‘The Voice’: Dazzling Final Performances Hit High Notes

Dia Frampton and Blake Shelton (NBC)

Dia Frampton and Blake Shelton (NBC)

Ten weeks of blind auditions, duets, singers belting out songs in a boxing ring, and tough choices, and guess what happened to “The Voice” on Tuesday’s live performance finale? It got better. Yep, NBC’s hit singing competition showed off all that is good, no make that great, about it, including judges who strut their stuff, competitors who deliver the goods, a bit of quirkiness that gives the show personality, and, of course, music viewers are eager to watch.

Tuesday’s final round of competition featured the final four – lone member from each coach’s team – singing for the whole enchilada.

Here’s what we also loved:

– Cee Lo’s red Chinese robe.
– Brad Paisley’s duet with Blake on a new country party-hearty anthem.
– Christina’s shoes (the girl could walk on stilts)
– The well-produced (translation: intimate) rehearsal videos
– And the coach’s performance.

Yep, “The Voice” took advantage of it’s super talented group of coaches to deliver another spine-tingling group performance. This time Christina Aguilera, Cee-Lo Green, Blake Shelton, and Adam Levine chose the David Bowie-Freddier Mercury classic “Under Pressure.” Loved it.

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Afterward, the fun began. Each contestant performed two songs – a duet with their coach and an original song. Host Carson Daly explained that votes were to be based on the original song, even though both songs would be available on iTunes. The iTunes numbers for the original song are what counts. Oh, and as for those original songs? They were songs “written for them.” Got that, America?

Here’s what I saw:

The in-house audience on the Warner Brothers lot in Burbank was certainly pumped for the final showdown as audience members were shouting out for everyone – though Dia’ Frampton’s name came up the most- prompting Adam to say, “It’s so loud in here. It’s crazy. It’s like ‘TRL’ 10 years ago.”

Here’s how it played out…

Team Blake
Original Song: “Inventing Shadows” showed off Dia’s one-of-a-kind vocal delivery and indie rom-com film disposition beautifully. Out of the four originals, this was the best fit of song to artist. It belongs in a Zooey Deschanel movie, for sure. Creepy quote of the night: “You pretty little thing. I like you,” cooed Cee-Lo, who predicted it would probably be number one on iTunes again. The song trended worldwide on Twitter just moments after she performed it.
Duet: Great song choice in Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” and fitting lyrics to boot. But the black-and-white suits, Ray-Bans with the moving clock parts in the back? Eh. It didn’t work for me and I fear it might have turned some Dia supporters off. (Though her Ray-Bans were trending on Twitter earlier.) This is the time to drive home who you are as an artist, and this overall vibe didn’t quite scream Dia to me. It hurts to say it, but it’s true.

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Team Christina
Original Song: Beverly totally thinks the original handed to her, “Love Sick,” is a hit. Do you? I think they lost me at this one. While this song might not garner the hopeful votes, her duet might. Though it shouldn’t. The song just didn’t quite seem radio-ready yet. Odd quote of the night: Blake on this performance: “If music was crack, you would have a serious problem.”
Duet: Beverly hit the coach jackpot when she got Ms. Aguilera because their duet was hands’ down the best of the night. The two belted out Xtina’s “Beautiful” in a special acoustic arrangement unlike how the superstar has ever performed it before. It’s a fitting song too as the competition is not about beauty and for the fact that Beverly defies what a superstar is quote unquote supposed to look like. Well done, ladies. Well done!

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After the performance former “American Idol” contestant Katharine McPhee showed up to push her new NBC show, “Smash,” a drama about trying to making in on Broadway in which her character performs “Beautiful.” Nice plug, NBC.

Team Adam
Original Song: “This is gonna be for my family,” Javier said before performing his tender love song “Stitch by Stitch.” He certainly got romantics nationwide calling in with lyrics like, “I’ll give you all my pieces broken, in your hands there’s nothing that you can’t fix…So put me back together now stitch by stitch.” Awww. Swoon. The good? Sweet. Romantic. Great vocals. The bad? Truth be told, the song wasn’t that catchy.
Duet: Great performance, boring song choice in Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.” Didn’t we just hear it on “American Idol?” Sure, Adam and Javier sounded beautiful together but it just wasn’t finale-level exciting. A better option would’ve been to choose a song that shows off the sexy swagger they both have to play to their female fans a bit more. I think they missed a vote-getting opportunity here.

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Team Cee-Lo
Original Song: When Vicci said her original is “an epic song,” she wasn’t kidding. “Afraid to Sleep” was epic, indeed. It ran the emotional gamut from sadness to strength. It gave us chills. But is it a chart-topper? It felt more like a Tony-winning song than a Grammy-winning song. Just saying. But if we’re judging on the performance and not the song – which, by the way, we are- then her performance might have done the trick to get America dialing.
Duet: Another odd choice, but this time a good kind of odd. Cee-Lo and Vicci dueting on Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield” worked. Not just a show closer, but a true show stopper helped by Cee-Lo’s crazyass red spiked outfit with feathers and red faux mohawk and Vicci being accompanied by crazy little dancing kids in a very “Mad Max” vibe. Gotta see it to believe, folks. But did Cee-Lo’s wild ways steal the show? This performance might just have kicked Vicci’s chances up a few notches.

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Postscript: Daly announced that “The Voice” tour kicks off on July 27 in Los Angeles. The tour will feature finalists Beverly McClellan, Vicci Martinez, Dia Frampton, and Javier Colon and semi-finalists Nakia, Xenia, Casey Weston, and Frenchie Davis.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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