The Voice: The Battles: Week 2: Electric Boogaloo

It’s Wednesday, which can only mean one thing: the slow, steady march of time continues, bringing us all one day closer to the grave. Oh, and I’m a day late finishing this recap of The Voice!

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Round 1: Geoff vs. Sera

I defended Jeff and his sunglasses to my husband for this entire segment, insisting it was due to a medical condition. Then he changed into regular glasses for the actual concert. Boy, did I feel foolish. THANKS, JEFF.

Christina picks Geoff and Sera and assigns them “Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin. Geoff proves immediately during rehearsals that he can sing very loudly, which everyone is really impressed by but sounds to me like one of those fake compliments you give when you don’t know any nice thing to say. “Wow, you sing really loud” is right up there with, “The lines in your painting are very straight” or “I liked your short story. You used a lot of big words!”

Geoff is assigned Lionel Richie, who tells him that he has the voice, and now he just needs the swagger and the head movements. And at exactly this moment…

"He's got to give us the character."

…my husband and I simultaneously asked, “Wait, is Lionel Richie gay?” It’s called soul mates, people. And you probably thought they only existed in Twilight.

Meanwhile, Sera practices with her mentor, Jewel. Is Jewel pregnant? Because if so, she looks fantastic. And if not, she looks terrible.

"My poetry book didn't sell like I was hoping, so I was forced to fashion this dress from the curtains of that van I used to live in."

Cut to the battle, and the obligatory, “This means so much to me” backstage sequence. During her voice over, Sera explains that if she loses this it will mean going back to checking people in at the front desk. Now, far be it for me to criticize the attainability of another person’s dreams. I have, for the longest time, wanted to be a screenwriter – which, judging by movies like A Thousand Words and Jack and Jill, they don’t even have anymore. So I’m not going to criticize Sera for working at a hotel and dreaming about being a singer. I will, however, criticize her for acting as though the only way to achieve this goal is to win an arbitrary, confusing reality show. That’s just a bad plan all around.

When the battle begins, they’re both really good singers, so the decision will be pretty much a coin flip – another reason why this show is so random and Sera should not hang all her hopes and dreams on Christina’s stupid hat collection. I, like I suspect many people, am distracted by the actual battle by the show-within-a-show called “Will Christina’s Shirt Contain Her Right Boob?”

The whole world is watching.

It’s a tough call for Christina, and not made any easier by Carson desperately trying to remind everyone that he exists by interrupting her to say, “It doesn’t sound easy.” God, Carson, we get it. You’re here. Anyway, the winner is Sera. Never mind what I said about not banking on reality shows. Your plan is flawless and you will never get your comeuppance.

Round 2: Charlotte vs. Lex

The first part of the battle is to see who can look the most pleased to be chosen and the least like they're pooping a little. They both lose.

Blake chooses his two “artistic” singers to sing “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People. An interesting choice, considering it’s a great song but not one with really prominent vocals and oh yeah, also because it’s about a school shooting. Watching two not traditionally attractive women try to be super sexy while singing about a massacre will go down as one of the more uncomfortable moments on this show…that is until seven minutes later when other people break out the Nirvana.

Anyway, Charlotte makes Lex immediately uncomfortable by talking about her boobs and being just generally outgoing. Charlotte is bizarrely shy for someone on a reality show who wants to be a singer, but Lex also seems really annoying so maybe Charlotte just hates her and is trying not to show it. Her inability to vocalize these feelings, though, means she is not long for the reality TV world. Producers are not interested in a tactful person who can control her emotions. They want Lex, with her sassy attitude and her disintegrated jaw.

It’s on to the battle. Both singers are introduced, with the customary shot of their family and friends:

Charlotte Sometimes' boyfriend looks like the uptight, douche boyfriend in every '80s movie.

Charlotte does pretty well throughout, while Lex hits some notes that could be intentional or could be a mistake, but either way they sound alarming. Charlotte wins. Charlotte’s boyfriend is really happy about that, but that’s only because he doesn’t know he’s going to get dumped for John Cusack later in this movie.

Round 3: Sarah vs. Juliet

Cee Lo chooses them to sing “Stay with Me” by Rod Stewart, which is great for Juliet who says that she’s been called “a female Rod Stewart.” I wonder what the context of that statement was. Do you say that to someone as a compliment?

Once they start rehearsing, it does seem like Juliet has a natural edge. I don’t get how they pick the songs and the performers, since they’re clearly not concerned about making sure everyone has a fair shot. But, as always happens, just when I’m all wrapped up in how this show doesn’t make sense, Cee Lo shows up at a rehearsal in what is almost certainly pajamas, and I’m reeled right back in.

Nothing says "professional human being hard at work" like satin pajamas.

Nothing interesting happens in the rehearsal, so let’s jump ahead to the battle round, to which Juliet wears…clothes?

Sure, let's say clothes.

We get a glimpse of Juliet’s boyfriend, who looks like he’s been struggling for work ever since he starred in The Craft

And whose name I certainly hope is Andy.

Because otherwise this is probably awkward.

Tattoos or not, Juliet is the rather predictable winner. Moving on.

Round 4: Whitney vs. Kim

Adam chooses Whitney and Kim to go up against each other. The pairing makes sense to Whitney, who describes both her and Kim as “powerhouse singers.” Although, she points out, “her house is bigger than my house.” BURN. Or maybe she just meant that Kim had a bigger voice. I don’t understand singing metaphors.

They’re going to sing “No More Drama” by Mary J. Blige. Whitney’s nervous because Kim has so much more experience than her, but her mentor, Alanis Morissette, isn’t worried.

No matter how much success they experience, Canadians can never shake their inner dorkiness.

Kim finds out that her mentor is Robin Thicke and freaks out, even calling him “Thicky, Thicky, Thicky,” which makes me think that she doesn’t know who he is either and is overcompensating. Something tells me Robin Thicke does not prefer for his closest friends and family to call him “Thicky,” so I doubt that was a nickname born of insider’s knowledge.

In the battle round, Kim kind of blows Whitney out of the water, which was expected. I feel bad for Whitney, who could have picked any team to be on but chose Adam because he said, “I think you could win this whole thing,” and then immediately put her against someone who would definitely beat her. Pretty big dick move, and now I don’t feel bad for calling him Adam Lambert in last week’s post. So Kim wins, and 2012 continues to be an absolute shit show for people named Whitney. We just can’t catch a break.

Round 5: Lee vs. Lindsey

"Oh great, I'm against harmonica guy."

Christina picks them to sing “Heart-Shaped Box.” Lee admits that he hasn’t heard the song in ten years or so, which seems perfectly normal to me but Lindsey acts like anyone who doesn’t listen to Nirvana’s total body of work at least once a week is weird. Calm down, Lindsey, some of us had to hang up our flannel and get jobs.

The battle round begins and the whole performance walks that line between beautiful and weird. Kurt Cobain probably did a half spin in his grave, but honestly, with the number of times “Smells Like Teen Spirit” has been butchered, this might have just put him right-side up again.

Adam Levine calls the performance “delightfully creepy,” which sums it up well. It’s haunting and bizarre, and sounds like a song that a film student would use in their zombie apocalypse movie to play over a slow, blue-tinted montage of zombies eating their families. (Sorry, I was home sick on Monday and spent basically the whole day watching Walking Dead on Netflix and having fever dreams. I’ve got zombie apocalypse on the brain.) The effect is probably not helped by the fact that they make them sing it in the dark.

"Are we still being judged on our voices alone? Because I worked really hard on my hair for this." - Lee

In the end, Lindsey wins. It’s too bad, but Lee was really at a disadvantage with any song that lacked a harmonica.

Round 6: Jamar vs. Jamie

A powerful story of redemption and coming back from the brink vs. a nice sandwich maker from Chicago. Sorry, Jamie, this does not look good for you.

Cee Lo picks these two guys to go up against each other and sing “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner, which is basically his way of immediately eliminating Jamie. Jamie’s voice cracks throughout every rehearsal. Plus, Jamar says that if he wins this, it will be “a victory for everyone who’s ever overcome anything.” Hard not to root for him now, considering that pretty much covers every human being ever, and that’s a lot of people to root against.

As predicted, they sing and Jamie never had a fair shake. I think Cee Lo’s strategy for this season is to decide who he wants to keep and then assign songs that are perfect for them – and terrible for the person he puts them against. It does make his final selection a lot easier, meaning he never even has to change out of his PJs to come to work. Not a bad plan.

In the end, Jamar wins, which everyone can feel pretty good about since he did really well and is also a recovering drug addict with HIV. Plus, if you’ve ever overcome anything, it’s like you won last night as well. So we all won!

Oh. Except Jamie.

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One Response to The Voice: The Battles: Week 2: Electric Boogaloo

  1. Loved the recap. And love that Jamar!

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