Monday, April 16, 2012

The Voice Season 2 • Quarterfinals 1

It is time for the quarterfinals, and a new twist is put into play. At the end of tonight, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton will be eliminating one of the four remaining members of their team before American get's a chance to vote. That will leave three members, and the one with the least votes will be sent home tomorrow night, cutting the teams in half. Blake hates the idea, saying it just sucks. Christina is dreading the decision, for she loves her team. Adam likes the idea that you are taking at least one decision away from the viewers, and that makes me laugh.

Christina AguileraBlake Shelton

The first singer on tonight will be RaeLynn, a member of Team Blake. Blake is loving her, and wants her to sing Jason Aldean's She's Country. I am shocked, because for the first time this season, I liked this performance.

I didn't love it, but she sounded close to on key, and not nearly as affected as she had before. I was pleased she made that major step, and hope she continues on that path. But it was also an excellent song choice by Blake, and a nice way to kick off the night. After a break, it was time for Team Christina to start, and she begins with Jesse Campbell, someone the other judges think might be a favorite to win. Christina chose Halo by Beyonce for him to sing. I was really surprised, for he didn't begin well, floating in and out of pitch, and kind of tepid interpretation. But once the chorus began, he finally took hold and delivered the goods. I am unsure how to react, for I thought he was better than this. The judges were polite, and seemed to ignore the off key moments. After another break, Blake is back to speak to Jordis Unga, who feels much stronger after singing for her life last week. She will be singing A Little Bit Stronger by Sara Evans, not so much as a Country song, but as a subtle emotional performance I thought was quite lovely. And after yet another break, we see Team Christina visit a local high school choir, and invite them to perform with them on the show with them. You see, next up is Team Christina singing Stronger, the big song for Christina herself. She enters the stage with a couple of male strippers, and, of course, sends them to Blake. There was one particular camera angle that was not nice to Christina, who seems to not realize she might not be in shape to wear that costume. She is, of course, singing lead, and leave me wondering why both having the team join her. Ultimately, I only remember that Lindsey didn't sound great, and Chris really doesn't do soul well. After yet another break, we learn that Ashely De La Rosa is up for Team Christina. Christina loves her, and sees a bit of her own younger self in her. She will be singing Foolish Games by Jewel.

They change up the song, giving the chorus bold rock feel. I found that the chorus to be good, but the rest to sort of meander and flail. Sometimes, she just seems to let the song swallow her up. The judges are all very nice to her, far nicer than I am being, to be sure. After another break, it is time for Maroon 5 to take the stage with their brand new single, Payphone. Like the single, the performance features Wiz Khalifa.

Next up we have an other member of Team Blake, Erin Willett. She will be singing Set Fire To The Rain, by Adele. They bring up once again she lost her father, and that a few weeks later, Blake lost his. In the performance, I find it actually shows a certain shallowness in her voice, a lack of quality. She also seemed to get a touch lost, and fell a touch behind the beat. However the judges once again are kinder than I, although Adam does mention phrasing issues. Lindsey Pavao, of Team Christina, is the net up, and speaks about a mash-up of S&M and We Fell In Love, by Rihanna. It seems, she doesn't connect well with the material, and will instead be performing Part of Me, by Katy Perry. Well, I am liking this better than her overrated performance of Somebody I Used To Know, but again I feel the song reveals a weakness in her voice, a lacking of quality. Also, is seems as she projects, her tone goes away. I thought pitch came and went throughout the song. Adam mentions the pitch issue, but otherwise they were all kind. Now it is time for Team Blake to take the stage. The will sing Heartache Tonight by The Eagles.

They sound good, and it is nice to see Blake take a step back, and let his team have their time in the spotlight. However, I am left with the thought that the song showed the weakness of RaeLynn's vocals, and the strength of Jordis. Not sure it will matter in the long run, but I have to say it anyway. Following another break, Team Blake offers the final member of the team, Jermaine Paul. He's gone from being a back-up singer for Alicia Keys, to taking center stage on The Voice. He will be singing Against All Odds by Phil Collins. This started off really nicely, but somewhere in the middle, it loses me just a bit. There is seems to throw in the growl, the runs, all in lieu of real connection. But he has a rich voice, that cannot be denied. The judges are relatively kind, only Adam mentioning perhaps his penchant to over embellish. That sends us off to another commercial, with the promise of one more performance, and then time to send one contestant home. The final performance is from Team Christina. They saved the final slot for Chris Mann. He will be singing Viva La Vida, by Coldplay. Wow, I didn't see that coming. As he beings, I just keep thinking this is very Vegas, just unusual. His phrasing is consistently behind the beat, and distracting. It was a little awkward, and a bit stiff. Adam was confused by it, and Christina thought it showed his versatility. We break for a commercial, with the promise of a public execution coming shortly. And when we return, it is time to drop the hammer. First up, we have Team Christina, and I think this is a relatively easy choice. I think it will be Ashley. But Christina gives a bit of a speech, and seems to be stalling a bit. In the end, she goes with her gut and chooses Jesse Campbell to go home. I am shocked. Go figure. Now it is time for Team Blake to come out, and honestly, I thought this was pretty simple, and I would send Erin home. However, Blake will be sending Jordis Unga home tonight. Seems he can't make up his mind, so he goes with America's vote from two weeks ago. Seems pretty weak to me. That leaves RaeLynn, Erin Willett, Jermaine Paul, Ashley De La Rosa, Lindsey Pavao and Chris Mann to gather votes, and only four will continue on to the Semifinals.

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