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'The Voice' recap: Jermaine Paul shines

Jermaine Paul performs in "The Voice" quarterfinals. (April

Jermaine Paul performs in "The Voice" quarterfinals. (April 2012) (Credit: NBC)

Have we reached the point where “The Voice” isn't just about the voices?

Apparently so.

Not only is the show – currently engaged in a pitched battle with “American Idol” for ratings and pop culture power – changing its rules for increased drama, last night mentor Christina Aguilera used the new rules to eliminate one of her team's strongest singers.

In a weird rules change, the show now uses a “sudden-death elimination” in the quarterfinals, where each mentor must cut a member of his or her team of four before America gets to vote. Presumably, the rest of the rules remain the same and the top vote-getter of the final three will be safe and the other two will sing again for their “coach's save.”

TEAM BLAKE

Blake Shelton's Final Four showed that great singers don't necessarily need great songs to succeed. But it helps.

Jermaine Paul was clearly the best of the night, turning Phil Collins' “Against All Odds” into a far bigger vocal showcase than the original. RaeLynn showed how she is destined to be country's next big star as she growled and twanged her way through Jason Aldean's “She's Country.”

Erin Willett ill-advisedly took on Adele's “Set Fire to the Rain” and did OK. But how exactly was she supposed to out sing Adele on this?

Jordis Unga had an emotional connection to Sara Evans' “A Little Bit Stronger,” but the song itself didn't really allow her to show off her vocals. She was then cut by Blake, who said he was letting her go because of America's votes, which put her in the bottom three two weeks ago. That's not a very good reason from a team leader, but she didn't really stand a chance to move forward instead of Jermaine and RaeLynn. Neither does Erin.

THE RANKINGS

Jermaine Paul, “Against All Odds”
RaeLynn, “She's Country”
Erin Willett, “Set Fire to the Rain”
Jordis Unga, “A Little Bit Stronger”

ELIMINATED: Jordis
SHOULD HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED: Jordis

AMERICA'S SAVE: Jermaine
BLAKE'S SAVE: RaeLynn (*ACTUALLY SAVED: Erin)

TEAM CHRISTINA

Christina Aguilera's decision to cut Jesse Campbell before America even had a chance to vote was shocking.

The 40-something singer with a powerful soulful voice had just delivered a poignant version of  Beyoncé's “Halo” and discussed how he was rebuilding a relationship with his daughter after his time being homeless. It was one of the best performances of the night and certainly the best from Team Christina, though front-runner Chris Mann's operatic take on Coldplay's “Viva la Vida” did come close.

Nevertheless, Christina cut him, saying something about following her gut and wanting the most diverse team possible going forward. Um, OK. Could it more likely be that Campbell is in his 40s, while the rest of her team is far younger?

I get why she wanted to keep Lindsey Pavao, who once again tried to pick up votes by singing a currently popular song – this time, Katy Perry's “Part of Me” – but she isn't a better singer than Campbell.

And I get why she kept Ashley De La Rosa, who Christina has made a personal project. Giving her Jewel's “Foolish Games” as reworked by Evanescence was a good idea, but there was too much of the original that Ashley had to get through. The teenager is improving quickly, but she's still not on the same level as the rest of her team.

That said, look for her to get saved instead of Lindsey tonight, if it comes to that. If somehow Lindsey gets America's vote instead of Chris? I have no idea what will happen.

THE RANKINGS

Jesse Campbell, “Halo”
Chris Mann, “Viva la Vida”
Lindsey Pavao, “Part of Me”
Ashley De La Rosa, “Foolish Games”

ELIMINATED: Jesse
SHOULD HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED: Ashley

AMERICA'S SAVE: Chris
CHRISTINA'S SAVE: Ashley (ACTUALLY SAVED: Lindsey)
 

Tags: The Voice , Chris Mann , Jesse Campbell , Lindsey Pavao , Ashley De La Rosa , Jermaine Paul , RaeLynn , Erin Willett , Jordis Unga , Blake Shelton , Christina Aguilera

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