'The Voice' Recap: The Beautiful Are the Damned - Rolling Stone
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‘The Voice’ Recap: The Beautiful Are the Damned

Vocal talent prevails over ‘total package’ hotness

Carson Daly and Beverly McClellen

Lewis Jacobs/NBC

After the success of The Voice‘s blind rounds, the question hung in the air: would looks continue to be irrelevant once Christina and Co. got their sight back? Hope was still alive until Blake Shelton’s glassist turn last week. (Was his mother half-glasses-wearer? Might he secretly need a pair when he drives at night?) But last night we were back on familiar, revolutionary ground. The beautiful people went back to their basements and everyone else won.

‘The Voice’ Recap: The First Battle Round

Nakia vs. Tje
Cee Lo kicked things off, pairing raspy-voiced Kevin Smith-lookalike Nakia against good-looker Tje Austin, with Ne-Yo’s “Closer” as the decider. Tje looks like a mom-friendly Lenny Kravitz and sings like a mom-friendly Marvin Gaye, so Nakia seemed right to doubt his chances on a song that’s meant for the ladies of the world (moms are all ladies). But up against Tje’s overwhelming pleasantness, Nakia was strange and fun to watch, like a bear who knows how to sing. One by one the judges chose him over Tje with anti-Idol zeal, turning Jennifer Lopez’s favorite compliment (“the total package”) on Tje like a passive-aggressive break-up line.

Ellenowen vs. Jared
Up next Blake brought out the unbelievably stunning folk duo, Ellenowen, for an “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” matchup against Jared Blake, a recovering alcoholic dad who’s managed to style himself as much as he can as Guy You Should Be Afraid Of, with a hint of Heart of Gold. “I’m not beautiful by any means,” Jared told us, his tattoos, baldness, bandana and soul patch gleaming under the stage lights. Sounds like all the ingredients for a winning performance! Jared boomed his way to the finish. “It’s back to the basement for us,” said Ellenowen’s male half. Sucks man. At least you probably look nice even when you cry.

Angela vs. Javier
In Adam’s corner, Angela Wolff took on coach-favorite Javier Colon for a fight that had none of the suspense of the previous two. She may have a hypnotic Cheshire cat grin, but Angela can’t compete with Javier when it comes to the titular voice. During a strangely sweet “Stand By Me” that involved hand-holding, Angela stood as close as she could to Javier. She may have been trying to trick us into thinking his voice was coming out of her, but it didn’t work. “There is an extremely beautiful girl on stage right now,” Blake started, “but all I can do is sit here and go, Javier.” Strategist that he is, Adam kept Javier, and tweeted about how nice Angela is.

Bev vs. Justin
Christina closed out the night with Beverly McClellan, the bald lady who’s already had more stage time than Carson Daly. Bev song-fought Justin Grennan, who apparently was on this show. He must have been one of those people who appeared in a half-second flashback (Meanwhile, Blake scooped up a country act and Christina bagged a lady singer), because he literally seemed to descend from some other universe. “You look like the guy who works at my bank,” Blake offered. Poor Justin seemed both less aggressive and less possibly crazy than Beverly, who at one point followed up a hearty smile in his direction with a menacing growl. “She’s not very nice,” he murmured into the mic, after Christina said he’d had a tough competitor in Beverly. Nice try Justin, but no one cares about that yet. Just wait until the live rounds – Bev too will face her judgment.


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