Being away from home for both the semifinals and finals, I’m condensing my thoughts on this season of The Voice into one last post.

The semifinals performance night was a really great show. The remaining singers were all very strong and, while I had favorites, I would have been happy to see any of these people in the finals. As in the quarterfinals, I think (mostly) the right people advanced.

Favorite performance: Juliet Simms, “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” (Team Cee Lo). If “Roxanne” hadn’t sealed her as favorite in my mind, this performance certainly would have. Definitely the best match of song and voice of the night.

Strongest performance that I didn’t rewatch: Chris Mann, “Ave Maria” (Team Christina). Whatever. He’s a great singer, but his song choices have mostly left me cold. However, they are not nearly as bad as…

Worst song choice: Jermaine Paul, “Open Arms” (Team Blake). Naturally Jermaine sang Journey. What else? And now his audition for singing at my prom is complete. Of course, it only gets worse when he sings “I Believe I Can Fly” for the finals. Seriously? I will never understand why he won.

Most original performance: Lindsey Pavao, “Skinny Love” (Team Christina). Once again, Lindsey goes for quirky and it mostly pays off. But, again, I think that going for something that many of the voters won’t know is a huge risk. Even if Bon Iver was a Grammy favorite this year (deservedly), this song is from his relatively obscure debut album back in 2007. But kudos for staying true to a vision that doesn’t involve flashbacks to my high school days.

Sympathy-vote performance: Erin Willett, “Without You” (Team Blake). Erin is another one whose song choices baffle me. I grew to like her, but she never really gave me a performance to get excited about. And this song simply seemed to beg for a sympathy vote from the audience. Maybe she should have followed her teammate’s lead and gone for “Crazy for You” or “True Colors”?

Oddest song choice that actually worked: Tony Lucca, “How You Like Me Now” (Team Adam). I do not like Tony Lucca, but his recent song choices have been inspired. This was a solid performance that had me sit up and pay attention.

I don’t have much to say about either Jamar Rogers on “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” (Team Cee Lo) or Katrina Parker on “Killing Me Softly” (Team Adam). They both did well, but didn’t seem particularly original or exciting. I think both peaked a bit early in this competition and were rightly sent packing.

The finals, which I viewed well after knowing the results, were rather unimpressive. Sadly, Juliet seemed to have an off night, because I like to think she could have taken the whole thing with some killer performances. For me, the two stand-out performances were actually duets: Tony Lucca & Adam on “Yesterday” and Jermaine Paul & Blake on “Soul Man” (as much as I don’t really like either contestant). I wish him the best, but I fear that Jermaine Paul only succeeded in moving from pretty good back-up singer to pretty good wedding singer. I hope I’m wrong.

Ultimately, I think they had too many singers coming out of the blind auditions and that made later rounds seem grueling and plodding, rather than exciting. Despite whatever contracts the show might have with the judges, I think it would be best served by having the teams compete against each other much earlier.