Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Recap: NBC's The Voice, Battle Round #3

Tell me that didn't just happen.  I know that the rules of the recap are that I'm supposed to go in order of what occurs on the show, but I'm still in shock.  Rebecca Loebe is out?  Gone.  History.  Toast.  Kaput.  She was my #2 pick.  Her mesmerizing take on Nirvana's "Come As You Are," was a revelation and she seemed poised to be the only singer in the competition likely to give Javier Colon a run for his money. 

And she was beaten by the second coming of Kevin "Chicken Little" Corvais???  Someone who should be in the customer service area of Best Buy, backing up your old computer files??  Not on stage singing a Radiohead song HE'S NEVER HEARD BEFORE.  One of the most iconic songs of this generation -- and he's unfamiliar with it????

Okay, let me regroup.  So, welcome back to The Voice.  It's time for Round Three, where the coaches cut their roster of acts till we end up with four from each who will head off for the live voting rounds.  Who won't be making it is Rebecca Loebe, despite being served up a softball of an alternative music classic right in her wheelhouse.  But, I digress.

First up is Christina Aguilera.  She picks 16-year-old Raquel Castro to go up against middle aged (i.e., twenty-something) Julia Eason.  They're going to sing Rihanna's "Only Girl in the World."  In the auditions, Julia blows Raquel away -- she has a strong, powerful voice that grabs you.  But on stage, Raquel comes alive.  The fireplug with the Snooki poof just takes over and you don't even see there is anyone else there with her.  Is she the greatest vocalist, the possessor of the best "voice?"  Well, no.  But she has that certain something that makes her instantly watchable and interesting and her voice is solid enough to back up the performance side.  And with that the previously all-bald Team Christina has it's newest, follicly well-endowed, member.

Next round pits two members of Team Blake -- Dia Frampton vs. Serabee.  They are given "You Can't Hurry Love," by The Supremes. Dia is a soft, gentle folk singer, Serabee is a gospel belter who never met a note she didn't want to pummel into submission.  During rehearsals, Blake Shelton stresses to Serabee that she needs to exercise some restraint when she's singing.  "Keep all the tricks down," he says, then tells us that he hopes she listened to what he said. 

Well, guess what, Blake?   Just like you will discover after you and Miranda have your first child, you can give all the good advice you want, but people still have to make their own mistakes.  And Serabee makes a big fat one right on national television doing exactly what Blake told her not to do -- she oversang possibly worse than she had in rehearsal.  But Blake showed that he may indeed make a great parent, telling her, in effect, just because you can doesn't mean you should. 

Dia has some weird vocal quirk that makes it sound like she's a Transylvanian vampire devouring every note (she sounded a little like Graham Parker -- not known for his vocal prowess as she glug-glugged through her part), but at least she didn't defy her coach.  And so Serabee, and her ironic hat, were kicked to the curb.  By the way, kudos to Cee Lo for the most apt description of the duel: "that was...bizarre."

Okay.  It's time.  Third pairing...the lustrous Rebecca Loebe against the anemic Devon Barley.  When their coach Adam Levine tells them the song he's chosen is "Creep" by Radiohead, Rebecca gasps knowingly.  She loves this song (who doesn't...oh wait, I can name someone).  Devon looks confused.  But, in his defense, when Adam tells him he's going to have to get in touch with his inner creep, Devon quickly responds, "Done" and I'm liking him a little bit. 
In rehearsal, Rebecca nails the beginning of the song while Devon doesn't even know the melody.  It looks like it'll be a romp.  Like any MLB team against the Dodgers this year (ouch).  But Devon learns the song and gets in touch with the lyrics and what they mean to him.  Then it's time for the duel.  Devon starts, instead of Rebecca, and he sounds good -- a little menacing and, yes, creepy.  Rebecca sounds a little off.  She's going for pretty, not weird, but it doesn't sound quite right.  When she comes in "I want a perfect body, I want a perfect soul," she is basically squawking off key, as if she's going through puberty right then and there.  Her voice completely falls apart and she never puts it back together.  A Chernobyl-like meltdown.  Adam looked shocked; I don't think he expected that to happen.  Based on the performance he had no choice.  And with that, Devon moves on and Rebecca heads back to her car.

Okay, with that out of the way, we can move on to the last duel of the night, Kelsey Rey vs. Tori and Taylor Thompson, from Cee Lo Green's team taking on Natasha Bedingfield's "Unwritten."  All three girls are cute and can sing.  Do the sisters have an advantage? Duh. Two cute girls are better than one.  They actually sang pretty well (as if that mattered, I'm so naive!!) as Kelsey seemed to have some a mini-breakdown of her own (not of Rebecca-esque proportions), her voice turning strangely raspy and weaker than in her audition.  She tried her hardest, but the sisters were an impenetrable force of nature and she was ultimately powerless to overcome their adorableness.

Next week is the final battle round and then we the people get to exercise our right to vote.  See you back here then.

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