HOUSTON - Ok. Now THIS is what I'm talkin' about: quality performers, singing their faces off, with enough production value to make a Vegas show look like community theater. The pros FAR outweighed any of the cons on this semifinal round of The Voice, and I'm already semi-nauseous at the thought of some of these people going home.
Also, Cee-Lo wearing that cat t-shirt. Just. Yes. So much yes.
The night started off with Tony Lucca singing "How You Like Me Now" by The Heavy, and what I initially thought was a weird song choice turned into a phenomenal song choice, which made for a phenomenal performance. I would argue this was probably his best to date—he had personality, swaggu, and I was into those seizure-esque dance moves. The only complaint I'll lodge is that those weird, grindy dancer girls behind Tony were horribly distracting and just generally ew-y.
Perhaps the only weak moment of the night belonged to Erin Willett, as much as it pains me to say so. I don't think she could hear herself or maybe she couldn't hear the band in the beginning of her song, "Without You" by Usher and David Guetta, and then she just kind of unraveled as the song went on. It's so unfortunate because she sounded INCREDIBLE in the package beforehand, but it was rough at the start of the performance and then just really fell to pieces. And she knew it, which was equally painful to watch as it was to listen to. She covered well, citing how emotional the song was as her reason for crying, but I'm pretty sure it was because she knew she blew it. And then to have Carson Daly kick you when you're down on national television… I could've killed him. Overall, sadness abounded watching that performance.
Following Erin was Chris Mann, singing "Ave Maria," and all I have to say is IT'S ABOUT TIME. Well that's not all I have to say. That was a lie. This was by FAR the best I've heard Chris sing the entire season, and the most comfortable I've seen him look on stage. The production was tasteful and appropriate, and he looked the consummate professional. I think I'm officially a Mann Fan, y'all.
Jamar. Rogers. Could I possibly love this individual any more than I do after watching this performance? No. No I could not. I think taking it back a notch with "If You Don't Know Me By Now" by Simply Red was a great move, and he really got to showcase the extent of his range, his versatility and his awesomeness. The thing about Jamar is he gives absolutely every single cell in his body in every single performance, and you can feel his energy and spirit all the way through the TV screen. I'm pretty sure I've said it in every single blog post, but this man's a star. I really hope he wins this whole competition. THERE. I SAID IT.
You know, I really like Jermaine Paul. Like a lot. Like maybe enough to fill the Jesse Campbell sized void in my heart… Maybe. But in the meantime, he kilt this performance. Like, kilt it. Singing "Open Arms" by Journey, a choice I definitely questioned before he started, turned out to be a good one by the end, especially keeping in mind the people he was singing it to: his family. It was heartfelt, it was run/riff-filled and he sang the whole thing with that gorgeous smile on his face. And considering the horror that was Erin Willett's performance, Jermaine will sail through to the finals, for sure.
Katrina Parker sure has seen her share of ups and downs throughout this competition, but if this performance wasn't evidence of her coming into her own, then I don't know what more the girl can do. To be fair, it's kind of hard to screw up "Killing Me Softly" by The Fugees (originally by Roberta Flack)—it's just so good and lends itself to great interpretation, evidenced by how often it's been done. But she did a great job. She looked great and sounded great, but I'm just not sure it was great enough to beat out Tony Lucca for the final spot on Adam's team.
Next up was Lindsey Pavao singing "Skinny Love" by Bon Iver, and like Chris Mann, this was the best she's sounded since her original audition, and the most comfortable she has looked on stage by a MILE. After a rather long stretch of me generally hating her, it was nice to come back to a place of liking Lindsey Pavao. It was a phenomenal song choice and she looked right at home. If she continues on, this should be her thang. You hear me, Xtina? THIS SHOULD BE HER THANG.
But if you really want to see someone leave their guts on the floor, look no further than Juliet Simms, who utterly slaughtered her performance of James Brown's "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World." I mean. I MEAN. She looked like a real diva (in a good way) (is there a bad way?) (I guess so, see Xtina), and she just owned every single moment of the entire song, especially the ending, which was EPIC. Just epicness. All over the place. And clearly the studio audience felt it, as Carson Daly informed us, "That's as loud as it's ever been in this room, ever." If there was a single contestant to give Jamar a run for his money, it's Juliet. WHY MUST THEY BE ON THE SAME TEAM?! Why. Both of them deserve a spot in the finals more than any other contestant on any other team. GIVE ME JUSTICE, THE VOICE!
Team Blake: Jermaine Paul
Team Adam: Tony Lucca
Team Xtina: Chris Mann
Team Cee-Lo: … Juliet Simms? IT KILLS ME. It kills me so much. My head says Juliet, but my soul says Jamar… we'll see how America feels!
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