The Voice, Quarterfinals part II

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HOUSTON - I was definitely looking forward to this second half of the quarterfinals because the entirety of Team Cee-Lo is currently my JAM. Sure, the less-than-stellar members of Team Adam also performed, but it was really the night for Team Red. Even the weakest performance on Cee-Lo's team was almost as good as the best performance from Adam's team, and I found myself wishing we could just sacrifice an extra contestant from Adam's tribe and save all of Cee-Lo's, but alas. There is no justice on The Voice.

What better way to start the night than with Jamar Rogers, my current favorite to win this entire competition since the premature departure of my beloved Jesse Campbell? No, I'm still not over it. The thing about Jamar is that he's so freaking inspirational. Sure, it can get cheesy sometimes, but you know what? He's earned the right to be cheesy. And it's not like he can't back up his story with some talent, because, let's be real, that man sings his FACE OFF every damn time. He has had some primo song choices this season and "It's My Life" by Bon Jovi was yet another. It wasn't as melodically dynamic as some of his other songs, but it was incredibly powerful and the production of the entire number was top notch. Bottom line, this man is a star and I'll be hog-tied if he isn't in the finals.

As I was sitting and watching this episode, I said to myself, "I feel so bad for whoever has to follow Jamar." But you know what? Katrina Parker really held it down! Girl has never sounded so good. Singing "Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perry was an excellent choice, maybe the only really, really good choice Adam made all night for his team. The quality of her grit is so appealing, and she knows her voice inside and out, making great choices throughout. So you have to option down a couple of times because taking a chance on those high notes is risky—I'm ok with that. For me, she was the highlight of Team Adam for the night.

Cee-Lo performed a disco number with his team that proved that, first of all, Cee-Lo knows how to put on a SHOW, and second of all, he knows how to share the stage. Xtina, takes notes.

Now y'all know I love Mathai. That voice, that smile—she's a star. But this week, she fell victim to yet another bad song choice from Adam Levine. What's great about Mathai is her ability to interpret songs and make them her own. The problem with "Like a Bird" by Nelly Furtado is that the original already sounds so much like Mathai, there's no room to get creative. She looked beautiful and sounded great, but it wasn't the artistry and uniqueness we're used to from Mathai. I don't see her going home anytime soon, but Jesse Campbell remains a cautionary tale for the ages. Also, what was that flying human? I'm glad all of the coaches disliked that as much as I did.

Next up was James "Lady Killa #2" Massone, singing "Just the Way You Are" by Billy Joel. Now I personally LOVE James' voice—that high tenor situation is so sweet and liquid. Mm mm good. Unfortunately, this was not his best performance. It wasn't bad, by any means, but it wasn't great, either. There were some pitch issues toward the end in the riff section, and overall it wasn't incredibly interesting. And on a team of superstars, that can spell disaster.

So, you're Tony Lucca, and you've had some lukewarm performances thus far on The Voice. How do you get a crowd to scream, as Carson Daly so aptly put it, "Bieber loud?" You do a rock cover of Britney Spears' "Hit Me Baby One More Time." Genius. This had success written all over it. All he had to do was execute. And I mean, he sounded good, but he wasn't as awesome as the song was. He didn't dig in deep enough, he just kind of… sang it. And with that kind of number, you better be shooting star power out your rear end. Needless to say, he maybe farted a few rainbows, but nothing close to the required amazingness. I would, however, love to see that Mouseketeers reunion special!

I love the faith Cee-Lo Green has in his girl Cheesa. And a coach has to have some SERIOUS cajones to put a member of his team on stage to sing one of Whitney Houston's most iconic songs, "I Have Nothing." But she hit those monster notes, and worked those key changes ‘till they hurt. But there was something a little iffy about the whole thing. The only way I can put it is there was a lot of epic, but not a lot of substance. Does that make sense? I hope so.

And then there was Pip. This had to be one of the most excruciating performances I have witnessed thus far on The Voice. I actually couldn't believe how bad it was, so I had to re-watch it to make sure it was actually as horrendous as I originally thought. And upon second listen, all I can say is that yes, yes it was that bad. All of his "artistic" choices were awful, he couldn't hit any of the important notes, and he sounded whiny throughout. Just… just not good. My main thought at the end of the performance was that Adam was going to have an incredibly easy choice at the end of the night for the instant eliminations.

It's one thing to share the stage with your team, a la Blake and Cee-Lo. It's another to just not sing with them at all. Adam, I love you, but you might just be the worst coach ever. Moving on.

Juliet Simms closed out the night for Team Cee-Lo, singing "Cry" by Aerosmith. Just as Katrina Parker had it rough following Jamar Rogers, Juliet Simms had it rough following… herself. Her performance 2 weeks ago was so incredible, I wasn't sure she'd be able to live up to it this week. The thing about Juliet is she just attacks whatever she's given, and I appreciate that. Xtina put it very well, saying that it's like she blacks out during her performances and just GOES for it. As for this week's performance, first of all, WINGS. Juliet is wearing wings. Big, black wings. And then feathers fall on her from above? So much production, I don't even know what to do with myself. What was slightly disconcerting is that Juliet seemed utterly terrified throughout the entire performance, like she had, in fact, blacked out. Despite all of this, I thought she sounded pretty killer.

And now, bum bum bum—the instant eliminations:

Adam had the easiest choice ever—easier than Blake had with Jordis Unga—in sending Pip home. So long, farewell, aufedersein, goodbye.

Cee-Lo, on the other hand, was in between a rock and a very hard place. I thought every member of his team did enough to stay in the competition, with even the weak performances being thoroughly enjoyable. I therefore found Cee-Lo's goodbye speech very heartfelt and well thought out, making me love him even more as a coach, a human, and as a rehydrated raisin head. With a heavy heart, I wish James Massone all the best, and I hope he continues doin' the damn thang. You're adorbz, Lady Killa #2.

Check back for the line-up for next week's semifinals after the live results show, Tuesday at 8pm!

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