Ya gotta hand it to The Voice – the show has found a way to constantly keep evolving. Whereas most competition-based reality shows feature the same type of contest week after week, with hopefuls being sent home in the same way on each episode, The Voice totally flips the script every few weeks. The “battle rounds” continued tonight, and wrap up in two weeks. Then it’s the start of the live shows, where singers will presumably be sent home based on viewers’ votes. But for now, it’s still head-to-head competition decided by the judges. Basically, the show has taken the formula for the early rounds of American Idol, and made it ten times more nerve-racking for the contestants, which of course makes it 1000 times more entertaining for us.
Cee-Lo’s team was up first on last night’s show pitting my favorite contestant, big gay bearded Nakia, against some dude with an afro named Ty who I have no memory of from previous episodes. Like last week, Cee-Lo trotted out celebrity assistant coach Monica (Yep, she’s still alive) to help with the rehearsals. Following the usual advice that doesn’t actually mean anything (“make it about you”) the two Texans took the stage to sing a Ne-Yo song that that didn’t really suit either of them. Predictably, gentle giant Nakia crushed the competition like he was rolling over in bed and forgot his skinny, unmemorable one-night stand was still laying next to him. Not my best metaphor, but you get the point. Gay Beard moves on, Forgettable Fro goes home.
Next, Blake Shelton set up the night’s most interesting competition pitting ex-druggie Jared Blake against hipster folk duo Elenowen. Despite the obvious two-on-one advantage, Elenowen were the obvious favorites, having actually made it into the competition legitimately, not on a second chance pity vote, like Jared. After some tough-love coaching from Blake, everyone stepped in front of the judges. I haven’t seen this many people on stage since my last Wu-Tang concert so it was difficult to tell who deserved to move on. It was obvious, however, that Elenowen had been falling back on the cute harmonizing couple gimmick for some time, so it was nice to see judges refuse to fall for it and unanimously declare Jared Blake the superior singer.
Moving right along, Adam Levine pitted Javier, who may be the best technical vocalist in the competition against some hippie named Angela, who, again, I don’t remember at all. At this point there are still too many contestants on this show, which inhibits the drama. I guess I could go back and read my old recaps to refresh my memory about people like Angela, but…meh. Javier and Angela duked it out, singing “Stand By Me” for the judges. They even stood by each other…um, cute, I guess. But at the end of the day, singing is a vicious bloodsport and somebody had to go down. Predictably, Javier emerged victorious. Smart money’s on him to take the whole competition.
Next, Christina Aguilera pitted big bald lesbian Beverly (props to this show for featuring lots of big gay people who could potentially scare off viewers in the midwest) against big boring Justin. This was another match-up with an obvious favorite as Christina chose a song by The Who, which suited Beverly’s rocker style perfectly. Justin held his own surprisingly well, but *yawn* in the end Beverly came out on top. All kidding aside, I don’t think there was a single weak performance tonight. Still, the judges need to start setting up some less predictable match-ups. I’m looking forward to the narrowing of the contestant pool and the start of live performances, both of which should help heighten the drama on an already very fun to watch show.