At long last, it’s time for America to cast its vote for the best performer in The Voice's live shows. Tonight, six contestants from Team Blake and six from Team Christina took to the stage and tomorrow at 9pm, we’ll find out how they fared.
I went ahead and conveniently ranked everyone’s performance for you. You’re welcome.
Someone should probably call The Shields Brothers and let them know that RaeLynn conveniently co-opted their slogan by declaring her mission to “Punch America in the face with country.” I think she thought she was being clever, too. That’s unfortunate. Also unfortunate? Her performance of Maroon 5’s “Wake Up Call.” I’m not sure what was worse: Watching her flop around the stage in what I’m assuming was meant to be dancing, or her inability to enunciate. I suspect that the flopping exacerbated the enunciation problem.
Look, I like Kanye West. And I was really excited by the song choice, because “Stronger” is an awesome song. But if I hadn’t been informed of what song Moses Stone was covering prior to his performance, I wouldn’t have been able to tell. I fault Christina’s never-ending quest to make all of Christina’s team members sing like Christina. When Moses Stone is rapping, he’s awesome. When Moses Stone is encouraged to sing a song that is, in actuality, a rap song, he is not awesome. His stage presence was strong, though. He was pumped. I was kinda pumped.
I want to love Naia Kete. I DO love Naia Kete. Her audition was stunning and she’s clearly a capable musician, but after just barely scraping through her battle against Jordan Rager last week, she had something to prove this week and... didn’t. Maybe it was Blake’s fault. In rehearsals, Naia worked on a reggae cover of Adele’s “Turning Tables” and while the idea made my brain hurt a little, I was willing to let Naia give it a go. Blake, however, was not and insisted on a more traditional arrangement. But the problem with Adele songs is that without Adele singing them, they just lose something. Naia is awesome, but Naia isn’t Adele. There was some definite struggle with the high notes.
More upper-register angst abounded when Jermaine Paul covered “Livin’ on a Prayer.” It was pretty awesome until he (tried to) hit the high notes. I’m assuming there’s a reason that the last two times I saw Bon Jovi, they did that one acoustic. Still, one of the more solid performances of the night, pitch woes aside.
Sera Hill is the first of my middle-of-the-pack contestants. Technically, her rendition of “Find Your Love” was excellent. But she didn’t WOW me the way the contestants who ranked higher on this list did. For once, I agreed with a decision Christina made (though I fear we will never agree on that unfortunate zebra dress) when she encouraged Sera to gritty the song up a little and lose the pretty. There were some fierce moments.
Adam said that he found Lindsey Pavao’s performance of Gotye’s “Somebody I used to Know” to be lacking power. I agree that she should have maybe borrowed some of Sera Hill’s fierce, but the clowns/mimes/whatever-they-were-supposed-to-be were creepy and awesome.
Chris Mann might just be the most musically gifted contestant on The Voice, but the issues that arose during his initial battle against Monique Benabou—namely, his rigid adherence to technical polish interfering with his ability to bring emotion to the party—came back front and center in his rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Was it flawless? Sure. But the man is like a musical robot. I didn't feel anything. And I don’t think he did, either.
Sick of being pegged as infuriatingly sassy (to substitute a kinder word), Charlotte Sometimes took an angry Paramore song, “Misery Business” and prettied it up with fog machines and a gauzy prom dress. It actually didn’t suck. It took her until the chorus to find her confidence, but once she had it, I am reluctant to admit, she was delightful.
This show is downright incestuous with the way everyone covers everyone else’s songs. Ashley de la Rosa pulled one from coach Alanis Morissette’s catalog with “Right Through You.” Adam complimented the solid performance by pointing out Ashley’s strong command of the mature song—specifically, that she crossed over from “girl” to “woman” in her cover. I don’t know, Adam, lots of 17-year-olds angst to Alanis. Still, I see his point.
Another contestant seeking to prove herself in the wake of a lackluster battle a few weeks ago, Jordis Unga tackled her confidence issues and covered “Alone” by Heart. I dug it. It was during Jordis’s performance that I realized that I tend to enjoy the more simply choreographed shows over those that are heavy on dancing and effects. Jordis’s performance was simply Jordis singing—and it was intense, powerful, and totally confident.
I didn’t realize Erin played the piano! Awesome! Erin’s rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Living in the City” was fun and energetic. The woman glows when she’s on stage. I love it. And so did the audience, giving her a standing ovation. Aww.
You DO realize that you take all the fun and suspense out of these shows when you save the best performance for last, right, The Voice? Just saying. Jesse Campbell has been declared “the guy to beat” by Adam Levine. He sang Louis Armstrong’s timeless classic “What a Wonderful World,” and of course it was beautiful and soulful and lovely. Of course his was the final performance of the night. Of course he’s in my number-one spot tonight heading into tomorrow night’s results show.
How would you rank tonight’s performances?