April 30, 2012 7:58pm PT by Jethro Nededog
'The Voice' Semifinals: P.S. Christina Aguilera Did It First
The top eight singers took the stage on Monday's live semifinals performance episode of NBC’s The Voice. Not only were they singing for America’s votes, but the coaches were also voting for their favorites. Tuesday’s results will take both of those into account.
During the show, Blake Shelton performed his newest single, "Over," for the first time on television. Also, Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green’s teams came together to sing The Killers’ “All These Things I’ve Done,” while Shelton and Christina Aguilera’s teams joined together on Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory.”
Tony Lucca opens the show following his well-received performance of Britney Spears’ “Baby, One More Time” last week with The Heavy’s “How Do You Like Me Now?” Tony delivers a slick and soulful performance that definitely gives viewers yet another side of him. As he finished, the cameras settled on Adam, who was all smiles. Blake says that he didn’t know that song, but that would be the version he’d like most. Christina can’t help but express her superiority once again by pointing out that she had that song cleared for her quickly eliminated MC, Moses Stone. “Good song choice,” she says which comes off like patting herself on the back rather than giving Tony and Adam an actual compliment. That won’t be the first time she throws some shade Tony’s way on Tuesday’s show.
Erin Willett takes the stage next with Usher and David Guetta's hit collaboration, “Without You." Blake makes it clear that he’s looking for a breakout moment for her. Erin attacks every song she’s given and this one asks her to use some varying degrees of vulnerability. She definitely does that and finishes the song in tears. Christina says she was proud of her for making the song unique and Cee Lo says those kind of artistic moments have to happen more on the show. Blake simply says he’s proud of her for having the strength to give it like she did on stage.
Chris Mann returns to his classically trained roots on “Ave Maria.” Was that a good choice for him? Of course, he’d hit it out of the park and no one can deny his talent. But, what music-buying audience is he going for with that performance? It just doesn't position him as contemporary. Cee Lo calls Chris “incomparable” and his voice is the “epitome of the show.” Adam tells him that he gives the show credibility. Christina says his performance humbled her and that there are very few people in this competition that can hit those notes.
Cee Lo wants to show a softer side of Jamar Rogers and picks “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” which Patti Labelle and Simply Red have recorded. Jamar insists on singing it in a modern way and he definitely brings the classic song into this decade. He chooses very unique phrasing and takes the finish down into his low register. It’s a feat that really shows that he put thought into the delivery. And for that and singing the hell out of that song, viewers should throw their votes his way. Adam tells him that he is “purely a fan.”
Next up, Blake hopes to shine the spotlight on Jermaine Paul’s technical abilities with Journey’s “Open Arms.” It isn’t a particularly unique version of the song. But as far as Blake’s goal to show his singer’s abilities, then check. Christina and Cee Lo give their thumbs up and Adam tells him that he’s certainly proven he’s no longer a backup singer. Backup singers of the world, please send your angry letters to Adam care of The Voice.
Katrina Parker takes on the Fugees’ version of “Killing Me Softly.” This is crazy to say, but she sounds very similar to Lauryn Hill. And while that’s an accomplishment in itself, it would have been nice to see her play with the song more and give it her own flavor. Christina said as much before she tarnished the moment by using it to lobby Adam against Tony in favor of Katrina. Blake tells Katrina that he can’t believe she has been sitting in an office cubicle for so long as he calls her voice “seasoned” as if she’s been performing on stage like a professional.
Lindsey Pavao takes on Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love.” During rehearsals, Christina tells her that she needs to sing very close to microphone. That was good advice, but even still the backup singers and instrumentals made it really difficult to hear Lindsey’s voice. Maybe, the backup singers needed to sing farther from the microphone?
Juliet Simms closes the episode, which is called the “pimp slot” for a reason. The production trusts she will shut it down appropriately. And if anyone wanted to make a sure bet, their money would be safe with this girl. She may not have the ability to perform badly. She sings “It’s A Man’s World” by James Brown and she really owns it. Adam calls it “something special” before saying that she makes him proud of the diverse styles on the show. Christina says Juliet’s performance made her feisty and follows that up with comparing the feelings she felt when she performed the same song back in the day – just in case the show started becoming about Juliet.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro