'The Voice' Recap: Katrina Parker Talks This Week's Top 8 Performances
One night, eight contestants and some crazy staging made for an interesting week on The Voice. Plus I’ve got a nasty head cold, and my head is swimming (which made it even MORE interesting). Now wash your hands and take your vitamins, children. Let’s chat about this week’s episode.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall. Michelle Chamuel’s take on “Grenade” may have been my favorite performance Monday night. I was nervous when they announced the song choice, but she put her own stamp on it, making it indubitably “Michelle” (mirrors, squats and all). Starting solo with an understated arrangement, bit by bit she built the song into an intense, pulsing affair with a stage full of supporting players. It turned the original on its head and gave it a surprising gravitas thanks to her emotional connection to the lyric. I like surprises, but more than that - I LOVE Michelle.
Bond, James Bond. The Adele curse – I get it more than most. Her voice is so distinct and ingrained in people’s consciousness that it’s a tough proposition to cover her songs. If you sing them straight, you’re an imitator. If you try something new, people act like you spray painted the Mona Lisa. However, Amber Carrington escaped the curse this week. Despite a couple of uncertain moments, she sparkled on “Skyfall” (both vocally and visually). The hair, dress, makeup and staging were flawless, as was her dramatic, grown-up performance. PS: How can I get my lips to look that glittery?!
Sticks and Stones. I wonder whose job it was to bring in the logs and weeds for The Swon Brothers performance of “Seven Bridges Road?” Those woodland gatherers might have been grumbling while they picked up twigs, but I’m sure they felt validated once they saw that onstage campsite in all its artificial beauty. This setup wins for the most hilarious staging of the night.
Carson’s Burn Book. What was up with Carson Daly randomly calling Usher Urkel? It was a little funny but also a little awkward. Maybe Carson’s trying to build up his burn book? Maybe he’s eyeing Usher for an epic bromance? Who knows!
2nd Biggest Burn. Usher responded to Carson’s burn by calling him Jimmy Neutron, which is perfect (TOO perfect actually - did they rehearse this??).
3rd Biggest Burn. Adam Levine told Danielle Bradbery that it was nice of her to sing a song for Blake Shelton after her performance of “Grandpa.” Haaa, it wasn’t Usher vs. Carson, but it was good stuff.
Return to the Thunderdome. Judith Hill did a stellar job on “That Power,” further demonstrating her versatility as a performer. Her vocals were on point (as always), but the most fun was seeing her command the stage and all the elements on it – from the pedestal to the players to the wild hair and wardrobe reminiscent of Tina Turner in “Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome.” All those things might have overwhelmed someone else (but not Judith). It was the perfect way to open the night.
Cutest Moment. When Carson asked for coach commentary at the top of the show, Usher played it cool - saying “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going” and calling Michelle Chamuel a hard worker (a contrast to Shakira’s adorably straight-up begging for Sasha Allen). Then in a show of solidarity with his last contestant standing, he put on a pair of black horn rimmed glasses and announced he was joining her army of supporters. Cute factor = 10 (out of 10).
Best Dancer Multi-Tasking – “Without You” was not my favorite song for Sasha Allen, but it’s impossible not to be drawn into her performances. There’s something truly special about her (even when the shoe doesn’t fit). I also have to give props to her dancers for not only - you know - dancing but for also turning her circular pedestal, revealing secret stairs in some of the best staging of the night. I’d love for those guys to follow me around revealing hidden stairs so I can walk down them fiercely (just because). Yay for multi-tasking!
Everybody Gets Mad. Holly Tucker (“Done”) and Sarah Simmons (“Somebody That I Used to Know”) were encouraged to find their angry places this week. Both did just that, turning in performances that had more attitude than usual. It was refreshing. Angry suits them well (just like glitter suits me well).
A Song I Used to Like. Y’all, I love Gotye. I love him so much it hurts, but you know what else hurts? Hearing “Somebody That I Used to Know” constantly on the radio and then again on The Voice in Season’s 2, 3 and 4. Can we please open up a new songbook? Maybe dig into more Indie Singer/Songwriter tunes? Or Standards? How about Polka? Anything different would be welcomed.
What Up, Grandpa?! The real star of The Voice this week was Holly Tucker’s Grandpa who was there celebrating his 79th birthday. When he gave a little gleeful “woo” for Holly, he officially became my favorite relative this season (outside of Karina Iglesias’s Abuelita). Let’s give him his own show! I mean, look at him styling with the hat and jacket and the effortless country cool?! Grandpa is living proof that awesome exists after 70.
What were your favorite performances? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and tune in Monday at 8PM EST as I live-tweet the next episode of The Voice (@katrinapmusic).