Final four also perform with their judges before the winner is chosen Tuesday night.
By John Mitchell
The final night of competition proved intense and tough to call Monday night (May 7) on “The Voice” as rocker Juliet Simms, singer/songwriter Tony Lucca, former R&B backup singer Jermaine Paul and classically trained Chris Mann brought everything they had to the stage hoping to land enough votes to take home the title in Tuesday’s live grand finale.
But it wasn’t all business, as each of the final four also took the stage with their respective coach for a series of powerhouse performances that showcased the onstage chemistry born from both compatibility — looking at you, chill rocker boys Adam Levine and Lucca and vocal dynamos Christina Aguilera and Mann — and unlikely pairings (think country crooner Blake Shelton and Paul and funky soul man Cee Lo and Simms).
First up was Team Blake’s Jermaine, who wasn’t taking any chances with his song choice, going straight for a mid-’90s jam that has practically become an R&B standard, R. Kelly’s inspirational “I Believe I Can Fly.”
His simple, clean and emotional performance — Adam called it “elegant” — earned plenty of praise, with Christina admitting, “That song was made for you. You came out classy and positive.” Blake couldn’t have been more pleased, adding, “My heart is in my throat right now. I’ve heard that song a million times, but I don’t feel like I’ve ever really heard it before tonight.”
As a surprise thank you to their coaches, the final four also hit the stage to sing one of their mentor’s biggest hits. Juliet Simms, looking great with newly raven locks and powering through throat issues that Cee Lo revealed at the top of the show, was up first with a rocking take on Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy.” She was followed later in the show by Chris Mann singing Christina’s emotional ballad “The Voice Within,” Paul’s clean take on Shelton’s country hit “God Gave Me You” and Tony’s faithful rendition of Maroon 5′s “Harder to Breathe.”
When it came time for the first coach/contestant pairing, Christina and Chris found a song that was so clearly recorded specifically for them to sing live on “The Voice” tonight, we wonder if Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion had a crystal ball with them when they hit the studio. That song was “The Prayer,” and Xtina hit it on the nose during the rehearsal montage, saying, “We connected so perfectly together, it was effortless.”
And they did, of course; the two were meant to perform together.
The next competitive performance came from Team Adam’s Tony Lucca, who Adam admitted needed “another moment” (like his rock remix of Britney Spears’ ” … Baby One More Time” a few weeks ago) to increase his shot at winning the competition. He found it in a rockabilly reimagining of Jay-Z’s “99 Problems,” complete with a harmonica and washboard (like you’d use for laundry) for accompaniment.
Unsurprisingly, Christina, who has taken issue with her former “Mickey Mouse Club” co-star often in the past, found fault in Lucca’s song choice, saying the B-word that Lucca muted from the song (but which we all know is there) was disrespectful to women. Adam was smartly ready for Christina to slag on Lucca, explaining that the term was more of a metaphor for all the things that drag you down.
Indeed, Christina’s criticism of Lucca was so anticipated by Adam that while explaining the song choice, he ripped off his flannel to reveal a sparkling “Team Xtina” T-shirt that forced even the temperamental Aguilera to laugh off the obviously good-natured snarking.
(Also, we’ll be needing one of those T-shirts. As a superstar musician, Adam, we have a feeling you know how to find us at MTV HQ in New York City.)
Like Xtina and Chris, Cee Lo and Juliet managed to find a perfect song for their coach/contender performance, Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild.” Their take on it, despite an abundance of studded leather and onstage motorcycles, however, fell kind of flat. (Lucky for Juliet, this wasn’t the performance that really counted for her.)
We’re starting to wonder if Blake is getting jealous of Lucca, because it seems his bromance with coach Adam blossoms more and more each week, coming to a chemistry-filled fruition when the two hit the stage together to sing the Beatles’ “Yesterday.” Tony plucked the guitar, both crooned and, in all seriousness, the pair delivered a simple, clean take on the classic that left both grinningly pleased when they reached those key final chords.
For his competitive performance, Mann went for his nearest peer in popular music, Josh Groban. It’s no surprise that Mann nailed “You Raise Me Up,” bringing his coach Christina to tears. Cee Lo called his voice “incomparable,” and it’s a fact that no one can argue.
For their joint performance, Blake, who throughout the show has always proven a little more willing than the other judges (save maybe music Renaissance man Cee Lo) to step outside his comfort zone, leapt off the deep end and joined Jermaine for a funky, horn-filled “Soul Man” that was anything but country.
It was a joyous and lively performance that makes us wonder if Adam is the one who should be jealous. There was definite onstage chemistry between Blake and Jermaine — and so another “Voice” bromance (we know, they hate that word, but we don’t care) is born.
The night ended on a high note: Juliet Simms’ blistering tear into Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird.” The only woman in the final four, Simms stunned in a Florence Welch-esque gown and cape that Christina Aguilera gave props to. From one diva to another, Xtina also offered Juliet words of encouragement, as she was also under the weather — though you might not know it from her performance.
Juliet tore the song up, and along with an amazing accompanying guitar riff, it was a performance that simply screamed “rock star.” She earned a standing ovation from her judge Cee Lo, but it was Adam that perhaps gave the most astute observation, saying, “I have no grit in my voice and you have all of it.”
Don’t knock yourself down, Adam, but you are right &8212; Juliet’s voice is one of a kind.
With a Universal Republic Records contract on the line, we’ll learn Tuesday who America has chosen as “The Voice.”
Which performance was your favorite of the night? Let us know in the comments below!
‘He’s into skating, like that’s his life,’ Bieber tells MTV News of the Young Money rapper.
By Jocelyn Vena, with reporting by Sway Calloway
When Justin Bieber was photographed with Lil Wayne back in February, fans got an insider look at the pair’s shared love for skateboarding. The singer and the Young Money MC were snapped standing on a half-pipe, skateboards in hand, chatting.
On Thursday, Bieber sat down with MTV News to premiere his video for “Boyfriend,” and he shared just how deep the rapper’s love for skating goes.
“He just hit me the other night,” Bieber said. “I was going to go to his video shoot he had. He was skating here . I was gonna go skate with him, but it was like 4:30 in morning he called me. So it was really too late for that. He’s into skating, like that’s his life.”
When asked to rate his own skills versus Weezy’s, Bieber explained that it’s more complex than that. “I mean, it’s different,” he said. “I like more street stuff. He does a lot of vert stuff. Vert is like ramps and street is like rails and kick flips. different in their own right.”
After that initial photo of the pair leaked, many fans wondered if it means that Wayne will be spitting some rhymes on Bieber’s new album, Believe, out June 19. “No, he didn’t get the chance to work on the album,” he said. “He’s been super-busy and we just haven’t got the chance to connect in the studio. I was in the studio in Miami for a minute, but we never got the chance to do anything.”
‘We’ve probably been tweaking and working on it for six months,’ director Ruth Hogben tells MTV News.
By Nadeska Alexis
Kanye West surprised and confused fans last week when, out of the blue, he dropped a video for “Lost in the World” off his fifth album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. But director Ruth Hogben tells MTV News that she and ‘Ye actually shot the video together last summer.
Hogben, a fashion filmmaker, explained that she was introduced to Kanye through her SHOWStudio colleague Nick Knight, who thought that she would be a good fit to work with the eccentric rapper/producer.
The pair first began discussing their plans for the video around May 2011, and they captured all of the visuals in a two-day shoot later that summer. “I think he just wanted something that represented the song really well,” Hogben said, detailing the brainstorming session.
“He explained how he felt about the song and it was a really interesting process because he just talked to me about the song — how he felt about the lyrics, about the beat. He was really very concerned about how he felt about the track, so that’s where it started.
“It was a really strong collaborative process,” she continued. “The conversation was very organic — he says one thing, I say one thing, he sends a picture, I send a picture. So it was a creative conversation that just kept rolling. We had a two-day shoot and then we spent quite a long time working on the edit together, making sure that it was right. We’ve probably been tweaking and working on it for about six months.”
On first look, the black-and-white clip seems to play up the desperation of the Bon Iver-featured “Lost in the World,” with West and his dancers set against the dark, ominous backdrop, but Hogben describes the final product as “energetic.” She maintains that fans are supposed to come up with their individual interpretations of the clip. Even the dancers in the video were given the creative freedom to let loose. “It was actually their interpretation of the song,” Hogben explained. “Kanye didn’t say to them, ‘Dance this way.’ We wanted an interpretation of how they felt about the song.”
‘MTV First: Snow White & the Huntsman’ debuts new clip and cast interview Tuesday night at 7:56 p.m. on MTV and MTV.com.
By Josh Horowitz
At a time when it seems like virtually every movie at the multiplex is based on a fairy tale, comic book or best-selling YA novel, “Snow White & the Huntsman” checks off all the boxes even if it’s none of the above as well.
Confusing? Well, the cast is clearly borne of past successful franchises, namely Kristen Stewart (have you heard of her?) coming off of “Twilight” and Chris Hemsworth dropping his Thor hammer in favor of an ax this go-round. And of course the film is inspired by one of the most cherished fairy tales of our youth. But look more closely at “SWATH” (as fans have quickly taken to calling it) and the film clearly owes more to Tolkien than to Walt Disney. And I think that’s why we’re all excited for its June 1 release. I know that’s the case for me. It doesn’t hurt that Charlize Theron looks to be chewing some scenery in a fun way with a diabolical take on the evil queen (much more fetching than the one in the cartoon of my youth, as I recall).
Tuesday night (at 7:56 p.m. on MTV & MTV.com to be precise) we’re debuting “MTV First: Snow White & the Huntsman.” As usual, we’ll be debuting a never-before-seen clip, and I’ll be sitting down with the cast (Stewart, Hemsworth, Theron and Sam Claflin, who portrays the prince in the tale) for a 30-minute interview. We taped the special a little while back, which means I can share something fun and exciting with you: Kristen Stewart’s very first participation in “After Hours.”
And what better franchise to start her off on than “The Yes/No Show”?
There’s a lot more where that came from on the full show Tuesday night, including tons of insight into the filming, the actors’ takes on their iconic characters, Chris and Kristen’s weapons technique and a near-breakup fight between Kristen and me. It’s all in good fun, and we’re quite proud of it. And there’s more exciting “SWATH” news to come as I’m headed out to England later this week to reunite with the entire cast, so as always, feel free to send your questions to me @JoshuaHorowitz with the #MTVSWATH.
A Second Look
I got a chance to see “Avengers” for the second time over the weekend, this time in good old 2-D (and I’d recommend seeing it this way, by the way). And by gosh, I might have enjoyed it more the second time around. I have a bunch of conflicting feelings about the movie. After my first viewing, I was pretty convinced that while I had a great time watching it, it’s less satisfying to me than most of the previous films. If we’re looking at the recent bevy of Marvel flicks, “Captain America” is my favorite, delivering the most full-bodied experience (i.e., it’s got the cool stunts and humor but it’s also got a great character arc at its core). But a funny thing happened as “Avengers”
rolled the second time around: I let go of my hang-ups with the story (er, there isn’t much of one) and I let myself fully geek out for two hours at what Joss Whedon and company expertly did: create the purest fanboy-friendly film ever made.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Snow White & the Huntsman.”
For young Hollywood news, fashion and “Twilight” updates around the clock, visit HollywoodCrush.MTV.com.
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