How much voice was on The Voice‘s finals last night? Pitbull, Ne-Yo and a vocal-track approximation of Nayer acted magnanimous, Brad Paisley acted cautionary, all four coaches acted woefully unrehearsed again for Queen (that pitchy Xtina note!), and Alison Haislip acted her way through palpitating product placement and backstage interviews given under duress. (In his “interview,” Javier rivaled Brad Paisley’s keyboardist in sulk.)
Elsewhere in song and dance, we got two performmances per teammate, except NBC would really prefer if you forgot half. See–as Carson explained about sixteen times–you were only supposed to vote on the original songs, penned by mostly-relevant songwriters but grown barely a field away from the “This Is My Now” musical content farm. If you wanted to vote based on the duets, which were uniformly better? You’re doing it wrong! Now, it’s fairly straightforward that The Voice will only count sales of the original songs (and making sales count as votes pre-empts the first-week Idol single chart-scouring), but who’s stopping me from hypothetically voting Beverly after she tore through “Beautiful,” or Vicci after Cee Lo’s psychedelic freakout? The premise is ridiculous. All it’s going to do is speed up fans’ Stockholm-syndrome attachment to these four mediocre songs until someone seriously tries to argue that “Inventing Shadows,” “Love Sick,” “Afraid To Sleep” and “Stitch By Stitch” are solid works of songwriting. But they’re also the only real songs we’ll get until tonight, as we watch Stevie Nicks wonder how she blundered into a sentence with Ryan Tedder and Pat from Train and as we experience the protracted pageantry of crowning a winner.
Until then, we’ve got to judge the performances, because the show clearly didn’t. Click NEXT to read our take on both the original songs and the duets, because come on, they should both count.