April 16, 2012 7:55pm PT by Jethro Nededog
'The Voice' Quarterfinals: Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton Drop Two Strong Singers
The Voice upped the ante on Monday’s performance show as coaches Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton had to make the difficult decision of cutting one artist each at the end of the episode.
Christina said it made her really nervous while Blake simply wanted to kick whomever came up with the twist. But coach Adam Levine disagreed, saying he’d much rather be in charge of who goes rather than leaving it up to other people. America, he's talking about us.
Before the big decision, Team Christina performed their coach’s hit “Fighter” and millions of fans are still getting over Christina’s bedazzled bustier and hot pants. Not to be left out, Team Blake performed a fun rendition of “Heartache Tonight” from Don Henley -- which takes on a double meaning when you factor in that one of them won’t be moving on to tomorrow. Additionally, Adam took the stage with Maroon 5 to perform their single, “Pay Phone,” featuring Wiz Khalifa.
RaeLynn kicked off the show and wanted to stick to her country roots. She performed Jason Aldean’s “She’s Country.” Stomping her boots and shaking her hips, she got Christina’s respect, Cee Lo Green called it the best performance she’s done and Adam said it was “freakin’ good timing.” And Blake certainly showed some pride, saying RaeLynn showed country music can rock.
Jesse Campbell has coasted through the competition with his versatile voice. This time around he sang Beyonce’s “Halo,” because Christina wanted him to be more adventurous. He attacks it like a tiger with his daughter as inspiration. Cee Lo said he “sung the hell out of that record,” Adam thinks his ability is “crazy,” and Blake called it “a great performance.” Christina didn’t seem overjoyed by the performance, calling it “well put together” and remarking that he got his point across.
Up next, another huge singer who sang her way out of the bottom three, Jordis Unga. That seemed to revitalize her and this week she wants to tell a story with Sara Evans’ “A Little Bit Stronger.” There’s no doubt that she’ll sing the hell of whatever song she’s given, but I’m unclear as to whether that pink prom dress worked for her. Maybe, it was step too far into expressing her softer side. Adam thought she went the extra mile on that song and liked her connection. Blake was proud of her for doing something that was unexpected for her.
Ashley De La Rosa fought her way out of the bottom three with a fiery performance. She tries to do that again with a rock-infused “Foolish Games” by Jewel. Adam called her the biggest surprise of the competition while Blake complimented her on her ongoing improvement and Christina’s coaching.
Erin Willett is one of my favorite voices of the competition and if anyone can handle Adele’s “Set Fire To The Rain,” it’s her. She didn’t disappoint for me. Adam said she sang it really well, but felt her phrasing was off. Clearly, it’s tough to sing an Adele song, because she holds such a patent on them. Blake was overjoyed by Erin’s take and seemed sure America would be too.
Lindsey Pavao switched from a medley of Rihanna’s “S&M” and “We Found Love” to Katy Perry’s “Part Of Me.” There’s something very spooky and goth about Lindsey that’s perfect for the current ‘90s trend and endears her to me, though the coaches weren’t without some critiques about her pitch. Meanwhile Cee Lo said he wasn’t familiar with the song, so he couldn’t compare it to the original and even Christina said that she didn’t know the song before. That probably works in Lindsey’s favor.
Jermaine Paul has an emotional time during rehearsals of Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds,” and he definitely brings a new and very soulful take on the song. I’m not sure you can go wrong with this song choice to be honest. Christina says Jermaine is her favorite on Team Blake and appreciates his connection to the songs, but Adam thought he went overboard at some points. On the other hand, Blake felt this was his team member’s breakthrough performance.
Opera singer Chris Mann broke from his streak of ballads with his take on Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida.” He got to work the stage, but at times it seemed awkward for him. Adam felt as if he missed being moved by Chris’ more operatic performances. Christina was proud of him for leaving his comfort zone and felt he made it his own.
It’s that time now where Christina and Blake close the book on one of their performers. It’s ladies first and I've aged several years as Christina draws out her decision with a very long preamble, but says she’s going with her gut and creating the team she thinks is the most versatile and open to growth. And then, Christina makes a pretty surprising decision: Jesse is out. Looking at versatility and growth, Jesse may be a bit set in his ways by now and I can see Christina feeling there isn’t much more she can give him at this point.
Blake is up next and says he hoped the performances would make the decision very easy for him, but they didn’t. And in the end, he may have made a very strategic decision by cutting Jordis, because she was already in the bottom three last week. I definitely think he was cutting his losses here as he already knew she may not have the votes behind her to ultimately win the competition. But, I really feel that was a mistake and a bit cowardly on Blake's part.
What’s your take on tonight’s performances and its two casualties? Tell us in the comments section below.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro