Finalist Tony Lucca’s ongoing feud with coach Christina Aguilera intensified during the final night of performances on “The Voice" before one contestant is awarded top honors.
Lucca belted out a bluesy rendition of Jay-Z’s hit hip-hop single “99 Problems” that garnered praise from all of the coaches -- except for Aguilera.
Although Lucca and his backup singer conspicuously avoided using the word "bitch" in the chorus, Aguilera called attention to Lucca’s wife who was in the audience before criticizing his choice, saying, “I just thought the lyrical connotation was a little derogatory towards women, but all in all I thought it was fun.”
Maroon 5 front man and coach Adam Levine defended his team member saying, “We’re not referring to women, we’re referring to everything… it’s called a metaphor.” While Jay-Z's original lyrics definitely did not refer to a metaphorical "bitch," Lucca changed the majority of the song's lyrics for his performance, virtually eliminating the original context of the line -- and giving credence to Levine's assertion that it's not meant to be taken literally.
Levine then proceeded to remove his button-up shirt to reveal a t-shirt that read, “Team Xtina”.
Lucca and the rest of the finalists performed a song of their choice, meant as a tribute to their coach, as well as a duet with their coach for their final performances before the season’s winner is announced tomorrow night.
Jermaine Paul kicked off the night with a powerful performance of “I Believe I Can Fly,” accompanied by a gospel choir and violinists.
“I’ve listened to this song a lot of times, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard it until tonight,” said Paul’s coach Blake Shelton.
Paul finished up his performances with his tribute to Shelton, singing “God Gave Me You,” and then teamed up with Shelton for a rambunctious version of “Soul Man.”
Chris Mann brought tears to his coach Aguilera’s eyes with his performance of Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up,” which also featured a gospel choir.
Cee Lo Green praised his performance saying, “You are by far one of the most incomparable voices I’ve ever heard. If I ever fall in love again, please sing at my wedding.”
His other two songs included his duet with Aguilera, a rendition of Celine Dion’s “The Prayer,” and his tribute to his coach, “The Voice Within.”
Juliet Simms sang a rendition of Cee Lo’s Gnarls Barkley hit “Crazy,” for her tribute. She continued with that theme, singing “Born to be Wild” in her duet with her coach. She rounded out the night with a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird.”
During her performances, Cee Lo had made a noticeable wardrobe change and was seen wearing a shirt that said “No Problems.”
When it came time for his response to her performance he simply said, “I have one thing to say. With Juliet Sims on my team, I have no problems,” in reference to his shirt, and a slight dig at the night's earlier events.
The season’s winner will be announced on tomorrow’s finale at 9/8c. It will feature performances by Justin Bieber, who will sing his new hit "Boyfriend," as well as r&b singer Flo Rida.
Watch Lucca's "99 Problems" again below.
E-mail: Shannon.Ma@thr.com; Twitter: @HelloShannonM