The battle rounds continue, and I can only hope there are some smarter decisions this week than last week. Not that all of the decisions were easy, mind you. I'm still wishing other judges could snap up whoever gets eliminated. Sort of like Go Fish, but with a much better payoff.
Anyway, first up it's Team Christina. The next battle will be… Geoff McBride and Sera Hill. They'll be singing "Chain of Fools." Christina is excited to see the battle of the power singers. This isn't an easy call -- Christina thinks they're a great match! Um, Christina, you only get to pick one of them. I have to say, from a commercial point of view, Sera would look good on an album cover. Geoff will be working with Lionel Richie, who seems completely stunned by Geoff's volume. Christina wants him to work on his swagger, and Lionel wants him to lose his glasses. Jewel works with Sera. Christina thinks Sera's runs are crispy and precise. Jewel tells Sera to bring emotion. Geoff seems to be very hung up on being 51. But Sera doesn't want to have to greet people at a front desk anymore, so she has drive of her own.
And the clear winner should be... I have no idea, really. They both bring it, have amazing voices and, while Geoff seems more comfortable on stage, Sera is probably a more appealing sell to a record label.
Cee-Lo would have picked Geoff, because he had more vocal control. Blake thinks he'd go with the singer who turns him on the most. Adam interrupts and picks Geoff. Blake goes with Sera. I think everyone wanted you to avoid admitting that, Blake. Christina thinks they're both great. She loves them both. She loves the growth they've shown. But the winner is… a commercial break!
Okay, the winner is… Sera. Aw, man. I mean, no matter who got sent home in this battle, it was going to be hard.
Cee-Lo declares that Geoff was the more soulful singer. But I get it, as Sera is younger (and thus there's the potential for a longer career).
Blake's next. Charlotte Sometimes and Lex Land will be singing "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People. Blake thinks Lex is too shy, and he wants to see if she can stand up to someone as boisterous as Charlotte. Kelly Clarkson advises Charlotte and just seems hugely impressed. Miranda Lambert tells Lex there's a mystery to her, and she's confident she'll turn it on when it counts. I think Lex may just be out of her depth in this battle, as the song doesn't seem to lend itself to quiet and introspective.
Lex is on her way to the show in a Kia. And she can check her voice mail in the Kia. Wow, this isn't really painfully awkward product placement!
Charlotte wants to beat Lex. She wants Lex to lose. Suddenly, I don't really like Charlotte very much, honestly.
And yet... Charlotte does turn in the stronger performance. Lex is off-key at the beginning of the song and doesn't really seem to get into the swing of it until halfway through. Charlotte, however, is entirely confident from the get-go.
Christina won't pick a favorite. Cee-Lo picks Charlotte. Adam thought Lex opened up throughout the song. Blake notes that Lex had a pitchy moment and picks Charlotte.
Cee-Lo's turn. He chooses Sarah Golden and Juliet Simms to perform Rod Stewart's "Stay with Me." Sarah works with Babyface. Sarah yodels, and he digs it. She's so excited to be herself! I admire Sarah's insistence on being herself (which she says about every ten seconds), but yodeling? Juliet works with Ne-Yo. Ne-Yo warns her to keep her belting for later in the song.
I actually like Sarah's voice more, but sorry, she looks like the slightly skinnier version of Jonah Hill. I know it's really important for her to be herself, but there's a visual component to music these days. If she insists on just being herself, she has to accept that she's also limiting herself to a niche. Is it fair? No, but it's true.
Adam thought they were both great singers. But he picks Juliet. Blake thought Sarah can do anything she wants to. Christina thinks it was a no-brainer that Juliet won. Cee-Lo thinks Sarah showcased her range. He'd like to keep them both, but if he has to choose... Juliet.
On to Adam. He chooses Whitney Myer and Kim Yarbrough to perform "No More Drama" by Mary J Blige. Kim will be working with Alanis Morissette. Yet again, two strong singers -- but one who's much older (Kim). Alanis tells Whitney to emphasize some words instead of cutting them off, and suggests she be present. Whitney seems freaked out about going up against Kim. Kim works with Robin Thicke. He wants some tension from her showing she's scared of the future (lyrically, not in real life). Whitney would really like to win, but I think Kim really needs to win.
And... it's almost a shame to compare them to one another. Which one you like better really comes down to personal preference, as they both have incredible voices and solid stage presences. The song is probably a little better suited to Kim, just because of the subject matter, but dammit, Adam, why'd you put them up against one another?
Blake thought the whole thing was awesome and felt like he was watching a diva concert. He can't choose. Christina doesn't pick, either. Cee-Lo thought it was Kim's song, as it's about seniority. Adam doesn't know what he's going to do. But the winner is... Kim. Whoa. I'm actually surprised, if only because he told Whitney that she could win the whole shebang based on her blind audition. I bet right about now she's wishing she'd picked one of the other judges as her mentor, since she had pick of the litter.
Christina chooses Lee Koch and Lindsey Pavajo to perform "Heart Shaped Box" by Nirvana. I am not even sure I want to hear this. The Bob Dylan wanna-be singing Kurt Cobain? Lee doesn't know the song that well. Shocker. Lindsay loves Nirvana. So, half of the performance might be okay.
Lee is working with Jewel. I don't think Christina or Jewel are impressed with him at all, as Jewel has an expression on her face that suggests he might smell bad, though you know that's just a reaction to his singing. Jewel tells him he needs to pronounce the words and find meaning in them. Lindsey works with Lionel Richie. Lionel tells her she needs to express herself and stop being so shy.
I will say -- weird song choice for a singing contest, although I do love the song. Lee does surprise me when, toward the end of the song, he adds some heart (no pun intended) and emotion to his performance. I think Lindsey has it, though.
Cee-Lo thought Lee looked like Jesus a few times. So, he goes with Lee. Adam thought it was delightfully creepy. He picks Lee. Blake doesn't know the song, but he would have picked Lindsey. Christina is a fan of them both. She liked that Lee put some soul into it. But she liked what Lindsey did with her falsetto. The winner is... Lindsey.
Cee-Lo picks Jamar Rogers and sandwich maker Jamie Lono to perform "I Wanna Know What Love Is" by Foreigner. Jamie seems nervous during rehearsal and his voice cracks. He'll be working with Babyface. And yet again, his voice cracks. Cee-Lo tries to reassure Jamie that he's talented and he just needs to relax. Babyface says the same thing. Jamie is already in trouble and we've just started.
Jamar works with Ne-Yo, who wants him to find the emotion in the song. It seems like that should not be a problem for Jamar, as he's had a rough past, what with overcoming crystal meth addiction and dealing with his HIV status.
On stage, Jamar seems more comfortable than Jamie, and he does seem more connected to the song in a lot of ways. Once the song really ramps up, though, Jamar leaves Jamie in the dust. Jamie was good, but Jamar was simply better.
Adam thought Jamie lost his handle when the song turned into a power battle and gives the win to Jamar. Blake loves Jamar's vibe. Christina thinks Jamie has a beautiful tone, but thought the song wasn't right for him. Her pick is Jamar. Cee-Lo felt that Jamie wasn't confident, and admires Jamar's power and confidence. So the winner is... Jamar.
Jamar cries, and so does Jamie. Jamie wonders if his purpose was to let Jamar move through, because Jamar is such an awesome person. Oh, poor Jamie. But even if his voice hadn't cracked, I don't think he could have beaten Jamar.
Next week, a sneak peek of "Snow White and the Huntsman." And, you know, singing.
What do you think of the teams shaping up thus far? Were you surprised by any of the eliminations? And which judge are you rooting for?