by Carly Mallenbaum, USA TODAY
"Judging by America's election, America has great taste, so I'm not worried," said CeeLo Green about his and Christina Aguilera's teams first live playoffs . And with that, NBC's The Voice began its post-Election Day episode on Wednesday. Then on Thursday (8 ET/PT), 20 voices will shrink to 12 with the help of America's votes and the judges' saves.
Both teams opened with show with My Chemical Romance's Sing, and then it was time to get down to business. Here's how the songs went:
Adriana Louise, a 22-year-old waitress, wore a sequined mini-dress to perform a challenging pop hit: Firework. Though she didn't measure up to Katy Perry's original, that could have been due to sound mixing issues. The coaches were all for it. "Team CeeLo does consider you worthy competition," said the opposing coach as a compliment. "You have the most amazing energy," said Christina. Adam Levine admitted, "It's a total bitch to sing that song."
Former church singer De'borah put her whole body into her uninhibited performance of Who Knew by Pink. The coaches loved her energy and soulful voice, expressing their thoughts rather poetically. "I feel your confidence," said CeeLo, "and that pain is very compelling." Adam said, "The voice is only as good as the soul that pushes it. And you have all of that." Blake Shelton, less eloquently, joked, "I would have hyper-extended something" if I moved like you do on stage. Christina said, "You command a stage like no one on this whole show can do."
Twenty-year-old powerhouse Devyn DeLoera sang Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis. In a red dress and red lipstick, with lights that pulsed along with the heartbeat of the music and vocal runs aplenty, her performance was decidedly not soft, though according to her video that's what she was going for. Host Carson Daly chimed in, saying it was "the right song at the right time," but not all of the coaches agreed. "I know you're a much better performer than this performance would suggest, so to speak," said CeeLo. "I was looking forward to a more soft performance," Blake said. Christina thought Devyn was "amazing," and liked that she "went for that big note at the end."
Egyptian pop singer Sylvia Yacoub, 19, slowed it down for the second Katy Perry song of the night, The One That Got Away. On the keys (though they seemed to play when her hands were off of the piano), she channeled emotion through her face and powerful voice. "That was probably my favorite performance of the night," said CeeLo. Adam liked the "stripped down" performance. "You definitely deserve to move forward. You're gonna be fine," he said. Coach Christina said, "You were a true artist tonight."
Dez Duron, the former football player who tried out last season, went country with Hunter Hayes' Wanted. He made viewers "feel wanted," as the song goes, by wearing a leather jacket, caressing the mike and working the crowd. "It's gonna be a loud one, ladies," said Carson, anticipating the cheers from the crowd that drowned out the judges. When the audience quieted, Adam said, "The good news is the girls really love you. I kinda wanna see you break out even more." Blake said, "How dare you not pick me as a coach, and then pick a country song?" He noted that Dez's runs were very "accurate." Christina stood and clapped for her singer. "You nailed it," she said.
Country boy Cody Belew knew his performance rocked as he more than pulled off George Michael's One More Try with his layered voice, suave blazer and quirky dance moves. Adam thought the song choice and performance was "brilliant." "You've become one of my favorites," said Blake, "and one of my wife's (Miranda Lambert) favorites." Christina smiled, "CeeLo has made all the right decisions keeping you around." Coach CeeLo said, "You looked like a seasoned professional."
Peruvian musician Diego Val sang Bailamos by Enrique Iglesias. He had the boy band gestures down (singing with his hand over his heart, working the female crowd), but for a song that means "we dance," he was a little light in energy. "Sometimes you weren't fully engaged in it," said Adam. Christina agreed he was not "a hundred and fifty percent into" the performance, and we learned that's because Diego prefers original music, instead of covers. CeeLo said, "I think that you're naturally cool. I think that all of these American women are gonna vote for you ... but it wasn't your best performance."
What Makes You Beautiful seemed an obvious song choice for MacKenzie Bourg, 19, who looks like a One Directioner himself. He started the song with an acoustic guitar, but ditched it to... stand still. His charms and voice won the crowd over, though. "You're freakin' adorable," said Adam. "You're an American idol, but I don't know if you're the winner of The Voice," he said, referring to MacKenzie's pop sound and look. "I'm trying to figure out what Adam just said," joked Blake. Christina added, "You're definitely a little charmer. You have this knack of re-creating, in an organic way, well-known pop tunes." (MacKenzie sang Call Me Maybe in an earlier round.) CeeLo said, "I wanna see more energy...get this crowd involved. You gotta make America believe."
You might not think a white, bearded, bespectacled fellow could pull off Barry White. Then you probably haven't heard family man Nicholas David's rendition of You're the First, the Last, My Everything. The crowd freaked out over Nicholas' soulful bass, and so did the judges. "I wanna make a baby now," the sign of a good Barry White cover, said Adam, who had to wait for the cheers to stop before he could comment. Blake said, "You're not supposed to look like that, and sound like that. Thank God for The Voice." Coach CeeLo said he could see Nicholas go "all the way." He added, "You just really can do no wrong in my book."
Eighteen-year-old Trevin Hunte sounded much older than his years in Michael Bolton's How Am I Supposed to Live Without You. His deep, emotional voice brought Blake and CeeLo to their feet. "You have everything it takes to win The Voice," said Blake. Christina said, "There's something so special about you. I really want CeeLo to push you to give us more." CeeLo was proud. "I'm speechless. You did such a wonderful job," he said.
Copyright 2012 USATODAY.com