'The Voice' recap: Is the show making up the rules as it goes?

If Monday's “The Voice” was a night of shock but little awe, Tuesday night was a night of crappy filler and little justification.

After the merciless blow of instant eliminations, Christina Aguilera was called upon to defend herself for her cut of fan-favorite (and probable finalist) Jesse Campbell. She brushed it off, saying “I’m no stranger to controversy. I’m OK with that.” Are you? No one else is OK with it, Christina. No one.

The coaches did hold all the power Monday, but Tuesday the audience had a bit more say, with their votes saving one person out of three remaining on Teams Blake and Christina, and the coaches saving one.

(I think “The Voice” producers are making the rules up as they go; this is a decidedly different — and more prolonged – format than last year, and not even Wikipedia’s charts and infographics are offering any clarification.)

Yes, Monday was brutal, and Tuesday was banal, and reminded us of some things, namely, my generation holds a monopoly on boy bands, and everyone else should stop trying.

Wondering where I’m going to mention who got cut and who moved forward? Oh, we’ll get to that. But first, we must sing.

Musical Guest: The Wanted

And here I thought boy bands were a thing of the past. No, I KNEW they were a thing of the past, else how explain the recurring dreams of an NSYNC reunion tour? There’s a reason it’s only a dream. I imagine The Wanted are a very talented group of young men, but I couldn’t even pay attention to the music over the screams of however many tweens “The Voice” let into the audience Tuesday.

One point of obvious irony: How little I want The Wanted. Who are these people? Why do we care? Why is Team Blake singing with them? Let’s bring back the Spice Girls; now that’s some British music I can get behind.

The Bieber

Man, if I thought the screaming girls were bad for The Wanted, I must have been delusional to think it wouldn’t be any worse than the screaming over Justin Bieber. And so begins the night of false advertising from NBC. We were told we’d have a world premiere of Bieber’s new music video, but instead we got a clip. We were told we’d have a special guest, and yes, our little Biebs was there, cracking inside jokes with Adam Levine and not performing. Biebs, your lot in life is to sing. If you’re not gonna sing, GET OUT.

Furthermore, Carson Daly needled Bieber if he’d ever performed “Boyfriend” live. No, Biebs said. Oh! Maybe tonight? Maybe? Maybe? Nope. He’ll be performing it, however, on the season finale in a few weeks, and I realized NBC has resorted doing promos for promos.

Bieber’s “Boyfriend”

Judging from the brief clip of the video we saw, I can offer these thoughts: Stop tryin’a be sexy, Justin Bieber. Stop your breathy, low rapping. And finally, you look cold. Either remove the frosty-looking makeup or get out of whatever industrial refrigerator you filmed this video in.

And now what we really care about …

Team Christina’s Semi-Finalists

Chris Mann

Lindsey Pavao

The audience save went to Chris Mann, who were apparently more impressed with his cover of Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” than I was. With the save, Chris didn’t have to sing. But Lindsey Pavao and Ashley De La Rosa did.

Ashley did a dynamic job on Lady Gaga’s “You and I” (which is just a heart-wrencher anyways, I can’t explain what the song does to me) and Lindsey Pavao did a ho-hum job with Mike Posner’s “Please Don’t Go.”

Christina said she’s felt a connection with Lindsey’s voice since the beginning, and brought her along to the next round. In the meantime, I can’t tell if Lindsey’s voice is growing on me, or it’s just turning into white noise … I think (horror of horrors) I’m actually starting to like her.

Team Blake’s Semi-Finalists

Jermaine Paul

Erin Willett

Jermaine Paul received the most audience votes, and rightfully so, and with Erin and RaeLynn in the bottom two, they pulled out all the stops with Erin’s “Proud Mary” and RaeLynn’s “If I Die Young.”

The coaches hemmed and hawed around RaeLynn’s song, with Adam saying he respected her take on songs, and the way her voice made each song her own, but there was just something he wanted to see that he wasn’t seeing, or hearing. Blake approached the issue cagily, too, saying “I just wish there was something different.”

Blake made his decision as the credits were rolling, tensions were high, and I breathed a sigh of relief when he picked Gaithersburg girl Erin to go onto the next round.

And that “something” that’s off about RaeLynn? A friend’s observation holds the answer: “Is she trying to be a country Adele or something? All I hear is shrieks.”

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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