EW Staff
May 09, 2012 AT 09:13 AM EDT

By Whitney Pastorek

Stuck in traffic on the way to the finale of The Voice tonight, I felt a palpable excitement, PopWatchers. Last night’s epic battle of Jermaine Paul, Chris Mann, Juliet Simms, and Tony Lucca had featured such fireworks – both literal and (yes, Adam) metaphorical – I felt certain that I was about to bear witness to a dramatic spectacle! Would Christina punch Adam in the face? Would Tony Lucca’s wife rip out Christina’s weave? Would audience members spontaneously combust in the heat? I did not know, but I was prepared for anything.

Sadly, the answer turned out to be: none of the above. It was a somewhat languid finale for those of us there in person, as the heat in the soundstage led not to combustion, but wilting. It took very little time for Bill the Warmup Dude to inform us that we were the quietest audience ever. “Your clapping should be contagious, like a cold,” Bill told us. “I need your applause to be real applause, with both hands making noise.” Eventually he gave up, and just told everyone that Justin Bieber would be performing later. That did the trick.

We’d all arrived early for a pretape of the Hall & Oates performance, and in a refreshing change of pace from Idol’s often-absentee judging squad, all four coaches were in attendance, Adam and Blake even dressed in matching suits like a scene from an extremely promising remake of Rain Man. Cee Lo entered wearing a t-shirt featuring the names of his entire team, and Christina emerged in what might be charitably described as a sparkly adult diaper. Carson Daly briefly appeared with his son in his arms, which led the woman sitting next to me – who had only seen the back of the child’s head – to coo, “Ohhhhh. Beauuuuutiful.” Meanwhile, Hall & Oates entered the VoiceBox nearly unrecognized as the three male finalists took their places behind mic stands to serve as backup singers. (So much for “Jermaine, you’ll never be a backup singer again.”)

Side note: Oates is the size of a teacup poodle. The internet says he’s 5’4”, and if that’s true, then I’m Amar’e Stoudemire.

If you’re scoring at home, you may have noticed that “Rich Girl,” the song Hall & Oates performed, quite prominently features the word “bitch” on several occasions. It is also derogatory towards at least one woman – if not an entire subset thereof. Alas, the coaches were not encouraged to give their comments after the performance, so we’ll never know Christina’s thoughts on the matter, though she did manage to register what I’m sure was her blinding ideological rage by being the only coach not to give Hall & Oates a standing ovation. Overall, I super enjoyed the double standard of like 12 men on stage merrily singing the word “bitch” over and over and over again not 24 hours after The Incident. Don’t know if the song choice was intentional, but it was brilliant.

In between the pretape and the live show, Blake and Christina were deeply engaged in conversation, where they’d stay for the rest of the night. (Oh, to be a fly in those Starbucks cups!) Everyone else was generally milling about, setting up, blotting foreheads, swiffering things, taking pictures of each other. Bubble machines were being tested, and Carson took advantage of the downtime to shoot a line for what Bill told us was “something unrelated.” The line was, “Have you seen this new viral video by the Mob? It’s huge!” Several penis jokes were made, someone said “That’s what she said” over the P.A., and then they jokingly requested Carson do it again but in Spanish, which led to the host cheerfully nattering something in a high-pitched accent about wanting cerveza in his dressing room and tequila in his belly. All I could think was, Dude. Your son. When Bill found an audience member to do “Rapper’s Delight,” I was pretty sure it was showtime. We were reminded not to call out the coaches’ names, Carson stood stage center and crossed himself, and…

thisisTheVOICE!!! Eek! Fireworks!

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