The Voice Recap: Playoffs Again, Sam

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If you read a transcript of the coaches’ comments on The Voice, you might think they loved everyone equally all the time. But, of course, you’d be missing the nuances that can be derived from tone of voice and facial expression.

So while Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green respectively had nice things to say about their proteges Devyn Deloera and Diego Val during Wednesday night’s Live Playoffs performance show, their inflections told a different tale: “If you’re not one of America’s top two vote-getters on my team, don’t expect me to waste my third slot on the likes of your pedestrian booty.”

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Of course, half the viewing audience probably missed the memo because they were too distracted by the shockingly bad camera work on display for much of the episode. I thought maybe the producers hated opening act Adriana Louise when the director cut to the side of some dude’s head midway through her performance, and then later used a shot taken from somewhere in the parking lot that reduced the singer to a tiny ant scrambling for crumbs. But nope, the inscrutable images just kept on coming throughout the show. Here’s hoping NBC steps in and solves the problem before the Top 12 telecast airs next Monday.

Speaking of Top 12, here’s how I think Xtina and Cee Lo should prune their teams of five down to three come Thursday night’s results:

TEAM XTINA
Absolutely should advance:
* De’Borah: She displayed the flexibility of Gumby and the pipes of a future legend on Pink’s “Who Knew.” Tell me I’m not the only person who bursts with joy every time this girl takes the stage.

* Sylvia Yacoub: I thought she was going to be Knockout Rounds cannon fodder, but Sylvia has shown massive improvement in her last two performances. Watching her sit at the piano and give an achingly lovely spin on Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away,” Sylvia definitively separated herself from Team Xtina’s seemingly endless parade of pretty pop-diva types.

Absolutely should go home:
* Devyn Deleora: Her “Bleeding Love” went so off the rails in the final third that it’d seem to cruel to make the obvious “bleeding from the ears” joke here.

Could go either way:
* If De’Borah and Sylvia advance via public vote — and they certainly should — then Xtina’s save will come down to Adriana Louise or Dez Duron. Personally, I thought the former’s “Firework” was the superior vocal over the latter’s “Wanted,” but methinks the constant harping by Carson and the judges that ladies love cool Dez means he’ll be the one cracking the Top 12.

TEAM CEE LO
Absolutely should advance:
* Cody Belew: Okay, so Cody’s campy shimmying was a little lounge act-ish, but his vocal was pretty close to flawless, and he’s got a head of hair even more impressive than Dez’s. The Top 12 just wouldn’t be as much fun without him.

Absolutely should go home:
* Diego Val: Dude may not have been thrilled about getting saddled with the supercheesy “Bailamos,” but delivering it with the enthusiasm of a ninth-grader being forced to answer a question in algebra class probably didn’t help his cause. And unlike Blake, I couldn’t get past the dude’s lack of socks with his brown dress shoes anyhow.

Could go either way:
* Okay, okay, so the much-hyped and clearly very talented Trevin Hunte is obviously going to advance, but I’m not really sure I’d be upset if he didn’t. To my ears, the kid needs a few more years of experience — and the ability to understand when a song will collapse under the weight of too many runs and ad libs — before he’s ready for prime time. Cee Lo was all about stripping down the arrangement of “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You,” but he should’ve focused on stripping down Trevin’s vocal.

* I have my doubts that Mackenzie Bourg or Nicholas David could win the whole enchilada, but I can’t help but feel they’d be more interesting finalists than Trevin. The former’s acoustic rendition of “What Makes You Beautiful” was remniscent of Kris Allen’s best work on American Idol (with 35 percent less vocal power and emotional connectedness) while the latter’s cover of Barry White’s “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” was a sublimely strange song choice delivered with total earnestness. (Side note: Did anyone else think the bearded soul man’s voice sounded a little richer in rehearsal than it did on the big stage?)

And with that, I turn it over to you.

Who were your favorites from The Voice’s‘s second night of live playoffs? Who’s definitely going home? Hit the comments with your thoughts!

p.s. Due to Hurricane Sandy leaving me without cable and internet for six days, there’ll be no new Reality Check till next Monday. Last week’s kick-awesome episode, however, is embedded below!


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