Heartthrobs’ bromance comes to ‘heartbreaking’ end on ‘The Voice’

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The technical issues that made The Voice’s new Cross-Battles such a&nbsp;disaster&nbsp;last Monday were thankfully smoothed over in this second week, but the new format — in which contestants from opposing teams face off for the public’s votes — was still a personal disaster for Team Blake’s Carter Lloyd Horne and Team Legend’s Jacob Maxwell, when the two “best friends” were unexpectedly forced to battle each other.” data-reactid=”16″>The technical issues that made The Voice’s new Cross-Battles such a disaster last Monday were thankfully smoothed over in this second week, but the new format — in which contestants from opposing teams face off for the public’s votes — was still a personal disaster for Team Blake’s Carter Lloyd Horne and Team Legend’s Jacob Maxwell, when the two “best friends” were unexpectedly forced to battle each other.

“It’s a little heartbreaking,” Carter said of the awkward situation this Monday. John Legend, who’d made the seemingly spur-of-the-moment decision to pit Jacob against Carter after Blake Shelton challenged him, seemed chagrined, saying, “I’m sad you’re two good friends. I didn’t know that, Blake! I’m sorry.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“It was the last thing we wanted, but we can see the fit,” Jacob said ruefully, acknowledging his obvious similarities to Carter. They’re both long-haired Harry Styles-style heartthrobs, basically. In a showdown of haircuts and natty menswear, this was an even match that’d surely end in a Steal or Save. But vocally, there was a clear winner here.” data-reactid=”18″>“It was the last thing we wanted, but we can see the fit,” Jacob said ruefully, acknowledging his obvious similarities to Carter. They’re both long-haired Harry Styles-style heartthrobs, basically. In a showdown of haircuts and natty menswear, this was an even match that’d surely end in a Steal or Save. But vocally, there was a clear winner here.

Carter’s cover of Kaleo’s “Way Down We Go” surprised me. I’d assumed that he was a lightweight, and I had no idea he had so much grit and smoke in his tone. Did he undergo some sort of Peter Brady-style voice change since the Battle Rounds were taped weeks ago? This was a sexy, confident, very manly performance.

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Jacob took on Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One” — but he was not the one. His shy Shania performance was limp and listless. So I am afraid the Carter/Jacob bromance of Season 16 is about to come to an early end. I’d say we still have the Blake Shelton/Adam Levine bromance to look forward to… but on Monday, a nasty Adam actually told Blake he “hated” him, more than once, so perhaps the bloom is off that rose for good. (Well, at least the&nbsp;Adam Levine/Charlie Puth bromance&nbsp;still seems to be going strong.)” data-reactid=”22″>Jacob took on Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One” — but he was not the one. His shy Shania performance was limp and listless. So I am afraid the Carter/Jacob bromance of Season 16 is about to come to an early end. I’d say we still have the Blake Shelton/Adam Levine bromance to look forward to… but on Monday, a nasty Adam actually told Blake he “hated” him, more than once, so perhaps the bloom is off that rose for good. (Well, at least the Adam Levine/Charlie Puth bromance still seems to be going strong.)

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Jacob will likely be a goner on Tuesday’s live results show, but the coaches will still have some input; after last week, Blake has one Steal left, and Kelly Clarkson and John each have a Save. Let’s look at Monday’s other seven Cross-Battles and assess:

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="LB Crew (Team Adam) vs. Jej Vinson (Team Kelly)” data-reactid=”26″>LB Crew (Team Adam) vs. Jej Vinson (Team Kelly)

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The oft-covered spiritual at first seemed like an odd choice for LB, as it started off at a molasses pace. But the dramatic song gave LB space to grow, and by the end, LB had masterfully built it to a grand, growly crescendo. “Epic” would be a good word to describe this performance. Still, it was pretty old-fashioned. (I mean, the song was written in 1901!) Jej, one of my favorite contestants this season, went modern with Bruno Mars’s "Versace on the Floor," but it wasn’t as epic as I’d hoped. The midtempo song didn’t build or go anywhere, and it was too languid and laid-back after LB had just taken the show to church. My vote is still for Jej, because I think he’s more interesting and relevant, but I think America is going to go for LB, whom both John and Blake declared the victor.” data-reactid=”27″>The oft-covered spiritual at first seemed like an odd choice for LB, as it started off at a molasses pace. But the dramatic song gave LB space to grow, and by the end, LB had masterfully built it to a grand, growly crescendo. “Epic” would be a good word to describe this performance. Still, it was pretty old-fashioned. (I mean, the song was written in 1901!) Jej, one of my favorite contestants this season, went modern with Bruno Mars’s “Versace on the Floor,” but it wasn’t as epic as I’d hoped. The midtempo song didn’t build or go anywhere, and it was too languid and laid-back after LB had just taken the show to church. My vote is still for Jej, because I think he’s more interesting and relevant, but I think America is going to go for LB, whom both John and Blake declared the victor.

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Kalvin Jarvis (Team Adam) vs. Julian King (Team Legend)” data-reactid=”32″>Kalvin Jarvis (Team Adam) vs. Julian King (Team Legend)

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Kalvin transformed Best New Artist Grammy-winner Dua Lipa’s "New Rules" from an electropop bop into a dark, menacing, tortured neo-soul ballad. I wished he’d kept the pronouns intact, but other than that, I loved Kalvin’s risk-taking and creativity here. This is what talent shows in 2019 should be all about, people! As for Julian, I really don’t need to hear Adele’s “Hello” on a talent show ever again after American Idol contestant Dimitrius Graham’s brilliantly twisted version a couple weeks ago. While Julian’s Spanglish was a nice touch, his runs were overdone and fussy, and his pitch was far from perfect. Voters should say hello to Kalvin instead.” data-reactid=”33″>Kalvin transformed Best New Artist Grammy-winner Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” from an electropop bop into a dark, menacing, tortured neo-soul ballad. I wished he’d kept the pronouns intact, but other than that, I loved Kalvin’s risk-taking and creativity here. This is what talent shows in 2019 should be all about, people! As for Julian, I really don’t need to hear Adele’s “Hello” on a talent show ever again after American Idol contestant Dimitrius Graham’s brilliantly twisted version a couple weeks ago. While Julian’s Spanglish was a nice touch, his runs were overdone and fussy, and his pitch was far from perfect. Voters should say hello to Kalvin instead.

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The series’ first-ever trio took on the Box Tops, and while I’ve swooned for the Bundys’ family-band harmonies in past performance, their “The Letter” was nothing to write home about. This was a county fair performance, and absolutely the wrong song choice. As for Andrew, who sang Travis Tritt’s “Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde,” his singular voice was more robust than all three Bundy voices combined, but his aggressive and goofy onstage mugging felt very county fair as well. I suppose I’d keep the Bundys for the novelty factor, but both contestants should just leave the show and join the already-ousted Nathan & Chesi on a bill at some rodeo matinee.

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Shawn Sounds (Team Legend) vs. Karly Moreno (Team Blake)” data-reactid=”46″>Shawn Sounds (Team Legend) vs. Karly Moreno (Team Blake)

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Like Adele, Sam Smith is a singer that most Voice contestants would be wise to avoid. But Shawn had the warm-buttery voice, emotional heft, and elastic range to take on “Lay Me Down.” He gave it a smoove ‘90s R&amp;B vibe, a la Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road,” and I was digging it. As for Karly, it’s probably the end of the road for her. At least half of her performance of “Down” consisted of random scatting, and the other half was squeaky and shrieky. It felt unfocused. Karly made some interesting artistic choices, but she didn’t execute them well.” data-reactid=”47″>Like Adele, Sam Smith is a singer that most Voice contestants would be wise to avoid. But Shawn had the warm-buttery voice, emotional heft, and elastic range to take on “Lay Me Down.” He gave it a smoove ‘90s R&B vibe, a la Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road,” and I was digging it. As for Karly, it’s probably the end of the road for her. At least half of her performance of “Down” consisted of random scatting, and the other half was squeaky and shrieky. It felt unfocused. Karly made some interesting artistic choices, but she didn’t execute them well.

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Kendra Checketts (Team Adam) vs. Jimmy Mowery (Team Legend)” data-reactid=”52″>Kendra Checketts (Team Adam) vs. Jimmy Mowery (Team Legend)

Power-singer Kendra’s rich, thick tone sounded sublime on Major Lazer’s dark and dramatic “Cold Water.” This was a breakout moment from someone who, frankly, hadn’t been on my radar much this season. Jimmy’s rendition of Shawn Mendes’s “Mercy,” however, left me cold. He needed to deliver more raw emotion to compete with the other-level Kendra. Maybe one of the coaches will have mercy on Jimmy this Tuesday, but I think it is his time to go.

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Rebecca Howell (Team Kelly) vs. Beth Griffith-Manley (Team Legend)” data-reactid=”58″>Rebecca Howell (Team Kelly) vs. Beth Griffith-Manley (Team Legend)

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Rebecca’s attempt at a Shania cover was more successful than Jacob’s, but her “Any Man of Mine” could’ve been sung by just about anyone. It was competent, but generic, and it felt dated. Beth’s red-hot "I Put a Spell on You," however, was timeless — and definitely not generic! This was theater. Beth took The Voice to church and to the cabaret, panther-prowling the stage like Eartha Kitt, sex-eyeing the camera lens, and putting a spell on the entire audience. No contest here.” data-reactid=”59″>Rebecca’s attempt at a Shania cover was more successful than Jacob’s, but her “Any Man of Mine” could’ve been sung by just about anyone. It was competent, but generic, and it felt dated. Beth’s red-hot “I Put a Spell on You,” however, was timeless — and definitely not generic! This was theater. Beth took The Voice to church and to the cabaret, panther-prowling the stage like Eartha Kitt, sex-eyeing the camera lens, and putting a spell on the entire audience. No contest here.

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Gyth Rigdon (Team Blake) vs. Abby Kasch (Team Kelly)” data-reactid=”64″>Gyth Rigdon (Team Blake) vs. Abby Kasch (Team Kelly)

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Gyth did Conway Twitty’s “Goodbye Time,” which was once covered by his own coach, Blake, so I am sure he locked down the core Voice viewership’s vote. It was solid, if not spectacular, but Gyth’s emoting seemed sincere. I preferred the sassy Abby, who came out with guns blazing on Carrie Underwood’s “Cupid’s Got a Shotgun” and ended the episode with a bang. But I predict America will go for Gyth. “I’m telling you, this guy’s gonna be in the finale,” proclaimed Blake, clearly gunning for a seventh win.” data-reactid=”65″>Gyth did Conway Twitty’s “Goodbye Time,” which was once covered by his own coach, Blake, so I am sure he locked down the core Voice viewership’s vote. It was solid, if not spectacular, but Gyth’s emoting seemed sincere. I preferred the sassy Abby, who came out with guns blazing on Carrie Underwood’s “Cupid’s Got a Shotgun” and ended the episode with a bang. But I predict America will go for Gyth. “I’m telling you, this guy’s gonna be in the finale,” proclaimed Blake, clearly gunning for a seventh win.

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