‘The Voice’ Names Its Semifinalists

Stephanie Anne Johnson -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

This is it! The last time we have to see the same outfit from the coaches on more than one episode. The final Knockouts on “The Voice”! Tonight, the coaches showed their allegiance to their original teams, getting rid of all of their Battle saves, and in two cases, re-saving someone they had just cast off last week.

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Team Adam: Lina Gaudenza vs. Preston Pohl
A very tan Adam Levine stole the former model from Christina Aguilera, and he got to give Lina his first advice in rehearsal of “I’d Rather Go Blind,” which she didn’t quite have the chops to do, but improved greatly by performance. She also wore a tie and a bowler hat and looked like a pantomime. I liked it. Preston really broke out in a soulful Battle, but went reggae for the Knockout with “No Woman No Cry.” His voice was sufficiently gravelly. He’s good, but I’ll remember Lina more. Blake Shelton was impressed with Preston’s control and command. Cee Lo Green says Preston has his undivided attention. But Xtina said she didn’t get to know more about him in that song. Adam’s gut, however, tells him to pick Preston.

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Team Blake: E.G. Daily vs. Ray Boudreaux
Blake proves he is an unnaturally large monster of a man when he gives tiny E.G. a hug at the start of their session. She picks “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” one of the best songs in the world ever. Which is a coincidence, because she was in one of the best movies in the world ever, “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure,” and therefore I want her to win everything. Yeah, I’m biased toward minor characters in bizarre ‘80s children’s movies, sue me. Also Ray is singing “Hard to Handle,” which I just don’t need to hear again in this music competition context. E.G.’s voice was super sweet and had some cool grit at times, but she also had a couple missteps at the end. Ray then came out and slowed down the tongue twister song, and even still it was unintelligible. Really, what is it even about, does anyone know? I’d like one person to come on stage sometime and make me understand this ridiculousness. Xtina said Ray had better control. Cee Lo, too, favored Ray. And Blake called Ray “studly,” and decides to eliminate E.G. for the breaks in her voice. Bye, Dottie.

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Team Christina: Anthony Paul vs. Jacquie Lee
I think Anthony should win this teen against teen challenge, because trying to type out Jacquie’s name is just not intuitive. Please let it end. Xtina stole Anthony in Battles, and for his new coach, he chooses “The Other Side” to show his “pop side.” But Christina is not pleased with this song. Jacquie picks “Stompa,” and doesn’t have the stage presence for it just yet. But even the worst stage presence would be preferable to the vocal that Anthony delivered. Oof. And Jacquie does take Christina’s notes and delivers like an animal. Cee Lo and Adam both tell Anthony he’s better than this. Adam says Jacquie is the “cutest person I’ve ever seen in my life.” Which she is. Christina says Anthony’s song wasn’t right for him. But Jacquie, she says, reminds her of herself. Therefore, I will have to sense-memorize how to type Jacquie’s name.

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Team Cee Lo: Stephanie Anne Johnson vs. Tamara Chauniece
Cee Lo saved the cruise ship singer, who, we learn tonight, plays guitar! She’s singing Norah Jones’s “Don’t Know Why.” She says she wants to be like Bonnie Raitt, and Cee Lo says in rehearsal that she’s like his sister. I love this collaboration. I love the performance. There’s something super captivating and likeable about this girl, and the song feels so complete. Tamara is singing Alicia Keys’s “No One,” reggae style and it’s actually really cool. Adam says Stephanie was too unfocused, and Tamara was most improved. Blake thinks Tamara is awesome. Christina liked both of the women’s originality. Cee Lo says Tam reminds him of a young Anita Baker, and picks her to move on. I liked her a lot, but super sad-face. But Christina to the rescue! Stephanie is back on her original team! I didn’t even know that was legal!

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Team Adam: James Wolpert vs. Juhi
James reminds us he had to quit his job at the Genius Bar to try sing the one of the most oversung songs in music competition history, “More Than a Feeling.” I respect that James took off his thick frame glasses for his performance, but I still think he can contribute more to this world as a computer engineer than a singer. Juhi is new to Team Adam, when Cee Lo cast her off because she’s got the backup plan of high school. She’s also picked something completely unoriginal, “Heard It Through the Grapevine,” because Cee Lo not choosing her to move on made her feel cheated on. Cee Lo picks up on that right away. Cee Lo as a foil is kind of fun, but other than that, both of these performers are fake and boring. Xtina says Juhi was so carefree she was careless. But Cee Lo thought she was cool and more consistent than James. Adam says James had done the song perfectly in rehearsal, and since he, too, has faltered in his career, he was willing to give James another chance.

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Team Blake: Austin Jenckes vs. Brandon Chase
Austin chooses “I’ll Be” and makes it be about a song between a father and son. So it’s the anthem of all men with daddy issues on this show, which is about everyone. Brandon is one of Blake’s many country guys who wore plaid to Blind Audition. He chooses “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” and Blake tells him to take it up an octave. It’s all very pleasant, though Brandon goes pitchy at the end. Austin’s gruff and Brandon’s pretty and I’m not sure which goes over better in country land. Christina says Austin had too much power all the way through, but Adam didn’t mind it. Blake said both guys were pitchy, but Brandon was flat and Austin was sharp. And as Blake told us yesterday, he prefers sharp. So he picks Austin, and Team Blake is now complete.

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Team Cee Lo: Caroline Pennell vs. George Horga Jr.
These two cuties are going at it for the final slot on Cee Lo’s team. Caroline picks Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Way I Am,” the song which probably got us in the predicament we are in in the first place, with all these girls on this show singing little mousy songs and calling themselves “indie.” Still, it’s a good choice for her, even if her “indie” accent is infuriating. George picks Ne-Yo’s “Because of You,” and after the undoing of another singer earlier tonight with a dance song, I’m not so sure about this. His pitch is all over the place. Caroline, says Blake, “makes me want to buy a cat and a pink blanket,” and calls her the best of the “singer-songwriter sound” this season. Xtina says Caroline is “effortlessly angelic.”

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Team Xtina: Matthew Schuler vs. Will Champlin
Christina’s impressed with Matthew’s song choice of “Cosmic Love” by Florence and the Machine, but finds that he over-exhausts his voice. But in performance, she seemed to approve, getting up and dancing by the end. Will, formerly of Team Adam, takes on “When I Was Your Man.” Both these guys put it all out there, and both of them sang with their eyes closed most of the time. I’ll take that to mean they were feeling especially intense. Cee Lo gives them both a standing o. Matt, he says, is like the Mike Tyson of “The Voice.” Adam says both were equals, and dangles out his one remaining Steal. Christina chooses Matthew, and Adam brings Will back home to his team.

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Here are our semifinalists:

Team Blake (with only one girl!): Nic Hawk, Cole Vosbury, Shelbie Z., Austin Jenckes, Ray Boudreaux
Team Cee Lo: Jonny Gray, Caroline Pennell, Amber Nicole, Kat Robichaud, Tamara Chauniece
Team Xtina: Jacquie Lee, Stephanie Anne Johnson, Matthew Schuler, Josh Logan, Olivia Henken
Team Adam: Tessanne Chin, James Wolpert, Grey, Will Champlin, Preston Pohl

Every team has someone I don’t care for and someone I really like, so I can’t say I’m leaning toward one over another just yet. Luckily, next week we get three whole nights of live shows to sort out who is in the lead. You know, just in case you thought four hours a week just wasn’t enough “Voice” for you.

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

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