The remaining eight contestants on "The Voice" (Mondays at 8 p.m. ET and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC) took the stage during the semifinals and overall, it was an impressive showing.
It's shocking that we're only a week away from the Season 2 finale, when a winner will be crowned. But for now, Christina Aguilera is the one wearing the tiara. This ensemble really looks like she stole it from a "Toddlers and Tiaras" contestant and don't worry -- you'll get a full look at it (twice).
In order to determine who will
swipe that headpiece out of Christina's weave make it to the final round, the ever relevant host Carson Daly reminds us that America and the coadges have equal say. The coadges have 100 votes to split among their team members as they see fit and then America's votes -- via phone, social network, iTunes, etc. -- factor into the other half. It doesn't really make sense to us either, but on with the show!
Song: "How You Like Me Now" by The Heavy
Tony has almost an impossible task ahead of him: to outdo his " ... Baby One More Time" cover. He understands that it's going to be an upward battle. "After the Britney thing, it's a whole new world," he says. Since this episode is all about looking back, Tony's wife and son talk about the experience and regale his Mr. Momabilities. Now, we're just picturing him in a pink tutu.
But that vision is shaken when Tony takes the stage in a suit with two back-up dancers. His left leg is moving like crazy (or like Jagger, if you will) and he is really working the stage, but it feels off.
Jaimie: "I am not liking angry Tony."
Chelsey: "Nor his dancers. It would be hard for him to top last week no matter what he did though."
Jaimie: "Very true ... unless he was doing 'Oops ... I Did It Again.'"
Chelsey: "Yes. I also don't understand his dancers' moves."
Blake hadn't heard the track, but enjoyed the Robert Palmer-ness of Tony's performance and said it was "bad ass." But Christina apparently still hasn't learned her lesson. After spending a few minutes talking about how she "actually" knows the song and how she "actually" cleared the song for "[her] man" Moses, she throws another verbal punch at Tony: "If this doesn't work out for you, you and Adam can start a Britney [Spears] cover band." But Tony's coadge -- though obviously stunned that she would go there again -- didn't let it get to him. Adam said, "This was this perfect thing at the perfect moment."
Song: "Without You" by David Guetta and Usher
Erin Willett decides to take this dance song and making it a power ballad, and we're excited about it. She looks gorgeous when she takes the stage with her straight hair, but sounds a little shaky at the start of the song, making us nervous. Perhaps it's the emotions. As the song goes on, she steadies herself and sounds amazing, still sounding emotional but more controlled.
Chelsey: "Okay. It's sounding good now."
Jaimie: "I am loving it now."
Chelsey: "But that is one large disco ball."
Jaimie: "Nothing says David Guetta like a disco ball."
At the end of the performance, Erin breaks into tears and it's incredibly heart-wrenching, especially considering what she's been going through over the past few weeks (her father passed away during the battle rounds). Coadge Blake, however, has a huge smile on his face at the end of the performance, like the proud papa bear that he is.
Jaimie: "She's all torn up and Blake's smiley. He doesn't get it."
Chelsey: "Claaaaaassic dad not understanding."
Jaimie: "YOU NEVER GET ME! (door slam)"
The other coadges (other than Adam, who does not receive speaking privileges from Carson) give Erin generally positive feedback, giving her brownie points for the originality of the arrangement. Cee Lo, always insightful and specific, says, "I'm just loving everything tonight!" So constructive. Coadge Blake, however, tells Erin, "I would give anything to have a tenth of the talent you have," but more importantly, "I would give anything to have the strength that you have." Sometimes he really does know just the right thing to say.
Song: "Ave Maria"
Chris Mann and Christina bond over the fact that they're named after Christ and they have an emotional connection to "Ave Maria." (Half truths.) Chris' sister loves Christina as his coach and his mom says, "It's a blessing to watch him" before we get our own sneak peek at the Mann of the minute in his earlier, smaller stage days.
Chelsey: "Chris Mann theater performances. FINALLY."
Jaimie: "THAT FACE. He looks so angry."
Chelsey: "It's called passion, Jaimie."
Chris -- who apparently ran out of hair gel -- gets emotional over the song. "I don't really care if it's cool, I just want to sing the song," he says in the video package before we see him take the stage surrounded by every candle from Pier 1 Imports and wrapped in a man scarf.
Chelsey: "Needs more candles"
Jaimie: "The candles remind me of two things:
1) The fashion show on 'Pretty Little Liars.'
2) Beauty and the Beast because I'm convinced this man should play the Beast"
Chelsey: "3) A memorial for a dead person"
When Chris and his marf approach the coadges, Cee Lo says, "You really are the epitome of this show." Adam says Chris' performance was "classy, simple, beautiful and classic." While a very touchy-feely Christina Aguilera says she "just felt the heavens open up." Then, she adds she was "moved and so humbled by [Chris'] performance" and decides to she steps up on stage to hug him.
Team: Cee Lo
Song: "If You Don't Know Me By Now" by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
We are always excited to see Jamar onscreen for his voice, of course, but also for his fantastic fashion choices. He again does not disappoint on either front.
Chelsey: "He sounds really good. Like REALLY good."
Jaimie: "Amazing. He's just awesome. He could spread love through the world, if America lets him! (HINT HINT AMERICA!)"
Now that he is singing a ballad rather than giving us a high-energy performance like we've generally seen from him in the past, we really hear what an amazing range Jamar has. He manages to sound incredible while still entertaining the crowd.
The other coadges agree, and are especially impressed by his final low note. Lady X-Tina, of course, must show her appreciation of Jamar's talents by singing a few notes herself. You know, in case we forgot that she can sing, too. Coadge Cee Lo is proud and liked seeing the sensitive side of Jamar. He also loves his story and thinks it could be a "bestseller." Jamar is bouncing and smiling excitedly. It's painfully adorable.
Team Adam and Team Cee Lo Group Performance
Song: "All These Things That I've Done" by The Killers
It was odd to us to pick a song that seemed like it was a tribute to The Killers, whose bassist committed suicide this weekend, and not mention it? Nonetheless, Juliet, Katrina and Jamar sound pretty amazing as they remind us that they've got soul, but aren't soldiers. However, it's pretty noticeable that Tony doesn't have the same power behind his vocals.
Song: "Open Arms" by Journey
Jer takes on this Journey power ballad rather than going with another R&B song, but this choice still seems right up his alley. Even though he sounds great as always, we have trouble getting excited by his performance (and it seems like his daughter does too -- she looked bored out of her mind during the video package).
Chelsey: "I'm bored by him."
Jaimie: "Agree. I do not get it. Also, his chest is the shiniest thing in the world."
Chelsey: "Lots of baby oil."
The coadges, however, are incredibly impressed by J. Paul. Adam tells him that he is a back-up singer no more! L8R ALICIA KEYS! Cee Lo tells Jer that he is "constantly impressed" by him. Christina says that she wishes he were on her team (of course). Coadge Blake tells Jermaine that after this performance, he is the one to beat. Ut oh ... Is dad picking favorites!?
Song: "Killing Me Softly" by The Fugees
Adam saved the cherubic mold survivor/cubicle worker twice and Katrina Parker is grateful. While rehearsing "Killing Me Softly," Adam tells her, "Lauryn Hill is my favorite and she would be proud of you." She says she's loved singing since an early age and never gave up on it. In her photo flashback, we see that Katrina shockingly ... is not a natural blonde.
Chelsey: "SHE'S NOT NATCH??? :("
Jaimie: "soul crushing"
Her mom is quite the ball of emotions, telling the camera that Katrina once said, "Music to me is like breathing ... if I can't sing, I won't be able to breathe." So the fact that she's doing it, makes her mom quite proud: "Wow. That's our daughter. Pretty cool, huh?"
Pretty precious for sure. Motherly tears and brunette revelation aside, Katrina looks gorgeous on stage and sounds just as good when she starts singing The Fugees hit, which was originally recorded by Roberta Flack.
Jaimie: "She sounds amazing"
Chelsey: "I just love her"
Jaimie: "Me too. But I'm not emotionally connected to her in the way that I am with Jamar or Erin. But her voice, I could listen to it forever."
Chelsey: "Really? I think I'm equally in love with those three."
Jaimie: "The mold story didn't get me in the same way. Maybe it's just me."
Chelsey: "Okay, well she's not as inspiring as the other two alright?"
Jaimie: "I mean, to each her own, sister. Mold. AIDS. Dead father. Mold/cubicle. I see the evenness."
All Blake can say afterwards is "Dammit" and Christina admits, " I've truly fallen in love with you." Adam says he's "beyond happy" and we just want to pinch Katrina's increasingly red cheeks.
Blake Shelton Performance of "Over"
Blake sings his new single with no frills, because we all know how much Blake hates the theatrics. Nonetheless, we remember how much we love hearing Blake sing ... and we wonder, "Why does his face look so big?"
Song: "Skinny Love" by Bon Iver
Okay, Lindsey Pavao. We get it. You're a hipster. You didn't have to choose a Bon Iver song to prove it to us. She's excited though, because she gets to play guitar!
Jaimie: "Ugh, Bon Iver."
Jaimie: "She's like the 'Girls' of this competition. Everyone was totally on board, then, the backlash."
As the performance begins, Lindsey is totally in her element, playing guitar and surrounded by a crowd eager listeners.
Jaimie: "Did she steal that ensemble from 'DWTS?' Also, there are prop hippie chillins on the stage."
Chelsey: "Essential. Yaaaaawn."
We have to admit, we think Lindsey definitely sounds good compared to her last few performances, and she's clearly more confident.
Jaimie: "To her credit, this is better than she's been sounding. And she shaved her sidehair back."
Chelsey: "Thank god. That spikey situation was brutal."
Jaimie: "Things are looking up for Lindsey."
Now, it's time to hear what the coadges think. Cee Lo makes an unfortunate joke about being more into "big love" than "Skinny Love." Again, constructive. Adam marvels about how incredible these Top 8 contestants are. Blake commends Christina for allowing both of her team members to sing the types of songs they started with. Coadge X-Tina rambles about how proud she is, and then of course, must get up on stage to hug Lindsey. Probably just another excuse for Christina to get on stage.
Team Christina and Team Blake
Song: "Edge of Glory" by Lady Gaga
Jermaine kicks us off in a denim cut-off vest for the Gags and Erin follows suit in a fringed jean jacket. Soon, it's clear that the fabric is the common thread for the performance and that's pretty much about all these four performers -- Jermain, Erin, Lindsey and Chris -- have in common.
Jaimie: "Do you get it? The thread is denim. That's how we know they're a group"
Chelsey: "If it were Jamar, it would be fine ... OHHH okay"
Jaimie: "Chris Mann, what song are you singing?"
Chelsey: "NOT this one, though I do think that denim suits him"
But outdated ensembles do not a cohesive performance make. It seriously sounds like Chris never heard "Edge of Glory" before. And considering the man sang "Ave Maria," 'tis possible. But it's Lindsey and Jermaine holding hands on the Stairway to Nowhere that really make this situation bizarre. Sidenote: Considering Erin and Chris "Huh? Where Did That Personality Come From?" Mann were doing '80s prom photo bombing in the Sprint Lounge, disappointed they didn't do more intentionally awkward poses on their Stairway to Nowhere.
Team: Cee Lo
Song: "It's a Man's Man's World" by James Brown
Juliet, recent pointy-shoulder enthusiast, tells viewers that she has been trying to make it since she was a teenager, and that this is her last shot. She really makes us believe it too, as she completely falls apart during a rehearsal confessional.
Jaimie: "Oh Jules. Get it together. Her hair looks a mess."
Chelsey: "Rasp + tears = can't comprehend."
Though Juliet appears to be shaking at the start of her performance, she seems to connect with the song incredibly, and she sounds amazing. She sounds gritty and powerful, and definitely captures the crowd with her performance. Coadge Cee Lo gives Juliet a standing O, and she receives nothing but rave reviews from the other coadges as well.
Adam calls her performance "unbelievable" and says that she is the one to beat. Poor Katrina and Tony. Christina, of course, talks about the time she sang this song at the Grammys. Because she's a singer too, you guys!
Jaimie: "Ugh, Christina. You are the worst."
Chelsey: "Christina. STOP TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF. STOP. She is literally Tyra."
Jaimie: "Oh god, that's horrifying. Watch out, Carson. She's gonna fire you."
Coadge Cee Lo is simply overjoyed with Juliet's performance, saying that she "murdered" the song. Will this performance be the one to finally give Juliet an edge over Jamar? We will have to wait and see!