I'm really excited about this week's episode because I think Cee-Lo and Adam have the strongest overall teams, and both Texas contestants--Nakia and Jeff--compete tonight. Not to mention the strongest contestant of all: Javier Colon from team Adam, whose musical ability goes far beyond just his voice; he plays piano and guitar and has major stage presence. Here are tonight's teams:
Team Cee Lo: Curtis Grimes, Nakia, Tori & Taylor Thompson, Vicci Martinez Team Adam: Casey Weston, Devon Barley, Javier Colon, Jeff Jenkins.
But first, the results from last week's competition...
Results from Round 1 Quarterfinals: Team Christina
Before the performances begin, we get the results from last week's voting round. Up first: Team Christina. Host Carson Daly starts by announcing America's "save"--Beverly McClellan! I think this is AMAZING. America didn't go for recognizable Frenchie or the more relatable girls, but bald, tattooed Beverley! YES! Christina acknowledges that this vote represents how Beverley has "broken boundaries" with her singing. As for Christina's "save," she chooses Frenchie. The two bald chicks prevail! We have to wait until the end of the show to see the results for Team Blake.
Round 2 Quarterfinal Performances: Team Adam
Casey Weston "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" KT Turnstall
In rehearsals, Casey's rendition of "Black Horse" is like barbecue: Low and slow. Adam wisely advises her to bump up the energy. In the performance, the staging looks great, with percussion provided by street musician-style bucket drums. Casey's stylist also did a beautiful job. I'm not much for cowboy boots, but paired with her sparkly mini-dress, she looks incredible; maybe it's the guitar. Whatever, it works. The song arrangement is more up-tempo than in rehearsals and Casey nails it.
The coaches: Blake says,"I'm about to download that because it was awesome." Christina liked the staging, but focuses on Casey's voice, advising her to not hide behind her guitar. Cee Lo thinks Casey did a wonderful job. Adam is glad she stepped out of her comfort zone and was pleased with the energy during the performance.
Devon Barley "Stop and Stare" by OneRepublic
Devon's vocals start off shaky but he improves with every word, and you can tell he really relates to the song he's singing; even when he hits a few not-great notes, I'm rooting for him. Plus, he's so adorable, and I want to spoon him. What? He looks like a good cuddler.
The coaches: Blake calls it a powerful performance, and says Devon sang his ass off. Christina appreciates that Devon "brings it" when he's on stage, and says he hit powerful notes. Cee Lo still thinks it's cool that Devon doesn't "look like he sounds" and calls it a great performance. Adam says he is very happy with Devon's performance, and compliments Devon's confidence and ability to beat back his nerves.
Jeff Jenkins "Jesus Take the Wheel" by Carrie Underwood
Texas boy Jeff dedicates the song to his mom, so I'm already crying before the first note. There are some pitchy notes in the overall performance, but Jeff has a beautiful and powerful voice, and he's so sweet and so gracious that he gives an effective performance every time. His smile really lights up his whole face. I'm crushing.
The coaches: Adam looks close to tears, and compliments Jeff's presence and powerful voice.
Javier Colon "Angel" by Sarah McLaughlin
In rehearsals, we see Adam advise Javier on holding back and paying more attention to melody. Adam says that while Javier has great range, that can get in the way of the song. During the performance, it becomes obvious that Javier has taken the rehearsal notes to heart. He builds up his vocals gradually, starting simple and pacing himself, and creating a really beautiful arc of music from start to finish.
The coaches: Blake says, "You don't talk about Javier, you go out and buy his concert tickets." Christina remarks that Javier is "the one that got away." Cee Lo raves, "Your ability epitomizes the point of this show. You truly have a voice of an angel." Adam gushes, "Absolutely perfect."
Round 2 Quarterfinal Performances: Team Cee Lo
Tori & Taylor Thompson "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" by The Andrews Sisters
I love this song, but the sisters are clearly unnerved. "The song is old and in double time!" the blonde one whines. Carson Daly likes that this song is being performed on Flag Day; he mentions it twice. The styling and choreography for the performance are great, but the fact that the girls have no context or understanding of the song is clear--they look uncomfortable most of the time they are performing it.
The coaches: Adam calls it "Good old-fashioned entertainment." Blake also loves it. Christina throws in a self-reference to her Candyman video and says she loves the costumes and dancers and found it fun to watch. Cee Lo says "thank you for doing such a wonderful job" and that he's proud. I have to disagree with the coaches here--I thought it was awkward and uncomfortable to watch.
Vicci Martinez "Jolene" by Dolly Parton
I love this song and this is an interesting arrangement--a little too power ballad-y for my taste, but then again if she's too true to the original she's bound to fall short because she's singing Dolly Parton, for Chrissakes.
The coaches: Adam uses the words soulful, raw, and honest. Blake says it was an explosive performance, calls himself a fan. Christina thought it was heartfelt and complimented the staging. Cee Lo also compliments Vicci's use of the stage, calls her voice big, powerful, commanding.
Nakia "Sex on Fire" Kings of Leon
Cee Lo calls Nakia his strong hopeful, and picks the song to get Nakia out of his comfort zone. Nakia is obviously the strongest vocalist on Cee Lo's team, so taking risks is, well, risky. The minute the stage performance begins, Nakia's voice gives me goose bumps. In spite of the dancers swinging fire in the background, nothing can distract from Nakia: he works the stage, the crowd, and the vocals.
The coaches: All of the coaches gush over Nakia. Coach Cee Lo says his attitude and timing were perfect and impeccable.
Curtis Grimes "Addicted to Love" Robert Palmer
This is a VERY country rendition of "Addicted to Love." I'm much more convinced of this performance after Curtis steps out from behind the mic stand and uses the stage to his advantage. He's got a deep, resonant voice and although I'm not a huge country fan I love the sound of his voice.
The coaches: Adam says Curtis wears the cowboy hat instead of the other way around, and likes the different approach to the song. Adam adds that he's jealous of Curtis' deep and manly voice. Blake and Christina both loved Curtis's performance. Cee Lo says he is very happy with the performance, and he thinks the notes in rehearsal helped the performance be successful.
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After Curtis performs we are still left with one burning question: Who will survive from Team Blake?!
Results from Round 1 Quarterfinals: Team Blake
With 15 minutes left in the episode, we get to find out the results from last week's Team Blake performances. America saves Dia Frampton, so Blake must choose between Jared, Patrick Thomas and Xenia. After some hemming and hawing Blake states: "I can't affect change with Jared or Patrick Thomas like I can with Xenia, so I'm going to pick Xenia." I was surprised, because Xenia's performance was the weakest, but pleased because her voice is so unique and I want to hear more.
To watch past episodes and videos of individual performances visit The Voice on NBC. Tune in next week, Tuesday June 21st, at 8 p.m. (CT) for results from this week's performances.