The Voice Weekly Wrap-up and Top 8 Power Rankings: Really, America? You Booted Sylvia Yacoub?

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Nov 21, 2012

Team Xtina isn’t faring so well with the new elimination standards, eh? Another week, another two eliminations, and another one of Xtina's ranks sent home, leaving Dez Duron as the sole representative from Team Boring-but-Attractive. Only one team member in the top eight? Ouch.

But that’s the beautiful thing about the new rules—this year’s top performers are truly the best of the best among this season’s contenders. In the past, lip service was always paid to the need to “build the strongest team,” but with each team having a guaranteed spot somewhere in the top four, the final rounds have often felt anticlimactic, with the eliminations leading up to the reveal of the top four fraught with outrage over weaker singers advancing while clearly more-talented competitors were eliminated simply because someone on their team had to go home.

p> With that said: Sylvia Yacoub? Really, America? While her performances have always adhered to the standard Team Xtina Snoozefest Formula of relying on dazzling good looks, the ability to hit high notes, and a habit of playing it “safe” with Top 40 music selections to make up for the lack of personality, Yacoub has always seemed, to me, like a shoo-in for the semifinals. She is a great singer, and her insistence on using the piano that one time, even though Coach Christina waffled, stuck with me.

Unfortunately, the sudden piano-love might just have contributed to Yacoub’s downfall (point Christina). It was an odd decision considering her song choice—sassy Alicia Keys song “Girl on Fire” and seemed to stifle the potential energy she could have brought to the stage. What a bummer, though—she was the Xtina team member I was rooting for.

Also sent home this week was perpetual bore Bryan Keith of Team Adam, who attempted to channel some residual Superstorm Sandy feels with “New York State of Mind.” Blah. I’ve been waiting for that one.

Here’s how I think everyone else stacked up:

8. Cody Belew (Team Cee Lo)

Blake Shelton was confused by Belew’s leather-and-chains-laden cover of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love,” pointing out that this was the guy who auditioned with a Dolly Parton tune, and that the complete 180 of his stage persona was a bit jarring. I, too, was confused. Belew has made it this far on a steady parade of solid country/rock and classic covers—why did he choose now to don an Adam Lambert Halloween costume?

7. Trevin Hunte (Team Cee Lo)

Oh man, this one hurt. Look, Hunte’s Usher cover was fine, it just wasn’t of the same amazing caliber as his performances usually are. Coach Cee Lo was apprehensive about Hunte's decision to mix things up with “Scream,” cautioning his mentee not to confuse the audience. Hunte was insistent, citing the concern that the audience forgets that he’s only eighteen years old.  I’m not entirely sure why his age is so important; it’s not like we’re voting for the best teenage singer.

6. Dez Duron (Team Xtina)

Dude! Better. Way better. Dez Duron takes the prize for "most improved over the course of the season"; his cover of the jazzy broadway classic “Feeling Good” was sexy and fun.

5. Terry McDermott (Team Blake)

McDermott’s “Summer of 69” cover was solid in the way all of his performances are. I’m just wondering when we’ll start to run out of classic rock tunes for him to pick from.

4.  Nicholas David (Team Cee Lo)

Team Weird Beard! Backed by a full gospel choir and brandishing his piano-playing skills, Nicholas David gave what is, in my opinion, his best performance to date. While Sylvia Yacoub occasionally seemed constrained by the piano, David has embraced it, managing to convey energy and enthusiasm to the audience (as opposed to Yacoub’s signature sheer terror). Keep being awesome.

3. Amanda Brown (Team Adam)

Every time Amanda Brown performs, I’m struck by the absurdity of Cee Lo Green’s decision to cut her loose during the battle rounds—and apparently so is he, considering the graciousness he show's every single time he evaluates her performances. Brown’s cover of Grace Potter’s “Star” showcased her vocal range nicely. I wouldn’t mind something a little more energetic in the coming weeks, though. This is the second time we saw Brown essentially stand in one place the entire song.

2. Melanie Martinez (Team Adam)

Martinez has come so far. In rehearsal footage, she fretted over the quiet nature of her voice and how it might stack up against those of powerhouses like Brown and Pope. It’s a valid concern. Quiet doesn’t always equate a lack of power, but it can come off that way. In her cover of the White Stripes' “Seven Nation Army,” Martinez made up for the lack of belting ability with a seductively mature growl. I love a good growl.

1. Cassadee Pope (Team Blake)

Well, Blake finally let Pope sing a ballad, his wife Miranda Lambert’s “Over You,” and it was just as lovely and refreshingly mature of a performance as I’d hoped for. Despite the emotionally charged nature of the performance (“Over You” was originally written about Shelton’s late brother, and Pope dedicated the performance to her late great-grandfather in the rehearsal montage), Pope maintained her composure and gave a phenomenal performance.

What did you think about the eliminations of Sylvia Yacoub and Bryan Keith?  Who are you cheering for? How would you rank the Top 8?

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  • AdaHui Nov 23, 2012

    I figured Sylvia would be voted off but I am sad Bryan was too. But the entire Top 10 was so talented and filled with voices I enjoy, it was bound to happen that one of my favorites was gone. I definitely rank Cassadee's performance as the best with Dez a close second for me. Trevin, I love but that performance, not so much.

  • snfraine Nov 22, 2012

    Both Bryan and Sylvia are the top singers among the rest....wats wrong with america....the rest are not good enough....@Sylvia...u chose the wrong should have sung If I were a Boy.... got great voice especially when comes to jazzy songs....keep it up and try to be more confident in your look and appearance...but both of you deserved to make records....Cassadee Pope you have the upper hand threats from these two and you will win....Cheers

  • yamachamama Nov 22, 2012

    The two people who I thought would go home were the people voted off.
    Everyone is talented at this point so there is no sense in questioning the voters.

    Sylvia can sing, no doubt, but as Jamie Foxx once said on Idol, it's not the Throat Olympics. As for Bryan Keith, he too has a voice but he doesn't seem to have found a place for himself. The Voice isn't about great wedding/karaoke singers.

    I have always liked Cassadee and Amanda, so I hope they continue to wow and improve. Amanda needs to be careful though before she finds herself in the same position as Sylvia.
    Right now, Cassadee is bearing her soul while Amanda is "only" displaying vocal excellence. But the world is full of excellent singers (like Jessie Campbell) who can't find their audience...
    The most soulful singer (regardless of genre) able to pick the right songs at the right time usually wins. Right now, that's definitely Cassadee.

  • chuuuuck Nov 22, 2012

    I couldn't care less about The Voice but I'd love to see Cassadee Pope have a win. Mostly because when ever she partners up with bands (All Time Low, I See Stars, The Cab etc) she adds something extra that makes it a great song. Very talented girl. Also Hey Monday were pretty good as well.

  • chuuuuck Nov 22, 2012

    I couldn't care less about The Voice but I'd love to see Cassadee Pope have a win. Mostly because when ever she partners up with bands (All Time Low, I See Stars, The Cab etc) she adds something extra that makes it a great song. Very talented girl. Also Hey Monday were pretty good as well.

  • PlayballK Nov 22, 2012

    This time around I really only liked Cassadee Pope and Terry McDermott. If Cassadee continues to perform like she did on Monday I think she will win this season. I also really liked Terry's performance but I could be a little biased since I'm a huge Bryan Adams fan. The rest of the performance were okay but nothing that I thought was all that great.

  • Breathe Nov 22, 2012

    I like Sylvia Yacoub's voice but I thought her last performance was kind "mehh" - she can sing, she can hit the notes but "Girl on Fire" wasn't a good choice for her.

    Also it's about time Bryan Keith got booted off - I adored his rendition of Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" but he is very boring...

    I'm rooting for Cassadee Pope and Amanda Brown! Oh and also Trevin Hunte as long as he stays away from stupid dance songs.

  • ch0c0nutz Nov 22, 2012

    i really liked trevin doing usher's song but only once, please, now go back to ballads lol

  • JoanieElmore Nov 22, 2012

    Pope WILL win!! She is the best. I think Nicolas David is a close second. If one of them do not win I will be surprised.

  • modernfamily120 Nov 21, 2012

    Last week i knew Blake definately had the strongest and Christina definately had the weakest team. I will be overjoyed when Dez goes home.

  • saxyroro Nov 21, 2012

    Amanda Brown is still the best. Trevin just might not be ready for it. I love Terry too.

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