TEAM ADAM: TONY LUCCA
Call Christina what you want, but tonight, Adam Levine was the resident mean girl. Even explaining the context behind his song choice for Tony Lucca makes me feel like one of his gossip-girl henchmen. (I'll try to keep it short: Tony Lucca used to be on the Mickey Mouse Club with Christina and Justin Timberlake. Timberlake has publicly supported Tony. Christina thinks this gives Tony an unfair advantage. So Adam got back at Christina by making Tony sing a song by fellow MMC alum and longtime Christina rival Britney Spears. Yeah, I know. Hollywood really is high school with money.)
Asking Tony to cover "Baby One More Time" might've been very funny, if Tony had been in on the joke. ("At first, Tony didn't want to do it at all," Adam later admitted.) Instead, it was obvious that Adam used Tony to make a point. Besides, the idea of playing an ultra-serious version of this totally ridiculous song isn't exactly original: just look at all the dry English folk legends and Finnish heavy metal bands who've done it before.
What really foiled Adam's plan was that Christina actually enjoyed the Britney cover. "Let's get Britney Spears out here on stage and we'll have a real Mickey Mouse Club reunion," she quipped. And, to be honest, that wouldn't be a bad idea for Tony, who hadn't exactly wowed anyone this season with his whole John Mayer 3000 thing. I'd vote to KEEP HIM FOR NOW, but only because Adam has such a weak team overall. Maybe this whole prank wasn't a bad joke. But good jokes don't always make good songs.
TEAM CEE LO: CHEESA
Her name always makes me hungry. And that was especially true tonight, when she bellowed Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing" with all the cheese she could muster, showing us why my colleague Marc Snetiker calls her "Pepperjack." Or maybe it was just the way she sang, "Stay in my arms, if-a you dare!" like one of Super Mario's pizza-tossing brothers.
And yet, Cheesa was pretty good tonight! She didn't always hit all the high notes, but she sang like a real tough broad, with a voice that could knock you down and pull out your hair extensions with the sheer force of its volume.
Claiming that "Whitney Houston's my fairy godmother" (hmmm, wonder where he got that idea?), Cee Lo called Cheesa "this generation's power vocalist." That might be overstating things, but she's obviously talented. Plus, she gets bonus points for inspiring Cee Lo's best commentary of the night. "I'm ready for our [power] vocalists to be women, and this is a grown woman's song, not this Autotune, Tinkerbelle kinda thing. I'm talking about from the gut. Grown woman, childbearing strength! You know what I'm sayin'?"
We know what you're sayin', Uncle Lo. KEEP HER.
TEAM ADAM: PIP
Watching Pip perform without his trademark bow tie was like seeing a unicorn head into battle without its horn. You always ask yourself: Where does this creature get his superpowers? No wonder his version of Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know" felt a bit sad and weak and frightened, especially after Adam told him, "It's the Wild West out there." (Suddenly, I was worried that renowned gunslinger Blake Shelton already had his rifle pointed at Pip.)
The opening piano part was cool, but the second Pip stepped away from the keys to walk around stage, you could almost hear his tiny, nervous-parakeet heart thumpity-thumpity-thumping away into the microphone. Poor little guy.
Even Blake blamed Pip's failure to ace that falsetto on his lack of appropriate formal wear. "Where in the hell is the bow tie, man?" he asked. "That's like me without alcohol!"
Sadly, PIP WAS ELIMINATED. But at least Pip got to take part in that "Instant Karma" performance with his coach before he left. And Blake had another cute, fuzzy-headed mammal to take aim at this season. That's good news for all those woodland creatures who aren't named Pip.
TEAM CEE LO: JULIET SIMMS
Can anyone argue that she's not one of the best singers in this competition? Even taking on a track like Aerosmith's "Cryin,'" she was able to convince Cee Lo that she had "a voice like a great guitar solo."And when she sang it live on stage, that guitar solo had giant feathers tied to its back. Because every time someone sings an Aerosmith song, a young rocker girl gets her wings.
I loved hearing Juliet wail like she was going to lose her voice any second. She always uses her real voice (unlike Mathai), and that voice can get so raw, it conjures up visions of dead mallard carcasses. At least, that's what it did tonight for Blake, when the performance peaked with feathers falling from the sky. "It brought back good memories from this fall of duck season," he said, smiling. "It was really good!"
Christina agreed. "You are fabulous," she told Juliet. "Each week, you don't care, it's almost like you black out when you're on stage." And that's.... a good thing?
I most agreed with Cee Lo on this one. "My little electric guitar, my Little Red Corvette, I'm impressed with your voice," he told Juliet. "It's so rugged, it's built to last. You are definitely one of the hopefuls that everyone's rooting on." Yes, she is. KEEP HER.
So what do you think, my Little Red Corvettes? Did the right people get eliminated? Will Juliet and Jamar and Katrina and Tony be able to hold their own against Jermaine and Erin and Lindsey and Chris? Tell me in the comments, and come back tomorrow for some more recaps, complete with free sarsaparilla.