It was ladies' night on The Voice last night, as seven out of 10 performers were female when Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green went head-to-head with the second half of the top 20 artists competing for America's vote.
In the same way Adam Levine’s team dominated the first night, part two of the three-night event – which concludes on Thursday when the top 12 is revealed during a special elimination episode – found Christina's team coming out on top. Even so, the morning after the second show, Team Adam's James Wolpert still dominated the iTunes songs chart and was the only artist in the top 10. (As a quick reminder, iTunes downloads count as votes, and any artist making it into the top 10 gets those votes multiplied by five.)
Proving that even a well-oiled machine like The Voice still experiences turbulence, there were several noticeable changes to the format between the first and second night. Most notably: the coaches were a little more critical and a lot less nicey-nice. One thing that did roll over, though, was the coaches' kooky comments, which seemed to extend from Cee Lo – who may or may not have lit up on Monday night – to Xtina.
Take, for example, what Christina said after her contestant Josh Logan did an almost unrecognizable version of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," which Adam called "busy" and "overwhelming" and original singer Cee Lo didn't seem too enamored with either. "It's interesting when you have a toy box of so many things you can do, sometimes it does overcomp – but I love that. All day. Mozart Amadeus, ever see the movie? When the emperor's like, there's too many notes? For some people you have to." Eventually she said something that made sense: "It was great. And I loved it. You made it your own." But it was probably all wasted breath since, chances are, we've seen the last of Josh once the viewer votes roll in.
But that was just one blip in an otherwise strong night for Team Christina – at least in terms of performances. (When it came to incoherent rambling, Xtina kept that up pretty much all night.)
Intense rocker Matthew Schuler basically obliterated the field with his rock-tinged take on Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball.” Amid the shrieking crowd, the usually hippie-dippy Cee Lo sharply (but jokingly) said, "I hate you. You make me so sick." But Christina was quick to come to Matthew's defense: "They say they don’t like you 'cause they love you and you came in like a wrecking ball and smashed the competition!" And indeed he did, as he was one of only three of the night's contestants to make it on the iTunes chart.
One of the others was 16-year-old vocal powerhouse Jacquie Lee, who closed out the show with the classic, and oft covered, "I Put a Spell on You." Her spot-on performance really got coach Xtina worked up, especially when she broke it down in the middle and sounded well beyond her years. When all was said and done, Cee Lo couldn't even talk over the screaming crowd for a full minute, despite the clock running out as the show quickly came to an end. But when he did, he called her performance "the absolute best" of the night, even over his own contestants.
It seems Matthew and Jacquie will certainly stay safely, leaving Josh in the dust and middling performers Olivia Henken and Stephanie Anne Johnson to duke it out over the last spot on Team Christina. (Two team members will bite the dust on Thursday – one based on viewer votes and the other picked by the team's coach.)
Meanwhile, while Team Cee Lo was the weakest of the night overall, contestant Caroline Pennell topped all other Tuesday night performers on the iTunes chart (but was still unable to catch up to frontrunner Wolpert). Her sugary sweet take on the White Stripes' "We're Going to Be Friends" was pitch-perfect and super cutesy. "I could literally be getting an amputation and if someone played your music, I'd think of cotton candy," Blake said. But we worry about sweet Caroline, as lilting-voiced, Lilith Fair-ready female singer-songwriters usually only make it so far on this show. Still, she's solidly safe for now – not only did she have the top-selling song of the night, she was the only contestant to place two others in the top 100.
Lagging behind but still good was fellow teen Amber Nicole, who sang "Wasting All These Tears" by Season Three winner Cassadee Pope. "I wanted to associate you with the winning legacy of the show," Cee Lo said of the song choice. Also sounding good was ministers' daughter Tamara Chauniece, who busted out the Gloria Gaynor disco classic "I Will Survive."
Bringing up the rear on Team Cee Lo were Iraq war vet Jonny Gray, whose nasally Bob Dylan-esque voice wore out its welcome on the Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony," and over-the-top rocker Kat Robichaud, who crossed the line between quirky and just plain weird with her rendition of Mary Lambert's "She Keeps Me Warm" when she sang longingly into the eyes of a random female audience member and then hugged her at the end of the performance. "I was confused, I thought it was your husband," Christina said. "No, I just love her because there she is experiencing this with everybody," Kat said in defense of her odd move. Proving they're two peas in a pod and taking the weirdness up a notch (and giving incoherent Xtina a run for her money), Cee Lo said of the song choice, "When we think of rock & roll we associate it with heartlessness. And this was the total opposite, this was all heart – 'cause I wanted people to know you're not just something to stare at."
On that note, it's time to wrap things up until the results show. In the meantime, tell us: Who should stay and who should go on Thursday night's elimination show?
Previous recap: Adam Levine's Team Starts Strong