In the world of Season Three of The Voice, with all its curious talents and fierce girls, Dez Duron's elimination was almost a given – he was too bland, too perfect, too smooth. His elimination leaves coach Christina Aguilera with no members left on her team. It seems that her game plan was to go for palatable, appeal to the teenage girl base that does anchor the show – but she misunderstands what a girl wants, what a girl needs. What Team Xtina failed to figure on was that girls would rather vote for the girl they'd like to be, like Melanie Martinez or Cassadee Pope, rather than the boy they'd like to french. Also heading home last night was Cody Belew, though one anticipates this is not the last we hear from the rhinestone cowboy-diva.
Aside from eliminations, the evening's musical highlight also touched on a melancholy note, with coach Cee Lo Green performing "Bein' Green," with Muppet superstar Kermit. TV does not get any more tender than this.
On to the power rankings.
Coach: Blake Shelton
Blandness be damned, Pope's performances from the last two weeks were still Top-10 on iTunes as of air time, and her teammate Terry McDermott was coasting not far behind her. Pope duetted with Duron on the Rihanna/Ne-Yo tune "Hate That I Love You," and they actually sounded quite nice together. When they hugged at the end Pope made an "awww, sorry" face at Duron, who was polling low for the second week in a row. Numbers-wise, Pope is obviously connecting with her dedicated fanbase, perhaps gleaned from her tours with Cobra Starship, who are happy to vote their girl to the finale.
Coach: Adam Levine
Both of Team Adam's gals, Amanda Brown and Martinez, are safely staying put, thanks in part to both going Top-10 on iTunes. Despite her chart-success safety net, Martinez looks like she is about three seconds away from doing a Miss America face-melting cry when they say her name. Last night she got to sing "Rhythm of Love" along with McDermott, Belew and Nicholas David. They perched in the darkness on mirrored boxes atop a CGI-sun/roiling lava pit on the stage floor; it played like a kooky Laugh In update. It was a quiet tune so she wasn't buried by bellowing belters. Now that Martinez is running, numbers-wise, in approximately second place, the producers seem to have suddenly realized they'd do better to showcase her.
Coach: Cee Lo Green
If the power rankings were based on judge magic vibes, Cee Lo would be Number One for eternity. Who else does plaintive soul with Kermie and then high-fives his teeny Muppet hand? Tonight, Cee Lo's "Redzone" lost its most-improved talent and Green's country-glam protégé, Belew, but kept Trevin Hunte and David. Chartwise and on social media, it was a squeaker between Hunte and Belew, with Belew polling slightly higher overnight. Hunte thanked his lord and savior in the parting comments because he knows he survived to the final six on a prayer. David had a solid showing on both social media and the iTunes chart and the show is really milking the sweet explanation factor for his substantial beard: he grows it whenever his wife is pregnant. It is his beard-baby. Awwwww.
Coach: Christina Aguilera
Aguilera's Yale JV tenderoni Dez Duron was America's least favorite and she knew it going in, as she made weirdly self-important comments every chance she got. One wonders if she'd be in this position if she'd kept someone with enough quirk and spunk to compete, like De'borah, instead of super-similar, super-familiar divas. Team Xtina is now memberless. The cheese stands alone. Will she keep showing up after this? Or will she just stay at home doing vocal warm-ups and texting with Chris Mann?
Best upsell: Trevin Hunte: "Never in a million years did I think I would have a chance to perform with the Muppets."
Best Muppet-judge stand in: Fozzy the Bear for Blake Shelton. Curiously, no Ms. Piggy in place of Xtina.
Most mindbreaking outfit of the season: Cee Lo Green, looking home-ec regal in a tanktop he possibly crafted himself out of green felt and make-up mirrors. It was all topped with a St. Patrick's Day-gone-Superfly hat that looked like someone tigerstriped it, while drunk, with a calligraphy pen.