The Voice Top 12 Performance Night Recap: Another Day for You and Me in Paradise?
Prediction: Tuesday night’s installment of The Voice will be as painful as cardboard paper cut, as unpopular as the words “Paris Hilton’s pop-culture comeback” and as unwelcome as the “shot through some sorority chick’s ‘heart fingers’” camera angle employed during Matthew Schuler’s Top 12 performance of “Hallelujah.”
Believe it or not, I mean this in no way as an insult to NBC’s juggernaut singing competition. It’s just that, with not a single singer bellyflopping into the very deep talent pool Monday night, the prospect of two impending eliminations seems somehow illegal, or at the very least heartbreaking.
I know, I know…now I sound even more relentlessly cheerleader-y than our four coaches, who actually attempted a few mild criticisms tonight: Blake and Adam correctly noting that the studio audience has zero rhythm — not that it stops Mark Burnett & Co. from zooming in on their utterly distracting displays of SwayBotics — and Xtina calling out a few instances of obvious vocal difficulty. (Thanks, girl, for subjecting yourself to audience rancor in the interest of constructive feedback!)
So who is going to be/should be in jeopardy? Let me first weigh in with my letter grades and reviews for the night’s performances:
Caroline Pennell (Team Cee Lo): Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” — Grade: B+ | There’s a wide-eyed openness to Caroline’s delivery and a warmth in her tone that distinguishes her from the rest of her competitors. But while Cee Lo’s choice of “Wake Me Up” picked up the tempo from her prior efforts, I feel like it’s even more vital that he allow his team’s pacesetter to explore different moods. How would her ethereal voice play when juxtaposed with dark and stormy lyrics? Can she embody a woman scorned or a woman obsessed? Is Caroline capable of tackling one of those “message songs” Cee Lo loves so much? If the kid can answer a few of those questions in the coming weeks, it could mean the difference between a trip to the finale vs. a shocking too-early exit.
Josh Logan (Team Xtina): Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” — Grade: C+ | At Xtina’s request, Josh dialed back the absurd avalanche of runs that buried his Live Playoffs rendition of “Crazy.” Alas, though, Josh threw out any sense of originality and emotional connectedness along with the bathwater. The end result was an exercise that was, at best, perfunctory, and at worst, a white flag in the face of some very stiff competition.