Blake Shelton may not have any country singers left on his team, but tonight, country was a star on “The Voice.”
Blake’s mentee Cassadee Pope had a serious breakout moment tonight, the pop rock girl going country under coach Blake’s direction, to sing Blake’s song “Over You.” Though the cameras annoyingly focused on Blake’s eyes waiting for him to cry (he wrote the song about the death of his brother), it didn’t matter. It was like Cassadee suddenly made sense. Adam Levine told her he wants to see more country from her.
Also going country tonight (just a bit) was Amanda Brown, who was the absolutely most ridiculously great singer of the night, singing Grace Potter & the Nocturnals’ “Stars.” Christina Aguilera pointed out that it was “kind of countryish,” and she seemed to say that in a bad way due to Amanda not really having a solid identity yet. But it was such a sweet, emotional, soaring vocal performance. Total winner, right there.
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Christina herself went country as well, opening the show in a duet with Blake of her new track “Just a Fool.” Strange pairing but it worked. Next year, can’t wait for duets of Adam Levine and Shakira.
Now here’s an example of country gone wrong: Cody Belew. He came to the show as a rodeo singer, but under coach Cee Lo Green’s tutelage, he’s gone full throttle Adam Lambert-style late-night drag queen. In leather armor and leggings, he basically waved his crotch for a full two minutes of “Crazy in Love.” It was the most “X Factor” thing we’ve ever seen on “The Voice.” “Is this the same guy that sang ‘Jolene’?” asked Blake. “I’m confused. I guarantee everybody back in Arkansas is going, Did we raise this boy?” Bring back the cowboy, Cee Lo, please.
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Cassadee and Amanda definitely had the biggest “moments” of the night, but Melanie Martinez wasn’t far behind. Again, great song choice by coach Adam, she sang the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” and was the least fake she’s ever been. Part of that might have had to do with her playing guitar, it just helped lend some authenticity to her act.
Dez Duron was also pretty good tonight, even though his vacant, beautiful eyes tend to hypnotize us away from whatever it is he’s singing. But tonight, he kind of found his footing on “Feeling Good,” going for the smooth Michael Buble thing.
This was probably the best vocal episode of “The Voice” ever, so even those who flatlined tonight were still pretty good. Sylvia Yacoub did “Girl on Fire” and had a better first half of the song by playing piano. Nicholas David did a consistent take on Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” that made coach Cee Lo cry. Bryan Keith and his wonderful rasp tugged the Hurricane Sandy heartstrings on “New York State of Mind.” Trevin Hunte insisted that he sing Usher’s “Scream” even though he’s defined himself as a balladeer, and maybe Cee Lo and guest coach Jennifer Hudson were right that it wasn’t the best choice, but Trevin did give it his all.
The worst of the night, though, goes to Terry McDermott. (I’d say Cody, but at least trainwrecks are fun to watch.) But Terry, basically a one-man bar band, is so predictable, so incredibly cliché. He sang “Summer of ‘69”—of course! It’s just so done already.
My picks for the bottom two tomorrow: Terry and Cody. But Terry’s got some huge middle-aged lady fan base, so I don’t expect to actually see him land there. So, maybe Trevin, Cody, or Sylvia.