The Voice recap: It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Kaufman!

The last round of playoffs before the live shows holds an unexpected elimination and a powerful performance from Team Usher. Plus, we investigate the increasingly peculiar case of Bria Kelly.
Ep. 16 | Aired Apr 15, 2014

JUST JOSHIN': Do we have yet another frontrunner to add to the mix? At this point, there are no more frontrunners, just talented individuals like Josh Kaufman who will make the live shows an exciting event to spice up your Mondays from now until May.


Say hello to your number two singer tonight, Melissa “MJ” Jimenez. We last saw Melissa rocking a Kenan & Kel-meets-Kendall Jenner jersey and manically tossing her hair like Gloria Estefan if you told her there’s a spider on her neck.

I’d like to believe MJ has chilled out a little bit since her battle with Music Boxxxx, and it seems that she has, casually bringing up this one time at band camp Usher’s concert when they shared “a cool moment,” and Usher’s saying, “Yep, yep” which is his way of pretending to acknowledge that he remembers without having to admit that he actually remembers literally zero things about this encounter.

Anyway, onto MJ’s song. She opts for Beyonce’s “Halo,” an emotional ballad that MJ is—everybody take a shot!—stripping down. Jeez, one more stripped down song this year and the Parents Television Council is gonna launch a campaign against acoustic guitars. “Because I’m stripping it down, there’s nowhere to hide,” MJ confides, and I giggle because, come on. That comment is just terrible. I suppose I’m being harsh on poor MJ when she just wants to party and make music like a glitterless Kesha, while instead I’m treating her like she just used my good kitchen shears to open a FedEx box. Sorry, MJ. Proceed.

The song begins and the actual performance is relatively prosaic—the song is way too difficult for her—but then she launches into an admittedly elegant whistletone section that makes everyone perk up, including Blake. Will her fierce flageolet impress Usher? Not likely. Shakira tells MJ her song choice was brave. Adam says she took a risk but it didn’t ultimately pay off. Blake, who says he doesn't know the song and thus you guys can’t yell at me for not having heard Carrie Underwood’s “Two Black Cadillacs,” says MJ did pretty dang good. All milquetoast comments that don’t exactly promise big things for MJ’s future.

Usher ends with basically the biggest tease in the history of elimination decisions: “I hope that you’re ready to continue…to love music.” Uh oh? Bye bye, MJ.

Third up this evening is “soulful ex-rocker” Stevie Jo! My boy Stevie! His hair may say Steven Tyler, but his heart is saying Stevie Wonder. And personally my heart is saying Stevie Jo because he is all kinds of weirdly adorable.

I’ll boil my love for Stevie Jo down to this: he’s humble. He’s talented. He’s kind of dorky but also edgy. He knows his style and doesn’t try to change it up, both in terms of music AND wardrobe, which admittedly could use a little fixer upper, especially when he lets his hair down and looks like Vanessa Hudgens. Stevie's performances have grown in both power and surprise, and that’s why I have faith in him to light up the stage again.

B.B. King’s “The Thrill Is Gone” is the name of the game here, and Stevie delivers. The song doesn’t offer much variation, but Stevie makes the most of it and interprets it in his own bygosh interesting way. Blake says Stevie sings like he’s sneaking up on a rabbit, a bizarre compliment that, really, isn’t actually that bad compared to some of the other things that have been said this season. Shakira and Adam both enjoyed most of it. Usher doesn’t lay on the love like I hoped he would, but it at least sounds like he’s singing a happier tune than he did with TJ and MJ.

We also get to see Blake’s impression of sneaking up on a rabbit. I give it a B—.

NEXT: The polarizing case of Bria Kelly

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