'The Voice' Recap: Live Playoffs, Night 2
'The Voice' Recap: Live Playoffs, Night 2
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
The Voice Live Playoffs for season 4 conclude tonight as the teams from Blake Shelton and Shakira take the stage. Blake promised at least two breakout moments last night, though I only counted Michelle Chamuel (maybe Amber Carrington, assuming anyone remembered her by the end of the evening). But seeing as how Blake was drinking what I can only imagine WASN'T a Starbucks latte, his judgment may have been impaired.

Watch the Performances from the Live Playoffs Night #1>>

Will Blake's all-country line-up rise and shine or crash and burn? Will Shakira's team of Little Ants in the Infinity of the Universe (which I believe is the title of an upcoming animated series on the Hub) be more than just Adam's leftovers? And can Christina Milian make me not wish I was dead every second she's on screen?

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As was the case last night, the top two vote-getters from each team will be safe and the coaches will be forced to choose between the bottom two, with one moving on and one going home.

It's interesting to note that in the recap of last night's show, Caroline Glaser gets glossed over after about two seconds while everyone else gets some quality coverage. That's cold.

Adam gives praise to Michelle "Sham-Well." Is that the new model of the ShamWow? I'd buy two.

Team Blake: "Boondocks" by Little Big Town

The location of these group rehearsals says a lot about the coaches. Usher was at a boxing gym, Adam Levine went to a clothing store and now Blake Shelton goes to a karaoke bar to teach his team to have fun.

OK, we get it, Team Blake is country. I'm starting to feel badly for Colton Swon, because he's basically a sidekick, only kept around because he's pretty. The Swon Brothers are less Bo and Luke Duke and more Yogi and Boo-Boo.

Garrett Gardner: "Imagine" by John Lennon

Ugh, seriously? This is such a manipulative song choice, second only to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." Shakira wants him to play the piano and turn this song into a rock anthem. It doesn't really work at all. The quiet parts are terrible, but when he starts to shout with his growl and rasp, it kind of works. Unfortunately, those solid moments are sporadic. And his poodle hair and lower lip piercing still irk me. Usher name-drops Rick Fox and then mistakenly refers to the piano as a computer. Did Usher borrow Blake's Starbucks cup for tonight?

Holly Tucker: "How Do I Live" by LeAnn Rimes

Her story is all about how she's not some super skinny Barbie. It's sad (but accurate) that someone as beautiful as Holly qualifies as "fat" in the entertainment business. She's quite good, and her big notes are damn impressive. But I have this sneaking suspicion that Blake is going to keep his artists tucked away so neatly in their Country Box that it's going to be hard for any of them to really break out with something surprising. Still, she does as much as she possibly can in the box, and I love her even more when Carson Daly says Blake is drunk and Holly comments about his "special latte." I'm loving me some Holly right now.

Kris Thomas: "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars

After Katy Perry, I feel like Bruno Mars is the most overdone artist on reality singing competitions these days. Also, Candice Glover just did this song on American Idol last week, and she killed it. I guess he does an OK job, but I really just don't enjoy the tone of his voice at all, so it's impossible for me to be objective. He's just not my cup of tea and he never will be. Adam Levine decides to provide a little bit of constructive criticism about how he seemed tense and nervous the whole time. Carson gets another dig at Blake's expense after his comments by saying that it's clear Blake "doesn't know where the girl place is." Is tonight "Make Fun of Blake" night? Wait, that's every night.

The Swon Brothers: "Fishin' in the Dark" by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

They've got adorable brother chemistry, but it's clear in the rehearsals that everyone knows Colton is the weak link. Poor Colton. It's like God knew He gave Zach all the talent, so He made Colton pretty to make up for it. The song is exactly what you'd expect from them and nothing more. Shakira uses the word "comfortable" about a dozen times in her commentary. Usher wins the award for best quip, saying that he doesn't know the song, but for him "fishing in the dark" has a different meaning, I assume he's talking about picking up chicks at the club.

The great debate is over the fact that Blake thinks there's a lot of viewers who love country music and love this song, but the other three coaches have never heard of it. This season will put Blake's theory to the test. I'm hoping he's wrong, mostly because I don't live in a red state.

Blake Shelton and Shakira: "Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum

I guess Blake won the coin toss. Though watching him sing "Hips Don't Lie" would be far more entertaining. Still, Shakira does a pretty good job with the country style.

Karina Iglesias: "Let's Stay Together" by Al Green

I find it curious that Shakira's two original artists went in the first half and the singers she stole from Adam are in the second half, with Sasha Allen clearly getting the final spot to rival Judith Hill. Karina has an impressive voice, but I'm not sure who she is. Is she James Brown/Al Green or Melissa Etheridge/Lenny Kravitz? Her performances thus far alternate styles, and I prefer it when she's the rocker chick and not this soulful diva. She needs to get away from trying to compete with Judith and Sasha and focus more on rocking out.

Justin Rivers: "Meet in the Middle" by Diamond Rio

Blake recognizes that Justin has some unique things in his voice, but he wants to use this song to push him back into the middle of the Country Box. Congratulations, Blake, you've succeeded in picking yet another song none of the other coaches have heard of and which means all of your artists will be competing for the same group of voters while alienating everyone else. The Voice NEEDS this strategy to fail, because it's basically demanding a total lack of originality. Like The Swon Brothers, this is perfectly fine, but so inside the box.

Team Shakira: "We Are the Champions" by Queen

Instead of going someplace fun, Shakira brings in her choreographer to focus on stage presence. Not that it matters, because this is such a bad and obvious song choice. On the bright side, it brings Karina back to where she belongs and it suits Garrett quite nicely too. I'd love to see those two duet on some loud, kick-ass rock song. I'm also happy that we finally get to hear from Sasha Allen for the first time all night.

Danielle Bradbery: "Maybe It Was Memphis" by Pam Tillis

Shocker, she's singing a country song no one has ever heard of. I wonder if this is just Blake's opening gambit or if he intends on doing this all season. As expected, it's another completely fine performance that is packed neatly inside Blake's Country Box. Is this better or worse than Justin Rivers or The Swon Brothers? I have no clue. The only thing I do know is that Holly Tucker is the only member of Team Blake who actually impressed me. Adam disagrees and thinks Danielle is one of the ones to beat in this competition. Blake takes it a step further and says she's "one of the most important artists who has EVER been on The Voice." If that's true, I really don't get country music.

Sasha Allen: "Oh! Darling" by The Beatles

Like last night, Carson recaps the voting options BEFORE the final performance, which feels really unfair. Sasha is basically Judith Hill, but likeable. She's got such an amazing voice, and unlike Judith, she actually bothers to sing the melody. I adore her emotion and power, but I'm not a fan of her screams. She needs to stop that. However, between this and singing "At Last" last week, Sasha is in serious danger of being pigeon-holed as old-fashioned. The other coaches all make fun of Adam for giving her up. Would a Shakira win be tainted if it comes from Karina or Sasha?

That does it for the Live Playoffs. Tomorrow night we find out who makes the Top 12 on The Voice season 4. I genuinely have no idea what will happen with Team Blake since his singers are all so similar, but I'm hoping The Swon Brothers go. On Team Shakira, I assume Adam's former gals will be at the top, so I guess I want Kris to go. But really, Sasha and Holly are the only two from tonight I even care about at this point.

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