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

TJ Wilkins (Team Usher)
If The Voice featured Mean Girls-style cafeteria seating, I would have to imagine that TJ would be forced to sit with Bria and Audra rather than Dani and Delvin. TJ’s on the bottom of the competition, to be sure, and tonight’s performance didn’t help him rise up to the cool kids' table.

TJ says in his pre-package that he wants to be “rooted in R&B, but with a splash of rock, and pop, and jazz, you name it.” That’s a lot of splashes, dude, and certainly at least three too many. We already know TJ's voice and style, and it's interesting to hear it change from one week to another. No mention of soul this week?

The song tonight is “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer, another familiar reality competition favorite. TJ's is a very happy performance, but much like his playoff song last week, there really doesn’t seem to be any growth happening anymore when it comes to TJ. TJ today is the same as TJ back when we first met him—wonderful, yes, but what is talent without evolution?  This is an American Idol “Hollywood Week” performance, not a captivating live round entry that begs for votes.

Shakira says he’s extraordinary. Usher claims it’s an “incredible breakthrough moment” for TJ. I finish my bag of pita chips.

Christina Grimmie (Team Adam)
Blake has previously called Christina the best vocalist on Adam’s team, and Usher called her “baby Celine Dion.” This is high praise to meet, but Christina has done a swell job so far living up to the hype she’s created for herself. She’s already suffered from a little early-season slip-up by losing traction, but I think now that Christina has recovered, it’s smooth sailing from here on out, just like The Truman Show!

“Dark Horse” represents the artist she could be—kind of gnarly, spectacularly talented, a little edgy but still accessible to the Radio Disney crowd. Armed with the finest chestplate and leather short shorts in Westeros, Christina hits the stage and blows everyone who came before her out of the water. She doesn’t even need to hit the crazy-high high note that she does, but ever since she fell to the bottom, Christina has not failed to deliver on a sky-high promise of reclaiming her iron throne. Those insane notes just seal it.

Blake kind of misquotes things and says Christina is “proof that dynamite comes in small packages.” I’m not sure that’s an actual saying, but I’ll allow it since it’s exceedingly true for Christina.

Sisaundra Lewis (Team Blake)
Oh, my dear Sisaundra. What am I going to do with you? I thought you were incredible. Then I thought you were too incredible. And now I think you’re just regularly incredible again. Are you a frontrunner, or are you going to turn off America because you’re so disgustingly, disturbingly, American Horror Story: Sisaundra Lewisly talented that you make everyone else in the competition look like the crumbs at the bottom of the triumphant Cheez-It box that is YOU??

“Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” is supposed to be Blake’s attempt to get Sisaundra to “lay back” a little and show finesse, but after rehearsal, they both agree that it’s “too much.” So do they change a thing? Not one! Not only does Sisaundra not stay low-key, but she’s backed by the vocals of what sounds like a full gospel choir and dressed to impress with her Inspector Gadget chic.

I’ve finally come to realize that there is no winning this game with Sisaundra. I can’t wish humility on her when her problem is not arrogance. The Great Sisaundra Modesty Experiment is not a feasible trial because she will never NOT be an amazing performer. Will she get votes? Maybe, maybe not. I doubt she’ll win, but we should all be so lucky to hear her performances while she’s still on the show.

Kristen Merlin (Team Shakira)
Romeo and Juliet have had better luck than Kristen Merlin. I won’t harp on her being snubbed by the battle rounds twice, but Kristen’s treatment on this season of The Voice hit a new low tonight when her microphone went out during her performance. It certainly wasn’t planned by anyone—at least, I don’t think it was, unless our villain The Editor is once again back at the control—but I sure felt awful for Kristen. Her face at the end of the performance was just heartbreaking (even though part of her tears were owed to the overwhelmingly lovely audience response).

What can I say about her cover of Sugarland’s “Stay”? She’s such a gorgeous singer that it’ll be a shame if she doesn’t get the chance to stick around another week. But I’d like to think that, much like Adele Dazeem was the best thing to happen to Idina Menzel, this mic snafu is reason enough for Kristen to stay another week. She’ll get the pity vote (although her performance was strong enough that she should stay on her own merits) and then be back next week to prove why she’s better than some of the other duds this year.

Also, why did it take me this long to realize that she’s such an adorable little chicken nugget!?

NEXT: Ugh, heyyyy, Kat Perkins

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