The votes are in, and four unlucky contestants on Season Two of The Voice have to go back to their boring and/or tragic everyday lives. (Not the hotel job! Anywhere but the hotel job!!!) Might shoulda been six, but there's a new rule that allowed Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera to save one of their contestants each after an additional performance, breaking the hearts of the other two neglectorinos for a second time—hey, gotta pad that hour-long results show sometimes, and rather that than a bunch of suspenseful (not suspenseful) commercial breaks. Anyway, here's how it went down, and here's what we're left with:
1. Christina wore a J-Woww dress. Ms. Aguilera looked very nice in her orange (yellow?) dress, but it was adorned with the ultimate Jersey Jenny trademark—the unnecessary cleavage slit. In her defense, someone had to divert attention away from Cee Lo Green, who jetted the wig from the previous night, but was wearing some kind of garish rhinestone-studded jacket instead. This is why they have dress codes at private schools, guys.
2. Team Adam received the honor of singing with Gym Class Heroes and Neon Hitch. So even those contestants who won't be making it back after next week can say they've had the honor of performing #12 hit "Ass Back Home" with a couple pop legends like Neon and Travie. (Well, sort of—either their mics were all off or they were just lip synching, but you couldn't hear a single one of them performing.) By the way, can we all agree now to not let Neon Hitch become a thing? Feeling like that woman is bad news—just look at the contraption she wore.
3. Jay Leno showed up to advise Team Blake. He told them not to buy a whole bunch of cars until they get rich. Then it's OK. Good advice, Jay.
4. Erin Willet, Jermaine Paul and RaeLynn were saved from Team Blake. Two out of three ain't bad. I had no love for RaeLynn's performance of Maroon 5's "Wake Up Call"—her vocal affectations were weird and her chorus had no real power—but somebody out there likes the country girl, or at least sees potential for greatness that she hasn't really showed yet. Nonetheless, Willet and Paul are two of the strongest performers in the competition—Jermaine's Bon Jovi rendition was a little shaky, but the guy's talent has been undeniable, and "Living on a Prayer" just wasn't a great song choice for him. Here's hoping that RaeLynn actually gets a real country song to work with next week—she hasn't shown much skill at playing out of position thusfar, so let's see what she can do within her wheelhouse already.
5. Jesse Campbell, Lindsey Pavao and Chris Mann were saved from Team Christina. Hard to argue with. Wasn't a fan of Pavao's Gotye performance, but she has a legit personality, and she's preferable to the insufferable Charlotte Sometimes in the quirky female singer/songwriter slot. Mann and Campbell's performances were basically unassailable, though both are a little...well, a little old (both in age and sound) to be winning this thing. Interesting to see where Christina's team goes from here.
6. Poor, poor Naia Kete. I liked Naia—she had one of the most interesting voices in the competition—but the show did her absolutely no favors. First, Blake talked the street performer out of doing a cool-sounding reggae arrangement of Adele's "Turning Tables," much to the disappointment of Naia and the other coaches, and then, she had to settle for a slightly dubby performance of Beyoncé's "If I Were a Boy" facing elimination. "I'd be lying if I said….that I didn't wish that you came out here and did something reggae," commented Blake on the performance. "They wouldn't let me!" wailed a panicked Naia. "Honestly, I swear to God! THERE WAS ONLY SO MANY SONGS, BLAKE!!"
And so, one of the most interesting contestants in the show was forced to sing straight-faced renditions of Adele and Beyoncé ballads on the way to her elimination. Poor, poor Naia Kete.
7. Jordis got the last-second Blake save. I personally thought this would go to Charlotte after she did a fairly good job with a super-emotional performance of Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris." Still, Blake probably didn't need both her and Lindsey, and rocker chick Jordis did a solid enough job with the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses" that she was the obvious choice to save, tabbed by all the other coaches and then by the man himself. Fair enough.
8. Ashley De La Rosa stole the last-second Christina save from Sera Hill. Would've expected Team Christina pet Sera to be the favorite to advance, but while her Save Me performance of Mariah Carey's "Vision of Love" was certainly adequate, Ashley basically ripped the save from her hands with a shockingly rip-roaring rendition of Grace Potter & the Nocturnals' "Paris (Ooh La La)"—the only performance of the night that really shed light on any of the contestants' unseen potential. What's more, the crowd absolutely loved her—Christina could barely get out the words about she had to "go with [her] instinct and [her] gut" with Ashley amidst all the shouts. Good on you, Ash—rare you actually see a performer improve this much from week-to-week. The raw potential of youth, I suppose.
9. So long, Moses. Yes, the First Rapper of music reality competition is no longer. Kind of a shame—Moses Stone was neither good enough a rapper or good enough a singer to win on either alone, and the only song he found where he was able to integrate the two was on The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" in the Battle Round. His Save Me performance of The Script's "Breakeven" was quite fine, but not nearly enough of a standout to threaten Ashley's powerhouse performance. So Moses joins Naia in the pool of contestants that the coaches just didn't know what to do with, and who suffered thusly. Let's hope Teams Adam and Cee Lo have no such unfortunate casualties.
10. No Dramatic Pauses. I've had some issues with the live rounds thusfar—the overly theatrical stage performances, the inconsistent advising from the coaches, pretty much everything that Carson Daly does—but one thing I really appreciate is that there's no "Who from Team Blake will be saved? We're about to find out....right after this!" or "Moses Stone...is NOT safe for this round!" The contestants perform, the coaches name who advances, and that's it. It's so much less insulting, to both the contestants and the viewers, than the way Idol handles it. How hard is it to not be a dick about this stuff, FOX?