We’re getting down to the wire on The Voice, and after last night’s live eliminations just two singers remain on each of the superstar coaches’ teams. But before we got to the bloodshed, the always impressive Florence + The Machine took to their first non-desert stage for a well-lit — and well-choreographed — staging of “No Light, No Light.” Florence rose from the stage, her ethereal blush silk gown uplit so that she appeared to glow. Her siren’s call summoned a flurry of modern dancers who circled around her, and a chorus of background singers, including the remaining three on Team Cee Lo, lined the steps behind her. The crowd went wild and the judges watched in awe. Then it was time to get down to business.
In what will be a surprise to absolutely no one, America’s votes saved middle-aged Mouseketeer Tony Lucca, after his “smart” reimagining of Britney Spears‘ “Baby One More Time” on Monday night’s show (Apr. 23). That meant Adam Levine‘s last two ladies had to sing for their lives.
Cutie pie Mathai chose, for some reason, Carrie Underwood‘s “Cowboy Casanova.” In a flirty red dress, she gave it her best RaeLynn treatment, a tactic not well thought out given that that singer was eliminated last week. Her voice has always been thin and in this moment, when it really counted, it got lost behind the loud band. Plus she did that thing where she twitches a bunch and doesn’t really anunciate at all. Christina said she could feel her “nerves” and Blake said he was proud she embraced her “inner hillbilly.” Everyone agreed she’s very cute, but no one mentioned if the vocal was any good. (It wasn’t.)
Mathai, “Cowboy Casanova”
Katrina Parker made a big belt-y production out of Pink‘s self-acceptance anthem “Perfect.” But somehow she managed to make the song sound old. It might be the octave of her voice or just her sort of adult-contemporary approach to the music. Still, it was very clearly the better performance to come out of Team Adam last night. Blake and Christina said she’s the best singer on that team. Cee Lo noted the Katrina sang with a lot of “clarity” and “conviction,” which seemed particularly pointed immediately following Mathai’s blurry co-opting of a country song.
Katrina Parker, “Perfect”
WHO WAS CUT: Adam, after a long, listless, unnervingly unstructured and unending explanation concluded that Katrina “knocked him out,” which meant Mathai was knocked out of the competition.
TEAM CEE LO
In another non-shocker, Jamar Rogers was safely voted into the semifinals, leaving Team Cee Lo’s two last ladies to sing for their lives.
Cheesa chose Kelly Clarkson‘s “Already Gone,” which come on, a pick like that is not really a vote of confidence in yourself. She barely breathed through a wispy falsetto at the top of the song, lying in wait for all the big heartstring-pulling notes in the chorus. But when those moments finally revealed themselves, Cheesa lost the attack in her voice, and all that projecting came out muddy and uncontrolled. Blake called her out for being flat — yup! Underwhelmed.
Cheesa, “Already Gone”
Then the newly blond Juliet Simms took on Natalie Imbruglia‘s one and only hit “Torn.” [Side note: Imbruglia's version is actually a cover of the 1995 song by L.A. alt-rockers Ednaswap.] Juliet sang it in her cute little baby doll voice, made up like Kirsten Dunst’s perpetual-child Claudia in Interview With A Vampire. She added some rocker growls and most importantly managed to rein in her tendency to shriek. Cee Lo stared her down (we think) through his opaque black shades, but it was hands-down a better performance than the room temperature vanilla pudding of a song Cheesa turned in moments before.
Juliet Simms, “Torn”
WHO WAS CUT: Cee Lo asked both ladies to “smile in the face of this adversity,” so of course they both covered their mouths and shed a few nervous tears. He then told Cheesa that he loved her and that her voice sounds classically trained. But, on the other hand, he said that Juliet’s voice is like “art imitating life, and life isn’t perfect.” Which is code for, bye-bye Cheesa.