Photo Credit: Justin Lubin/NBC; Jonathan Leibson/WireImage
Now that the second season of The Voice is over, coach Christina Aguilera is making nice with third-place finisher Tony Lucca. The pop singer and the aspiring musician had a prickly relationship throughout the season, starting when Lucca revealed that he had been on The Mickey Mouse Show with Aguilera -- who claimed she didn't remember him. Things came to a boiling point during Monday's final performances, when Aguilera belittled Lucca's rollicking cover of Jay-Z's "99 Problems." Watch below!
While the other coaches praised Lucca's original take on the hip-hop anthem -- which was really pretty flawless -- Aguilera couldn't resist slipping some negativity into her critique.
"I just thought the lyrical connotation was a little derogatory towards women, but, you know, all in all it was good fun," said Christina.
Lucca's coach, Adam Levine, was quick to rush to the singer's defense, saying that the refrain of the song ("I got 99 problems and a bitch ain't one") isn't about women at all.
"The 'bitch' of the song is life getting at you, things bringing you down," said Levine. "We're not referring to women, we're referring to everything... It's called a metaphor."
Things got pretty tense, but after the finale (which was won by Jermaine Paul), Aguilera took Lucca aside to apologize.
"She just wanted to clear the air a bit, apologize that this became much more of a dramatic thing than she ever intended it," Lucca explained to Us Weekly.
Lucca said that he accepted the apology, telling her, "I hope that we can be cool moving forward." He even gave her some credit for inspiring his performances on the show -- although he acknowledged that she also might have held him back.
"Her criticism for the most part has inspired me and led me to a higher plane than I might not have found otherwise," he mused. "I've tried to turn that all into positive and use it for creative inspiration, but I don't know... maybe this is America's way of saying that they don't want to reward this sort of petty back-and-forth kind of thing."
It seems obvious from watching the clip of Christina's critique that she was deliberately being catty -- just look at those withering glances! But here's a question: Was she right? Is the "bitch" in Jay-Z's "99 Problems" a dig at women (as Christina believed), or a complaint about life in general (as Levine claimed)?
Actually, both interpretations are right -- and wrong. The verses of the song actually describe a time when Jay-Z was pulled over by a police officer for "driving while black," and got worried because there were drugs in his car. In an interview with Cornell West, the rapper revealed that the "bitch" referred to a drug-sniffing police dog, but he knew that it would be misinterpreted when he wrote the song.
"I was being provocative," Jay-Z explained. "I thought it was deeply funny that people hear certain words and just hear white noise after that. So I kind of did it on purpose."
Glad we cleared that up! And now that the show's over, Tony Lucca may still have 99 problems -- but at least a feud with Xtina isn't one.