‘The Voice’: Sandy Hook Shooting Victims Tributed With A Moving “Hallelujah”

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, The Voice treaded lightly Monday (December 17), opening the episode on a somber note. Judges, hosts and contestants from Season 3 began the final live performances with an emotional tribute to the victims of Friday’s tragedy. Their performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” was both jarring and beautiful, as the singers on the candlelit stage held the name and age of each of the of the 20 children and six adults that were killed. The timely acknowledgement of the tragedy and this moving performance put all of our usual snark temporarily on hold.

But only temporarily. A lot of really weird shenanigans went down on this episode.

To start with, Christina Aguilera dug deep into her mini-hat collection and paired one of her best with an ensemble borrowed from the wardrobe of Burlesque 2: Everybody Tap! We can only hope for the return of the saucer in the season finale. Cee Lo put together a head-to-toe zebra print outfit, and either the pants were designed for someone much shorter than him, or the shorts were designed for someone much taller than him. Either way, it is perhaps the most ridiculous outfit of the season. Oh, yeah — Cee Lo brings in a dancing mini-me. We’ll get to that later.

There’s no time for special guests, as the contestants and their coaches need every minute to make last ditch efforts to dazzle voters before the Tuesday night finale. Each hopeful wraps up their voter appeal with an encore of their breakout song, a duet with their coach and a new song, before waiting for the final vote tally.

Team Blake: Terry McDermott Terry McDermott performs his previous high-scoring number, Foreigner‘s “I Want to Know What Love Is,” and Blake Shelton tells him, “I think you sang that song better than the first time around.” Sounds the same to us, but it was a nice walk down memory lane.

When it comes to his duet, it gets weird. Like, really weird. In the least expected song choice of the evening (and the season), Terry duets with his Blake on Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like A Lady.” America has a “Huh?” face as the two bros belt out the gender bender hit, and that face then explodes into “WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN!?” when a shirtless Adam Levine joins them on stage wearing a long wig, trying his hardest to play the guitar. We might never know the meaning of this interpretation of the song, but we definitely have a lifetime of GIFs to watch while we figure it out.

For his new song, Terry chooses “Broken Wings” by Mister Mister — his son’s favorite song. There appears to be an audio malfunction at the start, and it takes Terry a few verses to hit his stride. It’s very rare that he sounds anything other than technically flawless, so it’s an unfortunate time for this to happen. Terry recovers, though, and belts most of the song out with his usual strong precision. Blake tells his powerhouse, “Are my ears bleeding? That was high!” We assume it’s meant as a compliment. You know, like when people say that you look so good it’s making their eyes bleed.

Team Cee Lo: Nicholas David Nicholas David performs “Lean On Me,” the song that caught the attention of Bill Withers when Nicholas did it the first time around. It’s pretty much the same performance, just with more turquoise jewelry, and Adam notes, “You look like a principal!” Coach Cee Lo praises Nicholas, saying, “I sit here in awe of your ability and your energy.”

Cee Lo and Nicholas duet on Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music,” a song so appropriate for these two that it’s amazing it took until now, the final week of the season, for this performance to happen. It’s exactly as awesome and weird as you want it to be, with unnecessary acrobats and out-of-place dancers. It gets delightfully weirder when a mini version of Cee Lo, zebra print and all, takes the stage with dance moves for miles. His name is MiLo (get it? Minnie Cee-Lo?). We want to see so much more of him in the future, and more of any duet with Nicholas and Cee Lo, for that matter. Gnarls Barkley II, anyone?

Nicholas decides to shake it up a bit with his new performance, and mashes up Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls Of Fire” with Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire,” all while his piano and much of the stage burns with a flame effect. There’s a lot of kicking, weird dance moves and definitely some air guitar. While the mashup doesn’t do justice to Nicholas’s range as a vocalist, it’s a really fun performance. Adam says, “I’m so happy that you just decided to take this moment to just entertain the crowd.” Cee Lo predictably tells him, “Your fire tonight burned the house down.”

Team Blake: Cassadee Pope Cassadee Pope performs Blake Shelton’s “Over You,” citing it has her breakout song of the competition. Obviously. She’s had some great performances in the past few weeks, but “Over You” was our favorite of the season. Tonight’s rendition is the same performance, in a shinier dress. But it’s a good reminder of the vocal chops Cassadee has when she selects the right song.

Her duet with Blake is borderline forgettable. They perform Sheryl Crow’s “Steve McQueen,” and it does nothing for either of them (except highlight Blake’s awkward stage presence). Cassadee clearly did not get the memo about bringing the weird onstage for the duets, or was unable to source a MiTon in time for the show.

Her final performance, Faith Hill‘s “Cry,” on the other hand, rivals “Over You” as her best. We’ve loved all of the country renditions we’ve heard from the self-proclaimed pop-rocker all season, and we’d argue that the world needs another Carrie Underwood before it needs another Avril Lavigne. Blake agrees, and is a proud coach when he tells Cassadee, “For every great moment you’ve had on the show, I’ve never heard you sing as great as you did tonight.”

It’s finally time to crown a winner on tonight’s (December 18) episode, but not before all-star performances by The Killers, Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson (sticking it to Idol whenever possible) and Rihanna!

Who contestant did you vote for? Let us know in the comments below, or by hitting us up on Facebook and Twitter!