I hate to say it, but I was a little underwhelmed by The Voice this week. Maybe it’s because it’s on so late and I watch it on Wednesday morning and was trying to get through it to get this written, or maybe it’s because they somehow only manage to get four battles into an hour long show (45 minutes of air time), or maybe it’s because we’re really starting to see the producer manipulation, or maybe it’s the realization that we’ve still got two more weeks of battles. (Or maybe it’s Alison Haislip.)
There’s was nothing overtly bothersome about this week’s episode, but I just couldn’t get into it. I think it’s partly because the novelty of the show has worn off and some of the battles are terribly predictable. There’s going to be producer manipulation on any manufactured show such as this, but when the show is proudly trumpeting from every tower that this show is about raw, vocal talent – well, then I expect it to live up to its premise.
Battle 1: Tje Austin vs. Nakia (Cee Lo)
Not only is Nakia so much of an artist that he only goes by one name, he’s also a raging douche who wears sunglasses inside! If he wasn’t already at the top of my Hate-O-Meter (rest assured, he was), he secured himself a top spot this week. (And Tje, please lose the V-neck tees.) The duo sang “Closer”, and I spent most of their performance wondering where Nakia’s neck is. It’s amazing he’s able to sing without a neck, that’s some talent. I’m predisposed to dislike Nakia, but similar to Haley Reinhart, I can’t get on board with all the showboating, growling, and vocal acrobatics. I prefer Tje’s voice tone and simple stylings, but the other coaches seemed to favor Nakia. I was expecting Cee Lo to put him through, and he did.
Battle 2: Elenowen vs. Jared Blake (Blake’s Team)
Blake picked a great Motown song, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” for Jared Blake, who made it through on a second chance and our favorite hipster cafe due, Elenowen, my hatred for which has not subsided. Does anyone even know what their real names are? (Nicole and Josh, thanks Reba!) And I really don’t give a fig that they live in her parents’ basement – it’s not quirky, it’s not cute, and I don’t feel bad for them. Move on, producers, move on! Jared is quite the showman, flexing his white boy dance moves up in the ring and looking like he was having full-body spasms at times. I was underwhelmed by the performance, but preferred Jared, even if he was just a bit over the top. And Elenowen went back home to her parents’ basement, due their less-than-stellar performance!
Battle 3: Javier Colon vs. Angela Wolff (Adam’s Team)
Hey, Angela, those hippie dippie headbands aren’t cool anymore. Here’s a fashion tip: if post-OC-Marissa Mischa Barton would wear it, you shouldn’t. Oh, right – but you thought you could tackle Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” (you couldn’t), so your judgement is already in question. I liked Adam’s choice of a simple, classic song, Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me”, and I liked the advice to the contestants even better – keep it simple. I’m pretty sure my hatred for too many vocal embellishments is well documented by now, so this was welcome advice. Their performance was good, but I thought Javier was far and away the better voice, and this is, after all, what we’re looking for, right?
Battle 4: Beverly McClellan vs. Justin Grennan (Christina’s Team)
Ummm, who is Justin? Is he one of those people we didn’t get to see audition, or was he just so boring that I already forgot about it? He sang “Drops of Jupiter” in his audition, so I think I would have remembered him. Xtina picked “Baba O’Riley” by The Who, a song that seemed tailor-made for Beverly… especially because we have no idea what Justin’s style is, and he claimed never to have heard the song before this. Does Justin live under a rock? Has he never seen a movie trailer? Has he never seen The Girl Next Door??? Justin continues to bolster the notion that the white guys on this show can’t dance, but I do think he had a better stage presence. Despite Christina telling Justin that of all her team members, she was most impressed with Justin, she had to choose Beverly.
The Voice is on Tuesday nights, at 10/9C on NBC.