'The Voice': A six-pack of performers
Posted December 4, 2012
Three guys, three girls and three coaches are still in the running on NBC's The Voice. Christina Aguilera continues to occupy her big red chair, but all of her mentees are out of the game. "I'm so excited to sit back and literally be entertained," she said at the top of Monday's performance show.
The six entertained Christina and their coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and CeeLo Green with two songs apiece. One was the coach's pick, and one was their choice. Guest mentor Pat Monahan of Train made an appearance in the taped segments, coaching Team Red while CeeLo (his "good friend") was out sick all week. CeeLo made it to Monday's live show, however,
First up was bearded Minnesota man Nicholas David. CeeLo's pick for him: September by Earth, Wind and Fire. Though Pat encouraged Nicholas to take risks by singing falsetto in the hook of the song, Nicholas played it safe. He delivered his usual soulful performance, with a '70s vibe, but the coaches noticed that he relied on his background singers to hit the really high notes. "I wanted to hear you sing some of that chorus," said Adam, and Christina said, "I'd like to see you go a little more adventurous." CeeLo noted, "You shied away from the hook part," adding, "You still my Nick."
For pop-rocker Cassadee Pope, coach Blake chose Stand by Rascal Flatts. After Cassadee performed with Rascal Flatts last week and had success (on the show and iTunes charts) with a Miranda Lambert song the week prior, the country song was an obvious fit for her. The audience and the coaches thought so, cheering as Cassadee showed off her vocal prowess. Christina was a big endorser. "I don't mind being your co-coach supporter. ... Your chops were spot on," she said. Adam said he'd like to see something more "adventurous" from Cassadee, but Blake, who gave Cassadee a standing ovation along with Christina, said the song was "amazing."
Former back-up singer Amanda Brown of Team Adam sang her pick, A Natural Woman by Aretha Franklin. She was backed by an all-female chorus, but, unlike Nicholas, reserved the tricky notes for herself. And she nailed those notes. "You're a world-class singer," said Blake. "That is an awe-inspiring performance," said Adam, who gave his singer a standing ovation.
Rocker Terry McDermott of Team Blake chose the Foreigner song I Want to Know What Love Is for himself. Blake suggested he strip the song down, a departure from his normal rock-out performance. So he sang from a chair, backed by a piano and cello. His vulnerable performance had Blake and Christina standing. "I think you're really amazing," said Christina, "but I'd like to hear some more tenderness in your low end," she added. Adam said, "You slayed it. You did an amazing job." Blake said, "We did the right thing" to strip the song down. (He joked that the cello was called a "CeeLo.")
Team CeeLo's Queens native Trevin Hunte sang his coach's pick, Walkin' on Sunshine. Performing with dancing horn players, the pick was out of Trevin's ballad-y norm. But he owned it, getting the under-the-weather CeeLo out of his chair. Adam said, "That is the last song I could ever imagine" you singing, but it was the best choice. "It made me feel so much better to see you happy and moving," said CeeLo.
Seventeen-year-old Melanie Martinez of Team Adam chose the Gnarls Barkley song Crazy, which was originally sung by CeeLo. Her staging was appropriately crazy: In two-toned blue and black hair, she sang from an elevated platform with a tiny piano, and was surrounded by mannequins wearing gold dresses and guitars. The props distracted from her raspy voice, which "was a hair under,"Christina said. CeeLo enjoyed the "great" rendition of his song, but Adam, who didn't want to focus on artistic Melanie's technicality, noticed "pitch issues."
For Terry's second song, Coach Blake chose Rod Stewart's Stay With Me. Terry started his song from the audience, climbed up on the stage and carried the mike stand around like he usually does. He was clearly comfortable rocking out, and didn't "blow out the notes," like he said he was nervous of doing in the taped segment. Said Adam, "You're probably the most consistent singer. We don't ever judge your ability to sing the lights out." Blake said, "You make it seem easy."
CeeLo's Trevin chose a ballad for his song. Not just any ballad: And I'm Telling You (I'm Not Going) by Jennifer Hudson, who guest-mentored him a couple of weeks ago. Strategically changing the words to "I'm the best man you've ever known," he made the crowd love him, especially CeeLo and Christina, who could not contain their excitement during Trevin's final, powerful note. They stood and cheered. Adam said, "That's one of the best performances I've seen on the show, maybe ever." Blake said, "That was just full-on Trevin ... incredible." Christina was so impressed, she had an offer for Trevin: "If a record deal doesn't happen with you, I'd love to take you on the road, personally." CeeLo joked, "I'd like to take a moment of silence to mourn the loss of all the competition."
Amanda of Team Adam tried to replicate her previous success performing Dream On by taking on White Snake's Here I Go Again, which was her coach's pick. She was into it, with a band, dancers and high notes, but the song didn't generate as much excitement as her Aerosmith one did a few weeks ago. Maybe Trevin was just a tough act to follow. The coaches were positive, though. "It was really great," Christina said, and "You're just as compassionate and fierce as ever," said CeeLo.
For Melanie, Adam chose Lenka's upbeat The Show. Though the song fit Melanie's voice, she was overshadowed by her set, which included a dancing 2-D rainbow, canoe and a car moved by stagehands who were more energetic than she was. Christina enjoyed the staging, but recommended Melanie sing something sultry by Fiona Apple. (Of course, Christina sang a few bars to demonstrate.) Blake felt a disconnect in the song that he couldn't explain, but Adam was really happy with the performance. You've "established an incredible fan base," he said, pointing out that the props were Melanie's and his idea.
Team Blake's Cassadee returned with one of her favorite songs, I'm With You by Avril Lavigne. She proved contestants can sound at least as good as the original singers. "You never cease to amaze me," said CeeLo. "I think that was my favorite performance of yours. My favorite of the night," said Adam. Blake said Cassadee "has the ability to tell a story, and sing really, really good."
Team CeeLo's Nicholas slowed it down for Somewhere Over the Rainbow. In the taped segment, Pat suggested Nicholas incorporate more of the song's original melody into his cover. Did Nicholas, singing at the piano, listen to this suggestion (unlike the one Pat had for his previous song)? Not really, but the judges were still into the performance. Adam said, "I'm genuinely a fan of your music." Blake said, "That was magic, and that was beautiful," and CeeLo said, "This was my first time hearing the rendition, so I was pleasantly surprised."
Who advances to the Final 4? Results are Tuesday (8 ET/PT, NBC).
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