We’ve got a lot to get through tonight, so I’m going to shut up and just get right to it with Team Shakira.
We begin with Kristen Merlin, with whom we’ve never begun. Hell, we’ve barely even seen Kristen before, as she has suffered all season long under the cruel hand of The Editor, this season’s Big Bad villain whose guilty motivations involve ruining steals and banishing good battles. Twice he’s laid down his iron fist upon the mac-and-cheese head of Kristen, who has shown promise twice but never got the chance to really impress save for her blind audition. (Will The Editor get his comeuppance in the finale!? Let’s hope.)
I believe there’s more to this edgy Eminem-Ellen mashup than we’ve seen. Blake tells us Kristen’s the only country artist not on Team Blake, which initially strikes me as news—I suppose I haven’t taken full stock of this year’s country contestants, but it’s likely because everyone’s got a twang but nobody wants to be pigeonholed (except good ol’ Jake Worthington).
Kristen chooses to sing “Two Black Cadillacs” and it’s one I’ve never heard before (any surprises here?), which might explain why I’m not sure whether the performance was good or bad. Adam and Blake both say it’s Kristen’s best of the season, so I’m led to believe that yes, it was great. “You clearly deserve to be here,” says Blake. “You have to keep Kristen,” Adam informs Shakira, and both comments suggest that we should expect a second installment of Miss Merlin in the live rounds. Suck on that, The Editor.
Next up is Deja Hall, a young little singer from a military family whose greatest constant is her love of music and pastel blue skirts. It’s interesting that self-admittedly naïve Deja chooses Jordin Sparks’ “Battlefield” when she has twice this season asked how to feel certain emotions like love and heartbreak (I expect this to be rectified when she receives and immediately breaks her Frozen Blu-Ray and experiences both simultaneously).
Shakira describes Deja as “a brave little
toaster girl,” which does NOT bode well for a person about to dive into an ultra-emotional song and make it believable. During rehearsal, Shakira also mentions being “in the pocket,” a phrase that has heretofore had no meaning for me except when in reference to billiards or my Burt’s Bees. If she’s good for nothing else this season, Deja asks what “pocket” means, thus vocalizing the question we’ve all asked ourselves on the couch during commercial breaks. Thank you for your contributions, Deja. You have no idea the impact you’ve made.
Deja’s performance begins and it’s like watching Kerry Washington’s junior high talent show featuring costume design by Sherwood Schwartz. It’s cute but really, it’s not The Voice material. The judges keep complimenting her by saying she’s “grown into an adult” and “come out of [her] shell” but the subtext here is that Deja has reached her top victory in gaining confidence but isn’t a serious enough threat to bring into the live rounds. Alas, Deja’s guest arc on the uproarious network comedy that is The Voice is guaranteed to come to an unfortunate end.
Third up: Tess Boyer, a former NFL cheerleader whom I have previously described as Regina Georgian. I’m not even sorry. Tess has proven to be an exceptional talent but I’ll have to get over my impression that she roams the hallways of The Voice stuffing little children into lockers and yelling at Shannen Doherty during croquet. Still, I smell big potential in Tess’s gigantic voice if she can continue to sing like she did tonight. I used to think Tess and Dani Moz were interchangeable on Team Shakira, but now I think they could each stand a chance (although my money is on Dani) on their own because they're different enough in personality and style, like two American Girl dolls from opposite sides of the track.
Tess’s song is Christina Perry’s “Human,” which has a really lovely build to it, and Tess knock it out of the damn park. Even Blake turns and looks shocked that Tess can sing so well. Everyone is basically embarrassed that nobody has been talking about Tess (she was stolen twice, lest we forget) and they’re all flummoxed about how to handle her. The coaches’ praise gets loaded on like bulk Aquafina at Costco and it looks like we’ve got another lock for the live rounds.
NEXT: Is that Rowlf from The Muppets? No, it’s just Patrick.