THE VOICE Over: The Quarter-Finals!
‘American Idol' may be done for the year, but there's no need to panic America! The singing reality show season isn't quite over yet, as NBC's ‘The Voice' is filling the void (at least for the rest of the month) with a fresh new take on the typical reality competition format. Even more exciting- tonight's episode was live for the first time in this first season, opening up voting to all of us regular, TV-watching folk.
Having trouble remembering who made it through the past few weeks of battle rounds? No worries, let's do a quick review. On Team Christina we've got hardcore rocker Beverly McClellan, pint-sized diva Raquel Castro, soulful powerhouse Lily Elise, and Broadway veteran Frenchie Davis. Heading Team Blake are country crooner Patrick Thomas, Daughtry look-a-like Jared Blake, children's novelist Dia Frampton, and 16 year-old student Xenia. High-spirited sisters Tori and Taylor Thompson, raspy alto Vicci Martinez, blues virtuoso Nakia, and ex-baseball player Curtis Grimes make up Team Cee Lo, while High school senior Casey Weston, early-favorite Javier Colon, med school drop-out Devon Barley, and lovable baritone Jeff Jenkins round-off Team Adam.
Now one question remains- who has assembled the team with the most star-power? That's still up for debate, but tonight the eight remaining contestants from Team Christina and Team Blake got a chance to prove their value when they duked it out for America's votes.
Kicking off tonight's festivities were the four all-star judges singing a fiercely awesome Queen medley. Adam started it with a haunting and pure "Bohemian Rhapsody" and Cee Lo and Blake joined in with the stadium anthem "We Will Rock You" (with Adam rockin' the a guitar solo). Then Christina took the stage to put her own spin on "We Are the Champions."
The competition's youngest competitor, Raquel Castro, began the competitive performances tonight with an adorable rendition of Ke$ha's "Blow" (I bet you never thought you'd ever see the words ‘adorable' and ‘Ke$ha' in the same sentence). It's difficult to deny this tiny teen's star quality, as the song really showed of her pipes. I must admit though that I was having more fun watching her flipping back-up dancers than I was watching her stomp around the stage in her six inch heels.
Jared then took the stage representing Team Blake with Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody." Someone needs to tell Jared to drop the head scarf and adopt a trendier scarf tail. They're totally in season right now. Jared performed quite naturally on the stage, but the song was a little pitchy for me. The judges all agreed that they had a blast watching him on stage but mentioned nothing about the actual vocal. Where is Randy Jackson when you need him?
Beverly, from Team Christina, then sang Melissa Etheridge's "I'm the Only One"- what a perfect song choice for her. I was slightly confused by her kilt and patent leather boots ensemble, but I'm gonna choose to go with it. I'm into this chick's disregard for the norm. Adam complimented her ability to pull off the performance with a cold, and the other three sang her praises.
Dia Frampton (who I've decided looks like a cross between Katie Holmes and Jessica Alba) then performed Kanye West's "Heartless" determined to conquer her stage fright by placing a piano between her and the big, scary audience. It was certainly a fresh take on the song, and I appreciated the way she switched up the phrasing. I just can't decide if the nasal quality of her voice annoys me or not. I'll have to sleep on that one. The judges called the meek singer ‘original' and ‘unique.'
Xenia then brought Team Blake back on the map with her own rendition of Jessie J's "Price Tag." It's really a shame that she isn't a more seasoned performer, because her voice is truly unique and even mature-sounding. That's where my compliments end for this performance. The poor girl was practically frozen in the same position the whole time, and she spent most of the song staring at the floor. The judges were too kind with their feedback, telling her that they enjoyed watching her ‘have fun' on the stage. I vehemently disagree.
Lily Elise sang Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry," quickly proving that she has a great big range and the potential to bust out some crazy riffs. I feel like the song could have ultimately been a little bit cleaner vocally, but she certainly impressed me none-the-less. Christina gave her props for showing so much vulnerability in the performance and using restraint with the vocal.
Next up was Patrick Thomas, who brought a little bit of country to the evening with Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance." Dedicating the song to his overshadowed little sister, Patrick's voice sounded both polished and smooth. And truth be told, there's nothing I love more than an unexpected key change. Christina lovingly requested that he take off his pants, and Blake pointed out that he's ‘making Nashville very proud.' Nice job Scotty... I mean Patrick.
Saving the best for last, closing the show tonight was Frenchie Davis, who killed "When Love Takes Over"- in a good way. We of course already knew that she was capable of greatness from her ‘American Idol' and theatre history. Adam commented that she made him love that song, and Christina loved her ‘poise and presence on stage.'
Next week, two contestants from each team will be sent home just short of making the semi-finals. My favorites from each team tonight were probably Frenchie and Dia. Who will your votes be going to tonight?
The Voice airs Tuesdays at 9PM on NBC. Don't forget to check in with BroadwayWorld's THE VOICE Over next week to find out how the contestants from Team Cee Lo and Team Adam did! Vote for your favorite contestants at NBC.com or by downloading songs by tonight's artists on iTunes.
The series features musician coaches Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. The program is an innovative vocal competition series modeled after Holland's top-rated vocal talent discovery show "The Voice of Holland." "The Voice" is hosted by Carson Daly and features the musician coaches working through the various phases of the competition with only the most talented vocalists. The show's second season will air on NBC in mid-season on Mondays (8-10 p.m. ET).
"The Voice" is a presentation of Mark Burnett's One Three Inc., Talpa Content USA, Inc. and Warner Horizon Television. The series is created by John de Mol, who executive-produces along with Burnett, Audrey Morrissey and Stijn Bakkers.