The second week of battle rounds on NBC's "The Voice" brought a slew of questionable fashion decisions and equally questionable song choices. But "questionable" doesn't always mean less delightful.
Twelve contestants went head-to-head tonight, with six moving on to the live shows; all told, Christina's nearly whittled her team in half (she's at eight) while Blake and Cee Lo have cut only three contestants total. Adam's pulling up the rear with only two battle rounds so far, but I'm sure he'll catch up.
Here's what happened tonight.
Geoff McBride versus Sera Hill: Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools"
Great song, great voices, and some sage advice from at least one of the guest coaches, as Jewel assures Sera that sincerity outweighs volume in any battle. Lionel Richie's advice for Geoff? "It's all about the eye contact," urging him to remove his sunglasses – you know, the ones that allow him to see. Vanity is poor advice, and in the end, it didn't really matter.
Christina's Pick: Sera Hill
Lee Koch versus Lindsey Pavao: Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box"
Eesh, I forgot about hipster Lindsey, with her adorable half-shaved head and weird, wicked vocals. Pairing her up against Lee – the baker and Bob Dylan cover-er – is just plain mean. The song was solid, and truthfully, Lindsey had a much better grasp of it. Lee was told during coaching that he needed more conviction – well, how could one sing the words "I wish I could eat your cancer" and NOT feel conviction? He needed to enunciate more clearly, too, Christina told him, but if he did work on that, it didn't come through in the performance. He was nearly as inarticulate a singer as Kurt Cobain was.
Charlotte Sometimes versus Lex Land: Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks"
Charlotte had the better stage presence, but Lex had the better voice; it's a matter of personal preference, admittedly, but Lex's soft-spoken breathiness is calming and sexy at the same time. Charlotte's voice is strong and interesting, but downright irksome. And I say again, what the hell kind of name is "Charlotte Sometimes"? Lex took risks with her range and runs, but Charlotte was more consistent, and ultimately, I disagree with Blake on this one. Want to know when I like Charlotte Sometimes? None of the times.
Sarah Golden versus Juliet Simms: Rod Stewart's "Stay With Me"
Heavens, this song was basically written for Juliet, with her raspy, gravelly voice. This was an awful match – she and Sarah have such different styles, sounds and approaches. The song choice just seemed like an unfair tipping of the scales in Juliet's favor, because she absolutely killed it, and poor Sarah didn't seem to stand a chance. "This song didn't do your voice justice," Christina told Sarah, before weighing in that Juliet should win.
Cee Lo's Pick: Juliet Simms
Jamie Lono versus Jamar Rogers: Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is"
Poor Jamie. What a voice, and what a bad song choice for it. He was out of his element, and while Jamar took off into the power-ballad stratosphere, Jamie just kind of died on the runway. His performance was "meh," but maybe it was just "meh" in comparison to Jamar's work on this epicness. I want to go see Jamie in a coffeehouse. I want to go see Jamar in an arena. And holy crap, the waterworks. Tears and emotions were flying around that studio like no one's business, most of the glorious mess hinging on Jamar's struggle with HIV and Jamie sobbing how wonderful it was to see his friend succeed.
Whitney Myer versus Kim Yarbrough: Mary J. Blige's "No More Drama"
Oh, but this was in fact dramatic! What a song, and what a great pairing with Chaka Khan-esque Kim against curls-and-feathers Whitney. Adam urged Whitney not to try to outsing Kim, because what a fool's errand that would be! This was a powerhouse of a performance, with each killing it in her own way. Cee Lo noted that the song was about acceptance, growth and maturity, and contrasted Kim's "seniority" (she's 50, remember?) with Whitney's "underclassmen," and upperclassmen always have the upper hand.
Stupid Outfit of the Night: What the fresh crap was Juliet wearing? Oh, let's put on some leather cuffs. And some leather shorts. And over-the-knee boots. And patterned tights. And a Janis Joplin headband. Let's talk fashion for a second. Since my outfits always seem to fall into the androgynous chic, drifter bum or colorful classicism camps, I am immediately disqualified from offering any fashion criticism. But really, didn't Coco Chanel once say that before you leave the house, you should take one thing off? It's advice against over-accessorizing Juliet should have heeded.
Awesome Outfit of the Night: That delightful sweater Jamie Lono was rockin'. He out-sweatered Adam Levine, and that's saying a lot. And red glasses look good on everyone, but especially Jamie.
In order to take a break from speculating on what exactly is on Christina's head, let's take wild guesses as to what sports Cee Lo could have possibly played in high school – he does look as if he's wearing a varsity jacket, no? I can see him participating in some track and field events, like the discus throw or something, what with his girth. Maybe golf? Or, let's be honest, my high school gave out varsity jackets for being in band. Cee Lo was totally on the drum line.
The most importanttakeaway here is that Blake Shelton is a Foster the People fan, and that he'd never heard of Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box." "If I wanted 'creepy,' I'd have gone with 'Monster Mash,'" he said. Ladies and gentleman, the precious conundrum that is Blake Shelton continues.