Every American shows national pride in a different way. Some recite all 50 states in alphabetical order after they've had a few microbrews; others drive across state lines just to procure fireworks for the Fourth of July; still more snap photos of their ballots after they've voted in a federal election, then post those pictures on the Internet, which is an incredibly stupid thing to do.
But I think we can all agree that tonight, Cee Lo Green has proven himself to be America's greatest patriot. Look at his outfit. Look at it. That star-spangled afghan poncho is glorious and hideous, a beautiful disaster -- in short, a microcosm of these United States themselves. I want to write a dissertation about it. Today, Mr. Soul Machine, you have made me proud to be an American. (Oh, and Christina -- your blue dress and sparkly hair starfish were also fine.)
To the playoffs!
TEAM CHRISTINA: Adriana Louise
Teams Cee Lo and Christina shouldn't have sung "Sing." Their shaky, off-key group performance doesn't bode well for what follows -- and at the beginning of "Firework," it seems like Adriana has fallen victim to whatever afflicted the group. Her low notes are nonexistent; her tempo is off. But as her voice climbs toward that cathartic chorus, Adriana starts finding her stride. By the time she's reached her last "oh-oh-oh," she sounds a thousand times more solid, even if her Katy Perry impression isn't exactly breaking new ground.
Adriana almost collapses in relief when she finishes; where's a good whipped cream-spraying bra when you need it? The coaches praise her for taking on such a tough song, but don't have much to say about her singing itself. Instead, Cee Lo and Blake both talk about how purdy she is -- which is always what a reality judge says when they don't have any real praise to give. Then Xtina calls Adriana "sweet and genuine..." and from her, those words somehow sound like nails in a coffin.
TEAM CEE LO: Cody Belew
Cody's friends must never know whether he's laughing with them or at them. During the pre-song b-roll, he expresses an interest in being taken more seriously -- then proves he's totally full of it with a twitchy, goofy performance of George Michael's "One More Try." It's campy enough to make Bette Davis raise an eyebrow. I sort of love the whole thing, even if Cody's voice is all over the place -- it's like he's imitating an imitation of a soul singer, or something. I don't know; residual giddiness from Cee Lo's outfit is sapping my critical reasoning skills.
The coaches eat up Cody's performance with a collective spoon. Adam thinks Cee Lo's song choice was "genius." Blake says Cody is one of his wife's favorite contestants, which makes me wonder if Miranda Lambert is actually a man in drag. Again, they're giving plenty of praise without saying anything specific about the singing. Cody might have charisma, but that isn't what this show is supposed to be about. Although if they did change The Voice's name, they'd get a perfect opportunity to bring on Charisma Carpenter as Carson's co-host.
NEXT: De'Borah exhilarates and exhausts