Adam Levine eliminated before 'The Voice' semifinals even begin
With Season 16 of The Voice now sprinting to the finale like a rom-com’s leading man trying to stop a plane, five of the top 13 contestants (who were pared down from the top 24 just week) went home all at once this Tuesday. The top seven vote-getters automatically advanced, the three with the fewest votes were instantly eliminated, and then the middle three sang for the Instant Save.
As expected after last week’s lopsided results episode, which basically turned this season into The Blake Shelton Show, almost all of Blake’s contestants made it through. Well, all of the white, male, country contestants, at least: Dexter Roberts, Gyth Rigdon, Carter Lloyd Horne, and Andrew Sevener. Additionally, Kelly Clarkson’s male country artist, Rod Stokes, advanced. Maybe this season should have aired on CMT, not NBC.
Meanwhile, Adam Levine, a coach who back in the series’ glory days was once neck-and-neck with Blake’s sterling track record, lost his entire team — with two more weeks still left in the Playoffs. “Wow,” he mouthed dramatically, as the credits rolled.
Still, while it does look like Blake may be on his way to his seventh Voice victory, he doesn’t have the competition locked up just yet. John Legend’s torch singer Maelyn Jarmon, who gave the best performance on Monday’s top 13 show, was this week’s most-streamed contestant on Apple Music. And John’s soul powerhouse Shawn Sounds also secured enough votes to make the top eight. So if there’s any team that could stage an upset this season, it is Team Legend.
As for the bottom three, that comprised Team Blake’s jazz/soul chanteuse Oliv Blu, Team Kelly’s smooth pop crooner Jej Vinson, and Team Legend’s brooding indie artist Celia Babini — three of the most interesting, if inconsistent, singers left on this increasingly uninteresting season. That was sad, but hardly surprising. And so, that left Team Adam’s two contestants, soul stylist Mari and R&B belter LB Crew, along with Team Blake’s rapper Kim Cherry, singing for that one remaining spot in the top eight.
While Kim scored points with me for her cool and unexpected baritone sax solo during Team Blake’s group performance Tuesday, her solo save-me song, En Vogue’s “My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It),” was another novelty act. Kelly had advised Kim to show some variety next time with a ballad, but Kim blithely ignored Kelly and stuck with her ‘90s kooky-karaoke shtick.
Mari chose more wisely with the Sam Smith ballad version of Disclosure’s “Latch,” but her performance was shaky. I could barely even hear her at first. Was it nerves? A malfunctioning microphone? A premature sense of defeat? Anyway, as O.G. American Idol judge Randy Jackson might say, Mari worked it out in the end. But I expected this to be much more epic than it was. Mari never quite latched onto the song.
LB went surprisingly modern with Khalid’s “Better,” a move I admired. But it didn’t showcase what he did best — this probably would have been the time for him to do a gospel song — and he talked/adlibbed his way through much of the performance, his voice and stage presence seeming fatigued. I’ve heard LB sound better.
At least this time Adam advocated with equal enthusiasm for both of his contestants — unlike last season with that DeAndre Nico/Reagan Strange “Bathrobegate” scandal — but it didn’t work. If you were reading carefully a few paragraphs ago, then you already know that Kim survived. (She got 39 percent of the vote, although Mari trailed behind her with a respectable 35 percent.) That, incredibly, made her the fifth Team Blake contestant to make the top eight semifinals.
Oh well. Maybe Kim will do a sax solo next week, when the top eight perform Beatles songs. Maybe she’ll finally do a (Beatles) ballad. But regardless, next Monday’s top eight episode is going to be The Blake Shelton Show… with Adam only having a small walk-on role. See you then.