The live shows, judge Adam Levine said tonight, are like “sending your kids to college.” If so, then it was time to see what these freshmen had to show for us tonight.
In April 9's live show, singers from Team Cee Lo Green and Team Adam Levine were up, performing in front of a screaming crowd for a chance to sing in front of thousands of screaming crowds for the rest of their lives.
As we checked in the judges, Blake Shelton looked like he just threw on the first thing from the top of his laundry heap, which we guess was the luxury of not having your team up for elimination.
And now as judge Christina said, it was time to “sit back and be entertained.”
Having just found her inner diva, “Bertha,” Karla somehow seemed to have lost her newfound BFF since the battle rounds. Singing BOB’s “Airplanes,” Adam was worried that the song choice was too soft, and, at the opening of her performance, we had to agree.
Breathy and surely nervous to be singing in front of the huge crowd, we didn’t get any of the powerful confidence that we were surprised with last time. But she did eventually slide into the song, and managed to pull it together by the end.
Judge Christina also called out the “whisper” like tone of her singing, while Blake bemoaned the “rapid fire lyrics” that didn’t allow her to explore the song.
Adam noted her nervous energy, saying that she was different in a room alone, compared to the huge crowd tonight, but, like a truly great coach, told her she was “fantastic.”
First up was Katrina Parker from Team Adam. Singing The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight,” the stage lights set up to look like the city skyline, Katrina took on the Smashing Pumpkins song.
It was all about tonight for Katrina, who, while singing beautifully, still couldn’t quite shake that stiff manner. She did however deliver a soulful, if subtle performance.
Judge Christina Aguilera wanted her to “rock out a little more,” but noted that her dress was a little too restrictive for all that (we’ve all been there, girl.)
Cee Lo was partial to Billy Corgan’s “cathartic” version, but Adam disagreed, and told her that he was ‘really happy” with her performance.
Though we appreciate Erin Martin’s unique sensibility, we found it hard to believe that she really wanted to judged just “by her voice, and not her looks,” given her over-the-top Egyptian pharoah garb.
Though the costume was fitting for her “Walk Like an Egyptian” performance, complete with gorgeous men in waiting, we could barely even pay attention to her singing, between her barely-there outfit and dramatic “come hither” camera stare.
Blake, who Adam joked “bought a one way ticket to boner town,” was more interested in the dudes than the diva on stage, and Christina thought she could have been “more aggressive with her vocals.”
Coach Cee Lo reluctantly agreed, admitting that the staging was more of a “distraction” than a draw.
Owing to some backlash from the blogosphere, Cheesa was a shell of her former powerhouse self, questioning her own talent in pre-performance rehearsals.
Coach Cee Lo had to talk her up a bit, and she’d need it for the punchy “Don’t Leave Me This Way” she was about to perform.
No one could bring a flair for the dramatic like Cee Lo, so it’s no surprise that his mentee Cheesa showed up on a stage that looked like a scene straight out of Studio 54. The dynamic disco setup certainly helped the singer performing on it, with Cheesa’s return to the booming vocals we’ve become used to.
Blake told her it was “solid gold” while Adam thought it was good, though not necessarily mind-blowing. Cee Lo agreed with Blake, calling the performance “electrifying.”
Next up was the Pip with pep, singing The Killers’ “When You Were Young.” In rehearsals, Adam sagely reminded him that he had to “add some depth” to his sweet voice if he wanted to really wanted to take it to that next level.
Hoping to score some cool points, in a leather jacket and signature bow tie, Pip stepped up his vocal ability on stage, but we weren’t quite sold on the "bad boy" image.
Christina didn’t buy it either, saying that he was “trying a little too hard,” and while Adam appreciated him stepping out of his comfort zone, he admitted that it wasn’t quite “dangerous” enough.
Last up was the rehab to riches story, Jamar Rogers. Singing Lenny Kravitz’ “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” Jamar was the perfect contestant to take on the dramatic, frenzied song.
Flanked by guitar strumming girls on stilts, it was Jamar who was heads above the others, giving us a fun, spunky, and electric performance that still managed to hold the emotional tenor that first set him apart.
After a well-earned standing ovation from the judges, and a crowd that wouldn’t stop cheering, judge Blake really was just off in his own world tonight, and couldn’t even be bothered to comment on Jamar’s actual performance.
We got real feedback from Adam, who raved that he was “what this show was about.”
After tonight’s performances, we certainly don’t envy the judges, who have a tough choice ahead of them at tomorrow’s live elimination episode.
Next was former Mousketeer Tony Lucca, singing Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.” In rehearsals, Tony had a bit of trouble with the “falsetto,” but coach Adam told him that it was the only hurdle to a brilliant performance.
On stage, Tony, who’s clearly been waiting for this shot since his Disney days, sang a satisfying number, though we’re not sure if it was enough to set him apart from the others. And for someone singing about “your eyes,” his were strangely closed for most of the time, which was unfortunate, because he’s got some pretty ones.
Christina had some not so nice words for her former ‘friend’, saying he was “one-dimensional” and shouldn’t rely on his “celebrity” to take him to the next round. Way harsh, Christina.
Thankfully, Adam called out her “honesty” (well that’s one word for it), and disagreed, saying that Tony made him “proud.”
After that, we had Kim Yarbrough, the experienced songstress with a voice to match. Singing Adele’s massive hit, “Rolling in the Deep,” Kim was a vision in glitter, but her voice didn’t seem to live up to her outfit.
We don’t know if it was the overdone song choice, or the live format, but she was lacking the heart and soul that we’ve come to expect from her.
The judges noticed something was missing too, with Blake calling it a bit “sharp,” and Cee Lo disagreeing with the decision to go with this “safe song.”
Adam, though telling her that she was an “unbelievable singer,” couldn’t deny that this may have not been the “perfect” choice, leaving her possibly on the chopping block in tomorrow’s elimination.
Then we had James Massone from Team Cee Lo. The shy singer, who seemed to be an overnight sensation to fan girls across the country, was thrown a curveball, with Cee Lo giving him Norah Jones’ slow and sultry “Don’t Know Why.”
Once on stage, sitting on a park bench below a “James” street sign, the Boston boy serenaded the eager girls below him with a ease and self-assurance that made us blush. Though it was a departure from the flashing lights of tonight’s previous performance, he more than made up for it, getting the crowd so fired up that we had to make sure it was James and not Bieber up there.
Blake seemed to agree, saying he “almost threw his panties on this stage,” while Christina, told him there were some “pitch problems.”
Cee Lo seemed to realize what a gem that he had on his team, calling him “solid,” but reminding him to focus on his voice, rather than the ladies below.
Though she’s had five record deals, Juliet Simms found herself on The Voice stage tonight, hoping for her sixth.
Singing “Roxanne” by The Police, it looked to be a perfect choice for her “classic rock” voice from the second she started singing. Bathed in fog and red light, Juliette gave it her trademark growl, but leaving behind some of the rock theatrics, she allowed her voice to do the talking.
It was a stunning performance that had the judges on their feet by the end.
Adam loved it so much that he was actually angry at CeeLo for getting her on his team, saying it was “the best performance so far.”
Even Christina loved her, calling it, “dope” (stop trying to make dope happen, Christina) and “CrapJacket,” as Blake was so lovingly dubbed by Adam, agreed.
Coach Cee Lo could only gush about his team member, telling her that all she needed was “that voice.”
Next up was youngster Mathai, singing John Legend’s “Ordinary People.” In rehearsals, Adam was all too happy with her talent, but told her that she needed to dirty the song up, and not make it so “melodic.”
Clad in a boho chic outfit, Adam’s worries were unwarranted, as Mathai took ownership of the song, singing with an originality and quiet confidence that blew us away. With her lilting voice and amazingly original runs, the performance she gave was anything but ordinary.
Though Christina thought the performance was “a little lounge-y,” Blake admired her confidence, saying that “it draws you in.” Coach Adam was thoroughly impressed, calling her voice “magical,” and one of the “most unique” in the competition.
Though he’d already found success on Broadway, Tony Vincent was looking to make it in the pop rock music category tonight. With the new addition to his family barely a week old, he had more inspiration than ever to storm the stage and bring the fire.
Going with Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” he sang well, though, given what we know about his voice, it was a somewhat restrained performance.
Blake seemed to be battling a bit of ADD tonight, saying he couldn’t concentrate on the performance, and instead was endlessly distracted by the staging.
No stranger to production, pop diva Christina wanted to hear “a little bit more,” and coach Cee Lo agreed, but thought Tony was better than this particular performance showcased.