Last night’s episode of The Voice completed the knockout rounds, in which the coaches each shed half of their 10-singer teams. While the evening included several breakthrough performances, the most notable was an act of musical suicide from one of Team Blake’s stars. Texas music teacher Suzanna Choffel, who previously drew comparison to Stevie Nicks, made what seemed like a purposeful move to take herself out of play by choosing a song that showcased, as she put it, her “vibe” rather than her voice. As an actual working musician, one of the older competitors and something of a natural, perhaps she realized that pitting herself against baby Mariahs a decade her junior and singing post-emo versions of Taylor Swift songs was not the sort of challenge she was after. Choffel was one of the only singers on anyone’s team this season who had the sort of voice you’d want to listen to for an entire album and she went out on a funky reggae cut with Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved.” It had all the vibe in the world, but lacked both a big note and the bite of her competitor Cassadee Pope’s emotive strangulation of Maroon 5’s “Payphone.”
On to the power rankings.
Coach: Christina Aguilera
Everyone on her initial team of 10, including Ivy League bohunk Dez Duron, came straight from the diva playbook – with one notable exception: De’borah. The butch Chicago gospel singer did the Fray’s “You Found Me,” and, as ever, it was chills city. She has heart and originality that the rest of her team, with their weapons-grade high notes, cannot summon. While the other girls are powerhouses, their takes on Whitney and even Christina’s songs really just get over on technical showboating.
Coach: Blake Shelton
Shelton’s best bet right now is Florida mall-punk Michaela Paige, who, despite taking unfortunate hair cues from Pink, made one of the smartest song choices in the history of The Voice with Pat Benatar’s “Love Is a Battlefield.” Benatar has had more Top 40 hits than any other female rock singer and her songbook is filled with attitude and drama – perfect Voice material. While the rest of Shelton’s team – Scotsman Terry McDermott, Julio Castillo (despite his Bieber tune), Nashville sassy-gal Liz Davis and teen-emo also ran Cassadee Pope – has strength in its ecumenical line-up, it’s hard to imagine any of them winning.
Most cringe-y moment of the night, by a total landslide: Blues grandpa Rudy Parris trying to keep pace with the young audience with his take on Chris Brown’s “Forever” and the inadvertent creepiness of him pointing to the bleacher seats full of young teenage girls when singing about “your body” and “the dance floor.”
Done in by too much muchness: On her version of “Dancin’ With Myself,” Chevonne was prancin’ with herself, fluffing her puffball pony tail, pulling faces, doing jazzhands, kickin’, sassin and pointin’ with herself. She did not juggle, nor did she Dougie, but that’s about all she left out.
We’ll miss your parody Twitter account more than we will miss your singing: Peace out, Collin McLoughlin. Word to you, @CollinsNecklace.
Previously: Team Cee Lo’s Star Gets Knocked Out on The Voice