NBC’s ‘The Voice’ review: Jamar Rogers rocks out second live show

Adam and Cee Lo strong teams.

After a week of performances on “The Voice” that really made us groan, we have to say that Team Adam and Team Blake have so many strong contestants, they really put the other teams to shame. Outside of a few exceptions (Chris Mann, Jesse Campbell), the majority of these people would have gone through last week.

However, we also saw someone dressed Cleopatra.

Katrina Parker (Adam Levine) – We don’t really know whose idea it was to force Katrina into doing a bizarre arrangement of “Tonight, Tonight” that did her no her no favors whatsoever. It took away the meaning of the lyrics, and it didn’t suit her voice.

To make matters worse, Katrina had some bad notes at the end that made almost forget about how stellar she was earlier this season in the Battle Rounds.

Chessa (Cee Lo Green) – Despite having a bizarre name that we really don’t understand at all, we will admit that Chessa did a pretty admirable job with a performance that had some great vocals, and far fewer bum notes than Katrina during her performance.

The only issue? We agree with Adam Levine that Chessa’s performance is likely to get lost in the crowd over the course of the night.

Tony Lucca (Adam) – What in the world was Christina Aguilera saying? Her critique of Tony about his star power giving him an advantage actually felt awkward and even cruel to a guy who obviously wasn’t trying to make a big deal out of being in “The Mickey Mouse Club.”

Chris Mann was really the only contestant last week who touched us emotionally, and Tony was the first person during this show to do so with a soulful cover of a song we love in Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.” (Then again, we love almost all Peter Gabriel.) While he doesn’t have a ton of range, when you feel a performance as much as Tony did, big notes don’t necessarily matter.

Kim Yarbrough (Adam) – We all know Kim can sing, but we have no idea why Adam allowed her to sing “Rolling in the Deep.” This song has been done a million times by a million people, and we can think of a few reality show contestants (see Misha B from “The X Factor” UK or Haley Reinhart on “American Idol”) who have done it better.

We were surprised at just how honest some of these coaches were here about this performance, whether it was Kim’s issues with being in tune or the fact that she needed a different song.

James Massone (Cee Lo) – With the way that some of the ladies were cheering for James, we thought for a second that he must have been the love child of Justin Bieber and One Direction. Unfortunately, James spent so much time trying to enchant the crowd that he occasionally forgot about projecting (that and the crowd nearly drowned him out).

Whenever we could hear James’ take on “Don’t Know Why,” it was rather sweet; but it was a bit too cheeky (occasionally to the point of self-parody) and he also needed to watch the intonation on his high notes.

Juliet Simms (Cee Lo) – Is it just us, or does anyone else think of this whenever you hear “Roxanne” by The Police? While she occasionally came close to shouting a few notes rather than singing, this was overall just a great performance.

There were two things that made what Juliet did even better — Cee Lo ruffling his pants after it was over, and the way Juliet acted surprised by every piece of criticism like she was Taylor Swift winning an award.

Mathai (Adam) – In continuing a trend of people doing songs we love, Mathai’s rendition ¬†of John Legend’s “Ordinary People” was brilliant. It’s a song with so much emotional potential, and Mathai really milked it to the best of her ability.

What we really loved about the end of this was the run during the closing notes; as for what she could work on, there was a tiny bit of a lounge flavor and some notes did veer close to out-of-tune territory.

Tony Vincent (Cee Lo) – We love Tony, but at first we thought that “Everybody Want to Rule the World” was a bit of an unusual choice. We understood it a bit better once he got going, though — he spent the first half of the performance hovering around like a puppetmaster on top of a what looked to be the world’s largest podium, but then he came back down to the ground at the end.

The great thing about Tony is that he can take a song that is rather limited vocally and turn it into something creative and rather fascinating to watch. We also don’t want him to have to come out every week and hit some high notes just for the sake of doing so. For the sake of performance value along, you have to keep the guy around. Please.

Karla Davis (Adam) – We have a hard time remembering who Karla is, and with that we were absolutely thrilled to see her decide to perform something in “Airplanes” that was far from her country roots, and could show off something that would make us remember her.

We like that she gave an interesting vocal sensibility to the B.o.B verses, and now we wish she had a voice that matched her creativity. Not only did she fail to project, but there were some breath issues throughout that caused there to be more pauses that this (or any) performance needs.

Erin Martin (Cee Lo) – What in the world was Erin wearing? We’re still trying to figure out her Cleopatra choice, just as much we are when it comes to her song of “Walk Like an Egyptian.”

Outside of the random male dancers moving around and Erin getting distracted by all of it, this is about the voice — and Erin picked a song that did absolutely nothing for her voice. This performance makes us miss the Shields Brothers, who Cee Lo should’ve picked. We like theatricality, but only when it has an audible voice to go with it. (Think Kitty Brucknell.)

Pip (Adam) – We’re a broken record this week, but we love The Killers’ “When You Were Young” — it’s a great and surprising moving song, but it really just didn’t suit the person that he is at all. He is someone who is more pop than rock n’ roll — even if Pip does bear a slight resemblance to Brandon Flowers.

Moving forward, we do think that Pip is better suited for pop than rock, and he may be well-suited to even do a ballad (even though we have loved how the show this week has not pulled an “Idol” and shoved dreary ballads down our throats.

Jamar Rogers (Cee Lo) – Can we call Jamar the frontrunner? Some of the other coaches are out of their minds for not wanting this guy, even if he would have picked Cee Lo to be the coach anyone.

This was a sensational performance of “Are You Going To Go My Way,” one that was not only the best of the first two live shows, but also one that cements him as a frontrunner. From his vocals to his performance ability, we actually felt like he was controlling the stage rather than it controlling him (guys with stilts included).

While we do feel as though Cee Lo did the better job coaching during this episode, we were really thoroughly entertained this week for the first tie in quite a while. If the performances stay at this sort of level (even with a few exceptions here and there), we are going to be for quite a treat the rest of the way.

Who was your favorite this week? If we had to pick the acts that should advance, it goes something like this:

Cee Lo – Jamar Rogers, Tony Vincent, Juliet Simms, and James Massone

Adam – Mathai, Tony Lucca, Pip, and Kim Yarbrough

Photo: NBC

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