The Voice recap: How You Like Me Now?

The semifinals bring more attitude, more James Brown
Ep. 18 | Aired Apr 30, 2012

OPEN ARMS, OPEN SHIRT Jermaine unbuttons his collar for Journey, in the name of romance.

NBC

Tonight on The Voice, Blake Shelton sang a country song called "Over." But just like in country songs, it ain't over yet.

Before the two-part grand finale airs next week, Teams Blake and Xtina had to work their way through a very wholesome-sounding Killers cover. Coaches Cee Lo and Adam had to listen to Christina take credit for their song choices. (Apparently, Christina already performed Juliet Simms' pick at the Grammys, and had already optioned Tony Lucca's pick for her own team member, Moses. Is no song safe?) And the rest of us got to hear some pretty inspired interpretations of James Brown, Journey, and a little-known hipster favorite named Bach. So before Justin Bieber steals their spotlight on May 8, let's get to the semi-finalists.

TONY LUCCA - TEAM ADAM

"TON-ee LOU-cah," growled Cee Lo in his best Godfather accent, "Your performance pleases me." Cee Lo wasn't the only one who felt that way. Tonight, Tony made his best song choice so far with the Heavy's great neo-soul anthem "How You Like Me Now," which clearly has the magical power to make any white man sound 23% cooler.

Wearing a suit and tie, and flanked by two red-lipsticked girls, Tony might've gone a little too Robert Palmer in his tastes. But he ramped up the energy so much with his microphone-stand-leaning, fancy-shoe-kicking performance that even Christina couldn't help but give him compliments. "That was definitely slickly done," she said. "Did Adam teach you those dance moves?" Okay, so they might've been backhanded compliments. But still.

"If this doesn't work out," Christina added, "you and Adam can definitely start a Britney cover band." We know she meant that as a joke, but I'll wait for a few minutes while ten million Tony Lucca fans take to Twitter and petition NBC to make this happen. Seriously. Go ahead. I'll wait.

ERIN WILLETT - TEAM BLAKE

"Think about what this song means to you," Blake advised Erin when she selected "Without You," by David Guetta featuring Usher. Obviously, that's good advice. But it's hard to bring real poignancy to a song about how Usher can't "reign" without his lady. Sorry, Your Royal Dudeness. Maybe you can borrow Christina's tiara and get your kingdom back?

Erin sang the hell out of that song, as usual. ("I would give anything to have a tenth of the talent you have," confessed Blake.) And turning this mellow South Beach club jam into a classy power ballad was an original idea. But I didn't hear any real emotion in it. Erin cried at the end, but it seemed like it was more out of exhaustion than anything. Maybe next time, she'll choose a more affecting Usher song. Might we suggest a two-part ode to hooking up in the middle of the dance floor?

CHRIS MANN - TEAM CHRISTINA

What happened when Opera Man sang "Ave Maria"? First he defended his old-fashioned song choice. ("I don't really care if it's cool," he said, tearing up, "I just want to sing the song!") Then he lit a few aromatherapy candles. Then he wailed on that song as if he were Pavarotti in a titanium jockstrap. Then your mom cried.

Perhaps Christina said it best: "I just felt the heavens open up right now." Running up to the stage, she gave him a hug. From this angle, it looked like she was wearing no pants. So the heavens must've opened up for Chris Mann, too.

NEXT: Closed eyes, open arms, can't lose.


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