The first live results show of The Voice Season 13 aired Tuesday, and already we had a shocker. Obviously, it was difficult to figure out which contestants deserved to be in the bottom two, since Monday’s performance show was one of the best in the series’ history. But I would have never expected Team Adam’s Jon Mero to be at risk.
Not only did Jon’s rendition of Major’s “Why I Love You” go all the way to No. 40 on the iTunes top 100 (making him the fourth-highest-charting contestant of the week, after Addison Agen, Chloe Kohanski, and Janice Freeman), and not only did he inspire Jennifer Hudson’s first shoe-toss of the top 12 live shows, but his performance was stunning — a perfect example of an underdog contestant seemingly blossoming at just the right moment.
It wasn’t surprising, however, that Adam Cunningham, another member of Adam Levine’s squad, was the other singer up for elimination on Tuesday. His “Against All Odds” top 12 performance had been an utter disaster, not just because of the dated and dreary song choice (which wasn’t his fault), but because of its flubbed intro (which totally was).
Honestly, I’d expected the other bottom two contestant to be 15-year-old Team J.Hud hopeful Shi’Ann Jones, who’d appeared out of her depth among the other more seasoned singers and was the only contestant of the week not to crack the iTunes top 100. But as Tuesday’s results proved, iTunes rankings do not always tell the whole story. Perhaps Shi’Ann’s previous generous screen time (as opposed to Jon, whose hokey performance of the Jacksons’ “Blame It on the Boogie” was montaged in the Knockouts) helped her odds.
Singing Tuesday for the Instant Save, Cunningham went back to his tried-and-true Southern rock vibe, strumming a six-string and cranking out some countrified Creedence Clearwater Revival. This was a smart move, and it was a solid and competent performance, but “Fortunate Son” wasn’t exactly the sort of passionate fight song needed to rally the nation’s (or, more accurately, the East Coast’s) Twitter troops. So, if Jon could create another magic moment like “Why I Love You” or last week’s “When We Were Young,” he had a real shot at survival.
But Jon ditched his balladeer persona and regrettably regressed, falling back on his tired corporate-party shtick with another dancey Jacksons number, “I Want You Back.” (Knowing what happens behind the scenes on this show, I am guessing that Jon chose this uptempo tune weeks ago, before he realized that slow, emotive love songs work so much better with his gorgeous falsetto and massive vocal range.) Jon’s Instant Save performance was manic and just a little bit desperate, leaving the door open for an Adam C. upset.
Adam Levine diplomatically refused to play favorites among his two team members, but I hashtagged my heart out for Jon, despite hating his silly Save Me performance. Still, after a close vote, of Adam C.’s 54 percent to Jon’s 46, the party was over for Jon Mero. I blame it on the boogie.
Hopefully Adam Cunningham, now that he’s been granted an against-all-odds second chance, won’t be forced by his coach to warble another Phil Collins song next week. He is a very fortunate son, indeed.