Another night of The Voice, another night of people singing Whitney Houston songs on national TV to teach their toddlers you can do anything if you put your mind to it. Or to dream big. Or to never give up on your dream, especially when your dream is to make it past mid-season elimination rounds of a reality singing competition. Last night had some heart-tugging highs but it’s also beginning to run together in one giant glob of Katy Perry songs and blindingly white teenage teeth. Yet there were a few surprises, so let’s get to how it all shook out:
Coach: Cee Lo Green
Cee Lo showed us that when really wants someone he is perfectly capable of making a serious play for them. After turning his chair for Mycle Wastman’s smooth take on “Let’s Stay Together,” Cee Lo addressed the gee-shucks white boy as “soul brother” and reminded Wastman that “in 2012, no one does soul like Cee Lo Green.” Is Cee Lo realizing he has to get excitable to stop ceding singers to Adam, or is this just one of the few times he really cares? Perhaps he’s redoubling his efforts to win so he can finish Season Three on top, in light of Monday’s announcement that he’s taking a break and will be replaced by Usher in the spring? Either way, Cee Lo barked “LET ME LOVE YOU!” over and over until Wastman opened his heart to that perfect Cee Lo love. Meanwhile, he added three other singers at a quick clip, all of them filler-grade. We saw 12 seconds of each, which was merciful in the case of Ben Taub’s lounge take on “Feeling Good,” which seemed to be based on the version popularized by Nina Simone. Todd Kessler’s stab at Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May” had all the soul and pep of the Menard’s jingle and young country gal Emily Earle did “Ring of Fire,” which, tellingly, was of no interest to Blake Shelton.
Coach: Adam Levine
The best Adam-bait is to do variations on the Bono playbook, which last night meant Levine was over the moon for his team’s new additions of loud, but soulful dudes with real emo falsettos. Team Adam is rolling deep with sensitacho this season, picking up Collin McLoughlin, who recounted how his mom wept when he told her he was dropping out of grad school to move back home and do music full time. Then there was dynamic dark horse Benji, whose “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” had him instantly trending on Twitter. He melded Jeff Buckley’s range with a Vedder-y grunge power.
Coach: Christina Aguilera
Aguilera seems to be the only one employing much of a discernible strategy this season, going for folks who can belt the big, high notes with relative ease. Last night she nabbed another teen diva, Joselyn Riviera, who did Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” and has a little quiver in her natural voice that makes her sound like she’s using Auto-Tune. Team Xtina should be renamed Teen Xtina.
Coach: Blake Shelton
Blake kept turning around to tell people he liked them, but no one liked him back.
B-roll most likely to make you miss your MeeMaw and PopPop: Wastman talking about losing both his parents as young child and being raised by his grandpa (cue picture of grandpa) – who died a week and a half ago. Wastman insisted his gramps was watching him on The Voice “in heaven.” CUE TEARS, AMERICA. Ugh!
Biggest “We didn’t need to see that!” moment: Adam pointing out how Benji’s performance gave Cee Lo happy feet, and the camera cutting to Cee Lo’s socked feet rubbing against his podium.
The real reason Collin McLoughlin’s mom was crying: Her grown son was wearing a shell necklace on national TV.
Last recap: Team Adam Makes Strategic Additions