One upside to a reality show running for more than three months is that you get a chance to change your mind.
That's certainly the case with "The Voice."
With Monday's performances from the final eight contestants, I think it's safe to say my favorites are sealed, but it was a long road to get there. So let's look at last night's songs, and I'll try to explain my thinking when it comes to these guys.
Amanda Brown sang Adele's "Someone Like You," or rather, she kicked its butt all over the stage. Turning Adele into rock music basically entails: MORE DRUMS, EVERYWHERE. Amanda was amazing, but she and Adam were trying too hard to capture smoke in a bottle, building on the break-out of a few weeks ago with "Dream On." I like Amanda, but I worry she has plateaued, and can almost understand Christina when she says we still don't "get" Amanda as an artist. Almost. There is no understanding Christina.
Melanie Martinez sang that song "Too Close," that you hear on commercials desperately trying to make Internet Explorer relevant again. At the beginning of the show, I generally disliked Melanie — I thought she was all style and no substance. Wrong, wrong, wrong. She brought back the foot-tambourine, her set looked like a Mumford and Sons video, she fought back tears — that's reality TV gold. Like Blake, Melanie's voice "melts me" these days.
Angry Side-Rant: Melanie said she was going through a break-up, and that story line was OF COURSE talked about ad nauseaum it was frankly exploitive. Some thoughts: "She is in high school, everyone is brokenhearted in high school." "Who would break this girl's heart? She is a treasure!" "Maybe she broke HIS heart and we shouldn't let her be playing the victim?"
Ultimate thought: "The Voice" producers are clearly grasping at straws for captivating story lines here, and exploiting a teenager's personal love life on a show that HAS NOTHING to do with relationship drama is pretty callous and self-serving.
Team Cee Lo
Let's take a moment to appreciate my genius: driving home from Thanksgiving, I was rocking out pretty hard to Queen, and I thought to myself, "Geez, Cody Belew really needs to sing "Somebody to Love." LO AND BEHOLD! There was a choir! A white grand piano! It was all very extravagant, and I loved every single second of it. I do feel like Cody took the easy way out with one of the final long, high notes, but I am a forgiving person. From the get-go, Cody has been an exuberant, jubilant, foul-mouthed wonder, and with sass for days. I like him more and more each week.
Trevin Hunte went back to form with Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All," and honestly, after the Usher song last week, I was disappointed. Power ballads have become a cliché for Trevin. Anyone with functioning ears knows Trevin's the most talented singer on the show, but we all know he can sing Whitney. Can he sing Michael Jackson? Cee Lo said earlier in the show that, "It's all about song choices at this point," and this was the wrong song choice. Unless he expands his repertoire more, I'm over Trevin.
Nicholas David, with the Pippi Longstocking braids this week, sang Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On." Bill Withers showed up to tell him how good the cover of "Lean on Me" was last week, so that was pretty touching, and this week's performance was just as good. There's something cathartic about the way Nicholas sings, like he's constantly trying to redeem the entire world. "We could use more of that healing," Cee Lo said. "America, vote for that man." Nicholas, for me, has kind of been a sleeper success — and those are the ones who always win.
Dez Duron sang "U Smile" (God, I hated typing that "U"), and it was as if the Biebs grew up and became a lounge singer. Dez is another one who's starting to wear on me. This song was in the same vein as last week's sultry "Feeling Good," and it's a groove that works for him. ("Groove" was Blake's word.) Dez and Christina keep changing it up song-wise, but the presentation is always the same, and it's getting boring. I wouldn't be surprised, though, if Dez makes it further in the competition. I mean, look at him.
Terry McDermott finally, finally, FINALLY took a break from the classic rock ... to sing a Blake Shelton's "Over." Team Blake's a buncha brown-nosers, always covering his and Miranda Lambert's songs. It was nice, however, to see that Terry can sing more than Journey and rhe Who, so let's keep expanding those horizons for him. Cee Lo put it this (interesting) way: "Terry's voice is like a straight line, like a highway, while a voice like Christina's is 'cursive.'" I don't get it, but I do want to see Terry in the Top 4.
Cassadee Pope resurrected that song everyone loved but has since forgotten about, "Are You Happy Now?" by Michelle Branch. To take the obvious play-on-words: NO. I am NOT happy, Cassadee. Not until you're off this show. At the risk of sounding like a broken record: STOP VOTING FOR HER, AMERICA. She has had her time on the Vans Warped Tour Stage, she has famous friends, she does not need this in the same way that say, Nicholas David or Amanda Brown do.
Adam sang with 50 Cent, and that's all I'm saying about that because it was weird and atrocious. It was nice to see Adam do his little tough-guy dance, though.
Melanie, Terry, Cassadee and Dez did a group take on The All-American Rejects' "Move Along," which was just Cassadee oversinging everyone and Terry looking unconcerned.
Later, Nicholas, Cody, Amanda and Trevin sang Journey's "Any Way You Want It." God, let's just let Cody sing everything forever.
Adorable Moment: The only worthwhile thing social media correspondent Christina Milian has ever done was bring on Terry's wife and kid to surprise him. There were hugs, kisses, joy and so much shock that whatever came out of his mouth was bleeped for a few seconds.
Parting Thought: With the bottom two cut every week, and no guarantee a coach will have a contestant in the Top 4, Christina is getting MEAN and desperate. She only has Dez left, and he's not a strong enough contender for her. Cee Lo, on the other hand, still has three contestants left, assuring him a spot in the finals.
I'm torn here: We can keep Dez in, sending someone else home who doesn't deserve it, and Christina will remain snippy and desperate. Or, we can cut all hope she has at a final spot, and she will become insufferable. Just, vote carefully America. Don't anger the Diva.