immediately following the performances. How did they perform under the pressure?
RaeLynn proved that not only is she country, but she can also put on a good show.
Team Blake - RaeLynn - "She's Country"
If America voted her through last week, I can't imagine how many votes RaeLynn is going to pull in with this performance. She got rid of all the weird she brought last time, and absolutely knocked this song out of the park. Being very familiar with this song, I loved hearing the female vocal on it. It was a pleasant surprise, and I'm back on board the RaeLynn train after two subpar performances.
Christina said RaeLynn makes her want to sing country. Cee Lo said it was like AC/DC did a country song. Adam noted that Blake finally did something right in picking the song. Blake said that it was the most proud moment he has had this season.
Team Xtina - Jesse Campbell - "Halo"
Well he automatically gets points subtracted for that hat/suspenders combination, but his voice sounded perfect once again, so Jesse had that going for him. He may have been connecting with the song like you read about, but it wasn't really connecting with me. It was technically good, but nothing about it made me want to vote for him or watch another performance by Jesse.
Cee Lo said he sung the hell out of the record. Adam wasn't feeling the song choice until it kicked in, but said Jesse is still a favorite. Blake said it was a great performance. Christina thought that Jesse brought it on an emotional level.
Team Blake - Jordis Unga - "A Little Bit Stronger"
My main issue with this performance was how much they tried to un-countrify this version. The song is so inherently a country tune that half of this performance sounded like the original, and the other half sounded like they went way too far the other way in making sure it wasn't country. The end result was that Jordis's phrasing was way off from the melody. She still sounded good, other than a couple of early bum notes, but this wasn't nearly as good as last week's last chance song.
Christina said she liked the intimate approach. Cee Lo thought it was a touching performance. Adam said that it's amazing to witness her emotions on stage. Blake was proud of Jordis for doing something so opposite of what she usually does.
Team Xtina - Ashley De La Rosa - "Foolish Games"
Wow. The talent from these first four singers had me wondering how the coaches were ever going to be able to cut people later on in the night. This was the first time I was truly impressed by Ashley, but this was as good of a time as any. The combination of being able to hit that huge note in the middle, and the tenderness of her falsetto at the end, was nothing less than incredible.
Cee Lo thought it was great. Adam said Ashley was the biggest surprise, because she is consistently making him fee wow. Blake said the smartest move of the season was Christina saving Ashley last week. Christina loved that she truly made the song her own.
For the first time, Ashley showed me that she may be a contender after all.
Team Blake - Erin Willett - "Set Fire to the Rain"
Boy, she hit some pretty big notes in that performance, but she suffered from what so many who attempt Adele songs do...not living up to the original. Erin sounded great, but it is so hard to seem great when people are going to inevitably compare her performance to Adele. When Mathai did Adele back in the auditions, she changed the song so much that there was no need to compare anymore. That is the way to do Adele. This was just a much worse version of the original, and that isn't going to garner votes.
Christina said Erin sang her heart out. Cee Lo thought she did the song great justice. Adam said he got very Jewish with the fire on stage, and that Erin's phrasing didn't work all that well. Blake said that Erin is one of the few that actually can do an Adele song.
Team Xtina - Lindsey Pavao - "Part of Me"
I am a huge Lindsey fan, so the fact that I'm not giving this performance a glowing review should be a sign of how well she did. This was very underwhelming for what I was expecting. Not only did she sound flat at a couple of points, but there wasn't nearly the amount of power exerted that there needed to be. Styling will only get you so far in this competition. She has that in spades, but the performance was a step backward from last week.
Cee Lo liked that the staging was much more elaborate, but he had never heard the song before. Adam said there were a couple of big moments where the pitch got away from her. Blake is already a fan of hers, and buys her music on iTunes. Christina said she sees Lindsey grow each and every week.
Team Blake - Jermaine Paul - "Against All Odds"
Unfortunately for Jermaine, this song automatically gets me in a bad mood after hearing it done so poorly on American Idol so many times in the past. Luckily, though, he made enough changes to it that it wasn't half bad. Some of the changes were for the better - the quick falsetto changes, or a couple of growling moments - but some were for the worse - a number of the long-winded runs just sounded ridiculous. This song definitely showcased his powerful vocal more than last week, but it still didn't impress me all that much.
Christina said Jermaine is her favorite on Team Blake. Cee Lo thought he made the song his own, and gave the song some soul. Adam loved that Jermaine did his own thing with it, but he over-embellished a bit. Blake said this moment was a turning point in Jermaine's career.
Team Xtina - Chris Mann - "Viva La Vida"
The beginning wasn't all that great at all, mostly because the quieter moments sounded much too talky, but once the song picked up so did Chris's performance. Then "Oooooohs" of the song were meant for his chops, and his adlibs were great as well. Chris has a monster of a voice, but it only came through in half of this song, which is what worries me about him in a competition like this. He is going to have to choose some current songs, but I'm not sure his voice will always lend itself to the choices he makes.
Adam wanted to be moved by an opera song, and wasn't by this performance. Christina loved that he stepped out of his comfort zone, and thought Chris made the song his own.
Finally, after all of those performances, it was time for the coaches to make their decisions in the INSTANT ELIMINATIONS!
Lindsey, Chris, and Ashley are safe, which means Jesse Campbell is going home. This was extremely shocking to me. I completely agree with her decision, but it was still a surprise. Ashley received the least votes of the four last week, but obviously Christina felt the same way I did about the 18-year old's performance this week...it was awesome! Jesse, like I have said, is technically fantastic, but he quickly fell into a rut of sounding the same each and every time. He wasn't growing like Ashley was each and every week.
Erin, Jermaine, and RaeLynn are safe, and so Jordis Unga is going home. Blake didn't take nearly as long as Christina in explaining his decision, and he probably didn't put nearly as much thought into it. He rationalized his choice by stating this was how America voted last week. That's a smart move if he was simply playing the odds, and by my account, she wasn't the best of the night either.
One more singer from each team will be heading home during Tuesday night's episode, which will leave Team Christina and Team Blake with only two contestants. Those four will meet up with four from Team Adam and Team Cee Lo in the Semifinals in two weeks.
Let's hear it from you TV Fanatics. Who was your favorite of the night? Did the coaches make the right decisions? Check out all of The Voice photos, and The Voice quotes, and then pick your favorite of the night in the poll below.
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.