Coaches’ Missteps Lead to Uncomfortable Performances from Curtis Grimes and Jeff Jenkins on THE VOICE

Tuesday’s episode of The Voice included some less than stellar coaching choices by Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine. I wasn’t fond of Cee Lo’s choice to include dancers twirling fiery batons during Nakia’s performance of “Sex on Fire”. I was also irked by Adam’s inclusion of hyperactive backup singers during Casey Weston’s performance of “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”. But the most uncomfortable performances of the night were by Jeff Jenkins and Curtis Grimes.

Jeff Jenkins has been one of my favorite singers from the start of the show. He’s one of the few vocalists that got all the coaches to turn their chairs around at the initial auditions. That’s why I was eagerly anticipating his solo performance. Jeff chose to perform Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel” as a tribute to his mother. During the rehearsal, Adam raised the key of the piece because he was dissatisfied with the sound of Jeff’s lowest vocal register, and he felt the strain of the higher pitches would add more “passion” to the performance. Adam was right about one thing – Jeff certainly sounded strained during the live show. He also sounded out-of-tune. Jeff would’ve been better off improving the lowest notes of his range rather than lifting everything into a higher key. The disappointing performance actually made me cringe.

Whereas Jeff suffered from some misplaced musical advice, poor Curtis Grimes had to sing a song completely unsuited to his vocal style and range. Cee Lo chose Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” as a way to bring Grimes out of his comfort zone and create a fresh take on a classic tune. Cee Lo also wanted to add “sexiness” to Curtis’ performance. Now, there’s nothing wrong with putting a different spin on a familiar tune. Dia Frampton did a great job of that last week. There’s also nothing wrong with stepping out of your comfort zone. That’s the way that an artist grows. But “Addicted to Love” forced Grimes to sing in the very bottom part of his vocal range and didn’t show off the lyrical expressiveness of his voice. I also didn’t like the sleazy cowgirl backup dancers. Grimes has a wholesome, masculine appeal all on his own. He doesn’t need a bunch of girls shaking their stuff around him to bring it out.

I guess we’ll find out next week whether Jeff and Curtis will be sticking around, or whether their coaches’ unusual choices will be sending them home.

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