Last night’s battle-round blowout on The Voice was a lynchpin performance between Team Adam’s two “indie artists” (read: weirdo theater chicks) who gave us a little restraint after so much soul bellow. Melanie Martinez, 17, with her cartoonish bow and wisp of a voice, prevailed over Caitlin Michele’s Caitlin and the Machine routine on their sadfaced duet of Ellie Goulding’s “Lights.” Adam Levine kept Martinez, as he seems taken with her Regina-Spektor-does-Betty-Boop bit. Cee Lo used one of his two “steal” spots to nab Michele, 20, as he connected to her goth emotionalism. The only way The Voice managed to pitch the battle as epic or dramatic is that both were crying and hitting bizarre un-notes in rehearsals. It seemed like both would have to go, but instead they both stayed. The irony!
On to the power rankings.
Coach: Adam Levine
It’s a credit to his intuition that the other coaches are picking up his discarded contestants like last week’s recycling; even his seconds are hot shit. Also, Mary J. Blige in the assistant coach position means that his team is getting really serious, pointed singing advice from someone they respect – as opposed to Cee Lo’s deputy dog Rob Thomas making a face like someone just took a dump on top of the piano when they hit a bad note, which he did numerous times Tuesday night.
Coach: Cee Lo Green
Team Cee Lo is real a real mixed bag of powerhouses and misfits, the chronically shy and the overabundantly confident (as Xtina phrased it), which is making for some pretty sweet battle pairings – they work best when there are some real dynamics. Tonight he pitted DOMO, whom one imagines arrived by way of a time machine from the Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation tour, against Cody Belew who arrived “from the ranch.” They performed “Telephone.” DOMO sang better and did the perfect stripper hair-whip; Cody did his very best and delivered a fake spanking. Cee Lo went with the hirsute farmhand because he liked his personality more, which was sweet. DOMO has connections and a resume, Belew is straight off the farm and living his dream and Cee Lo clearly wanted to honor that opportunity for him.
Coach: Blake Shelton
In abbreviated battle rounds (we got all of about 30 seconds) Shelton nixed beleaguered smog tech Charlie Ray and kept Rudy Parris. Even though Parris hasn’t looked like much of a contender on the show, look up the 47-year-old grandpa doing Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind” on YouTube. He’s like the OG John Mayer and a secret asset to Shelton’s country-heavy team.
Coach: Christina Aguilera
One of Team Xtina’s battles was reduced to less than 60 seconds of two young divas with shampoo-commercial hair; you couldn’t tell them apart. It seems like there might be a lot of this coming down the pike. She also booted her 15-year-old Taylor Swift-equivalent Nathalie Hernandez in favor of Aquile, the dude who played shows with his jaw wired shut after getting in a bar fight.
Best encouragement: Since no one is expecting Billie Joe Armstrong to tell anyone how to sing (especially when Xtina is in the room), he doles out positivity, telling performers that their versions of the song may be “better than the original!” or, as he told Hernandez, “Do what you do!” He’s got that dad-style P.M.A.
Best non-sequitur: Levine saying, “When I was 15, I was a zit.” AND NOW LOOK AT YOU, MR. POP STAR!
So precious you wanna punch a hole through your flatscreen: Martinez skipping onto stage like it’s a regional theater production of Annie.
Previous recap: Cee Lo Loses Top Contender in Voice Showdown