‘The Voice’: A Six-Pack of Singers Scramble for Survival

"The Voice": Nicholas David, Trevin Hunte, Melanie Martinez, Amanda Brown -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

The remaining six contestants did double-duty on tonight’s “The Voice,” but no one worked harder than Blake Shelton, who interlaced tonight’s appearance with commercials for the Samsung Galaxy by way of a Jermaine Paul song and for his Christmas special, which was coming up next. Anyone else get the feeling this season that more than any other coach on “The Voice,” Blake’s pimping out just about everything about himself and his family and friends? Having his contestants cover his and his wife Miranda Lambert’s songs all the time, and just being everywhere showing off that dimply cute hunky smile?

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And who had the least to do tonight? That would be Christina Aguilera, the erstwhile coach, who now has no contestants left and basically had nothing to do but sit there wear the blondest fakest wig ever, and maybe say something constructive every once in a while. Even though Cee Lo Green was out sick during coaching sessions this week, they got Train’s Patrick Monahan to fill in instead of Christina, someone already on the payroll with no job to do. “I am so excited to just sit back and literally be entertained at this point,” she said at the top of the show. And then she proceeded to hold nothing back when it came to picking her favorites. Right off the bat, she said she was loving Cassadee Pope.

Tonight, each contestant sang one song picked by their coaches, and one song of their own choice. The judges’ picks were so evocative. Blake likes to nail his contestants into little boxes. Cee Lo Green lives in the years 1978 to 1983. And Adam Levine just lets his contestants do whatever they want.

A quick rundown.

For Nicholas David, Cee Lo chose Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September” and it was disco-tastic in that cheesy Nicholas David way in which bellbottoms are just an acceptable thing to wear, somehow. But he didn’t do that falsetto “yeah-ee-yeah” at all, which was a huge bummer, and got him criticism even from his own coach. Then he picked “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” but a slow jam r&b version, and even though he’s got an awesome voice and vibe, it’s all becoming clear that there’s nothing really relevant about this guy.

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Cassadee Pope, now unofficially a part of Team Xtina, is doing whatever she can to cement herself as a pop rock girl, although Blake gave her a Rascal Flatts song as his pick. But she countered that by doing it in a purely pop rock way. Christina gushed. But Adam told her he wanted to see something “different and bizarre.” Then for her own choice, she chose the most poppiest of them all, an Avril Lavigne song. Since Carson Daly told us it was going to be an “emotional” performance of “I’m With You,” Cassadee wore an evening gown. I’m really with Adam here; this girl is a bit too predictable.

Terry McDermott on the other hand, invented the word predictable. Blake gave him Rod Stewart’s “Stay With Me,” another crowd-pleasing classic rock song, because that’s what this guy auditioned with, and why come up with anything new over the course of, I don’t know, three months now? You know, on last night’s episode of “The Next Iron Chef,” the theme was risk, and I kept hoping they’d do something like that on this show, and actually encourage this guy to do something a little more daring than a Rod Stewart song. But maybe that’s too much to ask. Terry’s other song was “I Want to Know What Love Is,” and ok, it was the best thing he did on this show, cause he just sat and sang and hit some high notes, and it wasn’t something you’d probably hear in a bar. But I’m still not a fan.

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With Trevin Hunte, Cee Lo made the second big mistake, picking maybe the second cheesiest song of the night, “Walking on Sunshine.” Adam liked it, but meh. Trevin has better taste. He picked “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” making the interesting lyric change of “I’m the best man you’ll ever know,” and it was the most “American Idol” type performance on this show—completely over-the-top vocals, center of the stage belting, soft blue lights, triumph somehow injected into every moment of it. Standing o for Trevin. Christina freaked out! She offered to take him on tour with her.

It’s so weird that Amanda Brown is on Adam’s team. She’s like this Christina/Cee Lo hybrid of insane notes plus insane personality. Adam gave her “Natural Woman,” and Cee Lo had the best response. “I love and appreciate and adore all women. Nothing I love more than to see a women feel natural.” Amanda then picked Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again,” so she could go back to singing rock. And she’s so good at what she does, almost too good, I think she might actually be in trouble this week. Like, people know already that she’s ridiculously good so there’s no point in having her win this thing, she’ll be fine.

Melanie Martinez seems to be the obvious frontrunner here, with her songs charting every week now, and her eating the entire production budget on her uber-cute stagings—which, by the way, Christina continually credited to some guy backstage when it was really Adam and Melanie all along. For his pick, he gave her “The Show,” that song Brad Pitt’s daughter “wrote” in “Moneyball,” because Melanie’s been too somber. So there were people carrying cardboard cutouts of kites, whales and things. There’s a guy rowing a boat that’s not going anywhere, looking reallllly happy. It was an Old Navy commercial. Christina gave props to the production crew, which seemed to seriously offend Melanie. But nothing beat her McKayla “not impressed” face during the judging of her take on Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” which she wanted to do it like the way she auditioned “Toxic,” all slowed down and sultry jazzy. There were some pitch problems, but Adam said he didn’t care because people want to buy a “Melanie dress.” Somber Melanie’s not impressed.

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

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