TEAM CEE LO: Cody Belew
If there was a Mr. Personality Award in this competition, Cody would win it. He might be the funniest guy in the competition, and his struggle with stuttering makes him very relatable. Plus, he's the only guy here who could get away with wearing a head-to-toe sequined suit. (Though sadly, he tells Christina Milian, the show's costume team would only let him wear the sequined vest.) He might also be the only one brave enough to sing Tina Turner's "Simply the Best," a song that practically begs his detractors to joke about how he isn't. Luckily, he holds up alright, working the crowd with a chicken-strut dance, and attacking each chorus with genuine musical-theater pizazz. Adam says he's one of the best natural performers, "like Prince when he doesn't have his guitar." Christina wants to see something more uptempo from him. (In her words: "More bopping, please.") But Cee Lo's rooting for him. "You remind us that this is still fun," he says. "Win, lose, or draw, man, I enjoy you." So, that still counts as a win, right?
TEAM ADAM: Amanda Brown
How is this the same woman who took a vocal blowtorch to Aerosmith's "Dream On"? For me, Amanda Brown's flawed cover of Florence and the Machine's "Spectrum" is the most disappointing performance of the night. Last week, she obliterated every note with pure fearlessness, but this week, she's losing confidence, missing a few notes, and nearly strangling a few others. Every time I hear her get to the line "every color illuminates," I find myself making the Britney Spears Oops! Face. Cee Lo blames the song choice for being "constricting." And Christina admits, "I'm still waiting to connect with who you are as an artist." But Adam still believes in her. "The thing is that it wasn't perfect," he confesses. "But I'm not perfect. No one's perfect... I know that you deserve to be here and I think you could win this entire thing." I agree with him. But she'll have to step it up next week. She might look like a superstar tonight, but for the first time in this competition, she doesn't sound like one.
TEAM ADAM: Bryan Keith
Bryan says his goal as an artist is to "bring back an older feel in rock music." And by "older," he means circa 2006, back when ancient rockers like Amy Winehouse would etch lyrics onto boulders and hurl them at Woolly Mammoths. Sorry, I just like to tease Bryan, probably because he can take it. His version of Winehouse's "Back to Black" ranks among the best of the night, showcasing his awesomely gruff voice and his swanky lounge-singer charm. (No wonder Christina calls him "a modern-day raspy Sinatra.") It's a classy performance, one that's more about conjuring the right mood than hammering home the right notes, and the coaches love it. "I think you just took the lead for Team Adam over there," says Blake, and Christina agrees. Are you watching this, Dez? Because this is how the Rat Pack thing gets done.
NEXT: Who leaves "nothing but blood and guts" on the stage?