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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Voice: “Live Quarterfinal Eliminations, Week 1”

Illustration for article titled The Voice: “Live Quarterfinal Eliminations, Week 1”
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Tonight the decibel level in the Voiceatorium rose by a few points as the show was taken over by a bunch of singing, dancing teen heartthrobs and the screaming young women who love them, all of whom are threatened to be overshadowed by the crushing apathy of Carson Daly. It’s a big night indeed, but the real question on everyone’s mind is: Can you make it all fit in an hour, Carson?

Starting off the show are The Wanted, who are like an older, more dangerous One Direction, who are like a more British, plural Justin Bieber. The group sang a song it also sang on American Idol a couple weeks ago, which happens to be the only song I know The Wanted. It’s fun and thumping and rave-like, but my brain doesn’t know how to process the group. I wish its members would just hold guitars, even if they don’t play them, so I wouldn’t have to think so hard about how these five grown men were brought together by their shared interest in AutoTune and handsomeness.

We then chat with the judges, and shed a tad more light on the Controversial! elimination of Jesse Campbell last night. Carson asks Christina how she’s handling the Controversy!, to which she replies: “I am so glad you talked about Controversy, Carson. Let’s talk about Controversy, for a second, shall we? Because I, Christina Aguilera, am no stranger to Controversy. I put transsexuals in a music video one time—and did I do it for them? Heavens no, I did it for the Controversy. Same with Jesse. He had to go home because, let’s face it, this is about me, Christina Aguilera, and I needed to prove to America how Controversial I am. And it worked, ’cause Christina Milian told me y’all won’t shut up about me.” Christina also went on to say that Jesse had been the one artist on her team to show the least growth, which, oh boy… there’s a punchline to that coming up.

Onto the results, which can more or less be summed up as “Damn Voice, who you think you are with your blatant male favoritism, American Idol?” Jermaine and Chris, The last remaining men on both teams, were saved, making it an all-girl-last-chance-singalong. Christina’s girls are up first, starting with Ashley De La Rosa singing “You And I.” Adam was right in that it wasn’t her best performance—a little too breathy in parts, with a rock rearrangement that came off as a little disjointed, but Ashley has undeniably shown huge strides as a performer in the last few weeks. Lindsey Pavao then sings “Please Don’t Go,” and while it’s definitely more honest and relaxed than her Katy Perrying last night, it still feels like she’s coming up short. When she breaks down at the end it seems out of nowhere, if only because I’m never quite sure Lindsey is actually feeling anything when she sings.

But before we can find out who Christina saves, grab your earplugs—it’s Bieber Time! And of course, the “surprise” that had been hinted at was that Justin Bieber was actually in the audience—I wonder why they bothered teasing that out, as if we were going to leave the presentation of the “Boyfriend” video premiere to his #1 fan Carson Daly. Needless to say the house goes absolutely bonkers when he enters; they don’t even care when he breaks the news that this is in fact a mere première of a clip of a music video. After said clip, which features icicles, silhouettes, and lots of wandering ladyhands, Justin engages in a bit of banter with Adam about a collaboration that apparently never worked out due to someone named Kenny dropping the ball, and Carson is like “Haha, I know right, Kenny is the worst, LOL, oh my God you guys, you aren’t hanging out without me, are you?”

Bieber leaves the building, taking about half of tonight’s viewership with him, and it’s time to see who Christina is saving. And because Christina values growth and evolution in her artists, enough to eliminate her most talented vocalist last night, she chooses… Lindsey, of course! Told you there was a punchline.


As soon as Carson physically shoves Ashley off the stage, it’s time for another Blake Shelton Field Trip, this time to a special, slapdash acoustic show in Hollywood where Blake encourages his team to “steal his fans” from him. Mostly I’m just impressed that all of Team Blake plays guitars, and that Blake Shelton’s fans were as polite as they were as they sat through a heavy does of RaeLynn Unplugged.

Now that we’re freshly emotionally invested, Erin takes the stage to sing “Proud Mary,” which starts jazzy and goes rock ’n’ roll halfway through. Like last night, it feels like pretty boring, average fare for her, and I’d really like to see her step it up musically, since I like her voice and personality pretty well. RaeLynn then sings “If I Die Young,” and my heart sinks—it’s hard for me to know what goes on in Blake’s mind, but I’m pretty sure just about any rendition of that song she could turn out would be a bullseye with him. She’s country, dangit! Of course it’s perfectly dreadful, enough for even Adam to call out her “inflections.” (Side note: Why are the judges are so afraid to talk about how weird all these people sing?)


Blake admits he has no idea who he wants to pick when Carson asks him for his save, and with two minutes on the clock, you can just see the host break out into a cold sweat. “I need a name. I need a name, Blake,” The end credits start rolling, and it looks like Carson’s chances of finishing on time are slim to none, when Blake finally chooses Erin. RaeLynn breaks into tears, Carson shoves her off stage before she gets her parting words, and Fashion Star starts at 10 on the dot. I know it all went quickly, but here are the important parts: RaeLynn lost The Voice tonight, and, in his own mind, at least, Carson Daly won.