Pop Culture

Usher strips as 'The Voice' heats up

Trae Patton / Today
It got so hot on Monday night Usher eventually took his top off.

A week ago, “The Voice” had issues with its online and text-message voting. This week’s problem was far more noticeable: the lack of air conditioning at the start of the live show.

Even without Carson Daly’s announcement at the start of the telecast, the added heat would have been obvious from the sweat pouring off Vedo, the first performer Monday night. Carson noted that if the building got too hot, the lights would supposedly shut off – which actually might have worked well, given the whole point of the show is that we’re supposed to be judging the singers by how they sound and not the light show that accompanies them. He also worried that Blake Shelton’s hair would melt, while Usher wondered if they’d see the sprinkler systems deployed.

Indeed, it got so intense that Usher, who’s from “Hotlanta” and thus no stranger to high temperatures, took off his shirt as the coaches were finishing their critique of Garrett Gardner, the third singer of the night. At least for Garrett, that drew attention away from the tepid praise that amounts to criticism.

And, as if the women in the audience had magical powers, their swooning seemed to fix whatever was ailing the electrical system. As soon as “The Voice” got back from commercial, Carson exulted, “Our air really is on now. I looked up and saw the audience basking in the cool air.”

The bad news came a couple of acts later, after the Swon Brothers had finished up. “Sorry, ladies. Usher’s got his clothes back on,” Carson said.

Apart from the wardrobe changes, the night wasn’t a game-changer.

Danielle Bradbery again drew the biggest raves. Judith Hill, Amber Carrington and Michelle Chamuel did nothing to hurt their chances.

And on a week where the viewers have the final say and the coaches can’t save anyone, it’s last week’s low vote-getters who appear to be in big trouble once again. Two singers get sent home Tuesday, and odds are overwhelming that at least one will come from the foursome that didn’t wow America last week and needed their coach to bail them out.

Garrett needed Shakira’s save a week ago, and his Backstreet Boys cover left the coaches cold Monday. The Swon Brothers, who needed a Blake bailout to get this far, have to hope that their decision to go slower didn’t put their fans to sleep. Sarah Simmons did fine with her Belinda Carlisle cover, but if you didn’t like her before now, you probably didn’t change your mind Monday. The same could be said of Josiah Hawley as well.

Among the others, Vedo had the bad luck to open the show, and Kris Thomas was forgettable.

Then again, given the way the last couple of weeks have gone, it wouldn’t be too surprising if Carson opened Tuesday’s show saying that a glitch means nobody’s going home and they’re bringing all the singers booted in the Knockout Round back for another shot instead.