Tuesday night on NBC's "The Voice," it was a battle between the singer who can dance and the dancer who can sing, between twee and bombastic, and the time-saving glory of the montage and my poor memory of "who the hell are these people."
TEAM CEE LO
Cee Lo Green took to the field first, pairing of dancer/singer/model/whatever Domo against foul-mouthed, bleeping wonder Cody Belew with Lady Gaga and Beyonce's "Telephone." (All Hail the Queens.)
Cee Lo put it best: Cody's a singer who can dance, and Domo's a dancer who can sing, and he wanted to see who had the whole package. The result was a lackluster choreographed number that focused more on dancing than vocal performance. Domo flat-out can't hold a candle to Cody, but the song was so poorly suited to Cody's vocals.
At the end of the performance, Cee Lo chose Cody because it boiled down to "personal preference." Hint: In a vocal competition, one should be judged on vocals. That's just how meh this was.
Christina Aguilera was next, teaming up Aquile with Nathalie Hernandez with James Morrison's "You Give Me Something." When it comes to talent, the two are pretty evenly matched, and the two voices blended together perfectly.
But, Nathalie is a mere 15 years old, with none of the life experience to emote through the song. (How can baby sing about love and heartbreak when she probably has experienced neither?)
Both were sweet and tender in their delivery, but Christina went with Aquile.
The sad moment when I thought we were done with this montage nonsense and I was proven wrong:
Listen, there were 64 contestants who made it through blinds, and we didn't even get to hear/see the true extent of what all of them could do, thanks to the cruel, cruel editing room in the NBC studios. I thought things would be different with the battles but noooooo.
Christina paired up Lisa Scinta (who?) with Celica Westbrook (I think I remember her name?) with Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You," and then cut Lisa.
Here's an indicator: If I can't remember who you are, YOU NEED MORE SCREEN TIME.
Then, Blake Shelton paired up smog technician Charlie Rey (him, I do remember) with Meatloaf-lookalike Rudy Parris (sadly, I remember him, too) with Daniel Powter's "Bad Day," then cut Charlie.
NBC: Either give these people the screen time you give everyone else, or don't even bother with the montage. I''s demeaning.
Adam Levine put twee wunderkind Melanie Martinez up against knockout Caitlin Michele (who wowed coaches -- and me -- with her Florence and the Machine song during blinds) with Ellie Goulding's "Lights" and the result was pleasantly un-danceable.
Here's the thing: Melanie's great, but I think her breathy, quirky voice is a novelty, without much substance behind it. That doesn't mean she's not good, she's just one-dimensional in her performance. Listening to the dynamic Caitlin sing is more like listening to Flo herself (again, All Hail the Queen).
The performance was beautiful, sad, powerful, all of the descriptors. But Adam couldn't choose. All of the other coaches said it was a toss-up. Adam whined. He chose Melanie.
To which Blake and Cee Lo immediately pushed their buttons for the steal, ensuring Caitlin would stick around. She went with Cee Lo. (And not-so-secretly, I hope she lasts longer in the competition than Melanie.)
Leftover thoughts from Melanie/Caitlin's rehearsal: Yeah, Adam. You button your flannel all the way to the top. Hit those high notes when singing "Lights." Keep it up.
In which Christina again demonstrates irony: Don't worry about Domo "overdoing" it with a song -- actually, don't warn ANY contestant about overdoing it (though admittedly Domo was THE WORST) -- when God bless her, Christina is a champion of the over-the-top.
Most Awkward Moment of the Night: Rob Thomas singing "Telephone." Nothankyou.