‘The Voice’ Knockouts, Pt. 2: Can We Please Reinstate The Steal?
After Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green slashed their teams in half on Monday night's "Voice" Knockout Rounds, on Tuesday it was time for Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera to do similar damage with their teams. For two hours, Team Xtina and Team Blake's contestants sang songs of their own choosing in last-ditch and sometimes desperate efforts to convince their coaches that they deserved to advance to next week's live rounds, and by the evening's end, we knew the full list of 20 singers (five contestants from each of the four teams) who'd made it through.
Were they the right 20? Well, yes and no. And in the case of Blake's final choice...a big, whopping, all-caps, italicized NO.
But we'll get to that controversy in a few paragraphs. Here's what went down in the second round of Knockouts:
Devyn DeLoera vs. Laura Vivas
Who? Poor Laura never got ANY screentime this season, so she seemed doomed from the start. I wondered if Christina even knew who she was. But the Latin firecracker really did give it a good effort, wiggling and shimmying through her feisty and fun cover of Marc Anthony's "I Need To Know" until bug-eyed Cee Lo Green looked like he was about to have a corazon attack. But unfortunately for Laura, Cee Lo wasn't the one making the decision here--and Christina clearly favored Devyn. I thought Devyn seemed very pageanty--very "American Idol" circa Season 2, actually--singing Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing" while rocking a Rebecca Gayheart perm. I did have to give Devyn some props for her ambitious song choice, but in the end, I enjoyed Laura's performance so much more. (Cee Lo even said it was one of the best performances of the season. I'm not sure about that, but it was solid.) But c'mon, we all knew this script was already written. Christina had an agenda here, and Laura was so not part of that agenda. Devyn prevailed, of course. Adios, Laura.
ADVANCING TO THE LIVE SHOWS: Devyn
Adriana Louise vs. Celica Westbrook
This one also seemed pretty predictable, since Celica's Battle Round was not shown in full, while the "Voice" cameras have caressed every angle of Adriana's model-perfect face since she first appeared on the show. But Christina did make the right choice this time around when she picked Adriana. Adriana's performance of Kelly Clarkson's "Already Gone" was great, and Celica had reason to look worried as she sat on her probably-very-uncomfortable onstage stool, observing Adriana at uncomfortably close range. When Celica sang second, she bizarrely went with Justin Bieber's "Never Say Never" (to quote "Idol's" Mariah Carey, whyyyyyyyy?), not exactly a great vocal showcase for anyone. The result was underwhelming and just kind of weird. And soon, Celica was saying never--to her chances on "The Voice." Because Adriana won, of course.
Alessandra Guercio vs. Dez Duron
This certainly was one of the weirder and more mismatched pairings on the night, but Dez basically won my support the minute he announced that he was going to sing Lionel Richie's "Stuck On You." It was a cheesy song, yes, but one that mostly worked with his soulful vibe. Plus, who doesn't like some old-skool Lionel Richie? No one, that's who. Anyway, Alessandra's song choice, Rihanna's "Take A Bow," didn't work nearly as well--she was really pushing and overcooking the song, and she kind of lost me right away with her forced fake laugh in the first verse. (Lame.) And so, soon it was time for Alessandra to take a bow--and leave the stage for good. Because Christina, surprisingly, made yet another sound decision (so unlike her!), and went with Dez. I have a feeling America will be stuck on this guy, and that he'll go far.