Last night on The Voice, the rivalry/bromance that is Blake and Adam was in full force as their respective teams hit the stage in this season’s first night of live performances. Tonight the remaining ten contestants from Teams Cee Lo and Xtina will try their best to out-sing their competition from Monday's kick-off.
And we have to tell you, that’s going to be no small undertaking. Save for one or two so-so performances, last night was probably the best live show premiere of the season. A couple singers ( James Wolpert and Tessanne Chin come to mind) gave near flawless performances.
That said, Cee Lo and Christina have some amazing talent on their teams, so we’re geared up for another night of stellar singing. We’ll be keeping up with the action here in real time, so check back often for commentary, video highlights, and more!
Dressed simply in a t-shirt and black jeans with a beanie, Christina gave a sweet supporting vocal to A Great Big World on their emotional ballad, "Say Something". It was a definite 180 from her bombastic performance with Flo Rida the night before, but we have to say we preferred it. The vocals were much stronger, and we loved being reminded that Christina isn't all power belting and vocal runs. She had some really great dynamics in this, coming to almost a whisper at the end.
Cee Lo's wants to throw everyone for a loop by having Amber Nicole sing a country song. A Cassadee Pope song, no less! Amber sounded pretty good in rehearsals, but she seemed to be shouting her way through it during the live rounds and falling a little flat.
Adam commented on her missing the big money note (it wasn't the only one), but he applauded her effort. Blake said Amber should have gone with him when he tried to steal her if she wanted to do country. He said the song is "sacred ground" for him since Cassadee was his mentee, but that other than that bad note, she did well. Christina says country suits Amber, and she did a nice job, and had great motion. Cee Lo said that while he meant to challenge her, Amber rose to meet it and he's inspired by connecting new talent from the show with old. Yeah... the problem is that Cassadee's the stronger singer, Cee Lo.
It's almost impossible for us to hear this song without thinking of Cruel Intentions. Just us? We hate to say it, but even with the visions of Ryan Phillipe dancing in our heads, we were a little bored by Jonny Gray's performance. So far, we haven't enjoyed anything he's done nearly so much as his Blind Audition, and we keep waiting to see that same passion come out in his performances. (We hope we get the chance next week!)
Adam says the song is a "snarling beast" that's hard to recreate, but Johnny did it really well. In the beginning he was more contained but he was explosive at the end — he just wishes it hadn't taken him so long to get there. Christina agreeswith a lot of what Adam had to say, and added that she wishes he had put more of himself into the performance. Cee Lo loves how the song brought out the understated quality of his voice and that he hopes America enjoyed it as much as he did.
After some adorable banter between Carson and the judges answering fan questions, we get to Tamara Chauniece. Hoping to break out of gospel music, Cee Lo has given her disco superhit "I Will Survive." Well, that's... definitely not gospel, though Tamara definitely infused it with her spirted and soulful vocals. She made some great choices with the ways she broke away from the original version. As for the rest of her performance, she seemed a little stiff in the beginning but loosened up as it went on. We can tell she's getting used to having a whole stage to move on.
Adam felt it was Tamara's best performance, and at the best time. Blake loves how nice everyone's being this week since they're not competing against each other yet. Coach Cee Lo loves using The Voice to provide music education by reintroducing the classics. He loved Tamara's energy and is sure people will vote for her.
Kat Robichaud thinks she and Cee Lo are soulmates. The Voice came into her life shortly after her band fell apart. In order to show Kat's softer side, Cee Lo's having her sing "She Keeps Me Warm" by Mary Lambert. If it sounds familiar to you, it's because the chorus is in Macklemore's "Same Love". We love Kat's voice, but we're not sure it was the right song for her. Kat hugs someone after her performance out of the pure joy she got from performing live, but it wasn't anyone she knew. Just a total stranger. Oh, Kat. There's really no one like her.
Adam says he wishes the song had allowed Kat to kick it up into her "seventh gear." Christina agrees that Kat needed an opportunity in the song to let her voice soar the way we know it can. Cee Lo says he wanted to show Kat's heart, which people often don't see in rock n roll, so he was happy with the choice and the performance. Blake has been awfully quiet. Too quiet.
Caroline Pennell used to be so shy about her singing, but The Voice has given her much needed confidence. Cee Lo says this song was one of the first he thought of when he first heard her sing, and he just wants her to give us all cavities with her sweetness. She gives it her adorable Caroline spin and we're officially diabetic and tooth-free afterward. Mission accomplished, Cee Lo. It also was her most confident performance. We're so glad she's found her strength.
Adam loved that Caroline didn't sound like anyone but herself. Blake finally speaks up again to say he could be getting an amputation and, if Caroline's music was playing, all he'd be thinking about is cotton candy. He continues to get even weirder, saying she could have been singing about killing people and the audience would be skipping along to it. Okay, we're starting to understand why Blake kept mum for the last few performances. That ish got dark. Cee Lo thought it was the perfect song and he's pretty sure America loves Caroline.
Yeah, as in Cee Lo Green. Christina knows it's risky since the original artist is one of the coaches, but she thinks Josh Logan is up to it. His improvisations were a little too much at certain points, but most of the time it was really well done. We loved the arrangement. Cee Lo was definitely digging it. Phew!
After the break, the coaches weigh in. Cee Lo starts it off by complimenting their song choice (ha!) and said he was flattered, but that he wrote it like a rap and the words can be a bit of a challenge. Adam says Josh's runs can become overwhelming at times and he wished it was a little bit scaled back sometimes. (Hey, that's what we said!) Christina loved how original it was, and loves Josh's ad-libs and runs. She then likens Adam's complaint to the Emperor in Amadeus complaining that Mozart has "too many notes." Hokay then.
Christina wants some tender moments from "Wall of Sound" Olivia Henken... so she gave her "Roar" to sing. Heh. The arrangement, however, is a quiet, countrified rendition at the beginning. Unfortunately, there were some serious pitch issues when she transitioned into the more powerful section of the song.
Blake is pissed that Christina recognized that song could be country and he wishes Olivia was on his team. They must be running behind, because Carson skips straight over to Olivia's coach. Christina is proud of her girl for proving she's not a one-trick pony.
Stephanie Anne Johnson is dedicating her performance to her grandmother and treating it like it could be her last. That fact that she almost went home twice already is either a sign of insanity on the coaches' part or a testament to how high the talent level is this season, because she's amazing.
Cee Lo is amazed, entertained, and jealous. He feels like he messed up on her. Adam says he'd never be able to sing that song because he reveres it too much, but Stephanie did a good job of taking him away from thinking about the original Ray Charles rendition. Christina appreciated the way Stephanie broke up the melody to make it her own and she loves the richness of her voice and feels like she can do it all — including opera.
This is definitely our favorite song choice of the night. Christina chose "Wrecking Ball" for Matthew Schuler to sing because that's how he came into the competition. She also wanted him to try a pop song after so much indie rock, while giving it his signature spin. With the exception of a few shaky notes here and there, he was pretty flawless. However, it didn't top his rendition of "Cosmic Love."
Carson says it looks like a wrecking ball hit the other coaches. Cee Lo grouses that he hates how much he loves Matthew, even after he failed to pick him as a coach. Adam agrees, saying that three hearts just broke with that performance, but that it lit a fire under him to make Team Adam even better. Blake continued the "I hate that you're so good" fest. Christina eats their hate like love, and says Matthew smashed it... like a wrecking ball. (Get it?)
The last singer is also the youngest — 16-year-old Jacquie Lee. Singing an old blues classic made popular by The Animals, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Nina Simone. She managed to roll all the versions into one and tear the roof off the sucker. We seriously cannot believe this kid is 16. So much grit and soul! But probably the most impressive thing about her performance is that it managed to eclipse frontrunner Matthew.
Cee Lo says, through gritted teeth, that she was "the absolute best." Adam said Jacquie did the impossible: she made Cee Lo angry and competitive. Christina can see a win on the horizon. The show wrapped up for the sake of time, but that's okay — everyone was basically speechless after Jacquie's performance!
This Thursday, two singers from each team will be sent home, so be sure to vote or download your favorites to keep them in the game! We'll be here giving you the results, live.