“Welcome to the Voice: The Live Shows?”
OK, so we didn’t start off very strong – Carson made his opening line more of a question than a statement, which made me question whether I was watching the right show. But not for long. Within a minute we were given a special treat: The four judges performed a mash-up of Queen melodies! The songs featured the strengths of Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera, and while you may have already heard about Adam’s crazy guitar solo, it’s his high-pitched rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” that drives the girls crazy.
See? I told you. Make the orgasm face. It works every time.
When he’s done, we cut to Cee Lo, standing in the audience in his signature red outfit, singing, “We Will Rock You.” He’s eventually joined by Blake Shelton, who manages to shout out some lyrics. Talk about getting out of his comfort zone – Blake tries to bop along to the music, but looks awkward. I guess dancing isn’t his specialty. But I suppose strutting isn’t the easiest move when you’re over seven feet tall. Luckily, Adam distracts us with his wicked guitar solo.
But this show is called “The Voice” and not “The Guitar Solo,” so who better to represent than Christina Aguilera – who appears out of the lights to sing, “We Are the Champions.” And she’s a true rock star, all right. With her hot pleather shorts and a bleach blond extensions, Christina looks like a hot tranny mess.
Welcome to my show at the Mandalay Bay.
Hey – she sounds good. It all seems to be working out well until the three men join her to sing background vocals, and the whole thing goes downhill from there. You see, when you get four divas in a room, who cares about the harmony? Cee Lo sounds off-key, Adam hangs back to play his guitar and Blake looks like he’s at his first performance of the Glee Club. It’s too bad there’s no more boxing ring – because the judges could duke it out to see who sounds better.
I’ll do whatever it takes to get to nationals.
But the producers know how to not disappoint. They set off some fireworks while Christina draws out some long notes at the end and the crowd goes wild. “Wow,” says Carson Daly half-heartedly, “That was amazing.” Yawn.
While we have eight artists to perform, we have two hours to fill, so Carson recaps what we’ve seen so far – first we had the Blind Auditions, where our coaches chose eight artists per team. Then we moved on to the Battle Rounds, where they lost singers – and viewers! Now “The Voice” is ready to take it to the next level – where the singers perform for your votes!
But since we ONLY have two hours, we only have time for two teams. So tonight Team Christina and Team Blake will be performing. Carson interviews Christina and Blake, and this is where the fake fighting starts. Christina tells the guys to watch it. But although Christina wears the short-shorts in this relationship, Blake isn’t gonna take her insults lying down. His retort? “Look who I’m up against,” all while pointing to Christina. Man, they really are witty. Blake, reminiscing over the last week of rehearsals with his group, wonders how people could have kids – probably because they’re so hard to train vocally. I’m not quite sure his new wife loves that statement, but that’s their problem.
In your face, Christina!
But that’s not all, folks. Carson also stresses this is the most digitally integrated show on TV – you can vote by calling, going online or by downloading songs by your favorite artists on iTunes. And… there’s a brand new V-Room brought to you by Sprint – so really “The Voice” the most fully-endorsed show on TV. But the V-Room is impressive. With its wall-full of flat-screen TV’s and the singers sitting in the background pretending to work intensely on mobile media devices, the V-Room makes the CNN news center look like TMZ. It’s where staffers, singers and extras monitor Twitter and other social networking sites, all in the hopes of convincing viewers the entire nation has dropped everything to focus on the show. The V-Room is also home to Allison, some blond hired to yell updates into the camera and interview the contestants. And let me tell you, Allison makes Carson Daly look good. Allison’s quite aggressive in her behavior and her interviewing skills leave much to be desired. Now one could never be sure, but I would put money on the fact that Allison never went to journalism school.
I’m sorry. What exactly do you mean by timing?
There’s so much going on this episode it’s hard to stay focused. There’s judges to catch up with, back-ground stories, the new V-room, a new V-hostess, all sorts of special effects… what are we missing? Oh, songs. It takes almost 15 minutes before Carson introduces our first contestant, Raquel Castro – but not before we view her rehearsal process. And she’s working with a choreographer named Hi-Hat. Yeah, that’s her name. But that’s not important.
You see, during this episode, the artists are singing songs that reflect their strengths, which is great if you like Kesha. If not, you don’t have long to wait much longer for “The X-Factor.” No, I’m just kidding. Watching the artists perform songs that fit their performance styles and comfort zones does make for a more enjoyable viewing experience. So for some, that may mean pop music and back-up dancers. For others, it’s playing their own instruments. And for the rest, it’s cheesy backdrops and lighting effects. Hey, whatever works.
So where was I? Oh yeah, Raquel and her back-up dancers work with Christina and Hi-Hat (really?) to rehearse “Blow.” We’re reminded that this kid was raised to be a star – and by all means, she’s ready. Raquel sings, she dances – she’s the next Brittney Spears or whatever the kids are into these days. And she knows it: “Christina WANTS to hear me sing,” she says. I would say she better rock it, but she does, of course. The fact is, Raquel knows how to perform: She sings, she dances and she’s dressed like a pop star that’s about to go on an all-night bender that ends with a bottle of Jack and a shaved head.
Cue wardrobe malfunction in 3…2…1…
Regardless, she definitely SOUNDS better than Kesha. And the kid is impressive for a 16-year-old – she definitely knows how to strut her stuff. And the judges love love love her. In face, it’s nonstop compliments from the judges throughout the episode. They have nothing but nice things to say for just about every contestant who gets up there. I don’t know about you, but either the sound is off on my television or I’m not hearing what the judges are hearing, because there’s definitely times I don’t agree. But I guess since the judges can’t pull rank anymore, it doesn’t matter. They’ve done their job, and it’s time to give the kids a break after a grueling month off.
But back to Raquel: Cee Lo calls her his little mama, but she shouldn’t be too flattered, as he calls just about every female contestant except Bev that. Adam has enjoyed seeing her blossom, but he needs to wait two more years to hit on her, so he better watch his mouth. Even Blake is amazed, throwing out one of several zingers he thinks up through the evening. You see, Blake has returned to “The Voice” hitched and assumedly laid, and it shows. He is extremely happy, giving nothing but compliments throughout the evening. And Christina? What can I say? With a team full of women, it’s all about the girl power – and Christina tells Raquel she “brought it tonight.” Yep, the kid’s got chops, but she’s in for it. Because she’s got some strong competition.
Next up is Jared Blake, the aging rocker who continuously reminds us this is his last chance. Blake has some concerns – but they’re not about the headband Jared won’t take off. No, Jared struggles between country and rock, and hasn’t completely devoted himself to one style or the other. Since it’s early on in the episode, I half expect Jared to be given dancers and choreography like Raquel, just to be fair. But my ah-hah moment comes when Jared is left onstage with just his electric guitar, which he clumsily throws to a stagehand in the middle of his performance of “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon:
You break it, you buy it.
Nope, no one is to be sabotaged like they were last episode. Yep, these artists are completely in control and you can tell there’s no one behind the scenes calling the shots – not even when Jared cheesily gets down on his knee and sings to some chick in the audience.
Just so you know, I’m keeping the handkerchief on when we make love later.
He’s a real rock star, people. When Carson asks him if he knows that girl, Jared states, “I’m going to.” Something tells me Jared’s six kids may be getting a brother or sister soon.
Again, the judges have nothing but love. With the exception of Christina, who thinks his guitar throwing was a little clunky, it’s compliments all around. And Blake has a revelation: Jared is rock, not country. Or maybe Blake just doesn’t want any competition…
How big of a country star am I? This Big. THIS BIG. And don’t you forget it.
Next up is Beverly McClellan, who’s appropriately covering Melissa Ethridge’s “I’m the Only One.” But there’s a problem – Beverly has a cold. Can she do it? You bet she can! Bev belts and shimmies her way through the song and like a true rocks star, totally connects with her audience. And she doesn’t even get offended when Blake calls her sexy and states, “Daddy likey” or when Carson makes a joke about her wearing a skirt. Because if you’re not in wife-beater and jeans, you’re not a true lesbian. Congrats to you, Bev, for defying stereotypes and completely nailing it when you have a cold. I can’t even get out of bed when my little toe hurts, so you rock.
Oh, and there’s an awkward moment when Christina tries to challenge Adam by stating he’s soiling his pants. After some apparent confusion, it turns out it’s a reference to the idea that Adam is so scared of losing to Christina’s contestants that he’s about to pee his pants, causing Adam to swear on live television, much to Carson’s dismay. Nevermind, says Christina, no one gets it. Let’s cover our asses by giving Bev more compliments. The sad thing is that was the kind of comment that made it to the entertainment shows the next day. Because it was hi-lar-ious. Or maybe because it took her so long to get her point across one had to wonder what she was on. Maybe if she sang it, she could have gotten her point across better. Then again, maybe not…
Them boys’ sssso nervous. Adam… his paaaants… he’s gonnaz wet them.
Yeah, I don’t get it, either.
Next up is Dia Frampton from Team Blake – and in a major twist, this shy singer is performing a very unique version of “Heartless” by Kanye West. Dia apparently hasn’t gotten over her stage fright, because it’s all she talks about. Blake suggests she should play piano to help take the focus off of her stage fright. And she does. And it’s a pretty picture, her haunting voice complimented by eerie lights, fog and anger over some dude who did her wrong. The only thing missing is Tori Amos. It works, until the camera pans behind her, showing that Dia is hitting the same three keys over and over again – or sometimes not playing at all! Somewhere, far off the stage, the musicians are doing most of the work. But who cares? If they want to become famous, they can go on a reality TV show, dammit. Oh, wait…
OK. Let’s start by putting your fingers on the keys…
Regardless, the performance is beautiful. And Dia is cute and completely embarrassed by the compliments – which revolve around the judges’ surprise that while she looks tame, she’s a tiger of a singer underneath that little schoolgirl outfit of hers. Which looks ridiculous, by the way. But they’re all impressed with her incredible twist on the song, which Cee Lo promises to make sure Kanye will watch. Let’s just hope he doesn’t interrupt when Dia gets up to accept her Grammy.
Well, we’re halfway though the contestants, which could only mean one thing: It’s time for a confessional of sorts. We follow Christina as she takes her singers out to dinner at the Geisha House, a trendy Hollywood eatery. They have a nice chat, where Christina gives her singers some motherly advice. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include how to remember the words to your songs or how not to fall down on stage, but I’m sure they got something out of it.
But Christina loves her girls, and it’s gonna be hard for her when they have to leave and she never has to see them again. In the meantime, let’s do a little ditty. The audience is treated to Christina and her posse singing “Lady Marmalade,” which actually looked as fun as the performers seemed to be having on stage. It must be thrilling to have your idol give you a shout out on stage. It was a once and a lifetime experience – and I hope the two who get voted off remember this moment when they’re making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for their kids 10 years from now and wondering what’s become of their lives.
Girl powers… UNITE!
“Wow,” says Carson, “Wow. That. Was. Amazing.” Yawn. I’m not sure what planet he’s from, but the guy speaks as if Christina is wearing kryptonite and he’s gotten too close. Oh wait, she is wearing kryptonite…
Maybe if I stand closer to the camera it’ll look like I’m actually excited.
Well, it’s been awhile since we’ve checked in with Allison – remember her? The V-Room hostess? Well, says Allison, every artist who has performed so far has Tweeted worldwide. Aren’t we important? And it’s good stuff, like, “I have legit chills from Lady Marmalade” which must have come from a very important television critic from the New York Times.
Next, Allison interviews Jared, asking him what his biggest fear of the night was. His response? “Going home.” Well, says Allison, you’re stupid. She informs him he can’t go home TONIGHT because the eliminations aren’t until next week, so it’s not a legitimate fear – so, yeah, she actually corrects him on his answer. “Oh,” says Jared, looking defeated. If Allison has anything to do with it, he’s going home next week.
It’s back to the competition, where another shy contestant, Xenia, is about to sing. Xenia is young and inexperienced, but has a really unique voice. Seeing her star potential, Blake has completely taken her under his wing. And he has his work cut out for him. Although Xenia has a cool voice, she doesn’t have any performance experience – so Blake has hired Hi-Hat (really?) to show her how to move. And Hi-Hat is a genius – she teaches Xenia some amazing moves, like how to point to the left, right, in front of her and behind her.
Blake also gets into the act, making a buzzer sound every time Xenia crosses her hands in front of her to condition her from doing it anymore – which sounds like this: Eeeangh! Who knew Blake was an expert in Pavlov’s studies of classical conditioning? Look it up. Regardless, his experiment works. During her performance, Xenia doesn’t clasp her hands at all – which is good, because I’m sure the buzzer sounds would have really thrown her off during the live show. But while she sounds great, she doesn’t exactly look good, awkwardly pointing all over the place during “Price Tag” by Jesse J.
Where did my beach ball go? Over there…
…or over there?
Fortunately, the judges focus more on Xenia’s singing than her movement, and it’s all positive. After all, she’s young – why scar her for life? And her unique voice has made her one of the judges’ favorites, so she’s definitely worth a listen. Blake is so happy he gives her a big hug at the end – and it’s incredibly cute, seeing as the kid comes up to his navel.
This could be the start of a beautiful friendship, kid…
Next up is Lily Elise, who sings “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie – and she gets some dancers and choreography too. But it’s not all fun and dance breaks for Lily, who has some work to do. Lily is too guarded and she needs to be more vulnerable during her performance. She does work on it, but apparently not enough, because the producers give her the most ridiculous performance of the night, complete with a gay chorus line.
Five, six, seven and…
Lily manages to perform her heart out with complete disregard for her dancers, who eventually give up and leave the stage halfway through the song, shaking their heads. Oh well, so much for that feedback. That’s ok, the judges ignore all the bad parts too – including a weird high note she hits at the end – and cover up their disappointment with positive feedback. For the most part, that is. Adam points out that she should have never had the dancers, whom Blake calls mimes. But they blame Christina for that stupid idea. Regardless, Christina compliments Lily on her improvement. Uh-oh. Now anyone who has gone to sports camp as a kid and won the “Most Improved Player” award now knows they only got that cuz they pretty much sucked. Um… not that that happened to me or anything. Damn softball camp. I was gonna be somebody.
Well, back to Allison, who arrogantly informs us that in the short time (an hour and a half) they’ve been on the air, “The Voice” is responsible for five of the top ten twending topics on Twitter. Then Allison moves on to Raquel – a viewer is dying to know who, other that Christina, Raquel would love to perform with. Ummm, says Raquel, Beyonce, but really I just want to perform with Christina (smile, wink). “For some reason, I can see that happening,” Allison remarks. PROBABLY BECAUSE IT ALREADY HAPPENED, I yelled at the television. Geez.
Well, I’m glad that’s over. We only have two more contestants to get to. But not before Carson informs us they’re already casting for season 2 of “The Voice.” Wow, they move fast. If you think you have what it takes to be on this show, go for it. I’m sure they’re looking for a new host and V-Room correspondent as well.
We still have two more contestants, but it’s time for us to see Blake in his natural habitat. Unlike Christina, who treats her team to an expensive night on the town, Blake has his team over to his house for lunch. Cheap bastard. In an attempt at humor, he only lets the girls in at first. Seeing as one of the girls is under 18, I’m sure there’s gonna be some crazy parent out there writing a letter. But just one.
Throughout this episode, we’ve seen the softer side of Blake. It’s pretty consistent as he spends his time giving them advice on performing and what it’s like to be married to Miranda Lambert, which is apparently causing him to drink. But I digress. They all get to sing a song too – and they pay homage to Adam Lambert with a rendition of Maroon 5’s “This Love.” There is just so much butt-kissing going on in this episode. But I have to admit it’s good, although just about all of the team, including Blake, could work on their dancing skills. Eeeangh!
If you forget the steps, just follow the big guy.
Regardless, an extremely flattered Adam loves the shout-out. His thoughts? “You’re so much bigger than everybody else, Blake.” “That’s what she said,” Blake responds. Te he he he he he. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think Carson thought it was very funny. “Very classy,” he says dryly.
Seriously, you guys, just two more contestants to go. Next up is Patrick Thomas, who is singing “I Hope You Dance” by Leanne Womack. And the song is dedicated to the most important girl in his life – his sister? Ummmm… well, Patrick’s sister has lived in the shadow of his talent for years, so this is his way of telling her that she’s important too. She’s his best friend. In fact, she’s so important we never learn her name. While Patrick is a strong singer, he lacks emotion, so he’ll be working on bringing that out when he sings A LOVE SONG TO HIS SISTER. Fortunately, Patrick does not succeed in his quest. Actually, Patrick has all the emotion of a toddler’s beauty pageant host.
This one goes out to the woman I love… my sister.
The show tries to make up for his lack of emotion with a fog machine and cheesy backdrop of a road leading off into the sunset. Nope, doesn’t work. But the judges aren’t here to chide anyone this episode, so they compliment him just the same. And his nameless sister cries, so at least somebody got emotional. But it doesn’t matter – Christina just wants him to take his pants off, which leads to a fight amongst the judges over who’s going to end up sleeping with whom on the show. Yeah, it’s a family show.
And we’re back to our V-Correspondent Allison, who’s about to flub some Tweets on the air, including… oh, who cares? It’s time for Frenchie Davis! Haven’t you been waiting for her all episode? I have. And she does not disappoint during her rendition of “When Love Takes Over,” featuring the choreography of Hi-Hat (really?) and a free laser show. And the judges love her. Blake loves her so much he tries to remove his wedding ring when giving her feedback.
Oh, this old thing? Nah, this is nothing…
Like a true pro, Frenchie takes everyone’s compliments very humbly. She explains she’s been waiting 10 years for her moment – which obviously didn’t include her stints on A.I. or Broadway, so I hope she finds what she’s looking for. Regardless, Frenchie is a class act – well, now she is – and even her speaking voice is sweet. If the singing thing doesn’t work out for her she could have a profitable career as a phone sex operator.
I’m sorry this is so late. We had a little improv festival in Los Angeles this week that I performed in – which was not recorded and therefore cannot be ridiculed as we do on this site. Ah, the beauty of live theatre. Regardless, you have until… well, this morning to vote for your favorite artist – up to 10 times, mind you, so get cracking. Or if you’re so inclined, go buy their music on iTunes. There, I made up for all of my mean comments with a free plug. I have been redeemed in the eyes of NBC.