The Voice 2, April 10: I Don’t Wanna Cryby William Hammon -- 04/11/2011
Welcome to the second live results show for Season 2 of The Voice. Just like last week, on the previous night’s show, two teams had their singers perform live (in this case Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine). After the show, the audience voted for their favorite singers from each team using any of several options (phone, online, iTunes downloads, etc.). Based on those votes, three singers from each team will be safe. The other three will sing new songs in a “Last Chance Performance” (they didn’t have a name for this last week), and their fate will be determined by their coach. One will move on, the other two will be out.
After a montage recapping last night’s performances, host Carson Daly gives us some statistics that may affect the voting. The majority of the performances charted on iTunes over the last 24 hours, including Juliet Simms and Tony Lucca taking the top two spots on the rock chart. That sounds impressive, but remember last week Jordis Unga hit #1 on the iTunes rock chart and still had to sing for her life.
Incidentally, for anyone who cares, here’s how I ranked last night’s performances:
Team Cee Lo
For those wondering about Erin’s ranking, I have her ranked one spot below the estimated population of the entire planet. That’s how bad this former model and Rock of Love reject is (yes, she was actually on the second season of Rock of Love – she was sent packing in the first episode, meaning Bret Michaels may be smarter than Cee Lo). The fact that she’s made it this far is an insult to music, but I’ll leave it be for now. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of opportunities to rip into her later on.
Before we get to any results (why would we want to get to the reason people are watching?), just like last week, there’s a guest performer. Carson introduces Jessie J (who is apparently a coach on the UK’s version of this show), singing her hit “Domino” with accompaniment by Team Christina.
I’d heard this song before, and until now I had assumed it was Katy Perry. I stand corrected. I’m not really into modern pop music (gravitating more toward rock, rap, and soul), so this isn’t really my cup of tea, but the audience seems to dig it. No big deal, it’s just a three-minute distraction. As for Team Christina’s involvement, they get a little more screen time than Adam’s team did last week with Gym Class Heroes. Back then they just swayed in the aisles with the crowd. This time Christina’s team actually gets to be on stage with Jessie, but even then, their involvement is little more than backing “oohs” and “aahs.”
After another recap montage from last night, Team Adam is gathered on stage for the voting results. Before the saves are revealed, Carson tees up Adam for some last words. Adam addresses his charges frankly and tells them that even though they’re singers, there is a larger game going on, which they all have to respect. At the same time, he promises them that regardless of what happens tonight, they’ll all have a place in the music industry if they continue to apply themselves with passion.
With that, it’s time to reveal the audience saves. The first singer advancing to the quarterfinals is… Mathai. While I’m not a fan of the Xenia-style of mousey voice (just because your voice is “unique” doesn’t mean it’s “good”), Mathai had almost flawless pitch control last night, and she’s clearly a crowd favorite. No surprise there.
The second save goes to Tony Lucca. Take that, Christina! After the blind auditions, I picked Tony to win. Based on what I saw last night, it ain’t happening, but I have to say, Christina’s comment was a low blow. Seriously, where does she of all people get off calling someone “one dimensional”? I’ll grant that she has improved as an artist over the course of her career, but along with Britney, Justin, Lance, and the rest of her Mouseketeer ilk, when she first hit the big time she was just as one dimensional. The difference is that for Tony, his one dimension is singing with conviction, while her one dimension was “look hot while dancing and letting the MTV hype machine do the rest.”
The final save for Team Adam goes to the adorable Pip. I think he got a raw deal with the coaches’ critiques last night. While I’m glad that they’re finally allowed to point out flaws, Pip was the best of a bad situation for Team Adam last night, as no one really stepped it up. Did he have some pitch issues late? Yes. Did he still handle a fairly difficult Killers song with strength and power? Hell yes. The boy’s earned his spot, and I hope he does even better in the next round.
That leaves Katrina, Kim, and Karla going to the sing-off, where two of them will be eliminated. Carson sends Adam’s singers (both happy and not-so-happy) on their merry (and not-so-merry) way.
We get another recap montage for Team Cee Lo as the six singers take the stage to learn their fate. Before the votes are revealed, Cee Lo tells his team that he hopes he’s done right by them, and thanks them for having faith in him. “If one of us wins then all of us win,” he says, sounding a bit choked up in the moment.
Time for the results. Carson wastes little time in announcing that Juliet Simms and Jamar Rogers are safe. That’s the smart way to go. Those two just completely tore the roof off the building last night, separating themselves from the pack by a huge margin. It will be agonizing to pick between the two of them in the semi-finals, but for now, there’s absolutely no suspense when it comes to their victories this week.
The real drama lies in who will get to lose to Juliet and Jamar in the next round. For now, the only one who knows they’ve got one more week on this show is… James Massone. Darn, I was almost perfect. Oh well, five out of six isn’t bad. James had a bad performance, singing off-key and keeping his teeth gritted throughout. At the same time, his entire performance was to establish him as a ladies’ man, so phoning in a boy-band-member-trying-to-go-solo effort was enough to get the screaming girls to dial their phones.
That leaves a sing-off featuring Cheesy – er, I mean Cheesa – the worst singer in the world, and Tony Vincent. One of these things is not like the other ones… In all seriousness, I love Tony Vincent. I saw American Idiot on Broadway last year, but by that point he had left the show, and his role was played by Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong (which was a whole different brand of awesome). However, I do have the cast recording, and Tony is excellent in the role of St. Jimmy. When I heard he was going to be on this show, I was thrilled. I hope he makes it through, especially since he now has a baby to support.
It’s just about time for Adam’s remaining three songstresses to sing for their lives, but first we have to waste two minutes in the social green room for twits sponsored by who gives a damn. Christina Milian tries to justify her existence. She fails. Moving on…
Kim Yarbrough – “Spotlight”
Kim’s biggest problem last night was poor song choice. Just like it was wrong for Naia Kete last week, people need to learn that Adele can’t be touched. She’s leaps and bounds over everyone, and by doing her songs, you’re only inviting negative comparisons. Also, “Rolling in the Deep” has been done to death.
“Spotlight” is a much safer song for Kim’s vocal range, and her performance is technically solid. The problem is that she looks uncomfortable on stage (her face has this weird look between a forced smile and constipation) and it’s clear she’s just phoning this one in. I think she’s relying on Katrina and Karla screwing up. It worked for Jordis last week, but then again, Jordis not advancing on votes was a travesty. Kim doesn’t have nearly as much wiggle room. We’ll see how it works out.
Karla Davis – “I Can’t Make You Love Me”
Karla’s another one who didn’t learn from the mistakes last week. For one, leave my future wife Hayley Williams alone! For another, after watching Sera Hill crash and burn on Drake, why would she agree to hyperventilate over bad B.O.B. rap lyrics? I don’t get it.
This performance is an improvement, but then again, singing the ABCs like a kindergartener would have been as well. There are at least notes this time. She’s at least singing. However, the performance smacks of desperation, and Karla attempts way too many frills and bits of improvisation, to the point where she starts to lose the melody itself. I’ll give an A for effort, but that’s about it. If Adam picks her, it’d be a mistake.
Katrina Parker – “Don’t Speak”
During last night’s show, Adam warned Katrina not to attempt to sound like Adele, which was smart. However, she instead tried to sound like a female Billy Corgan, which was not smart. After she was done, the coaches told her she needed to pick a different song and go full throttle with her own voice the next time she performed.
Well, she certainly appears to have taken the advice to heart, because her rendition of this No Doubt classic is completely her own. There are no hints of Gwen Stefani’s vocals anywhere in the performance, just pure, raw Katrina. The pitch wavers occasionally, but I think that can be forgiven due to the absolute passion that radiates throughout the performance. The audience seems to agree, as Katrina is given a standing ovation.
Kim and Karla join Katrina and Carson (can it be Karson just this once for the sake of symmetry and alliteration?) on stage for Adam’s decision. Before he gets his say, however, the other coaches offer their opinions. All three of them agree that Katrina should move forward, with Blake and Christina both noting that while Kim’s performance was the most proficient, Katrina and Karla truly sang with the urgency necessitated by the moment.
Adam offers all three ladies some words of encouragement, noting that millions of people have now seen them perform at their best, which is surreal to say the least. He then impresses upon them the seriousness of the competition, noting that it’s almost impossible to win unless you bring it every week. Even he doubts that he could win this show. Finally, out of respect to all three of them, he says that his decision will not be emotional or drawn out (um, Adam, it kind of already is drawn out). He is making the decision that he feels is best for the team to have success down the road, and that’s Katrina.
As Katrina goes off to celebrate with her family and team, Adam joins his eliminated singers on stage. He hugs them and tells him he loves them, then allows Carson to give them a brief exit interview. Karla gives a shout-out to all the behind-the-scenes people who never get the recognition (or the paychecks – my additional thought) they deserve. Kim is just happy to have had such a wonderful experience.
After another pointless visit to the Christina Milian dungeon of tweets and crappy cell phones, it’s time for Cee Lo’s bottom three to sing for their lives.
Tony Vincent – “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”
Earlier in the show, Cee Lo said that he hoped he did right by his singers. I can safely say that he did a disservice to Tony last night. Throughout the show, Tony has stated that he’s wanted to get away from his Broadway image and focus on being a pop/rock singer. So what did Cee Lo do? He put Tony in a big production number, singing a song with basically no melody, and made him prance around like a dictator of love, or whatever the stupid message was supposed to be.
Tony tries to climb out of the hole Cee Lo dug for him by giving a stripped down, yet personally stylized version of this Eurythmics standard. It’s not quite Annie Lennox, and it’s not quite Marilyn Manson, but there are elements of each singer’s unique style, with a little bit of Tony Vincent flair thrown in for good measure. Without the idiotic staging and backup dancers, Tony’s able to give the performance he knows he’s capable of, and he even has a better stage presence just by simply tilting his head in between lines. I hope it’s enough to save him.
Cheesa – “All By Myself”
Cheesy, er, I mean, Cheesa, annoyed me last night. She apparently tried to “modernize” an old disco song, but guess what, it just sounded like disco, and there’s a reason it died over 30 years ago. It’s just awful.
Her performance of this tired ballad for lonely people is completely trite, and it proves yet again that she’s a fraud in this competition. Seriously, Angie Johnson has to be screaming at the TV right now. That woman got hosed more than a five-alarm blaze.
The song is all wrong for her, mostly because she’s too young to have a believable connection to the lyrics. This is a song about rejection, loss, and solitude; about pining for days when “making love was just for fun.” A 21-year-old does not have enough life experience to make this sound like anything more than pandering to the audience and an excuse for power notes. Other singers have been given similar criticisms when performing this song on other reality shows.
Speaking of power notes, she hits two right at the end, the only times she’s audible the entire way. Sadly, the fact that she sustains those notes for close to 15 seconds each will likely be enough to put her through. Meh, she’ll either go tonight or go in the next round when Juliet and Jamar wipe the floor with her.
Erin Martin – “Your Song”
This is just horrendous. This has got to be the biggest embarrassment for Elton John since he shot that awful commercial with Melanie Amaro. There are no notes. She isn’t singing anything. If this were my song, I wouldn’t tell anybody. Yes, Erin, I do mind. At least she dressed like a human this time.
Seriously, I can’t even force myself to listen to this anymore. As I hit the mute button on my TV, I offer this to the readers as a means to distract yourselves. Here are “The Top Five Things Erin Martin Sounds Like This Week, Because It Sure As Hell Ain’t Singing.”
5. A cat choking on a mouse as it tries to escape the esophagus
Is she done yet? Okay. God that was painful.
Now that all of our ears have been violated to the point that Erin should have to register as a sense offender, Tony comes back on stage with Cheesy, er, I mean Cheesa, so they can learn which one of them has the indignity of being lumped in with Erin on the elimination block. And if Cee Lo somehow advances Erin, I quit. Not just recapping, mind you, but the entire show. If Erin Martin is allowed to sing even one more time, it would destroy any and all credibility this show has.
The other coaches are polled before Cee Lo makes his decision. To a man (or woman in Christina’s case), they all pick Cheesy, er, I mean Cheesa. Adam really hammers the point home, saying that all of them (he has to include Erin for the sake of diplomacy) gave the performances of their lives tonight, but they should have been doing that the entire season. He adds that every singer left in the competition needs to treat every song as if it’s their last and sing with the intensity and urgency these guys did tonight. That’s the mentality that they all need to have if they want to win.
When it comes time for Cee Lo’s decision, he is torn. Despite everyone picking Cheesy, er, I mean Cheesa, he says that his head is telling him to pick Tony. Listen to your head, Cee Lo! You made a point yesterday of saying that the Twitterverse (I’m sickened that this word has entered our cultural lexicon) was abuzz, saying you made the wrong call to advance Cheesy, er, I mean Cheesa and Erin. After giving them the chance to prove us wrong, they both ended up in the bottom three. Cut your losses and give Tony the chance to support his family.
Unfortunately, Cee Lo doesn’t hear me. While he says his head is telling him to pick Tony, his heart tells him to pick Cheesy, er, I mean Cheesa. Tony and Erin are eliminated, to which I offer an impassioned, “Boo!” and a loud, “About damn time!” Congratulations, Cheesa. Since you have no chance of winning, your prize is that I will no longer make the joke on your name that I’ve made a half dozen times in this recap alone.
Cheesa goes off to celebrate while Cee Lo offers some parting words to Tony and Erin. Due to time constraints, we don’t get to hear what those words are, nor do we get any last words from the singers themselves.
That’ll do it for this week. Next week is the quarterfinals. Barbara will be back to tell you all you need to know on performance night, and I’ll be back to remove more singers from our collective consciousness (and take a few cheap shots in the process).
You can follow Reality News Online on Twitter and on Facebook! On Twitter, you can get up to the minute notifications on article postings and other reality TV news by following us. So head on over to Reality News Online’s Twitter page! On Facebook, you can become a fan, join discussions, and more!
You can check out albums by previous Voice contestants and the judges at the Reality News Online Voice Store at Amazon.com! Here are some samples of what you’ll find there:
Bill Hammon has performed on stage in one form or another since the age of six. When he played a dog who could sniff out poor grammar, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him at twitter.com/WilliamJHammon. You can also subscribe to his podcast on iTunes or at realityrant.podomatic.com.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! Take a look at the rest of the site. And don't miss The Reality TV Hall of Shame. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!
For more news about The Voice, be sure to check out SirLinksALot: The Voice!