"The Voice" is shaking things up a little bit for the audience. Tonight, contestants were subjected to instant eliminations, and two solid shocks ensued … after blind auditions, battle rounds and the first live culling of team members, four artists remain on each of the coaches’ teams — but not for long.
For the sake of recap, and my own sanity, those remaining at the start of tonight's episode on Teams Blake and Christina were are RaeLynn, Jermaine Paul, Jordis Unga and Erin Willett on Team Blake, and Ashley De La Rosa, Chris Mann, Lindsey Pavao and Jesse Campbell on Team Christina.
Now, only three remain on each, and the television audience will cut it down to do two after tomorrow's show and oh, the pressure! But let's get through tonight first, shall we?
RaeLynn: Jason Aldean's "She's Country"
Yes, we get it, Blake, RaeLynn is pure country. And some of us like that, no worries. But I'm over RaeLynn. Chalk it all up to personal taste, I guess — she's a big voice in a little body, and her attitude increases exponentially every time she sings. Truthfully it's mind-blowing.
Jordis Unga: Sara Evans's: "A Little Bit Stronger"
The more Blake's team sings, the more I realize how little I know about modern country music, and how little I care. This was a solid song choice on Blake's part, though, because even I can see it was a good way to showcase Jordis's voice, and not just the raw, rough emotion she's screamed out in her songs up till now. Christina described it as "softer and more intimate," and I just call it beautiful.
Erin Willett: Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain"
Oh, so many emotions! We know and love this Gaithersburg girl, and know her story: her father passed on pancreatic cancer in December, after seeing Erin through the blind auditions. Blake's father passed shortly after, too, he said, and coach and contestant had a beautiful moment together: "You gave me a time to shine in the darkest time in my life," Erin told Blake, and ohmygod the tears I had to fight …. Oh, and the song was incredible. Like, do-not-blink-in-case-you-miss-something-amazing incredible.
Jermaine Paul: Phil Collins's "Against All Odds"
This is one of those songs I know every word to, but never knew the name of. So, points to Blake and Jermaine. And holy cow, was this incredible. It was subtle but powerful and rich at the same time, and the coaches loved it as much as I did. "You made it your own, and you gave it soul … and Phil Collins has an awful lot of soul for a white guy." Cee Lo, always profound.
INSTANT ELIMINATION: Jordis Unga. (Blake said he would have to honor America's choice — Jordis placed in the bottom three during last week's voting. Judging from the few seconds of silence as the censors did their work, I'm guessing Jordis was not pleased.)
Jesse Campbell: Beyonce's "Halo"
Jesse sang this song for his daughter, who apparently slept on his chest during the time he was homeless and sleeping in his car, and who sang with him when he was singing on the streets. Collective "awwwwwww." Jesse's work on this song gave me all the good kinds of chills.
Ashley De La Rosa: Jewel's "Foolish Games"
She's just 18, but gosh she's got heart. And crazy-good pipes — that one note seemed to last for days, especially before such a soft, gentle ending. The coaches loved it, too, with Blake saying Christina's save of Ashley two weeks ago was one of the smartest moves ever.
Lindsey Pavao: Katy Perry's "Part of Me"
Just realized who Lindsey reminds me of: Kristin Stewart. It's not a good thing. She also kind of looks like Katy Perry, which I guess is fitting, given the song choice. I'd call this the best Lindsey performance to date — I actually … kind of … liked it …? There was some powerful parts, admittedly, and Lindsey knows what's up with stage presence.
Chris Mann: Coldplay's "Viva La Vida"
Oh, this song! This voice! Be still, my heart! I was so excited for this, and then … well, Chris has one powerhouse of a voice, and I was expecting just a little insy bitsy bit more out of this performance. "I wanted to be moved in that way (the opera way)," Adam said, echoing my thoughts. I mean, what could have been more powerful that this song being sung by an opera singer? It was still good, don't get me wrong, but oh how it could have been better.
INSTANT ELIMINATION: Jesse Campbell. (Christina, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WHAT? WHY? "I want a versatile team that will continue to grow," she said. Awful.)
Best Non-Contestant Performance of the Night: Maroon 5 and Wiz Khalifa with their new song "Payphone." Aside from the obvious quibble of "who even uses a payphone anymore? NO ONE," this has all of the best things! Namely, Wiz Khalifa and Adam Levine.
Tonight's Moment of Irony: Christina saying RaeLynn's performance inspired her, and made her wish she was a country singer. This is moments after Blake's pre-taped segments with RaeLynn revealed he hates when people who aren't country try to sing country. People like Christina, I imagine.
Fashion Observation of the Evening: Did Christina Millian forget to take the rollers out of her hair before the cameras started rolling? No? Oh, it's SUPPOSED to look like that.
Production Values: Gosh, they just keep getting higher and higher. The sets and performances are getting more elaborate and I am loving every second of it.
And yet, what was up with the empty bed frame on stage during Jordis's song?
Hey, Christina, you're fierce, and I love ya, really, but when you talk about how you're a UN Ambassador combating world hunger, and you're naming countries you've visited in that capacity, list more than two countries. It's just good form. Also, record a song more recent than 2006's "Fighter" to perform with your team.
Special Surprise on Tuesday's Show: Oh, dear God, let it be Justin Bieber.