Want to hear something truly bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S? It’s been a whole 15 years since Gwen Stefani released her debut solo album, Love. Angel. Music. Baby.
And while many things have changed since then — Gwen had three children with husband Gavin Rossdale, joined the Voice cast, divorced Gavin, fell in love with her Voice co-star Blake Shelton, and released two more solo albums chronicling that journey — not much else seems to have changed. When Gwen performed a spectacular medley of her first album’s hit singles on Tuesday’s top 11 Voice results show, she looked the same, her music still sounded fresh, she was still wearing a wacky, billowing-sleeved Harajuku outfit that would have been fashion-forward back in 2004, and she was still sharing the stage with Carson Daly and special surprise guest Eve.
To quote a line from Gwen’s L.A.M.B. hit “What You Waiting For?”: How did the years go by?
As current Voice host and former MTV Total Request Live host/KROQ DJ Carson Daly presented his old pal Gwen with a commemorative plaque from Interscope Records for Love. Angel. Music. Baby’s anniversary and its 15 million copies sold worldwide, he told her, “You’re on of my oldest friends in the music business. We both got our starts here together in Southern California at KROQ. And I'm honored to have this cool moment with you. I love you, you're the best.”
Gwen’s career has been going strong for decades (on Monday’s Voice episode, she took her team to L.A.’s Whisky a Go-Go, where her band No Doubt played a record release party in 1992), but of course this show is ostensibly about finding the next 15-million-selling superstar. And unfortunately, that dream faded this Tuesday for Team Gwen member Myracle Holloway, who landed in the bottom two and then failed to win the Instant Save sing-off against Team Kelly’s Shane Q.
Kelly Clarkson was as shocked as Gwen was to learn that Shane and Myracle had this week’s lowest votes. They’d both given strong performances Monday – of fan-selected songs, it should be noted – with Shane seeming more confident than ever on Shawn Mendes’s “Mercy” and Myracle leaving it all on the stage with “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M.
“Obviously I'm Team Shane on this, but I really want to address you both,” said Kelly. “I'm super-bummed. … I just really don't think you two specifically deserve to be in this spot, technically, as singers. This is a show called The Voice…. This is so undeserving in my eyes. You’re the reason why this show exists. You're powerful, soulful, gifted singers.”
In the Twitter-voted Instant Save showdown, Shane, a four-chair contestant, did an impressive job with Labrinth’s “Jealous,” proving that this new setback had not greatly diminished his newfound confidence. But Myracle’s rendition of the Joe Cocker version of “You Are So Beautiful” was exquisite. She was elegant and graceful and classy, giving me Anita Baker vibes. She seemed like the rightful victor here.
“I am so honored to have you on my team. I am absolutely floored by your talent and your gift and just your voice is so unique and so beautiful. … You are magic,” Gwen said, right before Myracle went home with 47 percent of the Twitter tally.
To loosely quote Gwen again, what were you waiting for, America? Myracle’s performance deserved more votes.