‘The Voice’ Recap: Jay Leno and Radio Are the Keys to a Burgeoning Musical Career

The VoiceS2E10: So, Monday night on The Voice, a bunch of people sang, and most of them were merely okay. On Tuesday, Carsonbot informs us, six of those people will writhe in exquisite agony onstage for our viewing pleasure, and four will fall victim to the cruelty of the American populace and/or iTunes sales. “Fail!” the texts and Facebook votes will roar, and the performers will weep, weep to be so alone even amidst the massive crowds that, mere weeks ago, were crying their names in ecstasy.

Also, if the TV Gods are just, Purrfect will triumphantly return to our screens.

Onwards, onwards! Down into the bowels of the Hell that is Live Television!

First, in What Are the Coaches Wearing? News: Adam looks like he’s late for Wimbledon. Cee Lo is no longer channeling the Ghost of James Brown. Blake is… Blake. And Christina is apparently out to punish all of us for our howls of “Oompa Loompa!” and “Blonde Snooki!” earlier this season by looking as good as possible.

Carsonbot asks Blake and Christina that vague question that no one really understands the point of, which is basically, “How do you feel about this tough situation?” Blake doesn’t think any of his team should go home — “It’s not tough, it’s sucky” — and Christina thinks of her team as family.

Apropos of nothing, Gym Class Heroes and Neon Hitch perform “Ass Back Home” for us. Travie McCoy is wearing what looks like overly elaborate crown molding, and we barely even see Team Adam until the end. That’s about the depth of my analysis on this one, sorry.

Carsonbot then shepherds us into the pre-taped segment on Team Blake. Blake took his team to a country radio station somewhere in the sprawl of LA, where he informs them that nothing can compare to the power of radio. Is that really still the case, or am I just out of the loop because I can’t afford a car? He tells an endearing story from his first days as a Big Time Country Musician, craning his neck at the cars next to him at stoplights to see if they were listening to his music. And April 5 in LA, he’s going to host an acoustic concert with his whole team, so if you’re in LA, go check that out, I guess. It does seem like Blake is trying to teach them the value of good friends in business, and also that music is, you know, a business. That’s nice.

Back in Liveland, Team Blake shivers and twitches and generally looks as though it wishes it were literally anywhere else right now. If I were an emotional succubus, I imagine I could feed off the recording of this show for a lifetime, the misery of everyone on the stage is so palpable.

After approximately one geologic age of tension, Carsonbot reveals America has given Erin Willett, Jermaine Paul, and RaeLynne a reprieve. The Victors are all teary and huggy; Jordis is like, “God, again?” Now she, Charlotte Sometimes, and Naia Kete will have to convince Blake to save one of them… with a song, you degenerates.

In another pre-recorded bit, we see Christina took her team to meet Jay Leno, and I laugh harder than I have laughed at anything Jay Leno has ever said. I understand synergy, and a trip to Fallon in New York would probably have been inconvenient, but talk about the wrong demographic for (relatively) young performers trying to make it big. Jay makes the usual car-collector jokes and everyone politely titters. Also: “You don’t want to try too hard to be funny,” Christina says, lobbing me a nice big softball that I’m going to ignore for your sakes.

Christina offers one last piece of advice to her team: Listen. To the howls of America, clamoring for blood and humiliation? Actually, these guys look a little less like they’re going to vomit everywhere than Team Blake did, I’ll give them that.

America chooses to spare Jesse Campbell, Lindsey Pavao, and Chris Mann, placing Ashley De La Rosa, Sera Hill, and Moses Stone on the altar, Abraham’s scythe poised over their heads, where it’ll stay for the next half hour or so, because we have to get through the Culling of Team Blake first.

Our Last Chance Performances from Team Blake:

Naia performs “If I Were a Boy,” which caters a little more to her range and style than Adele. She does really well, though some of those tics are back. Blake is sad she didn’t do reggae, but she bleats that that wasn’t an option.

Charlotte does The Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris.” I love this song unabashedly, so maybe that’s the reason that I don’t find her rendition particularly moving, and it starts a bit flat. Her emotion in the chorus serves her well, but it doesn’t feel like quite enough to save her.

Especially because Jordis goes with “Wild Horses,” and she sounds so much like The Sundays, and the ending of Buffy’s “The Prom” episode pops into my mind, and my living room is all of a sudden just covered in dust and there’s something in my eye. AHEM. She pretty much nails it.

Because these three haven’t suffered enough, we have to ask the other three coaches whom they would save from the Wrath of the American Public. Christina was feeling so emotional, she can’t choose! This does not compute with Carsonbot, who forces her to name someone: Jordis. Cee Lo and Adam are also Team Jordis, because, obviously. It’s so obvious, in fact, that Blake mercifully keeps his hemming and hawing to a couple courtesies before rescuing Jordis from the jaws of a second defeat and feeding Charlotte and Naia to the lions of post-loss depression.

And for Team Christina’s “Lose Yourself” moments:

Ashley rocks the hell out of “Paris (Ooh La La).” Man, I wish I had had that level of confidence at 17. Again, she genuinely looks like she’s having a blast, and manages to walk the line between “cutely awesome” and “trying way too hard.”

Sera performs “Vision of Love.” It’s not that she doesn’t have stage presence, and it’s not that she can’t sing, because she certainly can, but if you’re going to beat Ashley stomping around and kicking the stage’s ass, you need to do something more than just sing well.

Moses goes with “Break Even/Falling to Pieces.” Ah, there’s that voice we keep hearing about. He’s got the crowd worked up — Adam was right when he said the kid knows how to entertain, even if it’s not quite as dynamic a performance as usual.

And now it’s time to put these poor children out of their immediate misery, in one way or another, but not before milking the coaches’ appearances for all they’re worth: Cee Lo would save Sera. Adam babbles for a life-age of Middle Earth before picking Ashley. Blake is also on Ashley’s side. And Christina Herself? Ashley!

While Carsonbot short-circuits on live TV, stumbling through nonsense like “Oh, Blake’s getting onstage 001011101000010101” and exhorting us to stay tuned for Fashion Star, which is definitely a television show NBC wants you to acknowledge exists, I’ll note that we’ll be back next week, Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel, but with Teams Adam and Cee Lo. Until then, continue to pray for the Return of the Prodigal Cat.