Last season, "The Voice" didn't really have any huge curveballs or major upsets. While "American Idol" offered one shocker elimination after another--Pia Toscano, Casey Abrams, James Durbin--"The Voice" just calmly coasted to its almost pre-ordained finish line, with all of the best singers mostly making it through and frontrunner Javier Colon eventually winning (as had been widely predicted ever since he was featured in the show's promo spots before Season 1 even began). But this Tuesday, when "The Voice" held its first live results show of Season 2, it was an entirely different story.
As viewers learned which six of the 12 combined Team Xtina and Team Blake contestants (who competed this past Monday) had gotten through to the next round via the first public vote of the season, the Xtina results were no surprise or great injustice: Her top three were, rightfully, the awesomely bizarre Lindsey Pavao, the awesomely evangelical Jesse Campbell, and the awesomely operatic Chris Mann. But Team Blake's results were flat-out astounding. Sure, powerhouse belter Erin Willett making it through was all fine and good (and totally deserved). But did America really vote for RaeLynn--the annoying and amateurish country kid who should have never made it to the top 24 to begin with, and who totally butchered rival coach Adam Levine's "Wake Up Call" this week--over the amazing Jordis Unga? And did America really vote for Jermaine Paul, who performed a totally hokey Bon Jovi cover and had the further disadvantage of singing first on Monday, over the amazing Jordis Unga?
Yep, America really did that.
But all was not lost. While the above-mentioned six singers automatically advanced to the top 16 via the somewhat misguided public vote, two bonus contestants--one handpicked by Christina Aguilera, and one chosen by Blake Shelton--got Wild Card/Judges' Save-style reprieves, after giving "last chance performances" to prove they deserved to stay in the game. And when the coaches made those decisions, there was yet another surprise...but at least this time it was a much less upsetting one.
So on Team Blake, Naia Kete, a breathy and extremely limited folk singer, once again made the mistake of taking on a divalicious song way too big for her. (On Monday she performed Adele's "Turning Tables." Mistake. This time it was Beyonce's "If I Were A Boy." Also a mistake.) It wasn't a very strong showing, and when Blake lamented the fact that she hadn't done a reggae song more in her wheelhouse, Naia blurted out, "They wouldn't let me! I wanted to, I swear!" Oops. That was Mistake Number Three, as Boy George might say. That was when I could practically see a trap door in the stage floor sliding open and swallowing Naia up, because she'd just totally destroyed any chance she might have had of getting picked by Blake. Here's a little lesson for all reality contestants: Never throw the show's producers under the bus.
Team Blake's Charlotte Sometimes went next, oversinging the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris" to the point where her performance almost seemed like a Kristen Wiig "SNL" skit. She was just trying way, way too hard, and by the song's end, she looked positively defeated. She knew she was going home. Jordis, on the other hand, used her trembling emotion for the greater good, channeling it all into her lovely "Wild Horses" cover. Blake's choice was obvious here. All of his fellow coaches recommended that Jordis be saved, and this time he didn't make a dumb decision like he did on that Battle Rounds night when he saved RaeLynn over Adley Stump. Jordis did indeed survive this Tuesday, thankfully, but she never should have had to sing for her life, this soon, in the first place. I just hope viewers vote for her next time. Jordis may have had a number one song on the iTunes rock chart this week with "Alone," and iTunes downloads do count as votes on "The Voice"--but apparently that wasn't enough this week. Next time, Jordis fans need to pick up their phones, not just their iPods.
When it came time for Team Xtina's three at-risk contestants to give their last-chance performances, Ashley De La Rosa slayed it with her feisty, rockin' cover of Grace Potter & The Nocturnals' "Ooh La La (Paris)," and Sera Hill also greatly impressed with her soulful rendition of Mariah Carey's classic "Vision Of Love." The showdown was clearly between the two of them (Moses Stone's just-okay cover of the Script's "Breakeven" came nowhere close to the ladies' vocal power), but I was completely convinced that Christina had Sera's back. After all, Ashley had seemed like a fodder contestant earlier this season (her first audition didn't even air in its entirety), while Sera had been such an early favorite of Christina's, Christina had actually hopped onstage and dueted with her at her first audition. So when Christina went with her gut and saved Ashley, NOT Sera, it was definitely a mini-shocker, even if Ashley had earned her spot on Christina's team. I just never imagined we'd be saying goodbye to Sera this soon.
So next Monday, Team Cee Lo and Team Adam--arguably the two strongest teams of this season--will excitingly go head to head. And hopefully when that happens, America will vote a little more wisely. See you then!