Baltimore’s Nelly’s Echo made his second — and unfortunately last — appearance on NBC’s “The Voice” Monday night, as contestants entered into the battle rounds and some, sadly, went home.
Nelly’s Echo — Nelson Emokpae, for us local fans — was pitted against Chicago’s De’Borah, and NBC has garnered my wrath for unfairly pairing MY TWO FAVORITES AND FORCING ONE OF THEM TO LEAVE.
Coach Christina Aguilera had the two taking on The Police’s “Message in a Bottle,” and frankly, during rehearsals, De’Borah was a mess, while Nelson seemingly had the win already in hand.
“Coming from Nigeria, being a castaway, I feel I can connect with the song,” he said, and asked Christina if he could “take some liberties” while staying true to the melody — which was awesome, considering De’Borah had no sense of the melody whatsoever. (She explained that growing up in a church setting “so that songs that are really popular, I don’t know,” and the world collectively went “Awwwwwwww De’Borah.”)
But then during the battles, De’Borah got over her nerves and blew it out of the water, even though Nelson actually sounds like Sting and is awesome. The two, however, were at their best when singing together and I would seriously pay money to seem them live.
The coaches echoed what was apparent: Cee Lo Green said that though Nelson has “so much heritage and culture” in his voice, De’Borah was the “clear winner.”
Christina, the deciding coach, said there were a few points in Nelson’s performance that needed more restraint (because Christina is obviously the QUEEN OF RESTRAINT, especially when it comes to hair color), and sent him home.
Nelson was gracious to the coaches that had spun their chairs in the blind auditions — Adam Levine and Christina — and thanked them from the bottom of his heart.
“This is a set back right now,” he said, “but I’ll keep going.”
During his farewell remarks, no coach pushed their button for the steal.
(Yes, let’s talk about the steal — it’s a mess of crap. After a contestant is sent home, the other coaches can “steal” them onto their team. Each coach gets two steals during the battle rounds, which just SLOWS DOWN the process of culling 64 contestants. I don’t know about you, but I’ve already forgotten about half of these people. That’s just so many people, guys. When there’s that many talented people, everything becomes mediocre.)
Let’s see how the steal is playing out so far:
Blake Shelton first pitted wrestler-turned-singer Casey Muessigmann against Scottish rocker Terry McDermott with Kansas’ “Carry On, Wayward Song,” (which ranks a 17 on the “Difficult to Sing in the Car” 1-10 scale) since both are powerful singers who tackled classic rock songs in their blind auditions.
Problem: Terry actually sounds like a classic rock star, and even though I thought Casey was going to take this one, Blake went with Terry, who — spoiler alert — I didn’t really want to win because his adorable Scottish toddler got a haircut and is less adorable.
There were no steals after Casey’s elimination, so he went home.
Blake also pitted yodeler Gracia Harrison against mother-daughter duo 2Steel Girls with the Dixie Chicks’ “Sin Wagon,” and this was mostly just yelling and noise, not singing. During rehearsals, Blake noted that the mother and daughter’s voices “don’t mesh well,” and this is fact. Also (plausible) fact: Pretty sure the daughter has never actually spoken during the show, and everything’s being run by the stage mom who is equal parts insufferable and boring.
But Gracia was great, playful and commanding, and Blake chose her.
No steals for 2Steel Girls, and they were sent back to …wherever.
Adam put together grad student general bore Collin McLoughlin and Bryan Keith with Sublime’s “Santaria,” and chinless wonder Collin picked up on it much more quickly in rehearsals, but his performance just seemed like bad, over-the-top acting. Bryan was more natural on-stage, and there was a rasp and edge in his voice that was perfect for the song. Adam selected him, sending Collin home BUT OH WAIT:
During goodbye remarks along the lines of “I went to Maroon 5 shows when I was little kid” from Collin (what kind of childhood did you even have??) both Blake and Cee Lo went in for the steal, and Collin went with Blake.
TEAM CEE LO
This was a terrible idea, matching up YouTube sensation J.R. Aquino with Peruvian Ken-doll Diego Val. Rehearsing Rick Springfield’s (!!!) “Jessie’s Girl,” Diego was awful, having difficulty remembering the words (“I’m Peruvian, bro … English is my second language.” You beautiful idiot, you.). During the performance, J.R. was just so into it, but Cee Lo went with Diego. And no steals picked up J.R. “You can always keep in touch with me, and we’ll continue to be friends,” Cee Lo told J.R., which really just means, “I will always screen your phone calls.”
A great match, however, was putting together back-up singer Amanda Brown and Trevin Hunte with Mariah Carey’s “Vision of Love.” Any time you can get Adam standing up in his damn chair (looking like a fine, fine statue) is a good time, and all coaches assured Cee Lo that whoever he cut would still carry on in competition on someone else’s team.
Cee Lo “wanted to be part of Trevin’s journey,” but Adam, Blake and Christina all tried to steal Amanda (as Trevin was backstage whooping for her — so nice!), and she went with Adam.
Adorable Moment of the Night: Adam telling De’Borah, “it makes me happy to break free from your struggles, and it makes me sad that someone could ever not be accepted for who they are,” to which De’Borah’s precious father called out from the stands, “THAT’S RIGHT!” Adam said De’Borah’s entire story made him “emotional” which basically means he’ll let me hold him as we talk about our feelings.
Things That Should Not Go Together, But Do: Blake and his guest coach, Michael Buble. Yes yes yes this is such an odd pair it’s perfect.
Things That Go Together, But Should Not: Cee Lo and his guest coach, Rob Thomas. Because Matchbox 20 is a nice thing to remember happening a long time ago, but relevant? Well, put it this way: when talking to J.R., Rob mused, “You have 44 million hits on YouTube, and I’ve sold out the Staples Center, but I don’t have 44 million hits on anything.” Maybe because YouTube didn’t exist in the 1990s?
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