The first two top 12 finalists to be voted off by America said goodbye to "The Voice" this Tuesday, and it can be argued that both singers were the victims of questionable song choices by their respective coaches. I'll cut both of those coaches some slack, since they were the two newbies, Usher and Shakira, who are still learning how to play the game. But hopefully they'll make wiser choices for their remaining contestants on future shows.
Team Usher's Vedo, whom I'd predicted would get the boot this week, was frankly sabotaged by a Michael Jackson song, "Rock With You." Sure, it didn't help matters that Vedo sang first, or that he was dressed in suffocating black leather in a studio with malfunctioning air-conditioning (and therefore seemed exhausted before his performance was even over). And yes, it would have been difficult for him to live up to the King of Pop's legacy under any circumstances. But when Vedo didn't try to do anything new, to make "Rock With You" his own — even copying MJ's iconic moonwalking moves, as instructed by Usher's choreographer — he was doomed. He came across as a Jackson tribute act, not an original artist. And he was sent home.
Team Shakira's Garrett Gardner was the other fall guy this week. I could see where Shakira was coming from when she assigned Garrett the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way": I think she wanted her resident WGWG to pull a page from the classic David Cook/Kris Allen/Phillip Phillips playbook, turn the pop hit into a rock 'n' roll guitar cover, and have a "moment." That's exactly what Garrett tried to do — unlike Vedo, he did make the song his own — and I think he did a respectable job. But on a show full of powerhouses, where even Garrett would probably admit he wasn't the strongest singer in the bunch, his BSB cover wasn't enough of a "moment" to make him stand out. He didn't give it enough of a creative twist. Too bad. I was rooting for this lip-ringed rocker.
So veteran coaches Blake Shelton and Adam Levine's teams remain intact, while this season's rookie coaches have already lost one contestant apiece. Will Team Shakira and Team Usher escape the top 10 round unscathed? Come back next week to find out.