We’re finally here: the finale of “The Voice.” And it only took 11 episodes to get here.
Since this one of their last chances to hang out together, the judges decide to sing another group song. Since the finalists are under extreme pressure to perform well, the judges commemorate the moment by singing David Bowie & Queen’s “Under Pressure.” I don’t know what it is with these group songs – individually they’ve all done great, but when the judges get together they just don’t know how to harmonize. At least Carson is impressed.
It’s every man for himself up here!
At least they’ll have a chance at redemption when they sing their duets with their contestants tonight. Yes, each of the judges will be performing a duet, and the contestants will also sing original songs created just for them. They’re pulling out all of the punches this time to bring the best singing competition show to you.
But first, says Carson, let’s take a look at this past season and see how our four finalists got here. If you want to know what he said, read all of my previous recaps. They’re much more interesting, I swear.
I didn’t say better, I said more interesting.
Regardless, our four finalists are as follows:
- Team Adam: Javier Colon
- Team Blake: Dia Frampton
- Team Cee Lo: Vicci Martinez
- Team Christina: Beverly McClellan
The only thing we learn that we hadn’t seen before is the finalists were treated to some designer clothing, courtesy of the show. I have a feeling there’s a lot we didn’t get to see behind the scenes.
But this show is about talent, not fashion, and on with the show we must. Carson reminds us that it’s out of the judges’ hands and audience votes are solely what will choose the winner. There is nothing the judges can do at this point to help them. Well, except not screw up their duets.
Carson interviews the four finalists. The judges beam proudly as the contestants talk about their experiences. Dia explains how excited she is to put her own spin on an original song, rather than steal someone else’s spin on an unoriginal song. Vicci is going to give it her all, and as much as Javier loves his fellow finalists, he would really like to win so he can feed his family. And Beverly is just here to rock and roll, dammit!
I totally just smoked a fat one before the show.
Next, Carson turns his attention to the judges. But not before complaining he can’t hear anything because of the noisy crowd. This is just like when he was on “TRL,” he says. Ah, the glory days. The judges have nothing but wonderful things to say about their contestants and their experience with the show. At this point, their team members have become more like peers than students, and the judges are looking forward to seeing what these folks make of themselves. And Christina is hoping one of them will eventually take some of the heat off of her in the tabloid department.
There’s plenty of time in this segment, so Carson cuts to Allison Hayslip in the V-Room. Allison spends a good portion of her time plugging the new HTC Evo 3-D phone for Sprint. It’s sad to see that “The Voice” has finally sold out. But eventually, Allison must interview the contestants. It’s the usual stuff, like do you feel more pressure now that you’re a finalist and did you sleep last night? I think at this point she should be asking each contestant what their backup plan is in case they don’t win.
“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.”
After the break, Carson has a huge announcement. The top eight finalists will be going on tour starting July 27th! Check your local community theatre for details.
Our first original solo is Javier, who has a slow, powerful ballad written just for him. All of the original songs are kinda slow – even Beverly’s. Javier will be singing “Stitch by Stitch,” written by famed music producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. As we learn throughout the episode, the show isn’t messin’ around with these songs, having hired some of the biggest producers in the business to write original songs for the finalists. Needless to say, Javier is stoked. But at this point I think Javier could sing “Happy Birthday” and win this thing.
Adam and Rodney’s only advice to Javier is to keep it simple. And for the first time, he actually does. It’s a typical love song about a man whose heart has broken and he’s slowly putting it back together, stitch by stitch. (Get it?) But it’s also a simpler song than what we’ve heard from Javier in the past, with no super-high, long and drawn-out notes to hit. But Javier’s strength is displaying a ton on emotion during his songs, and he doesn’t disappoint.
Hold on – there’s a tear in there somewhere…
Even though it’s out of the judges’ hands, they’re still getting paid so they might as well do something, right? So Carson asks them for feedback. Blake is in awe of Javier and stresses that he’s a good guy for those audience members who vote on personality alone, Cee Lo felt that the song was written for his voice and Christina looked defeated as she stated he did a great job. She must be clued in that her team has lost by now. Adam, of course, is already celebrating the dude’s impending win.
Next up is Dia, who sings Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” with Blake Shelton. During rehearsals, Blake reminisces about how scared Dia was to get on stage when she first started. Now, just 10 weeks later, Dia is full of confidence and a completely different person! I still wonder with all of the media attention about her professional music background how he could not know her history, but he’s a tough nut to crack. I can only imagine when he pulls up her Wikipedia page after the final show and goes, “Heeeeeyyyyyy! Wait a sec…”
Dia’s “lack of experience” is no where near apparent when she and Blake hit the stage in dark suits, sunglasses and guitars. Their Blues Brothers routine is actually pretty funny and Blake finally finds a duet that he kills on. And they look like they’re genuinely having a good time, bopping their heads and strumming their guitars in unison. For some reason, though, Dia decides to remove her sunglasses mid-song and ruin the effect. But Blake doesn’t care – he still adores her – at least, for now…
Are you two twins?
Luckily, the other judges aren’t asked for comment during the duets – which is great because all this talk is putting me to sleep. Next up is Vicci Martinez, who sings “Afraid to Sleep” by Butch Walker. Butch is perfect for Vicci because he works with Pink, who’s probably one of the artists Vicci’s voice and style resembles the most. And the song is perfect for her because it starts off slow and and builds until it punches people in the face, which is one of Vicci’s favorite past-times.
I’m starting to suspect that most of these songs weren’t written specifically for each artist. I get the sinking feeling they’re songs written years ago and pulled out of the producers’ back pockets at the last minute. And in this case, this song may have already been done before. Now I can’t prove it since I’ve never heard the song before, but shortly after Vicci’s premiere performance, the blogs blew up that “Afraid to Sleep” was already done by Dido. Of course, Dido probably never performed the song in machine-produced fog while jumping around on stage, so it is original in a sense. If anything, the song is a little too slow for Vicci, who tries her damnest to perform her signature war dance and rock out in her usual fashion.
This is a little move I learned from Bon Jovi.
It doesn’t matter. Her voice sounds good and the judges eat it up. Adam is so impressed with Vicci he buys her a pair of jeans. That leads Blake to give a joke about someone getting into the other’s pants (I’m not sure whose), but who cares. Blake is on fire – again! Christina, on the other hand, is somewhat subdued this episode. It must have been that stern talking to she got after she called Dia a homosexual male. And of course, Cee Lo calls her a force to be reckoned with, which will come in handy when Vicci starts her ultimate fighting career.
Big stars equal big ratings, so “The Voice” has a special treat for us. Pitbull and Ne-Yo show up to sing “Give Me Everything,” a fun little dance number about a one-night stand. They bring some dancers to whore it up on stage while they turn the auditorium into a club. And someone seemed to really be enjoying himself during the show:
Which one of you wants to be the next Jennifer Lopez?
At one point, Ne-Yo or Pitbull (I’m really not sure who’s who) serenades Christina, kissing her hand and returning to the stage before she gets the opportunity to ask him to take off his pants. That’s ok – I’m sure she’ll harass him later. We have a minute left, so Carson cuts to Allison in the V-room, who gives us a list of what’s trending now: Stitch,Under Pressure, Tom Petty, Ray-Bans and Carson Daly, which is great because Carson hasn’t trended since 1996.
For her duet with Beverly McClellan, Christina chooses a song from an artist she really admires: herself. She and Beverly will be singing “Beautiful.” And as much as I love to give Xtina a hard time, when it comes to music I have to admit she really knows her sh**. First off, she invites original songwriter Linda Perry to come jam with them. The duet is simply performed with just a few stringed instruments and it’s, well, beautiful. It’s interesting to have a bit of a rock-and-roll edge added to the piece, and the song works well.
We still need to do something about that hair, though.
The next big superstar (?) to grace the stage is Katherine McPhee – but she’s not here to perform. She’s here to hock “Smash,” her new show about a Midwestern gal who tries to make her way through New York’s Broadway circuit. And if that doesn’t inspire you, perhaps the shameless promo will. Katherine McPhee also sings “Beautiful,” which apparently she does so well that Debra Messing’s jaw practically drops to the floor.
I’m sorry. American Idol who?
Produced by some Spielberg dude, the show looks promising. Their only mistake? Not really giving the great Anjelica Huston any real screen time. And if you don’t know who Anjelica Huston is, you should be slapped. In the meantime, I’m gonna look up this Spielberg guy.
Dia Frampton premieres “Inventing Shadows,” which was written by Frasier T. Smith and Josh Kear. Dia is super-stoked – after all, the last record she did she recorded in her mom’s house and you can hear the dishwasher running in the background. So if the soothing sounds of a dishwasher help you fall asleep, buy Dia’s last album.
Blake is also super-excited and will do what it takes to help Dia become a superstar. “If there’s anything I can do for you, you let me know,” Blake says as he fist-bumps her. Unfortunately, Blake doesn’t know that Dia has the strength of a lion, and she pummels him.
Dia does yet another Tori Amos-inspired rendition of her song, sitting at the piano and tapping away at a few keys here and there. It’s typical Dia-style – simple and haunting – except for the Muppet shadows dancing in the background. But not the cute Muppets – the distorted, grotesque kind that tried to eat me in my dreams when I was a kid.
Quick – look behind you! Oh, never mind, it’s gone.
Christina just can’t let sleeping dogs lie, complaining that she got reamed for the shadowy figures she had dancing in the background during Lily’s piece while Dia got praised for it. Well, says, Blake, Lily sucked. Knowing his contestant is probably out at this point, Cee Lo sighs and says her song will probably be number one on iTunes. Again. Adam needs to do something to keep Javier in the running, so he complains the dancers distracted him and made his ADD kick in. But Blake doesn’t care – he hasn’t been this excited since he sang “I Won’t Back Down” with Dia 20 whole minutes ago.
Remember that time you and I hung out and we did that cool thing? Yeah. That was awesome!
Adam and Javier choose Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” as their duet, which is totally appropriate since the high notes suit both of them. Javier reminds us that all four coaches turned their chairs for him and HE chose Adam, so Adam better step it up and not mess this up.
He doesn’t. Of course, Adam can never disappoint when he’s wearing a suit. Javier takes his cue and dresses the same – and he’s well on his way to becoming a sex symbol as well………………………………… I’m sorry – I got distracted watching them there for a second. Oh, and they sounded great too. It is an ideal song for both of their vocal ranges.
I love you more.
No, I love you more.
No, I love you…
I don’t know about you, but this is a two-hour show and I’m getting tired. Luckily we only have one solo performance and one duet left. But not before we watch country superstar Brad Paisley do his thing. He sings “Don’t Drink the Water,” a biographical story about his time spent in Los Angeles. Or Mexico. Same thing. And the song is pure country – I just knew immediately when the guitar solo started that this was gonna be the kind of music my dad blasted on long road trips, much to his children’s dismay.
Did you know Brad Paisley is married to Kimberly Williams? When Hollywood and Country marry the result is: Blake Shelton, who joins Brad from his judge’s chair during the song. Brad sings him a question, and right on cue, a microphone appears out of nowhere for Blake to sing his answer.
Hey! Where did this thing come from?
Despite Christina’s biting comments earlier in the show, Blake points her out when singing about “sweet little Christinas,” which apparently run rampant around Mexico.
In your face, Bee-atch!
Blake had never been one to dance, but he does play a mean air guitar. And he gives Brad a back-handed compliment during his guitar solo by telling the audience, “He’s actually pretty good.”
Carson cuts back to Allison in the V-room, who’s sitting with Dia and Javier – and they couldn’t look more bored. But Dia’s performance is already Twittering, and Javier is forced to again talk about how he managed to stay alive through the competition without being sent home.
Because I’m good, dammit. OK? I admit it, I’m good!
Our last soloist is Beverly, who sings “Lovesick” by Bill Appleberry, a rock music producer. With the only rock solo of the night, Bev gives it her all, jumping around and pointing out to the audience how badass she is.
I pity the fool who messes with Beverly McClellan.
After rocking out, Beverly ends up at her piano to show off her musician chops for all of 10 seconds. It seems pointless, but she does pull off an great Elton John impersonation. Plus the top of the piano provides her with a great place to lay down when she gets tired at the end of the song. And the judges have nothing but good stuff to say about her performance. But I just think they’re happy someone sang a song that didn’t put them to sleep. Blake even says, “If music was crack, you’d have a serious problem,” to which Christina replies, “There’s crack here?”
Cee Lo and Vicci keep the energy going with the last duet. They sing “Love Is a Battlefield,” which was ridiculously entertaining. Cee Lo chooses the song because it’s one of his childhood favorites and he feels Vicci can be the next Pat Benetar, as soon as she learns who that is.
Playing off on the “war dance” Vicci always performs, Cee Lo stages a choreographed battle a la Mad Max. Dressed like Grace Jones and surrounded by sprightly little dancers, Cee Lo looks awesome and you feel as if you’re watching live theatre rather than some old singing competition. It’s the boys versus the girls in this piece, and the child dancers practically steal the performance from the singers. It’s so entertaining that you might not even notice how bad Cee Lo sounds.
Dude. You look ridiculous.
And, well that’s the end. Obviously, it’s too late to vote, so I hope your favorite won. If not, don’t worry. No reality television finale is ever final. They’ll be back before you know it… and so will I – with the Results Show Recap!