Last night marked the season three finale of The Voice—pop-punk cutie Cassadee Pope, Minnesota soul man Nicholas David, and Scottish rocker Terry McDermott faced off for the top spot. Who was crowned the winner? Did the broadcast suddenly cut to black as the finalists performed “Don’t Stop Believin’?” Is Blake Shelton really Gossip Girl? Stay tuned.
Rihanna starts the show with “Diamonds,” her only hit I don’t actually like. It’s a solid performance, though she seems oddly sleepy, and more or less trails off at the end. Overall, I’d have rather watched two minutes of Rihanna reluctantly making awkward small talk with Carson Daly backstage.
Terry McDermott takes the stage for “Rock and Roll All Nite,” along with some familiar faces: Amanda Brown, Bryan Keith, and his Team Blake-mates Michaela Paige and Rudy Parris. KISS is near and dear to my heart—I drove on Kissena Boulevard (their supposed Queens thoroughfare namesake) today, y’all—and I enjoy this, but it’s nowhere near as campy as I’d like. The standout is the irrepressible Amanda, whose killer performance is almost poignant; she should have made it to the finals.
Nick accompanies Smokey Robinson on the R&B hero’s “Cruisin’.” I hate to throw shade at a legend, Smokey, but you look terrifying. I know plastic surgery can be addictive (and I guess you do appear a lot younger than 71?), but you look like a rejected Madame Tussauds version of yourself. Let this be your Ghost of Christmas Future moment, Bruce Jenner.
Next, Cassadee Pope joins The Killers for their “Here with Me.” I was a Killers mega-fan in high school, but man, this is disappointing (though I’m not gonna lie, you look good, Brandon Flowers). It’s boring, slow, and kind of warbly—if this is the big single, what’s the rest of the album like? But this works out well for Cassadee, who improbably proves to be the highlight of the song.
After an utterly unnecessary visit from the “cast” (?) of The Biggest Loser, Mackenzie Bourg, Diego Val, Dez Duron, Cody Belew, and Julio Castillo return for “Stacy’s Mom.” It’s a lot of fun, though I’m not sure how the retro diner set and pretty waitresses fit in with the song’s narrative. The arrangement smartly gives each singer leave to apply his unique style to his individual lines. Also, I can’t tell if Mackenzie’s costumed as a nerd or if he’s just dressed in his normal clothes, but either way: precious.
We’re treated to a preview of next season—with Shakira and Usher pinch-hitting for Cee Lo and Xtina—that’s hokey but charming (the same could be said about The Voice in general). The four fight over the car radio in Blake’s beat-up pickup until they settle on (and sing along to) “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” the greatest song ever written.
In a beguiling cape-slash-jumpsuit, my galpal Kelly Clarkson—who knows a thing or two about winning televised singing competitions—performs “Catch My Breath” with Terry and Cassadee. A fan of the show, Kelly tells Carson that she watched the last episode at “my fiancé’s house,” then—surprised and excited by the sound of those words coming out her mouth—says them again. Turns out he only proposed a few days ago! D’awww.
Cassadee recruits the stylistically diverse trio of Melanie Martinez, De’Borah and Liz Davis for “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons. This is one of the better ensemble performances I’ve seen on the show; their voices mesh beautifully. Also, it’s strange how Liz seems about ten years older than she actually is (25), while Melanie looks ten years younger.
After Smokey’s appearance, it’s a relief to see that Peter Frampton has aged like a human. Terry, clearly humbled in the presence of a classic rock icon, provides backing vocals on “Baby, I Love Your Way.”
But there’s more girl power to come, with Joselyn Rivera, Adriana Louise, Sylvia Yacoub—mah gurl, who I once assumed would reach the final three—Devyn DeLoera, and Loren Allred. These ladies bring it for The Emotions’ “Best of My Love,” complete with Supremes-style choreography (and Supremes-style attitude).
Pseudo-Santa “Saint Cee Lo Green” rolls up on a sleigh—with obligatory sexy elves in tow—to announce that each finalist has won a new car from Kia. Come on. The number of Kia commercials I’ve endured over the course of this season has got to entitle me to at least a third of a Sorento.
After another 13-hour commercial break, we’re back with Bruno Mars and a fine but forgettable “When I Was Your Man.”
Nicholas has invited Trevin Hunte, Dez and Amanda (girlfriend’s dance card is full tonight) back to perform Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road.” It’s nice to see how consistently supportive the Voice community is—even if you’re eliminated relatively early on, you’ve got a solid chance of landing more screentime (and possibly a record deal) later.
To her delight, Cassadee Pope has the chance to duet with her “hero” Avril Lavigne on “I’m With You.” My inner 14-year-old is excited to see Avril, though she seems standoffish, and looks a little like she could use a bath (doesn’t it look like all that heavy shadow has irritated her eyes?). But it’s a nice performance, and Cassadee’s jumping-up-and-down enthusiasm is endearing. By the way, Pope’s costume changes have never been more impressive. Her eyeliner’s been at least two different colors in the last half hour.
After the coaches perform Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” (where is mentor Billie Joe Armstrong when we need him most?), the three finalists join Carson onstage for the episode’s final moments.
My heart is racing. My dog has inexplicably started barking. This is about to get real.
Nick looks so nervous I’m concerned he might pass out. As Terry describes his desire to win in honor of his wife and child, the camera cuts to a shot of Nick’s family. Priceless.
Without further ado, Carson reveals the artist in third place: it’s Nicholas David. He’s long been my all-around favorite, and I have to admit I’m bummed. Nevertheless, this means victory is a lock for Team Blake.
Lo and behold, the winner of season three of The Voice is… CASSADEE POPE!
Cassadee may be the only person in America who didn’t see her victory coming. She’s sweetly speechless. But the season’s last few moments are strangely anti-climactic: someone tosses a mike into her hands and she sort of sings, but it’s not really audible, and then NBC abruptly cuts to the news. I guess they ran long? An early lesson in humility for our budding superstar.
Well, it’s been a long, crazy ride, guys. I’ll miss you all. Never change. 2SWEET 2B 4GOTTEN. Have a great summer! See you at the reunion.
Follow Molly on Twitter at @mollyfitz.
[Photo Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC]
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The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Claire is an attractive CIA operative and Ray is an M16 agent who simultaneously leave their Governmental spy activities in the dust to try and profit from a battle between two rival multi-national corporations both trying to launch a new product that will transform the world and make billions. Their goal is to secure the top-secret formula and get a patent before they are outsmarted. While their respective egomaniacal CEOs engage in an unending battle of wills and one-upmanship Claire and Ray start out conning and playing one another in a clever game of industrial espionage that is even more complicated due to their own long-term romantic relationship.
WHO’S IN IT?
Reuniting Closer co-stars Julia Roberts (as Claire) and Clive Owen (as Ray) turns out to be an inspired idea. They turn out to be the perfect pair oozing movie-star charm and electricity in this elaborate con-game that might have been the kind of thing Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant might have made in the '60s (in fact they did in Charade). Roberts with that infamous hairstyle back the way we like it and Owen looking great in sunglasses prove they have what it takes to navigate us through this ultra-complex plot in which no one is sure who they can trust at any given moment. They play it all in high style and the wit just flows as the story skirts back and forth during the period of five years. The supporting cast is well-chosen with juicy roles for Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti (out of their John Adams duds) as the two CEOs going for each other’s throats. Giamatti who sometimes has a tendency to overdo it is especially slimy here and great fun to watch.
Big-star studio movies today rarely take risks and often talk down to the audience but in Duplicity writer/director Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) has crafted a complicated con-comedy that requires complete attention at all times just to keep up with the dense plot’s twists and turns. It’s the cinematic equivalent of a New York Times crossword puzzle and Gilroy and his top-drawer production team deliver a glossy beautiful-looking film that’s easy on the eyes hitting locations from Dubai to Rome to New York City.
Like any good puzzle it sometimes can be frustrating putting it all together and Gilroy’s habit of taking us back in time and then inching forward gets a little confusing even with the on-screen chyron pointing out where we are at any given moment. Stick with it though and you will be well-rewarded.
A scene near the end where the formula must be found scanned and faxed in a matter of minutes is sweat-inducing edge-of-your-seat moviemaking and it provides the ultimate opportunity for Roberts and Owen to take the “con” to the next level. Another where Roberts uses a thong to try and trick Owen into admitting an affair he never had is also priceless and gets right to the heart of the game-playing.
GO OUT AND GET POPCORN WHEN ...
Never. Stock up during the coming attractions. If you miss a moment of this entertaining romp you might never figure it all out.