The Voice recap: I Am Levine Going on Seventeen

Contestants vie for "breakout moments," but only a few manage it. Meanwhile, Adam Levine hits new heights of blonde.
Ep. 21 | Aired May 5, 2014

Things Adam Levine Looks Like: John Slattery, Billy Idol, Miley Cyrus, Susan Powter, Sisaundra Lewis

Remember Gwen Sebastian from two minutes (and, prior to that, two years) ago? She’s back and singing with Blake. Maybe this is all a big plot to make Gwen “happen?” I like her, so I won’t make a joke about “Stop trying to make Gwen happen, it’s not going to happen.” But there, I just did.

Performer #3: Kat Perkins
The most important thing about Kat’s performance is that Adam brings in Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine, thereby teaching America that the other four members of Maroon 5 have names and one of them is James Valentine. This is invaluable information for an inevitable Final Jeopardy round in 2041.

Kat, in an effort to have “a breakout moment,” chooses to sing Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” and she’s trying to put a heavy metal rock spin on it. It’s an interesting choice, and rehearsal suggests that I am going to just hate this performance—let’s remember, given who’s left in the Top 8, Kat is my #1 pick to be eliminated tomorrow—but lo and behold, her actual performance is exactly what I feared, and the audience is eating it up.

Confession: the arrangement is pretty awesome. Kat is just okay. Singing about phoenixes (cover your ears, Fawkes) and planets and “raising the baah” and “going too faah,” she’s got electric stage presence, but do the vocals back it up? Not quite. Still, the audience is going crazy for it, as is Adam and the rest of the coaching panel, so I fear that this performance might actually give Kat some momentum into the Top 5, BUT if I really had to put my money where my mouth is, I’d still say Kat is in the bottom three this week and possibly (probably) going home.

Performer #4: Kristen Merlin
Shining like Gwen Stacy and Justin Timberlake when his hair looked like ramen, Kristen is a vision in her Mennonite shirt and vest, hard at work in rehearsal with Shakira. She’s singing “I Drive Your Truck,” which on its surface is a pretty hilarious title, until I learn that it’s about dead soldiers and sentimental big rigs. Eeeeek.

As much as I adore Kristen, the song is a little flat—not in pitch, but in excitement and, frankly, emotion. Yep, I said it. I just wasn’t moved the way I have been by performers in the past. Josh can turn slow songs into necessary listening, and Jake can make any ballad a dream, but the pacing on Kristen’s performance really doesn’t scream for engagement. I’m sure she’ll still get a ton of support from F150 owners across the country, but I’m a little underwhelmed by her tonight. Am I alone? Oof, probably.

Pharrell hits the stage for his big I’m-a-coach-now debut, and he’s basically recruited a group of high schoolers from a Color Me Mine birthday party to dance backup. It’s pleasant. He’s got a new hat, too.

Performer #5: Delvin Choice
Much like when T.J. Wilkins sang “I’ll Be,” singing “I Believe I Can Fly” should be forbidden…but I suppose if somebody has to sing it, it should be Delvin. And it’s hard to ignore the feels when Delvin breaks down (see, Sisaundra! That’s how you do tears!) while rehearsing. It convinces Adam to allow the otherwise overdone song onto the show, and I think it ultimately worked to Delvin’s advantage.

Despite the cliché of the song, it’s a wonderfully nuanced performance that, yes, reeks of familiarity, but Delvin makes it at least feel like it was a special moment for both us and him. The audience goes nuts, much like they did for Kat, but Delvin actually deserves it. I’m not dying to say it was Delvin’s best performance or his big breakout, but it will probably become his most memorable performance, as this song often does for contestants on competitions like this.

NEXT: Jake goes full redneck! (It's okay, he said it, so I can say it.)

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