Matthew Schuler may have prompted the fastest four-chair turn in the history of “The Voice,” back during blind auditions, and the version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” he sang on the show last month may have risen high on the iTunes sales charts, but even so, the voters sent him home this week.
History isn’t worth much on TV singing-competition shows, when the stage is crowded with worthy rivals and viewers’ memories are short. And Schuler’s performances over the last two weeks — at least two out of three of them — provided only faint reminders of the vocal power and charisma he consistently showed earlier in the season.
Last week’s overchoreographed, undersung rendition of Imagine Dragons’ “It’s Time” had landed the Pennsylvania college student in the bottom three, where he’d been rescued via the social media Instant Save, presumably by fans hoping he’d simply had an off week.
Alas, this week, he wasn’t able to recapture what his coach, Christina Aguilera, has called his “magic.” Selecting the eminently unmemorable One Direction song “Story of My Life” as his dedication seemed a sharp misstep. Though he followed it up with a solid, soulful version of Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman,” a song Aguilera had chosen for him, he’d already lost his footing in the competition.
So it was no surprise that Schuler landed in the bottom two this week, when just one Top 6 singer was to be sent home ahead of next week’s semifinals. Neither was it a surprise to find James Wolpert, from Adam Levine’s team, there with him. Wolpert had been under the weather this week, and his performances weren’t up to snuff. (Wolpert’s vocal accuracy was, if anything, worse during this week’s results-night group numbers. Get the poor kid some vitamin C and some rest — stat!)
Ultimately, this season’s suspense-dampening pattern, in which a singer is saved one week only to be eliminated the next, continued. After a happily pregnant Kelly Clarkson had performed, a flurry of holiday songs had been sung and four other contestants had been waved through to safety, the Twitter tally was calculated: Schuler’s time was up.
Wolpert has one more week to musically prove his mettle and break the pattern. We’ll see how that goes for him.
Are you sad to see Schuler head home so soon?