‘The Voice’ Eliminations, Week 2: Now It’s Down To A Game Of Four-Play

by | April 11, 2012 at 2:40 AM | Recap, The Voice

Juliet Simms and Jamar Rodgers on The Voice (Photo by: Lewis Jacobs/NBC)

Ordinarily, I don’t like to repeat myself with these blogs. Once an idea is done, it’s done. Time to move on to something else. But due to popular demand, and by popular demand I mean one “Like” of last night’s column on my Facebook page, I feel the time is right to bring back the notion of highlighting what I observed during the “The Voice” that you didn’t because you weren’t there and I was. And for those who complain about this stylistic repetition, well…if they can make “Weekend At Bernie’s 2,” I can surely do a sequel as well. So here we go. Again:

What You Saw: Coaches Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine introduced at the top of the show while sitting comfortably in their seats.

What I Saw: All of them make their own unique entrances onto the stage. Adam offered a military salute to the crowd. Blake did a very slow, very deliberate turn to acknowledge the audience. Christina toddled in on her heels and had Blake hold out his hand to escort her down the steps. And then there was Cee Lo….who swaggered in wearing suspenders and a black tank top, looking like some kind of trapeze performer. Then, when the cameras stopped for a commercial break, everyone stayed seated except for Cee Lo. He slipped away, and was back moments later wearing a puffy white shirt rather than the tank top. I don’t know why the change took place but as long as he doesn’t swap out Purrfect the cat at some point for a puffy Calico called Miss Skittles, it’s okay.

What You Saw: Adam’s team swaying nervously onstage as they awaited word on whether they’d be needing to check out of their hotel by noon tomorrow.

What I Saw: Carson Daly taking quick peeks at the results on a red card in his hand, maybe trying not to see in advance who the other winners were so he could focus on letting Mathai, Tony Lucca and Pip know that they get to keep their room for at least another week. However, he was also looking at the teleprompter a lot, leading me to wonder if the winners were named up there too. Which would mean that the singers could look up and read their fate. That would be a bit surreal, I’d think. And something I need to check out for next week.

What You Saw: America saving Juliet Simms, Jamar Rogers and James Massone. (Although “saving” really doesn’t seem like the right term. It sounds kind of desperate. I’d think they’d prefer something more like “endorsing” or “voting for” would be a bit more appropriate.)

What I Saw: The families and friends of the winners (and yes, it’s okay for this week to call them that) sitting tensely while waiting for the names to be revealed, then hugging or shaking hands in congratulations. Whether it was James’ parents giving Mathai’s folks a pat on the shoulder or Jamar’s mom hugging Tony’s kids, the group didn’t seem that much different from a bunch of anxious Little League parents in the stands on a Saturday afternoon. Only without the Twinkies and juice boxes to hand out as snacks after the kids are done.

What You Saw: Kim Yarbrough doing “Spotlight” to try and survive for another week, working the crowd as well as anybody did all night. For which the crowd gave her a very noisy and spirited thank you.

What I Saw: Absolutely nothing different from what you saw. The performance was fine, very quick and to the point,  and certainly got the audience on her side. Still, there was nothing particularly special about it that I can report. I’m just sad that Kim won’t be sticking around because she was one of the liveliest people in the competition. On the plus side, the gym at the hotel where she’d rehearse while on the treadmill very late at night is now available should any other singers want to give it a try.

What You Saw: Karla Davis getting back to folky-country land, where you’d figure she’d feel much more comfortable, by doing Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” However, while sounded good, there was just something about the way she barely used the stage that pretty much sealed her fate.

What I Saw: Karla after the show last night, telling me that she knew her time at the show was probably about done and that she’d probably be up much of the night trying to figure out what her savior song would be and start working on it. Not exactly the most confident approach, and maybe it wasn’t nerves that kept her a bit static on the stage. She’d just pulled an all-night and simply need a six-pack of Red Bull.

What You Saw: Katrina Parker channeling her inner Adele, going entirely against the advice her coach, Adam, seemed to have been giving her as she prepared for this week’s live rounds. Perhaps she knows a bit more than her coach, though, because her version of “Don’t Speak” managed enough little vocal cartwheels to make it much more unique that what her soon-to-be-former teammates did. So, not surprisingly, Adam saved her for another week.

What I Saw: Right before Katrina’s performance, Blake hustling over to Adam with an urgent look on his face. He leaned in to tell his bromantic buddy something, then quickly hustled back to his chair. What did he have to say? Was it the critique he’d share with the world later, that Kim and Karla just didn’t bring the sense of urgency necessary to win? Was it an explanation of why he apparently decided to wear Adam’s jacket for the evening? Was he just asking where the bathroom was? I have no idea, but it seemed as urgent as Katrina’s performance so perhaps it had some influence on Adam’s selection.

What You Saw: Tony Vincent scaring small children once again, this time with an intense and haunting (we’re talking spooky,  “Poltergeist” haunting, not friendly, familial, “Field Of Dreams”-style) take on the already dark and brooding “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This).” He prowled the stages like a spider, all legs and arms in a performance that would play great in a theater but not so much in a competition that parents let their kids stay up late for.

What I Saw: Cee Lo talking after the show, and expressing some “disappointment” over Tony’s song choice and hinting that something less dark and more…well, not dark…would have given him a better chance to stick around.

What You Saw: The magical moment of the night, when Cheesa hit The Big Note near the end of “All By Myself.” Her future on the show was probably in jeopardy up to that point. Once she tore through The Big Note like my kids tear through presents on Christmas morning, it was pretty clear who would be surviving from Cee Lo’s squad.

What I Saw: The crowd explode as if the home team had just scored the game-winning touchdown with 10 seconds left on the clock. Sure the girls screamed aplenty for James and Pit, but when Cheesa hit The Big Note, everyone got on their feet to offer up what without question the biggest ovation of the night.

What You Saw: Erin Martin doing exactly what she’d promised me the night before: return to being the quirky singer with the competition’s most unique voice while performing “Your Song.” Her voice has a wonderful gentleness to it, drifting all over the place like a feather in a windstorm, and she’d complained Monday that she wasn’t getting the chance to showcase it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to keep her in the game (which was fine, since she’d said Monday she wanted to be done with the whole thing.)

What I Saw: Adam, apparently relieved now that his work was done for the evening, feverishly writing something while Erin was delivering what would be her final performance. It’s not like he wasn’t paying attention, though. When she finished, he made the point of the night by wondering “why it took this long for you to sing like it’s your last chance. I’m a little confused, but also enlightened.” I was impressed on two fronts. First, it’s clear that Adam is the consummate multi-tasker. And second, he continues to be the best coach because he’s also the toughest. Even when it comes to himself.“I think I’m being honest this season, much more so than last year,” he explained after the show. “I could have been more critical last year, been more involved.” Considering that he won the competition, I’d say he did just fine. But maybe there’s a spin-off in here somewhere, with the coaches having to perform their duties under the watchful eye of a panel of judges who judge other judges to see who’s best at all this.