Last night The Voice drew its drama from Team Xtina’s teen diva throwdown, which pitted Egyptian-born Sylvia Yacoub against Joselyn, whom Carson Daly described as a “quiet Florida teen” – not exactly an upsell. The lead up to their melismastic version of Beyoncé’s “Best Thing I Never Had” was a rehearsal reel that had Joselyn calling Sylvia’s battering ram of a voice “annoying.” DANG. They should upgrade her to “real talkin’ Florida teen” for that. Sylvia sounds more like Xtina than any other contestant, but coaches picked Joselyn, turned off by Sylvia’s dominance and blustery ad libs that contained every note known to man. Naturally, Xtina picked Sylvia, telling her she “understood her fire” and Adam Levine picked up Joselyn for his team with a “steal.”
On to the power rankings:
Coach: Cee Lo Green
While everyone else goes for powerhouses, Cee Lo’s penchant for underdogs and weirdos has made his team the most compelling of this season – and the easiest to root for. Last night’s battle pitted Todd Kessler, who should be singing in a weekend fun dad band with other ex-emo dudes, against hirsute Nicholas David, whose look is kind of 1973 jazzbo, but his voice is pure Bill Withers. In the rehearsal reel, David talked about how it was difficult to think of it as a competition because he is such a flagrant peace-loving hippie, and he didn’t want to think about Todd getting kicked off the show; he dealt with it by meditating on it. How can you not root for that guy? Plus he wore a black Seventies polyester suit with a wide white tie and white Vans, perhaps the most pimptight look ever to grace The Voice stage. Cee Lo’s team is buoyed by its Napoleon Dynamite factor.
Coach: Christina Aguilera
Team Xtina has Dez Duron, with his model jaw and smooth voice, and is constantly referred to by the other coaches in terms like “the total package.” (A typical tweet about Duron? “AAAAAY MI AMOOOOOOOOOR.” He’d have to, like, perform in blackface before anyone would boot him. Xtina picked him against teen Paulina, who was a bit of a mess and had a creepy pageant-girl vibe, blowing kisses to the judges and claiming she had “the best parents in the world.” Xtina’s discards are going to be powerhouses, an easy lure for the other judges to try and steal, as Monday’s show evidenced.
Coach: Blake Shelton
It’s almost inexplicable why Shelton would have Mariachi singer Julio Cesar Castillo perform Miami Sound Machine’s “Conga,” other than it is perhaps the only other Latin-y song he knows besides “La Bamba,” which Julio auditioned with. Both Julio and sassy-gal cliché Teresa Griffin were chagrined by the difficulty of the song’s rapid-fire delivery and inappropriateness for either of their voices. There were many cutaways to the judges looking baffled during the battle; Christina laughed. Shelton’s ranking is due only to the fact that tonight he kept Susanna Choffel on his team after her “Dog Days” battle; her dulcet, honeyed voice has a quiet control to it that many of the younger singers this season do not. All the judges are taken with her. Choffel is the understated dominator.
Coach: Adam Levine
Audition round fave Benji vs. Sam James pulled down major macho thunder on Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love A Bad Name” – it was obvious and boring save for the part where Levine favorably compared Benji to a screaming bat before giving him the boot.
Most Please Just Stop Talking moment: Blake describing Florence and the Machine as having a “mad . . . rock . . . indie sound.” Why not address the funk flava of Miami Sound Machine while you’re at it?
The Other Reason to Root for Nicholas David: More b-roll of him interacting with his kids. As they ran to greet him after his win, he announced, “PIZZA PARTY TONIGHT, GUYS!” then nuzzled them in his epic beard.
Most WTF moment: Associate coach Billie Joe Armstrong quoting Voltaire (“With great power comes great responsibility”) regarding Monday night’s diva battle.