TEAM BLAKE: Liz Davis
Liz might have the best taste of all the country singers in this competition. She really knows which songs bring out the grit in her strong, Southern voice (usually, it's the tough broad anthems), and Martina McBride's "Independence Day" suits her nicely. Whenever I hear Liz sing, I think, "This is what Tami Taylor listens to when she wants to psych herself up."
This time is no exception. I love the way she powers through the chorus, and I love the way she struts down the walkway when she sings. The coaches agree. Blake says he definitely picked the right country artist to bring to the final rounds. And Christina praises her "solid voice," adding that it's "a perfect time for that song, too." (Note to Christina: this isn't a song about patriotism. It's a song about a woman who kills her abusive husband! Though, to be fair, isn't it always a perfect time for a song about that?)
TEAM BLAKE: Cassadee Pope
I really want Cassadee to get in touch with her Inner Avril when she sings "My Happy Ending." But sadly, no matter how many feathers she clips into her hair, I just don't hear the "punk" part of her self-described "pop-punk" style. She gets points for effort, though. The fact that she knocks down her microphone in the middle of the performance might be cool if she didn't a) accidentally hit herself in the mouth with it and b) continually repeat, "I hit myself! I hit myself!" to Carson right afterward. Yes, Cassadee has a great rock 'n' roll vibrato that will score her another Warped Tour second stage or two, but I'm not feeling her as a winner. She needs way more personality.
Of course, I might be wrong. Cassadee has Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz on her side. (He's her mentor.) And as Blake reminds her, "You're clearly one of the fan savers on the show. And guess who makes the decisions from here on out? The fans." So there you go.
TEAM ADAM: Brian Keith
Brian Keith gets a lot of mileage out of playing the Sensitive Fedora Guy, and his decision to sing the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris" feels like a stroke of genius. Let this be a message to you ladies: Brian Keith doesn't want the world to see him, 'cause he doesn't know if they'd understand, but he wants you to know who he is! You, and only you! [Cue the screams]
Throughout his performance, he's got the smoldering-voice-beneath-the-smoky-eyeliner thing down. The verses might be a little too low for him, but once the chorus comes along, he brings real pathos to it. Christina says it's the most passionate she's ever seen him, and I agree. Apparently, so does Adam. "I love you!" he tells Brian. "I love you too!" Brian replies. You know they're dying to give each other a massive bro hug, complete with a slap on the back.
TEAM BLAKE: Michaela Paige
Until now, Michaela "Last of the Mohawk-ans" Paige might've said that her biggest asset was her hair. Blake can't stop mentioning it. "This right here?" he says, making a gesture that looks like he's miming a giant unicorn horn. "It's all about being who you are." But to me, her voice reveals way more about who she is. Barreling through Neon Trees' "Everybody Talks," she's part high-school musical and part glam-rock superstar, snarling her way through the word whispeeeeer with just the right amount of moxie. Cee Lo insists that she has the best performance of the night. And Blake keeps raving about how she makes every song her own, because she's just so different. You'd think he'd never seen a teenage girl with a foot-high fauxhawk before.
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