The Voice recap: Delvin Magic

The live rounds begin as the Top 12 give their best performances—well, most of the Top 12.
Ep. 17 | Aired Apr 21, 2014

THIS IS THE CHOICE!: Delvin Choice proved why he's a star to watch this year, but with at least five other major contenders in the running, he's still got a long way to go before he's within reach of the crown. (There is a crown, right? What, really, no crown!?)

NBC

Adam's cute polo! That awful #VoiceTailgate hashtag! Every coach being super nice to the contestants!

Welcome to the live rounds, home of random nonsense and contestants saying "I love you" to their coaches, all of which should make these next six weeks an interesting viewing experience. With just 12 singers left in our competition, we'll be ditching two per week, until just one beautiful singer wins The Voice and goes on to great fame mega success a lucrative recording career sing on next year's season finale.

Also, this happened:

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Bria Kelly (Team Usher)
The night begins with Bria Kelly and that same old mahogany leather jacket she has insisted on wearing all season long. It’s only the second worst fashion foul of the night since Shakira has skinned a disco ball and turned it into a sweater, but nevertheless Bria’s fashion is much like her performances: as exciting as the Morton’s Salt girl with less than HALF the splashy jaunts. Maybe the problem with Bria is that she just doesn’t look like she’s having much fun on stage. Getting through the song seems to be the primary goal, but my God, the journey to the destination doesn’t have to be so awfully uninspired. Listening to Bria sing is like going on a road trip with absolutely no puzzles and only limited coloring books—you still get to the end but with no frills or fun to be had along the way.

Bria chooses to showcase the “soulful edge” in her voice by singing Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” a familiar tune that made its rounds on the reality show circuit not too long ago and seems to be acceptable once again (much like pleats). It’s kosher for reinvention, and Bria—not wanting to do a “karaoke version”—does her best to rock it up. Admittedly, Bria’s interpretation sounds nothing like the original, which is a testament to the individuality of her voice. Bria's loyalty seems to be split 50-50 down the Voice community, so this vote could go either way. (My please: could we not have seen Bria at least do her hair in a chirpy Adellian updo?)

From her voice, it’s easy to hear that Bria is relatively nervous to open the live shows, but hey, that’s showbiz, kid. Usher says, “You can’t be human!” and finally I feel like we have a real legitimate explanation for why Bria seems so out of place with the rest of the colorful competition. She is E.T. trying to hide in Elliott’s closet.

Shakira mentions that Adele is notoriously difficult but “if anyone can do it, it’s you.” UMMM. This is not true, Shakira. Like, actually every single person on this show (even Kat Perkins, probably) can sing “Rolling in the Deep.” So let’s leave the hyperbole to this recapper, please.

Delvin Choice (Team Adam)
For some reason, Delvin is still being called a “South Carolina barista with an unmistakable sound.” Enough with the barista thing! I used to be line leader in third grade but I've moved on to other defining titles. Delvin’s past life seems to be the most frequently referenced backstory this season, used to describe him far more often than Kat Perkins’ nannying or Tess Boyer’s law school or Kristen Merlin popping out from the littlest in a series of Russian nesting dolls.

Delvin is singing “Unchained Melody,” one of the greatest songs ever featured in the 1990 film Ghost. Adam wants him to sing like he’s dying, which is great advice in a really morbid way. Delvin doesn’t have a girlfriend, so instead he pulls inspiration from his mother and father, and it’s an endearing move that shows just the right amount of personality at this point in the competition. “Happy anniversary, mommy and daddy!” he squeals as his pre-package ends, and how could you NOT love him then?

As the performance begins, Delvin's voice is fantastic as ever, because why wouldn’t it be? It’s Delvin. He's made for Motown: The Musical. Delvin has gotten better and better each week, and since he already started out so strong at the onset of the season, it’s hard to see him slipping. Plus, Delvin’s parents are beyond adorable. Dad’s excited, mom is crying, and I’m eating it up like a calzone. Or was that Blake who said something about a calzone? I could have sworn…

Dani Moz (Team Shakira)
Most important news first: Dani has a background in musical theater. I tried to track down the video of her singing “Rose’s Turn” that I know must exist somewhere in the world, but I can’t seem to find any evidence of Dani’s time on the stage. Thus, it becomes my season-long mission to figure out what roles she played and when.

After a pretty stellar performance in last week’s playoffs, Dani has a big mission at hand: to continue the momentum she earned with “The Edge of Glory.” So, did she? Well, that depends whether you think that singing the sh-t out of a Pink song qualifies as continuing momentum. I happen to think she not only continued her hot streak, but launched her star into hyperdrive. She was that good—even if Pink is a tad overdone on these singing shows.

Dani nailed it and thereby established herself as more than just a fluke with one great performance. She could be a major dark horse here. (Unrelated, Christina Grimmie sang “Dark Horse,” but more on that later.)

Audra McLaughlin (Team Blake)
Poor Audra. I’m slightly embarrassed that there was a time when I thought Audra was a major frontrunner in this competition. In truth, I might have just been enamored with her name, as Audra McDonald is a Broadway mega-star and I figured by some measure of transitive property that someone named Audra McLaughlin would be a mega-star in her own right. Well, she comes close—her voice isn’t an atrocity, in fact it’s kind of lovely—but Audra’s existence on this mortal plane lacks any and all urgency.

Juice Newton’s “Angel of the Morning” is handed to Audra, and, surrounded by Instagram photos, she looks like she might finally worm her way back into the competition again. She looks like she might. Looks.

It would have been nice if Audra sang lyrics, but unfortunately she missed that memo by a long shot. I’d be surprised if Audra actually said any word other than “angel,” since that’s the only thing I was able to hear correctly. I’m not sure how she came up with her twangy Enya thing, but it was definitely not what she needed to do tonight. She needed to, you know…sing words.

Blake, of course, is absolutely eating the performance up. Usher says it’s incredible. I decide that I’m no longer qualified to react to this competition (“Were you ever!?” — the bitchiest commenter) since we’re at a point where the coaches are going to love basically anything their singers touch. Blake says, “I know that you’ve been going to school to be a medical assistant. I just don’t think that’s what you’re going to be doing with your life.” Oh, Blake. If this country singer thing doesn’t work out, you have another career as a guidance counselor at some horrible school somewhere.

NEXT: Oh heyyyy, Sisaundra

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