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"I am honored and indebted to you," Cee Lo told his team members before reluctantly dropping the ax on one of his beloved students.
Cee Lo Green had his work cut out for him Monday night.
Besides having to change costumes no less than three times during an instant elimination round of "The Voice," he had to select one of four actually talented contestants to cut from the competition.
While Adam Levine also had to make a cut, judges agreed Monday night, as they have in previous episodes, that Cee Lo might have the strongest team in the competition.
Had Juliet Simms, Jamar Rogers, Cheesa and James Massone paired with different mentors, they might have faced off at the finals and not the quarter-finals where one of them was forced to make an arguably premature exit.
Cheesa, a 21-year-old with Beyoncé-sized aspirations, took a major risk Monday, selecting a Whitney Houston ballad that can only be performed one of two ways: one that produces chills and the other that produces Twitter protests calling for amateurs to keep their hands off iconic songs. She nailed "I Have Nothing" though, winning approval from Christina Aguilera — a singer with comparable pipes who is quick to call out faults in vocalists who take on big songs.
Jamar Rogers, an HIV-positive recovering drug addict from the Bronx sang an emotional rendition of Bon Jovi's "It's My Life," winning unanimous approval from the judges' panel.
James Massone sang "Just the Way You Are" straight into the hearts of his adoring female fan-base, while Juliet Simms, fitted with giant black angel wings, shredded Aerosmith's "Cryin'" in the best possible way. Augilera said it seemed like Simms just "blacked out" on stage, and forgot about what anyone else might think — a second complement from the most difficult-to-please judge, who told Simms two weeks ago that her voice was "dope."
Cee Lo, who wore a wide grin during his special performances of "Dancin' in the Streets" (70's outfit) and "Fight to Win" (space suit — see full clip below) became suddenly poetic and somber when it was time to make the cut.
After reading prepared Cee Lo-esque prose from his smart phone, he announced that he'd have to let "my little brother James go," eliciting shrieks of heartbreak from the audience.
Adam Levine, who was choosing between Katrina Parker, Mathai, Pip and Tony Lucca had a much easier time. They each received mixed reviews from the judges, though Pip was the only performer who had a noticably rough section (1:43 to 1:58 in the clip below) during his rendition of Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know."
"Voice" fans of the world can vote for their favorite remaining performers until 10 a.m. Tuesday. Those with the least amount of votes will sing for their careers, which always makes for a stepped-up hour of television, on Tuesday 9 p.m. ET on NBC.