Two down, 10 to go. In “The Voice’s” hard-to-decipher game plan, the first week of finals cut two players from any team. So the two weakest teams were the first to lose bodies. Team Shakira and Team Usher each lost a contestant, and the voters’ picks were sensible, to say the least.
Shakira’s Garrett Gardner, whom she repeatedly saved against better judgment; and Usher’s Vedo, who sacrificed his singing for his dancing, were the first casualties of the season’s finals.
First, a performance by Robin Thicke reveals just how much he looks like Simon Cowell when he wears shades. For “Blurred Lines,” he was joined by Pharrell and TI. The performance is cool, but so early in the show and so out of context, it feels like a hurdle we need to get over before things can begin.
To kick off the actual show, Carson Daly asks each judge some version of the same question, which is basically, “How you doin’?” And each of them says something along the lines of, “I love my team, woohoo yay!”
In the Miranda-Lambert-name-drop #32654 of the season, Carson points out that it’s Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert’s anniversary. And we are reminded yet again that yes, ladies, Blake is married, and yes, country singers, he’s married to a country successful singer, and yes, little girls, they are looking to adopt a small teenager.
A “confessional” video has the contestants revealing little known facts about themselves, like how Judith Hill used to sing about farts for kids; Sasha Allen had a New York accent; and Garrett Gardner used to work at Ren Faires. Of course he did! I’m sure that’s where he got his lip ring. Apparently, he used to teach archery, and he becomes embarrassed as he’s saying it, which is cute and endearing, but not as endearing as beautiful Josiah Hawley quacking! Josiah says he played college hockey because he was inspired by the film “The Mighty Ducks,” and then does the requisite, hush-toned chant, “quack, quack, quack, quack…” So not only is he gorgeous, but he can successfully reference early ‘90s tween culture. Be still my heart
Two by two, we got results. It’s a slow process, with the contestants all grouped by team, and Carson announcing first which team the safe contestant comes from. Lots of suspenseful music and waiting, before we learn that Kris Thomas (Team Shakira) and the Swon Brothers (Team Blake) were first to go to safety.
Team Blake then performed “Play Something Country,” with Blake. Danielle Bradbery sounds the best throughout, although Holly Tucker made some crazy notes happen. Swon Brothers tend to blend into whatever background they’re in., though.
More results: Sarah Simmons (Team Adam) and Josiah Hawley (Team Usher) survive another week.
Lady Antebellum stops by to do “Goodbye Town,” a song that never ends. When it gets to an ostensible end, instead they bring out Team Adam to join them. When they all get to another possible end, they pretty much stop, and then start “ohhh ohhh ohhhing.”
I get that Hillary Scott was Adam’s advisor during Battles, but other than that, not sure why his team got the extra airtime, because they’re back moments later singing with Adam Levine. Other than the obvious, which is that these three are the best on the show and will be winning for Adam this year, so might as well give them all the work they can.
Carson asks Michelle Chamuel about how she reconciles not fitting in with people to doing so well on “The Voice.” Which is actually a very insightful question, good job Carson. She says she wasn’t hoping to fit in, only that “people would accept me and love me for who I was.” Cue the “aww”s.
But it’s Judith Hill and Danielle Bradbery who are safe that round.
Team Adam is back again, this time with Adam on guitar, to sing “Love Song.” The number heavily features Adam, actually, and makes him team more of a backup band. Except this one moment when Amber Carrington starts singing and it’s like this beautiful wail comes from way down inside of her. Adam turns and looks over his shoulder at her, and when he faces the camera again, he’s got this stunned smile on his face. He actually seemed like a proud papa.
Back to results: Michelle Chamuel and Amber Carrington are safe. So far, all of Team Adam (duh) have moved on.
There are just four people left, and only two spots. Carson chats with Garrett about the one and only thing “The Voice” has latched on to about him, which is that he tried out last year and didn’t make it, and Garrett talks yet again about coming back and proving himself and sticking with it, etc.
Like with Vedo, who is only known for having a mom who died, “The Voice” is doing a disservice to these people. How come it took this many weeks to find out Sasha Allen was more than a mom, she was also a successful Broadway and film actress? How come it took this long to learn that besides being a model, Josiah Hawley is also a college athlete (and awesome ‘90s child)? Or that Garrett was into Renaissance festivals? (Ok, I can see wanting to keep that hidden.) Seriously, there has to be something about Michelle Chamuel that is worth talking about that isn’t about her not fitting in as a kid. It’s kind of insulting to the adult Michelle, who maybe worked through some of that stuff to become a fully formed human, you think?
Then Holly Tucker gets saved (completing Team Blake), and finally, Sasha Allen gets the last spot. Phew! I was afraid Shakira’s Broadway reference Monday meant the end for Sasha.
So Team Adam and Team Blake got through the night unscathed, while Team Usher and Team Shakira both said goodbye to a third of their teams—persistent amateur Garrett Gardner, and forgettable Vedo, who is better known for his backstory than his singing voice.
I foresee the rest of Team Usher and Team Shakira getting picked off in the next few weeks, leading up to a monster showdown between Adam and Blake, rife with congenial insults.