Tuesday night’s episode of The Voice saw five more contestants eliminated in another battle round. War is hell.
Flamboyant farm boy Cody Belew and hip-hop dancer Domo (I know it’s “dah-mo,” but in my head I will forever pronounce her name like it comes before arigato) are sent to the gladiator games for the pleasure of Emperor Cee Lo Augustus.
Cee Lo has the pair sing Lady Gaga’s “Telephone.” He encourages them to incorporate choreography into the performance, but nevertheless emphasizes that their vocals should come first. In rehearsals, Rob Thomas offers detailed suggestions on how to hit each note. This makes sense, because when I think Lady Gaga feat. Beyoncé, Matchbox Twenty comes to mind immediately.
On stage, their dance routine proves to be a lot of fun, but — how many times do I have to say this, America? — detracts from the quality of their singing. This show’s called The Voice for a reason, son.
At first, this choice of song seemed to deliberately disadvantage Belew — it’s hard to imagine a track so obviously out of Cody’s comfort zone and so comfortably within Domo’s. (Couldn’t we have given her a mopey, acoustic country ballad?) Yet, Cee Lo ultimately chooses Cody. Domo accepts her loss gracefully, as demure as one can be from beneath aggressively crimped hair and neon-pink epaulets.
By the way, Domo’s dance troupe Rhythm City appeared on Season 4 of America’s Best Dance Crew, seen here in a clip that somehow feels incredibly dated despite being only three years old. But take note: Here, our intrepid performer is not Domo, but ooh-la-la Dominique — I feel like I don’t even know you, whatever-your-name-is. Domo-nique also had a pivotal role as Sassily Walking Woman #8 in this commercial for an HPV vaccine.
For her first battle of the night, Christina matches up Aquile, who delivered a lady-killing “Your Song” for his blind audition, and precocious 15-year-old Nathalie Hernandez. Hearing Aquile’s first run-through of “You Give Me Something,” Billie Joe Armstrong chirps, “I think it sounded better than the original!” (“Where am I?” continues Billie Joe, “Can I have some ice cream? Let’s hug!”)
Christina comments that Nathalie’s tender age will likely pose a challenge, as she hasn’t yet suffered the “heartbreaks” the song was written about (Xtina, please — s**t gets real in AP Calc). Nevertheless, in rehearsals, Christina soon coaxes an earthy maturity out of Nathalie’s voice.
Their duet is sweet, and I like the interplay between them, but Aquile — his name sounds like NyQuil because he soothes me and I’d abuse him every night if I could — simply kills it with his buttery smooth voice. (Fun fact: My boyfriend challenged me to use the phrase “buttery smooth voice” in my recap tonight, for no other reason than that he likes how it sounds. Little did he know I’d use it to describe the man I am now leaving him for. Goodbye, my love; helloooo, Aquile.)
Christina ultimately decides to keep Aquile, though she and the other coaches praise Nathalie’s youthful talent. “When I was 15,” Adam notes, “I was a zit.” Nowadays, of course, he’s long since matured into a boil. I’d assumed Blake would steal Nathalie, but no luck — that’s too bad; I liked her a lot.
Two condensed battles flash by. From Team Christina: Celica Westbrook, who sang that song from that thing where the guy who proposes to the girl with all the memes, vs. Lisa Scinta, who… I don’t remember. Camry Corolla Celica wins their duet of “My Life Would Suck Without You.” On Team Blake, long-haired grandpa Rudy Parris ousts smog technician Charlie Rey on “Bad Day.”
The last battle of the night is Adam’s: He pairs Caitlin Michele, who suffers from panic attacks and excessive eyeliner, and hipster Pebbles Flintstone Melanie Martinez. Levine assigns the indie artists Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” because it represents a slightly gritty, unusual niche within pop.
Both performers feel a little weak in rehearsal: I love Melanie’s voice, but it can err on the side of a little-girl whisper, and Caitlin is so musical theater-y that I find it difficult to buy her in any other mode.
But happily, their live performance is great; Christina rightly calls it the day’s “prettiest and most moving.” I have a soft spot for Melanie, so I’m psyched when Adam chooses her — but whichever artist you preferred, it’s a win-win, because Caitlin is quickly stolen for Team Cee Lo.
The Voice returns next Monday at 8 pm for two more hours of battles. Share your thoughts, questions, and/or haikus about Adam’s facial hair with me on Twitter @mollyfitz.
[Image Credits: NBC]