Hey there, gang. I’ll be your guide for the foreseeable future here in Voiceland, where the demo ratings never sink below 2.0 and the main question of the evening is, “BUT WHERE IS PURRFECT?”
Previously, on The Voice: The Blind Auditions hooked me pretty much instantly. Blake and Adam were kind of adorable, Cee Lo pet a cat, and Xtina’s boobs heart grew three sizes some days. Oh, and they upgraded Carson Daly’s Empathyware.
Then came the Battle Rounds, which were less bloody than my inner Capitol-dweller might have liked but which did occasionally make my ears bleed. The coaches made some poor decisions while halving their teams.
On to tonight’s show! Which... Hey guys, did you know this is a LIVE SHOW? No, really! Anyway, tonight, we’ll Godzilla our way through Teams Blake and Christina. As a reminder...
On Team Blake we have:
Charlotte “My Name Is An Insufferable Diablo Cody Movie Waiting to Happen” Sometimes
Erin “The Overthinker” Willett
Jermaine “Yeah, I Back-up Danced for Alicia Keys” Paul
Jordis “Rock Star: INXS” Unga
Naia “Dreadlocks" Kete
RaeLynne “My Name Sounds the Same As That U.S. Marshal on FX”
And on Team Christina we have:
Ashley “That Overachieving Girl in High School Who I May Have Been As Well” De La Rosa
Jesse “My Life Was a Will Smith Movie” Campbell
Lindsey “Two Hairstyles, No Waiting” Pavao
Moses “The MC Everyone Made a Big Deal About” Stone
Chris “My Voice Contains Multitudes, Almost Literally” Mann
Sera “Christina Just Had to Jump Onstage and Sing With Me, and That’s All Anyone Can Remember” Hill
In case you forgot what’s at stake: a contract with Universal Republic. Also, everlasting fame and glory. (Ha! Just kidding. Ask last season’s winner Javier Colon, who I had to look up.)
In the time between filming the Battle Rounds and now, Cee Lo stole Adam’s hair, which is a bummer for both, and he appears to be channeling the ghost of James Brown. Christina looks positively demure, and also amazing. Blake looks like he always looks, which is to say: good.
He’ll be doing Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer,” a song that, despite being awesome, gives me hives because of a particularly unpleasant Dance Marathon experience where they played this at hour 15 of 30. Ugh. No one could argue he’s a dull performer, but he’s a little off — usually he’s way more charismatic.
Let’s hear from the coaches:
Christina is glad he worked the stage, but didn’t quite feel the connection with the song.
Blake would like him to savor the moment, because girls love him and his single is gonna sell like hotcakes on iTunes.
Chris got tired of people trying to shrink his voice down. So he’s going all operatic on Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” while recording the track. I dunno, Mann.
My fears are founded: He’s almost too good a voice for this song. While his voice is big, there isn’t that vulnerability in there that makes this more than just a run-of-the-mill ballad. The shots of his cancer-riddled mom in the audience make me feel awful for thinking these things.
The coaches feel differently than I, of course:
Adam loves the choice, and though he was skeptical initially, he’s pleased with the result.
Cee Lo managed to avoid being reduced to tears, unlike last week with his own team. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t moved!
Christina says it was “so, so beautiful and heartfelt,” and he really dug into the emotion and owned it. Hmph.
The Little Farmgirl That Could dons her brass cojones once again and sings something related to a coach. This time, it’s an actual Maroon 5 song: “Wake Up Call.” But country-fried.
And maybe it’s because she’s charming, or I’ve been in a country mood lately, but it actually works. She’s getting a little drowned out by the band and is definitely breathy, but it’s the most fun performance thus far.
And what does Mr. Maroon 5 think?
Well, Adam says he’s had his heart broken twice by her, now: once when she picked Blake over him, and now when she did his song so well. Aw. (What? I am not made of stone.)
Christina loves the sass and alludes to the Greatest Love Affair of Our Time: “Again with the Maroon 5, Blake?” Hush, Christina. Let them have their love.
Blake thinks she’s the voice (GET IT, Y’ALL?) of a new generation of country music. And an interesting tidbit: The countrification of that song was actually Adam’s idea several months ago.
Remember that MC they made a big deal about in the Blind Auditions and then we didn’t actually see his audition? That’s Moses Stone. He’s going to do Kanye (“Stronger”/”POWER”). I’m thinking this is good choice for a performer like--
Oh. With Kanye, you get some melody, but this kid is literally just shouting. Christina is leading the back-up dancers from her chair. I am sitting stone-faced on my couch.
Adam can tell this kid knows how to entertain people. But he’s also going to drop some truth bombs: Moses can sing, and that didn’t come out here. He has more potential as a singer than a rapper. Blake concurs.
Christina doesn’t care — Moses EXCITES her.
The dreadlocked girl I forgot about from Team Blake is going to do “Turning Tables.” Okay. Can we please place a moratorium on everyone but Adele performing Adele songs in singing competitions? You are not Adele, everyone. Naia’s voice just lacks the fullness that lends the original track a lot of its depth. She’s playing down some of the vocal tics from her previous performances, which is an improvement, but it pales in comparison, and you can’t not compare, because the original is literally everywhere.
Christina would have picked something more reggae-ish. This is the closest to out-and-out negativity we’ve come, tonight.
Blake wanted Naia to stick closer to the original, though, to prove she has range. Which... she didn’t really do. Also: “Your tender moments are so special.” New euphemism!
She’s taking “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye in a more dubstep direction? No! Stay away from the dubstep! Her vocal style, which didn’t bug me before, has begun to grate, and her bemasked back-up dancers are nightmare-inducing.
Adam is similarly freaked out by the back-up dancers. He says it was cool, but he missed the power in the chorus.
Christina loves that she took part in creating the arrangement, blah blah true artistry blah.
Jordis gets “Alone” by Heart. It’s always nice to hear a full female voice, even if she gets a little squeaky. The acoustic environment is also not doing her a whole lot of favors. Overall, she does well. Her family is wearing grass skirts. Endearing!
Cee Lo gives her a “good,” while Christina makes pouty faces. Blake likes that she didn’t play it safe. “I’m so glad America has a chance to find out who you are.” You mean again, right, Blake?
Sera rearranges “Find Your Love” by Drake into something a little more melodic. She’s got a bunch of shirtless back-up dancers all up on her, and I’m having trouble concentrating.
So is Blake, I’m relieved to hear. This activates Carsonbot’s joke algorithm: Blake’s stuck on the shirtless guys! Ha ha! Can he think of nothing else to say? “She did great. There was male strippers on the stage.” Blake, do they not teach verb agreement in Oklahoma? Christina is over the moon, naturally.
Poor Erin lost her dad to cancer during the Battle Rounds, so I’m going to try and not be horribly snarky. She performs Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City.” She’s shown before she can be an overthinker, but tonight she looks and sounds great. It’s easily the best performance of the night.
Hey, Blake agrees with me! Cee Lo calls her a champion, especially for being that great under such trying circumstances.
Ashley De La Rosa
Ashley’s singing “Right Through You” by Alanis. The acoustics rear their ugly head again, and it’s a shame, because she sounds pretty good, when you can hear her. She’s also the only one who’s seemed like she’s having any fun, with that unconsciousness that only true self-assurance brings.
Adam performs a quick age-check on Ashley and rediscovers she’s only 17. So he settles for saying she’s definitely Most Improved: “Tonight, we saw a woman.” That doesn’t turn her 18, Levine.
Charlotte gets Paramore’s “Misery Business” and goes with a “haunting” version of the song. It’s...fine, I guess. She vamps a lot, and her voice is good enough.
Adam thinks it was great, and her voice is unique, though there were a few flat notes. Christina disagrees, and Blake, too, loved her idea for the arrangement.
Last up is Jesse, who Christina says can “sing the phone book.” So he’s doing... “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. Look, I love this song. It’s wonderful. It’s just not a song you make a performance out of. He’s a mite bit too smooth, and it ends up sounding like it was run through the Disney wringer.
What’s that, coaches? You disagree?
Cee Lo’s heart has been won, and wants Jesse to win if no one from Team Cee Lo can. Adam seconds this motion.
Christina loves him and repeats the phone book thing, then says out of the blue that she’s the only sober coach up there, which brings up a good point: This would be way more awesome with inebriated coaches. Truth-bombs everywhere!
And with that, we sign off! I’ll see y’all again tomorrow for the post-execution, er, post. Hopefully we won’t be deprived of Purrfect a second consecutive evening.
Image Credit: NBC
Voice star Adam Levine Splits From Girlfriend
The Voice Recap: The Judges Prepare for Battle (Rounds)
The world sadly lost another member of Old Hollywood over the weekend. Linda Christian, a 1940's starlet died at the age of 87 in Palm Desert, California after a battle with colon cancer. The actress is best remembered for her marriage to leading man, Tyrone Power, along with being the very first Bond Girl. Life magazine also wrote about her curves, calling her the anatomic bomb -- not a bad way to be remembered, huh?
Christian, originally named Blanca Rosa Welter, married 20th Century Fox's biggest star, Power, in 1949. The widely famous marriage ended in 1956 (celebrity divorce was even common back then I suppose), but the couple did share two daughters, singer Romina Power and actress Taryn Power. In the 1960's Christina was also briefly married to actor Edmund Purdom.
Probably in her most famous role, the actress starred as Vesper Lynd, James Bond's romantic interest, in the 1954 TV adaptation of Casino Royale, with Barry Nelson as 007. Christian also appeared in films such as The V.I.P.s, which starred Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, where she played the gold-digging girlfriend of Rod Taylor's character.
Christian is survived by her two daughters and eight grandchildren.
The actress passed away on Friday (22Jul11) in Palm Desert, California after a battle with colon cancer.
Born Blanca Rosa Welter in Mexico, the star moved to Los Angeles after a chance meeting with Australian icon Errol Flynn, who convinced her to try acting.
She made her film debut alongside Danny Kaye in the 1944 musical Up In Arms, before playing Mara in Tarzan and The Mermaids.
In 1954, she landed the role of James Bond's love interest in a TV adaptation of the novel Casino Royale, becoming the first ever Bond girl and paving the way for future 007 sidekicks including Halle Berry and Ursula Andress.
She married Hollywood heartthrob Tyrone Power in 1949 but the couple divorced in 1956.
Christian is survived by her daughter Romina Power and eight grandchildren, according to the Associated Press.
The American military has always been at the forefront of technological innovation often working on the fringes of scientific credibility in its constant search for new ways to locate and eliminate enemies. At times the military's eagerness to gain an edge over its adversaries has led it to some strange dark places many of which are chronicled in The Men Who Stare at Goats British author Jon Ronson’s real-life account of the U.S. government’s efforts to create an army of “psychic supersoldiers."
If you’re not familiar with the world of psychic warfare (and really why would you be?) the book’s title refers to an experiment conducted during the 1980s at Fort Bragg North Carolina in which specially trained soldiers using methods culled from the top-secret First Earth Battalion Operations Manual attempted to stop the heart of a goat using nothing but the power of the mind. The ultimate goal obviously was to develop the skill for eventual use on enemy combatants.
Chock full of similarly wild yet credible stories The Men Who Stare at Goats’ strange-but-true subject matter lends itself perfectly to film adaptation. Its structure — a disparate collection of loosely related vignettes covering over a 30-year timespan — does not. Nevertheless director Grant Heslov and screenwriter Peter Straughan gave it a shot refashioning the material to such an extent that the movie is no longer “based upon” Ronson’s book but instead merely “inspired by” it.
Thankfully Heslov kept intact two of the book’s greatest strengths: its lively irreverent tone and its fascinating array of colorful characters. The latter is no doubt what attracted the film’s star-studded cast led by George Clooney as Lyn Cassady a fidgety veteran of the “psychic spy” brigade whose chance meeting with journalist Bob Wilton Ronson’s onscreen counterpart (played as an American ironically by U.K. actor Ewan McGregor) provides the catalyst for the storyline.
As Cassady squires Wilton through the Iraqi desert en route he claims to a contracting gig he regales the awe-struck reporter with stories of the New Earth Army and its founder a Vietnam vet-turned-New Age acolyte named Bill Django (Jeff Bridges). In the early '80s Django now a ponytailed flower child managed to obtain Army approval to spearhead a pilot program that would to train a legion of “warrior monks” to read minds pass through walls and disable enemies through a wide variety of non-lethal methods.
Any program like the New Earth Army is bound to attract its share of bad apples amoral folk who aim to use its teachings to enrich themselves and cause harm to others. In The Men Who Stare at Goats the entire rotten orchard is represented by Larry Hooper (Kevin Spacey) a sleazy manipulative charlatan whose devious machinations ultimately serve to bring down the entire operation.
Goats is at its loopy best as Cassady cycles through various off-the-wall anecdotes of Django and his increasingly bizarre training methods. But it falls apart when Heslov attempts to weave it all into a coherent storyline complete with a climax centered on a hairbrained scheme to spike the water supply at an American fort with LSD. It's understandable that Heslov felt compelled to invent something that could bring some resolution to the story but getting everyone high on acid? It sounds like a gimmick stolen from one of the lesser Revenge of the Nerds sequels.
Needless to say that last part wasn’t in Ronson’s book.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Cliff and Cydney are happy newlyweds headed to Hawaii for a quiet honeymoon on a remote portion of the island of Kauai. Their marital bliss is abruptly interrupted however when they receive word that just a few days prior a pair of newlyweds not unlike themselves were murdered on Maui and that the killers believed to be a man and a woman were still at large.
Dismayed by the unsettling news Cliff and Cydney nonetheless resolve to move forward with their honeymoon but start to become anxious when they encounter not one but two exceedingly strange couples each of whom seemingly fit the profile of the killers. Miles away from civilization unable to get a decent cell phone signal and seemingly surrounded by possible murderers they begin to wonder if they might be the next victims.
WHO’S IN IT?
Playing the part of Cliff is Steve Zahn a prolific character actor best known for supporting roles in films like Rescue Dawn and Sunshine Cleaning. As a jittery Hollywood screenwriter who too often lets his overactive imagination get the best of him Zahn’s performance is the most credible aspect of the movie. In the role of his wife Cydney is Resident Evil series star Milla Jovovich demonstrating how truly unremarkable she can be when not cast opposite expressionless zombies.
Despite being saddled with most of the film’s worst lines Hitman star Timothy Olyphant proves convincing as Nick a wild-eyed survivalist who claims to have served as an army special forces operative in Iraq. Laying it on a little too thick with the fake Southern accent is Kiele Sanchez who plays Nick’s equally suspicious girlfriend.
Director David Twohy (Pitch Black The Chronicles of Riddick) makes an earnest attempt at crafting a modern-day murder mystery and for the most part he does a commendable job of messing with audience expectations setting the stage for a major second-act plot twist that proves every bit as surprising as advertised.
Twohy is one of the more likable Hollywood directors and it’s good to see him back from the dead after the Riddick disaster set fire to his career. Unfortunately he falls headlong into the M. Night Shyamalan trap with A Perfect Getaway focusing too much on pulling off the big twist and forsaking just about every other element of the movie. To be fair Twohy’s film isn’t nearly as dreadful as Shyamalan’s recent Razzie-amassing efforts like The Happening and Lady in the Water but its deficiencies are similarly multifaceted. Awkward dialogue mediocre performances by Jovovich and Sanchez and an excessively aimless pre-twist plotline are just a few of the problems that plague the movie.
But my biggest gripe with A Perfect Getaway is that Twohy fills the story with so many seemingly important plot devices which end up going nowhere that the film could very well be re-titled Red Herring: The Movie. At a certain point you throw up your hands and ask “Well then is any of this s--t real?” And the answer is: No probably not. But isn’t Kauai beautiful?
Admittedly the twist is pretty darn clever. Too bad we have to wait over an hour to see it.
The climax features an excruciating scene in which a key character’s cell phone previously assumed to be out of service receives a sales call from an Indian-accented telemarketer. Rather than simply hang up and dial 911 the character pleads with the befuddled phone company rep to alert the police with predictable lack of success. All this while a deranged killer stalks the vicinity. Characters that stupid deserve to die.