HOUSTON - The Voice
Can I get a what whaaat for the live shows?! No matter how you conduct the auditions and episodes up until this point, there's a reason any and every televised vocal competition has a "live show" element toward the end. This is when things get really good. It's like a two-hour, highly produced concert mixed with the Hunger Games—everyone's just tryna stay alive! Get it? Hunger Games? Staying alive? No…? Ahem. Well, I love the production value for these shows and the fervor on the stage. At the very least, every one of the top 24 gets to feel like a rock star for about two minutes, lasers and half naked dancers included. And then we have Cee-Lo Green. What. What. WHAT are you wearing. It's like he took Austin Powers, a rodeo clown and Ke$ha, put them all in a blender and then wore whatever came out of it. Plus a wig. And we're no longer pre-recorded—we're live! … Wait so are we live? I'm not sure... Oh, ok. So we're live? We're live. Thanks Carson.
There were a TON of stellar performances Monday night, including some BIG surprises, But, of course, not all that glitters is gold and we had a few duds in there as well.
I'm sorry, where did this version of Ashley De La Rosa come from?? She gets my "Out of Nowhere!" award. Ashley hasn't been even close to this good in any of the rounds leading up to this point, and from the moment they announced "Right Through You" as her song, I knew something was about to blow UP. This might have been one of my favorite performances of the night because she was giving off mad swagger and had so much energy my face almost caught on fire. And all of 17 years old? F'real? This is one of my favorite Alanis Morissette songs, so I was like, "girl, you betta not trip." And what can I say, the girl delivered.
If I were going to do The Voice, I would do it just like Erin Willett. I LOVE deep alto women singing belty, high tenor songs, especially those of the Stevie Wonder inclination. "Living for the City" is such rarely used gem in these scenarios—how many times have we heard "Superstition" or "Isn't She Lovely" on one of these vocal competitions? The staging was super Broadway-esque, but not in a cheesy way, and I just loved her command of the stage. Straight up, she nailed it. NAILED. IT.
I think Adam and Cee-Lo said it best: Jesse Campbell is the guy to beat. I was a little worried for Jesse because after his performance in the battle round, the expectations could not have been higher for this solo performance. But I think his song choice of "A Wonderful World" allowed a lot of creativity (which he didn't really utilize until the end, but I'm ok with it) and vocal freedom. But I mean, it really all came down to that last moment, am I right? It was everything I was hoping for, and he made it look super sincere on top of it all.
Naia Kete has had it rough throughout this season. Her blind audition was cool because it was different and reggae, but she hasn't really lived up to any of the expectations the viewers or her coach has had for her. I do remember thinking she looked stunning, but I found myself constantly wondering, "Can this girl actually sing?" Is she just constantly out of breath? Is she completely debilitated by nerves? Taking on an Adele song is no easy feat, and I just don't think she could do "Turning Tables" justice. Any way you slice it, this girl will probably be going home.
We had another case of the looks-great-but-sounds-lame with Sera Hill. I personally don't understand why anyone would choose "Find Your Love," a super repetitive and one-night song, but if Xtina signed off on it, I suppose there is some value… somewhere. But that performance was rough, overall: Shakesville USA, population Sera Hill. There was nothing special about that number except her fabulous white suit and the half naked gentleman prancing about. Sigh.
I'm not sure I dislike any other contestant on The Voice as much as I dislike Jordis Unga. She seems like a diva without the talent to back it up… so basically she's a whiny, self-congratulating nobody. Her performance of Heart's "Alone" I found to be disjointed and weird. Her whole concept of contrasting the extremes was bizarre, and the arrangement just sounded confused. If anything, the backup singer belting the high harmony over Jordis totally stole the performance, and the whole thing was contrived and forced and I am totally and completely over Jordis Unga.
And now… the results!!
America's saves for Team Blake: Erin Willett, Jermaine Paul and RaeLynn (who legit cursed during a close up on national television, which I found hilarious.)
Blake's save: Jordis Unga (REALLY?! REALLY, OVER CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES?! REALLY?)
Going home: Charlotte Sometimes and Naia Kete.
America's saves for Team Xtina: Jesse Campbell (I love when people are genuinely surprised to hear they've done well), Lindsey Pavao and Chris Mann.
Xtina's Save: Ashley De La Rosa (can I get a HELL YES)
Going home: Sera Hill and Moses Stone
Next week, Teams Adam and Cee-Lo step up to the plate!
WELL. Things are HAPP'NIN on the Big Broad Way. Karen in a green-screen bodysuit. Ivy all hopped up on drugs. Tom dating a gay Republican. Karen and Ivy drunk singing Rihanna in the middle of Times Square. Things. Are. Happ'nin.
But things are actually happening in the Houston household. I've been waiting all season for Brian D'Arcy James to have a serious acting moment, and my god did he have one. Frank finds out that Julia's been having an affair after reading a song either written by Julia or for Julia by Michael Swift about a kiss on the Brooklyn Bridge, and things just go OFF from there. Frank straight up asks Julia if she cheated, and Julia doesn't deny the affair, but rather just kind of stands there and tears at him, trying but failing to minimize the damage. Then Frank finds Michael Swift and tries to talk to him, but Michael's an ENORMOUS idiot and basically tells Frank that he and Julia had had an affair years before, which only makes Frank angrier and he punches Michael in his beautifully chiseled face. Frank comes back home in a bit of a rage and is not having any of what Julia is serving, so he packs his bags. Julia tries to physically keep him from leaving, and Frank almost hits Julia to keep her from touching him and runs out the door, leaving Julia crying in the kitchen. It was like nothing was real until this moment and then everything was real. Not even the horrific acting of Leo Houston could mar the intensity of this scene. Although, it almost did.
On an equally emotionally-turbulent note, Ivy is not doing well. Post-Marilyn-rejection, she's back in the chorus in Heaven on Earth and is still on all these crazy pills for her "anxiety." She takes one too many and gets all loopy before going on stage and EATING IT in front of a full house. And if things couldn't get worse for our dearest Ivy, Karen was waiting in the wings, watching her painful and public demise. Sidenote- Norbert Leo Butz (aka Fiero from the original cast recording of Wicked) BETTA be making more of an appearance than his bit role as the actor who kicks Ivy Lynn offstage. But back to Ivy. She and Karen somehow manage to get drunk together and start singing Rihanna's "Cheers (Drink to That)" in the middle of Times Square, like ya do. So, even though Ivy's life is falling apart and her arch nemesis floats easily into the success for which she continues to work so hard and her boyfriend is still an a-hole, at least she can keep her wits about her enough to remind Karen that "we're not best friends now, ok?" Thanks for keeping it real, Ivy.
On a Tom Levitt note, gay Republicans confuse me. How did he manage to find the one super awesome, super hot, super gay lawyer in New York? But I'm SUPER into his flirtation with Sam the Super Straight but Also Gay Chorus Friend of Ivy's. And that "it's a bear… the animal" joke totally slayed me, but probably went over the heads of most viewers, which just made me like it all the more. Who doesn't love a good gay-culture inside joke? I know I do.
And I KNEW there was no way Ellis could be totally straight. He definitely whored himself out to that movie star's agent because he's manipulative and gross and a total slut. But then again, who in show biz isn't? I do love Eileen for putting him in his place, though. I just wish someone would fire him. Or burn his house down. Either way.
In the final moments of the episode, Julia finds Michael and takes responsibility for what's happened between them, as well as the destruction of her marriage. She describes the affair as a bombshell that has completely blown her life apart. And then, a miracle. We now have a title for the musical: Bombshell.
I'm not sure I could POSSIBLY be more excited for Uma Thurman's guest role starting next week! I LOVE THAT WOMAN. If you need me Monday night, I'll be the girl glued to the TV screen.
Thanks for reading, and as always, thanks for watching KPRC Local 2!
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