Last night, The Voice finally went live with its top 12 artists hitting the stage for America’s votes. I thought it was overall a pretty good show, although it still managed to feel like it was lagging, despite the jam-packed two hours. I think they are letting the coaches dominate too much of the air time – is it just me, or does every judge literally say the same thing over and over again? Maybe that’s why ratings last night hit an all-time low, which is not a good sign for the first night of live performances. They finally got rid of those horrible Christina Milian Twitter segments, but now they are filling in the gaps with more yammering instead of more singing. How about less talk and extending the song times? Just a thought.
Anyway, last night’s live performances started off a little rocky for me. Bria Kelly from Team Usher was up first and she broke one of the cardinal rules of singing competitions: do not try and sing an Adele song. I was not a fan of her “rocked out” version of “Rolling In The Deep,” and it really felt like she was yelling instead of singing through most of the song. It was a bummer, because Bria was just starting to edge out as one of my favorites.
Up next was Delvin Choice from Team Adam, who just…I don’t know, man. Am I just missing it entirely with this guy? People go nuts over him every week, but I think he really over-sings and his vibrato is way too showy. This performance wasn’t entirely his fault – “Unchained Melody” is too iconic, too big to be cut into pieces like it was. But I still didn’t enjoy it. It left me longing to hear the original and not in the good way. Dani Moz representing Team Shakira also suffered from song choice, I think. The Voice has way too much Pink in general, if you ask me, which is maybe why this felt redundant. After last week’s amazing performance from Dani, this version of “Just Give Me A Reason” was disappointing.
I haven’t been too complimentary of Audra McLaughlin so far this season, but she was the first exciting performance of the night for me. I wasn’t brought up with country music, so I don’t think of “Angel Of The Morning” as the country classic that Blake does, but it is a song I grew up with. It has a great nostalgic feel to it and it was perfect for Audra’s voice. This was the first performance from Audra I wanted to listen to more than once.
Less impressive to me was Team Usher’s T.J. Wilkins. Okay, true confessions time: I didn’t actually listen to his performance of John Mayer’s “Waiting On The World To Change.” I hate that song and I don’t like T.J. much, either. Also, I don’t know much about T.J.’s backstory, but if this song is truly special to him because he’s “lost people” to “the streets” he sure came off like he was full of sh*t. Idon’t know, maybe I’m wrong? But he sounded pretty disingenuous to me. Luckily, next up was one of my favorites, Christina Grimmie. This girl can sing, seriously. What the hell? I don’t know if I was 100% sold on her choice to just sing ooooone loooooong noooooooote through the electronic/dance parts of Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse,” but it sure was impressive.
Speaking of women who can sing? You know Team Blake’s Sisaundra Lewis killed it last night, as always. She went a little more understated this week, which I think was a good idea. Note to other artists: you can sing the hell out of a song without screaming through the entire thing. Ahem.
Of course, as over-hyped as Sisaundra’s been this season, I don’t know if anyone has been as under-hyped as Team Shakira’s Kristen Merlin. I don’t know if there is a specific reason or it’s just been bad luck, but she’s gotten less screen time than anyone left in the competition. I mean, I didn’t even realize that she was an aspiring country singer until last night’s performance of Sugarland’s “Stay.” I was afraid Kristen would be gone before anyone got a chance to know her, but I think the fact that her mic went out near the end of the song will actually work in her favor in terms of votes. It’s something that would usually be bad news for a singer, but I think it made her memorable in a way she wasn’t before. I hope she sticks around because I like her.
Following Kristen was Kat Perkins, who surprised me by giving the best performance of the night. The Team Adam contestant sang Heart’s “Magic Man,” which is no small feat. Singing Ann Wilson? Forget it. But Kat was sick, you guys. Just out of control sick good. I cannot say it enough. She killed this dead and then murdered it again for good measure.
So, Jake Worthington is a country singer on Team Blake and he sang a country song and I am sure it was fine and full of country, but I did not watch it. If you are reading this blog for the thoughtful reviews on country music, boy are you confused. Moving on! After Jake came Tess Boyer, who has bounced around on so many teams that I had to look up who she belonged to: Shakira, if you’ve also forgotten. I don’t know why Shakira picked a Bon Jovi song for Tess after such a beautiful performance last week – it just seemed totally out of place. Her rendition of “I’ll Be There For You” will probably keep her around, but it didn’t do her any favors.
The final performance of the night was also one of the best, from my top pick Josh Kaufman. Boy, is Adam Levine dumb for letting him go or what? I wasn’t familiar with the Sam Smith song, “Stay With Me,”but I thought it was beautiful.
So, what did you think? Who will stay and who will go home? My picks for the bottom are T.J. Wilkins, Dani Moz and Delvin Choice, but who knows? I can never predict these things properly. Carson Daly will inevitably lose his sh*t tonight when America uses their Twitter insta-save, so anything could happen!