‘The Voice’ Top 20 Live Playoffs, Pt. 2: Team Xtina Comes in Like a Wrecking Ball
Well, I never thought I'd say this. Or type this. But I think CeeLo Green might have the weakest team on "The Voice" this season. Gulp.
I've always been a card-carrying member of the Red Zone, ever since Season 1, when CeeLo's finalists Vicci Martinez and Nakia captured my heart and ears. Season 2 was all about Team CeeLo's Juliet Simms and Jamar Rogers (and CeeLo's much-missed lap cat, Purrfect), and in Season 3, CeeLo coached two of the most unique "Voice" contestants ever, Nicholas David and Cody Belew. When CeeLo sat out Season 4, I eagerly awaited his triumphant return, excited to see what interesting choices he'd make when it came to his contestants and their songs this year.
But on Tuesday's Live Playoffs, when Team CeeLo and Team Xtina competed for spots in the top 12 — following very strong showings by Team Adam and Team Blake's contestants on Monday — CeeLo's singers were for the most part shockingly outclassed.
Maybe this is why, on Tuesday, all of CeeLo's five contestants sang first, followed by Christina Aguilera's — a different structure from the night before, when Adam Levine and Blake Shelton's contestants, who comprise this season's arguably two best teams, took turns performing. While a couple CeeLo disciples had breakout moments on Tuesday, by the time the final two amazing Team Xtina contestants took the stage, Team CeeLo was sadly all but forgotten.
What happened? How did the Red Zone become the danger zone this season? Maybe CeeLo just needs to bring Purrfect back to the show. Clearly that kitty was his furry good-luck charm all along.
Here's how Tuesday's 10 contestants fared:
Amber Nicole – Amber was an underdog from the start — montaged in the Blind Auditions, stolen in the Knockout Rounds — so when she got the death spot this week and had to sing a country song (Season 3 winner Cassadee Pope's "Wasting All These Tears"), I was worried for her. It seemed she was being set up to fail. And, well, the set-up kind of worked. Amber started out pretty strong, turning Cassadee's five-hanky country-pop weeper into a convincingly soulful R&B anthem, but then it all started to unravel, with a series of sharp and flat notes. The potential was there (remember how fantastic Amber was in the Battle Rounds, when she totally stole Timyra-Joi's thunder?), but tonight, that potential remained unrealized. And…then there was that big note at the end, which Amber missed by more country miles than even country boy Blake could imagine. She really shouldn't have gone there, and I was embarrassed for her. I think if she'd nailed the note, the rest of her performance's minor imperfections could've been forgiven or ignored, but that misstep was just plain unforgivable. And unignorable. Adam, Blake, and Christina all called her out on it, and Blake even sternly told her she was "treading on sacred ground" by covering his former protégé Cassadee. However, CeeLo assured Amber, "You rose to the occasion with such class." Yes, Amber kept it classy, but I don't think she rose. She fell…right under the bus that CeeLo threw her towards.