With apologies to EW DANCMSTR Annie Barrett — this week, The Voice finally went liiiiiiiive, and what a show it was. That tricked-out, fog-filled, lightsaber-ready stage! Those ridiculous, ridiculous backup dancers! The increasingly irritating interruptions from Alison Haislip, Official V-Correspondent®™©! And then, of course, there were the performances themselves, which ran the gamut from fabulous to fabulously awkward. (Poor Xenia, amiright?) Though the broadcast lasted a full two hours, it managed to move fairly quickly, and it wasn’t nearly as bogged down with filler as I feared it’d be.
Well, maybe that’s not totally true. But hey, at least the filler was entertaining. I could watch Team Christina perform the crap out of “Lady Marmalade” over and over again, and I plan to do just that as soon as video of their rendition hits the World Wide Web. (My one complaint: Nobody did the Lil’ Kim rap or imitated her grunting “hey, hey, hoh-hoh-hoh-hoh-hoh-hoh-hoh,” two moments scientifically proven to be the best parts of “Lady Marmalade.”)
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The program kicked off with a an inexplicable medley of Queen songs — Adam told his mama he’d just killed a man, Blake and Cee Lo promised they would rock us, Christina proclaimed the coaches to be the champions while wearing what appeared to be Lily’s hotpants, only shorter — and yet another quick summation of the competition thus far. Carson then explained how the next few legs of the competition would work: Tonight, all of Blake and Christina’s vocalists would perform. Viewers could then vote to save one singer, while the coaches would also elect to keep one of their team members. But we won’t learn who stays and who goes until the show’s next episode, during which members of Teams Adam and Cee Lo will also perform individually and the process will begin anew. Though it was a bummer to learn that we’d have to wait seven more days before hearing from Vicci Martinez, Jeff Jenkins, and Javier Colon again, I can also understand why the show’s been structured the way it has; there’d be no way to squeeze 16 performances into about 85 minutes of screen time.
So instead, we got eight performances — and most of them were pretty great. Sure, it was annoying (but unsurprising) that the coaches refrained from giving any constructive criticism whatsoever, and it was beyond annoying how almost every contender was labeled “one of my favorites” by at least one member of the panel right after he or she sang. As The Incredibles and Ayn Rand taught us, if everyone is special, then no one is. But The Voice‘s high production values and the amount of thought that was put into the staging of each song went a long way toward mitigating these grievances. Some might grumble that a show that’s ostensibly all about rewarding pure vocal talent shouldn’t waste time with razzle dazzle and choreography. To those people, I say only this: Did you see those four dudes gyrating wildly around Lily? That’s reality TV gold right there.
NEXT: Raquel’s about to blow (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh!)