Kelly Clarkson and Chevel Shepherd steal the show on “The Voice”

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Somehow, the people behind the scenes at “The Voice” managed to have Monday night’s show last for two hours. There seemed to be no break from the work of “The Voice.” Even during commercials, viewers were treated to what goes on that they typically don’t see. This information didn’t help the show feel efficient. The performances, a mix of covers, originals, duets and solos, were sometimes less than inspired. To that end, Kelly Clarkson and Chevel Shepherd were the bright spots in an episode that felt like a placeholder.

“The Voice”: finale part one

If Tuesday night’s episode will be as long as Monday’s, then there will be a total of four hours of “The Voice” leading up to the crowning of a winner. The current season is not the first time that this arrangement has rounded out the end of the performance show. For some reason this year, the end seems drawn out. Maybe it was the almost brutal way that the show went from eight contestants down to four. Now, the four will be reduced to two that will receive any mention after the season concludes. However, maybe because there were no famous special guests on Monday’s show. Although, each of the judges sang with their contestants. Adam Levine has no contestants left. He offered kind words to performers, however.

While Monday night’s episode of “The Voice” showcased songs that were not necessarily predictable, some of them lacked any sort of “wow” factor. To be fair, everything seems boring when an enthusiastic audience is waiting for a winner to be chosen.

One interesting facet is the bond that Blake Shelton appears to have with his two remaining contestants. He sang duets with both Kirk Jay and Chris Kroeze. As a coach, Shelton’s chances of winning are the best, as he has the most contestants. Both Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson have one contestant each.

As far as performances go, when Clarkson performed “Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain,” with Chevel Shepherd, the night sparkled a bit brighter. In a night full of ballads, the rollicking country tune made famous by The Judds stood out in the best ways. The singers’ voices were bright and soared high with the lyrics about slightly naughty romance.

Still, tomorrow night’s win could be anyone’s. Jay with his strong country crooner voice, or Shepherd with the charm of a teenager and the voice of an old-school country singer, could easily win. But, Kroeze has a voice that sounds steeped in both rock ‘n’ roll and country, and Holmes has an effervescent quality that both seems appropriate and too advanced for her (just turned) 14 years.

As this season of “The Voice” comes to a close, it is bittersweet to look back at the promising contestants that didn’t progress as far as we hoped. There were contestants who were there hoping to prove something to themselves, and those who were needing to escape the assumptions connected to a famous parent’s name. Unforgettable, too, were the two singers who performed as one, and were also romantic partners to each other. More recently, that Kimberli Joye and MaKenzie Thomas were voted off was shocking. All season, Thomas had been touted as someone definitely making it to final four. When she didn’t, the expectations for the show were up in the air. Maybe that was part of what kept viewers watching. Not to mention #bathrobegate, and the arguably shortened run of DeAndre Nico.

“The Voice” is almost over for another season. Each season, “The Voice” shows audiences why it is the most popular of the performance shows. In a similar way, the show’s producers also refuse to allow the show to have a formula per se, even as it makes the most of familiar patterns.

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