Reality shows should get more dramatic as they approach the finish, not less. And yet, here we are in the penultimate week of “The Voice”. I’m not sure this is entirely the show’s fault. I think we could look back and see certain decisions that ultimately affected the final month of this season. (I still miss De’Borah and think she might still be around were it not for Christina Aguilera’s crazy decision during the Live Playoffs to save Adriana Louise instead.) But given the Final Four as presently constituted, and given the song selections this week, and given the chart placements of those songs overnight, it’s almost unfathomable that Trevin Hunte will make it past tonight.
CeeLo Green called Trevin “that dude” during the Blind Auditions, identifying him as a possible contender to win the entire thing. And even though it looks like he’ll come up short, the future seems fairly bright for him. With the exception of one or two numbers (“Vision Of Love”, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”), we never saw Hunte’s true potential realized, but rather blinding promise on display on a weekly basis. Part of that has to do with his age, part of it has to do with his experience, and part of that has to do with Green’s tutelage. But no matter. Even if Hunte has the strongest pure voice left in the competition, I’m not remotely convinced that will be enough tonight.
But hey, what do I know? I’m just your merry ol’ recapper. Let’s go through tonight’s results show and see how much crow I potentially eat. As I did last night, I’ll be liveblogging throughout, so be sure to chime in down in the comments throughout the show.
8:00 p.m. I can’t wait to find out what new and exciting ways that Carson Daly will discover to emotionally confuse the four remaining contestants tonight.
8:01 p.m. Looks like we’ll get a lot of Season Two contestants returning tonight. Because we have to fill an hour of programming somehow.
8:02 p.m. “It could be anyone in the Top Three next week,” lies Aguilera during the montage recapping last night’s performances.
8:03 p.m. “iTunes is only one of five voting methods,” sternly notes Daly. That’s all well and fine, except the show’s overemphasis on iTunes voting (and the huge advantage being in the Top 10) had rendered the other methods almost null and void at this point.
8:05 p.m. What did American learn about Team CeeLo last night? According to Green, it was the courage of Hunte and Nicholas David for being so vulnerable last night. Also? That David finally got introduced to hair conditioner.
8:06 p.m. Aguilera emphasizes how involved all four coaches have been all season with their teammates. She specifically praises the Green/David and Blake Shelton/Cassadee Pope pairings as standouts this season. Aguilera is right on the money with that assessment. (I think Green/Cody Belew was probably the purest all season, but that’s just splitting hairs at this point.)
8:08 p.m. Team Blake pairs up for the first time this season. (Really? Huh?) Pope and Terry McDermott take on the Of Monsters and Men track “Little Talks”. Strangely, the staging splits them apart, which works against the chemistry we’ve seen between them during some of the group numbers this season. For the second week, Pope gets a duet that works well for her range and skill set, while her partner struggles somewhat. McDermott’s fine, but the male vocal in this song is too low for him to truly strut his stuff. One thing that’s been clear this year: the results show performances are cobbled together very quickly, and tend to work better when staged in an intimate manner. Duets like this feel haphazard and slightly sloppy.
8:15 p.m. Season Two runner-up Juliet Simms takes the stage to perform “Wild Child”. She’s got back-up dancers in cages! She’s got fire! What she doesn’t really have is a good song, unfortunately. I like the vibe of the proceedings, but this mix of Pink and Evanescence never quite coalesces. Afterwards, Carson Daly tries to interview her, which is always a good idea when someone is out of breath.
8:18 p.m. In a preproduced segment, Daly interviews the final four contestants. Hearing about the first time they realized they wanted to sing is great, but also helps emphasize how little we really know about these four, even at this late stage of the show. Over on FOX, “The X Factor” goes a little overboard for my tastes in selling the personalities of those involved (both contestants and coaches). But there has to be a happy medium between the way that show does it and “The Voice” does it. Each of these four seem to have compelling stories. I want to hear those as much as their vocals.
8:22 p.m. It’s time to find out the first finalist! I’m going to go bake a cake, and by the time I’m done, I’ll wager Daly will be ready to announce the name.
8:23 p.m. Our first finalist is Terry McDermott. I’m not sure why the show didn’t announce Pope first and maintain at least a hint of mystery about the eventual outcome. But that’s fine all the same.
8:28 p.m. Continuing the reunion tour, Season Two’s RaeLynn graces the stage to perform “Boyfriend”. And she’s on the back of a pickup truck, because that’s not a stereotypical image denoting country music or anything. Sigh. RaeLynn’s vocal is too twangy by half, but I’m guessing that’s going to be part of the appeal for anyone who would buy this single. (Spoiler alert: I probably won’t.)
8:29 p.m. I realize all this sounds catty, but I think I’m preemptively sick about the idea of Trevin Hunte leaving the show. Also, this is a terrible song. So both are working against RaeLynn right now.
8:31 p.m. RaeLynn is totally and completely winning during her 15-second interview with Daly afterwards. The problem here was the song, not her. That much is for certain.
8:37 p.m. Oh fun, it’s “Voice Confessional” time! This week’s theme: “Who would you bring from the show to a desert island?” Among other banal tidbits and half-hearted humor, Trevin Hunte casually mentions that Nicholas David once at a tree. Wait, WHAT? That sounds like a reality show I need to see.
8:38 p.m. Let’s take a trip down Nostalgia Lane once again, with Chris Mann performing “Roads”. I worry about what would happen if this guy used his good looks and strong voice for evil. He might be a cult leader before the next presidential election. If that fails, there’s always a career as Zachary Levi’s stunt double.
8:41 p.m. With that over, it’s time for the second finalist to be announced. We catch a quick glimpse of David’s daughter, who is wearing huge headphones to muffle the undoubtedly deafening sound in the theatre. That’s adorable.
8:42 p.m. The second finalist is Cassadee Pope. Knock me over with a feather. Oh wait, she’s probably the prohibitive favorite at this point, unless she’s kidnapped between now and next Monday.
8:43 p.m. Poor Hunte and David have to perform after the commercial break, knowing with certainty that one of them will be going home immediately after. Youch.
8:49 p.m. OK, as promised/threatened, Hunte and David join forces to perform Mariah Carey’s “Hero”. If Hunte had performed this last night, maybe he wouldn’t be going home. This song is a worse fit for David than “Little Talks” was for McDermott. He stays within key, but it’s a key so far removed from the original arrangement that it’s slightly jarring. I’m not sure why it was hard to find a song to compliment each team member, but hey, I’m just a lowly recapper.
8:55 p.m. OK, moment of truth here. After some warm words from the coaches, assuring both that failure here can still lead to success later, we learn that the last finalist is Nicholas David.
8:59 p.m. Poor Trevin. Sigh. I hate it when I’m right sometimes. But I think there's still a bright future ahead of him, far beyond just returning a year from now to perform on his old stage.
Did the right person go home? Who is the favorite at this point: Terry, Cassadee, or Nicholas? Sound off below!