Did you vote for who you want to be the winner of The Voice? Tony Lucca (Team Adam), Chris Mann (Team Christina), Jermaine Paul (Team Blake) and Juliet Simms (Team Cee Lo) each made their case for your endorsement Monday night – and then talked with me after the show!
It was a busy night: each artist performed one last solo song, then a duet with their coach (as was the case last year), and in a touching addition, one of their coach’s songs as a “thank you” for their time and effort over the course of the competition.
There was also some friction as everything was on the line. Tony’s version of Hugo’s take on the Jay-Z song “99 Problems” raised the ire of Christina, who believed that the censored lyrics (“and a b-tch ain’t one”) were “derogatory to women,” and questioned the choice of song with Tony’s family in the audience. Adam came to the song’s (and his artist’s) defense, retorting that Christina’s interpretation was incorrect.
Tony also performed The Beatles’ “Yesterday” with Adam, and then sang Maroon 5’s “Harder To Breathe,” although he stumbled over some of the lyrics. His coach, however, was there to reassure him after the flub. “He said, ‘Dude, I forget the lyrics to that song all the time.’ It happens,” Tony told me.
He added, “The most fun was definitely joining Adam for ‘Yesterday.’ Just sitting up there, the two of us. Doing a Beatles song with Adam Levine? Who gets to do that?”
Of all the artists, Tony was the most determined to treat the finale like any other week. “When you get voted through, you get to go to work another week,” he explained. “We really just get back into our routine and you go through the paces of all the things. Obviously the stakes were a little higher tonight, but nothing exceptionally different. It’s really just another day at the office.”
Chris’ last song was Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up,” while he performed “The Prayer” with Christina and then presented her with his version of her hit “The Voice Within.”
“I’m so happy with the whole thing,” he told me afterward. “It was a pretty demanding three songs for me. All three moments were great. The duet is obviously sort of the highlight of my life. ‘You Raise Me Up’ was just an emotional climax for the entire season.”
He’d been looking forward to his duet with his coach all season long, so what was it like for him to finally share the stage with her? “It felt important, and it felt wonderful, but it was really easy because she made it very easy. We definitely worked together and we relied on each other,” he said.
Jermaine joined Blake for a roof-raising rendition of “Soul Man” that had the audience and the other coaches smiling widely, also putting his spin on two inspirational tunes: R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” and Blake’s own “God Gave Me You.”
“‘I Believe I Can Fly’ was just…I’m so happy I did it,” he told me. “I really had fun doing ‘Soul Man’. It was just a release. I could just be me and not worry about anything. ‘God Gave Me You’ was exactly what I wanted to say to Blake, and ‘Soul Man’ just made me have a good time.
He concurred with Blake’s assessment that he’s loosened up over the course of the show. “I feel things have definitely opened up,” he agreed. “I was able to express myself in so many different ways, really genuine ways. Wherever the chips may fall, I’m so happy with being here.”
Juliet sung the classic “Free Bird” for her final piece, while she also rocked out on Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” and partnered with Cee Lo for “Born To Be Wild.”
It turns out she has a few superstitions. “I have a certain seat I like to sit in backstage, so I made sure my butt went on there at least once,” she said. “Another superstition, I’ve gone on and voted for my competitors.
“I really loved performing with Cee Lo,” she continued, adding that if she should win, she and her coach have plans to pour champagne over each other. “It got me back to my punk days, and just being kind of in your face.”
Her coach also stirred the pot when he took some big shots at unspecified people on Twitter, in profanity-laden tweets to “haters” that included a statement that he wished death on them and their “loved ones kids too.” (The tweets have since been deleted.)
What are the final four going to do with less than a day left before they know which one of them has won it all? They’re spending it with their loved ones and bracing themselves for the end of a months-long journey.
“I feel so relieved just to be done, so I’m going to just relax,” Chris said. “Just enjoy it.”
Tony added that besides spending time with his family, he was planning on making the attempt to “try and enjoy this for what it’s been, which is an amazingly unforgettable ride, and I made it all the way to the end.”
The Voice crowns a winner tomorrow night at 9 PM ET/PT on NBC. Tomorrow is a two-hour season finale, including guest appearances by Justin Bieber, Flo Rida, Lady Antebellum and Hall & Oates.
For more on The Voice, you can follow my Voice-exclusive Twitter at @bigredchairs.
Image courtesy of NBC