'The Voice' Recap: Point Shaving - Rolling Stone
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‘The Voice’ Recap: Point Shaving

Weird combo scoring system trims contestants to Final Four

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Jamar Rodgers and Juliet Simms wait to see who will be elminated on 'The Voice.'

Lewis Jacobs/NBC

Last night, reality singing competition fans tuned into The Voice in droves to learn the answer to the question they’ve had for several weeks: why does Blake Shelton always point at his own head when he’s being introduced? Actually, even our greatest scientific minds may be stumped by that one. Much easier to discern, however, is the question “Who made it to the final four?” Let’s all point at those peoples’ heads together.

But first, allow me to indulge in a very brief game of Oh My God, Why Are You Wearing That?™ From the same person who brought us the tiny sequined Frisbee hat of March 2012, tonight Christina Aguilera is rocking a headband with crystals dangling off of it, like an icicle-chandelier in a frozen cavern of wonders. Oh my God, how did that seem like a reasonable idea to you? OK, game over.

“Tonight is the moment of truth, and it’s also really sad,” Xtina says at the top of the show. “Someone I care about and have been on this very exciting journey with will have to go home.” Four someones total, actually, but first there will be musical performances from last year’s final four. Remember our old friends?

Blake’s winner from last season, Dia Frampton, is up first with her single, “Don’t Kick the Chair.” Staying true to the show’s ever-literal form, there are stacks of chairs everywhere, and nobody is kicking them. Rapper/crooner Kid Cudi joins Dia onstage, and I’m not sure whether his mic is too low or if he is just a mumbler, but his verse is barely intelligible. Later, Cee Lo and his winner, Vicci Martinez, perform her new country-inflected song, “Come Along With Me,” amidst geysers of steam and a flock of cartwheeling backup dancers. Next, Xtina’s winner, the heavily tattooed Beverly McClellan, duets with the Ghost of Xtina Future, Cyndi Lauper, on the latter’s “Money Changes Everything.” And finally, last year’s big winner, Javier Colon, sings “A Drop in the Ocean” from a piano onstage, as this year’s crop of contestants all aspire to come back next year in his stead, but with a more memorable performance.

Photos: ‘The Voice’ Season 2

Tonight’s eliminations combine some scoring from the judges with votes from America to arrive at a final tally. Contestants have a total of 200 points between them, 100 of which are divvied out by the judge in question, and the other 100 reflecting the percentage of votes received from America. “Makes perfect sense to me!” says nobody.

Xtina is up first, and she decides to step out of the way, diplomatically leaving this one up to the fans by giving Lindsey Pavao and Chris Mann 50 points each. In a very close race, however, the opera singer has the edge with 104 to 96. He proceeds to make a big show of how surprised he is by this decision.

When it’s his turn, Adam goes on for a minute or two about how both of his contestants are winners because they can use the show as a launchpad to bigger things. Then he gives them a score of 60/40 in favor of Tony Lucca. “I believe that you’re both equally talented,” he says, before rhapsodizing about Tony in a way that can’t help but sound sexual. “My connection with Tony – I feel like we get each other in a way that could lead him to win this thing . . . It was just an instant connection, so I wanna take that and see it through.” When America’s vote is factored in, the final score is 108/92, a close score that is going to haunt Katrina Parker‘s dreams for a long time, probably.

Back in the Sprint Lounge, it’s Erin Willett‘s birthday, and oh boy is it weird. The sight of Erin in a pink party hat being force-fed a cupcake from Chris Mann while Jermaine Paul does the Charleston in the background and social media correspondent Christina Milian holds a microphone in her face is enough to inspire a series of Todd Solondz movies.

Blake echoes Xtina’s move of splitting the vote right down the middle, giving Jermaine and Erin 50 points each. When America’s votes are factored in, however, the disparity between their scores (123/77) is huge. Although Erin obviously had an incredible voice, Jermaine has been a viable frontrunner since day one, and he even showed improvement along the way. Now he stands a fighting chance of winning it all.

Finally, it all comes down to the toughest choice. There’s a reason Cee Lo’s turn didn’t come until the end; it’s long been obvious that his winner, if not the winner of the whole show, would boil down to Jamar Rogers or Juliet Simms. Although Jamar had the more heartfelt backstory, and some incredible performances to back it up, Juliet has been a nonstop stunner.

“With my back turned, you reassured me that my ears, my heart, my emotions, my integrity, were still intact,” Cee Lo says to his contestants, sweetly, before rendering his verdict: 60/40 in favor of Juliet. America agrees as well, awarding her almost as big a blowout as Jermaine received. After the decision is announced, the two J’s hug it out, and then Jamar leaves the stage for the final time.

Next week: OMG! OMG! It’s the finals! OMG!

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