‘The Voice’ Top 8 Recap: From Mann’s World to “Man’s World”
This Monday, "The Voice's" final eight contestants, two per team, competed for the four coveted spots in next week's big Season 2 finale. And despite Christina Aguilera's shameless attempts to upstage all eight of 'em and turn this episode into "The Christina Show" by a) loudly singing during her critiques; b) casually mentioning that she once performed one contestant's song choice herself, AT THE GRAMMYS; c) jumping up onstage twice; d) taking credit for one contestant's song clearance; and e) wearing a freakin' tiara, almost all of the contestants still managed to shine as brightly as Xtina's famously Nars-oiled legs. And they all did so in their own unique ways. By the end of the two-hour episode, we'd seen a Vegas-style showman, a couple of old-school divas, an opera singer, an R&B powerhouse, a quirky coffeehouse crooner, an electro-soulman, and an all-out rock goddess. How will America ever choose which of these talented people to send home, when they are all so different? And more importantly, and annoyingly, how will America send home four of them?
That, perhaps, is the only way, or at least the biggest way, in which "The Voice's" obvious predecessor, "American Idol," still has "The Voice" totally beat. If this were "Idol," you see, or even "The X Factor," we'd still have a few more luxurious weeks to gradually say goodbye to these great singers, and we'd still have weeks of great performances to look forward to. Instead, half of these "Voice" contestants will be brutally cut in one painful fell swoop this Tuesday--and due to this show's infuriating rule about only one singer per team surviving, it's pretty much guaranteed that the overall four best contestants will NOT make it to next week's finale.
Seriously, can't Team Blake be disqualified or something? Despite all my complaining about Christina's showboating and showoffing in the paragraph above, she does have one of the strongest teams this season--in that way, this kind of IS "The Christina Show"--and both of her contestants deserve to be in the finale. The same could be actually easily be argued for the team led by the show's other big diva, Cee Lo Green. But at the very least, I'd like to enjoy a few more weeks with Juliet Simms, Jamar Rogers, Chris Mann, and Lindsey Pavao.
However, for some of these contestants, Monday was indeed their swan-song night. Le sigh. So how'd they do? And which ones will be the final four on the floor? Let's break it down...
Tony Lucca - I've never really understood Tony Lucca's appeal. This is probably because I never watched "The Mickey Mouse Club," the famous kiddy-star-breeding show on which he used to be a regular, in a cast that also featured Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and yes, Little Miss Christina Aguilera. Tony came onto "The Voice" with a readymade fanbase (500,000 Twitter followers and gawd knows how many "MMC" nostalgists), and that probably had as much to do with his advancement in the competition as did any of his solid but not-exactly-astounding performances. Anyway, this Monday, he once again was not exactly astounding, but he was definitely better than I'd ever seen him before. Doing the Heavy's "How You Like Me Now," a very cool song choice, Tony ditched his trusty guitar and strutted his stuff alongside two pencil-skirted femme fatales, in an unexpectedly entertaining Rat Pack-style number. Was it a little cheesy? Sure it was. But at least it was exciting, not the typical strummy WGWG fare I'd gotten used to seeing from Tony week after week. Blake Shelton praised Tony's "Robert Palmer thing" and called him "badass." Cee Lo called this performance a "really, really pleasant surprise" and told Tony, "I became a fan of yours tonight!" Christina, who's never acted like a massive Tony fan, pointed out that she'd originally cleared the Heavy song for her top 24 team member Moses Stone (um, so?), and cattily advised Tony, "If this doesn't work out, you and Adam Levine can start a Britney cover band." Personally, I think this show is going to work out for Tony. He's still not my favorite in this competition, but I know he has always been popular, and I'm sure this dynamic performance didn't change that one bit. To answer Tony's musical question, how do I like him now? Eh, I like him enough. Perhaps I understand his appeal a little bit more after tonight.