Film and TV

The Voice: Live Performances Begin!

This week, The Voice returns to its two-hour format for the live competition rounds. Carson Daly dons a suit for this most auspicious occasion, and before the competition starts, he introduces a season recap so that we can reflect on "the emotional journey and intense rivalry that have brought us to where we are tonight." Daly continues waxing poetic, informing us that "six weeks ago, millions of Americans discovered the world's most exciting singing competition." Carson Daly has a real knack for understatements, doesn't he?

After the coaches perform a medley of Queen songs and we get a quick video of moments from past episodes, we also get to visit the "V Room" where a woman named Allison Haislip is running the social media correspondence. She is unbelievably annoying. Also, she's wearing a royal blue, one-shouldered, cropped-leg, belted jumpsuit. As Tim Gunn would say, it's a lot of look.

This week's competitors are from Team Blake and Team Christina. After the show ends, voting begins and winners will be announced next week. Two members on each team will move forward: one will be the audience's choice, the other, the judge's choice.

Team Blake: Patrick Thomas, Dia Frampton, Jared Blake, Xenia

Team Christina: Frenchie Davis, Beverly McClellan, Raquel Castro, Lily Elise

Team Christina

Raquel Castro kicks of the show. Is she a mini-Gloria Estefan or is it just me? She sings "Blow" by that Ke$ha girl who never takes a shower. The number is ambitious, with plenty of dancing in super-high platform heels for Raquel, who does pretty well. It's hard to believe she is the youngest competitor on The Voice; her vocals are amazing. She's styled like a disco ball--a slutty, slutty disco ball--but she looks really comfortable on the stage, with the song and the choreography.

The Coaches: Cee Lo loves her performance, and Adam compliments her ability to sing and dance at the same time. Blake--whose team is performing against Team Christina tonight--says "Dammit!" and tells Raquel she was awesome. Coach Christina loves her "attitude and sassyness."

Beverly McClellan is singing "I'm the Only One" by Melissa Etheridge, but in rehearsals she's concerned because she's got a chest cold. As soon as Beverly steps onto the stage I'm captivated--she looks gorgeous, and even though her rendition is faithful to the Etheridge original, she brings a kind of lightness to the performance that makes her fun to watch.

The Coaches: Cee Lo loves Beverly's spirit and says she's a natural. Adam calls her "the one who got away" and I agree with him--she would have made a great addition to his team. Blake is totally blown away by her talent, and adds that she looks very sexy and very hot. Christina gives her team member effusive praise for both singing and choreography.

Lily Elise is singing one of my least favorite songs ever, "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie. I really hate this song. Christina wants Lily to show vulnerability in this song during rehearsals, because she's usually so confident. As the live performance starts, I have to laugh out loud at the dancers they have behind Lily Elise; they are extremely hilarious and ridiculous. I especially like the one in a sleeveless white dress shirt with a black tie. Backup dancer formal? Eventually they disappear from the stage, so we can focus on Lily Elise's performance. This song is terrible, which makes me not like the performance and in turn, the performer. She can sing, but I can't get past the song choice.

The Coaches: Cee Lo says she has something special and that he enjoyed it, and Adam thought it was more engaging without the dancers, saying he wished she was on her own the whole time. Blake mocks the dancers--and Christina, who he knows chose them for the performance; then Blake says Lily Elise's voice always "sneaks up on him." Christina is proud of LE, explains the dancers in a convoluted way, and compliments LE's expression and emotion during the song.

Frenchie Davis will perform "When Love Takes Over" by David Guetta. In rehearsals, Christina coaches Frenchie to pull back on the reins. Hello Pot, I'm your coach, The Kettle. In the live performance I think Frenchie sounds sharp in the upper register, but she has a lot of stage presence and when the tempo slows down her vocals sound tighter - I also think this song is fun and provides a great performance. I want to download this to my workout playlist like, immediately. So I do.

The Coaches: Cee Lo says Frenchie is one of his favorites, compliments her breath control and calls her "seasoned." Adam thinks she's beautiful, and says she made him love a song that he's been indifferent to in the past. Blake says she's a power singer. Christina praises Frenchie's poise, and says she had great stage presence, adding that Frenchie also has a controlled voice to go along with her range.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Christina Uticone