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4 compete to be the last man standing on Monday's 'The Voice'

Season 7 | Episode 20 | “Live Finale Performances” | Aired Dec 15, 2014

It’s finale night for season 7 of The Voice. You didn’t think you’d make it, did you? You thought they’d keep adding new rounds and do five more wildcards, because “This is The Voice!” … right? Well, welcome to the home stretch. We did it!

Tonight we’ll be hearing the following from the top four: a cover, a duet with their coach, and an original song handpicked by their coach.

Here are my two cents on the performances (in order of appearance):

Damien (Team Adam)—cover song
We open the night with Damien, last week’s wildcard. Adam rewards Damien’s survival with the wonderful “This Song’s for You,” recommending he infuse the song with a sense of urgency. Damien heeds that message, showing more command of his lower range than usual and delivering a centered, understated performance. Do the big notes get as big as usual? No, Damien sounds a touch fatigued (not unexpected, considering the sheer amount of work this week). Is the performance lovely regardless? Yes. It seems to be more about the journey and less about building to one blowout note at the end. That’s growth, and I like it.

Craig Wayne Boyd (Team Blake)—original song
Craig is up next with “My Baby’s Got a Smile on Her Face,” an original tune handpicked by Blake. It’s a lighthearted, well-written song that sounds great on Craig’s voice and would be right at home on country radio. That said, it’s not as compelling as Craig’s usual fare. He seems to excel most on sentimental power ballads or big ol’ party anthems, and this one’s somewhere in the middle. It’s a catchy song, though, so who knows?

Note: They’ve made videos! And we get to see sneak peeks of these videos. Craig’s involves him rolling around the sheets with some unnamed lady. Hey, now, this isn’t Skinemax. Get a room, The Voice!

Chris Jamison (Team Adam)—coach duet
“Lost Without You” is the selection for Chris’s duet with Adam. It’s falsetto-heavy, vintage Robin Thicke (before Robin Thicke lost his mind). And I already find it more interesting than anything else we’ve seen tonight.

Matt McAndrew (Team Adam)—original song
Matt’s handpicked original is “Wasted Love,” and A LOT is happening onstage. There’s a choir. Matt’s singing from a ramp that’s on fire (you can’t make this stuff up, people). Despite the over-the-top staging, this song is a perfect vehicle for Matt: a melancholy, passionate tune that allows him to get soft and delicate one minute and rock and roll the next. Adam’s reaction to Matt’s performance is to convulse into spasms of joy in his chair. While I’m not having any spasms (thank God!), I get it. This is probably the best pairing of original song and artist tonight. Adam agrees, pretty much announcing Matt as his top pick to win (bad form, Adam!).

Craig Wayne Boyd—coach duet
I can’t think of a more appropriate duet for Craig and Blake than the fun, rabble-rousing “Boots On.” If Blake had found something like this for Craig’s original song, I would have enjoyed it significantly more.

Damien—coach duet
Damien and Adam look slightly awkward on their duet of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” but they sound great. The double pianos and smoke machines, however? A bit much.

Chris Jamison—original song
Adam finds Chris a soulful original called “Velvet,” a song whose lyrics compare the interior of a woman to the interior of a car. Once you get past how offensive that concept is, the song is a lot of fun. It’s difficult range-wise, forcing Chris to navigate quickly from high chest to falsetto and back. He sounds a little tired vocally (again—that’s to be expected this week), but he performs the hell out of it regardless. Adam seems pleased and quickly backtracks on his pronouncement of Matt as the deserving winner, admitting that any of his contestants could take it at this point.

Just when I get over the lyrics, we see a sneak peek of Chris’s video, where there’s a woman writhing around in the back seat of a car. Eek—I just can’t with this. Stop it, The Voice!

Matt McAndrew—coach duet
Adam decides on “Lost Stars” for his duet with Matt (a song from Begin Again), and it works. I didn’t love this song the first time I heard it, but I love this performance.

Craig Wayne Boyd—cover song
Craig’s last performance of the night is his cover of “In Pictures,” a song that’s thematically true to his experience as a single father trying to balance fatherhood with a career in music. It’s a return to the sentimental ballads of previous weeks, and as he sings, it becomes more and more clear that the subject matter is hitting a little too close to home. Craig gets emotional. I get emotional. Then they show his son in the audience, and all of America is asking each other to pass the tissues.

Damien—original song
Adam assigns Damien the original song “Soldier,” and as they bond over releasing a first single, we get some vintage footage of a baby Maroon 5 (oh yeah!). The song is big and inspirational and a solid fit for Damien’s aesthetic. It’s also pretty damn catchy. While he doesn’t seem fully locked into the verses, the choruses are fabulous, and he nails the final note, ending his night well.

Chris Jamison—cover song
Chris’ last song of the night is a cover of “Cry Me a River.” While it’s a somewhat cliché choice, Chris is totally on fire for this song. He’s singing out in his upper chest voice, nailing the falsetto and strutting around the stage like he owns it. Is it a winning performance? I honestly don’t know. But it’s a pretty big transformation from his blind audition to this point, and it’s impossible not to be impressed by that.

Matt McAndrew—cover song
Tonight’s final performance belongs to Matt, with his cover of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” It’s not as exciting or commanding as his original song, but it’s sincere and wonderfully simple, and it does the trick. Why they have him perched in a teleportation chamber is beyond me, but let’s forget all that and just enjoy Matt’s “bittersweet” performance. It’s an elegant ending to the season.

Who is YOUR top pick to win the whole thing? Let me know!

It’s been such a pleasure writing about The Voice for you the last few seasons. I’m taking a hiatus from recapping next season in order to start a new album, but I appreciate all of your comments, views, and shares in 2014. Thank you for reading, and have a very happy holiday!

The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7C on NBC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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