The Voice 2012 live shows begin with Team Christina and Team Blake. The Voice took the competition to another level Monday. Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera’s teams went head to head in the first live show of the season. The fates of each of the 12 performers are now in the hands of viewers, whose votes and iTunes purchases will determine which sings are sent home during Tuesday’s elimination show.

In what might have been the night’s boldest move, one of Shelton’s contestants, 17-year-old RaeLynn, put a country spin on Maroon 5’s “Wake Up Call”, a move that earned high marks from the song’s original singer, Adam Levine. “RaeLynn, you broke my heart twice,” Levine told her. “You broke my heart when you didn’t pick me, and then you broke my heart again today when you did our song and you did it so darn good.”  Shelton also said RaeLynn was mentioned at the ACM awards.Levine also jokingly chided his buddy over the song choice, telling Shelton that the twangy twist was “my idea that you stole.”
A less playful tension flared between Aguilera and Levine, who quipped back and forth during their critiques, as per usual. Moses Stone of Team Aguilera drew mild criticism from Levine after his take on Kanye West’s “Stronger.” “Personally, I think you have a lot more potential as a singer than a rapper,” Levine told him. “I want to see you singing more.”  “I love the way you rap,” Aguilera responded. “I disagree with Adam. I think there’s a place for everything with you.”

During critique of the last performance of the night, things got especially testy between the two. “You done?” Levine asked Aguilera at one point, after she interrupted his feedback for Jesse Campbell, who closed out the night with a performance of “What a Wonderful World.” “The show’s called The Voice,” Levine told Campbell when he was able to continue. “You’re the dude to beat.”  That prompted an apology from Aguilera, who explained, “I thought you were going to be negative.”

The evening’s most emotional and top performances came from Team Aguilera’s opera singer Chris Mann, who dedicated Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” to his mother, as well as from Team Blake’s Erin Willett, whose father passed away during the show’s battle rounds. Erin reminds me so much of Adele.

Willett earned high praise from Cee Lo Green for her take on Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City.”  “The circumstances that you’re performing under, to be as strong and as confident and proud as you are out there, it’s really to be commended,” the coach said. “You are just a champion tonight.”

Next Monday, Team Cee Lo and Team Adam will take the stage!

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