The Voice: Ranking This Week's Live Performances

The Voice S02E10: "Live Performance, Week 1"

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.

12. RaeLynn (Team Blake)

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.

11. Moses Stone (Team Christina)

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.

10. Naia Kete (Team Blake)

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.

9. Jermaine Paul (Team Blake)

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.

8. Sera Hill (Team Christina)

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.

7. Lindsey Pavao (Team Christina)

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.

6. Chris Mann (Team Christina)

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.

5. Charlotte Sometimes (Team Blake)

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.

4. Ashley de la Rosa (Team Christina)

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.

3. Jordis Unga (Team Blake)

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.

2. Erin Willett (Team Blake)

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.

1. Jesse Campbell (Team Christina)

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?

Comments (8)
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Thank you, Kevin! Anthony was FAR better than Jesse and, while Jesse has the skills, he comes across slimy and insincere with every song he sings. He bores me and he is not special, just a good singer who knows his comfort zone and stays there.
The music over powered all of the voices, and the arrangements were weak.

I'd agree with your rankings if the show were the talent portions of some kind of bizarro world beauty pageant.

I thought Naia Kete and Lindsey Pavao were the best by far.
The music was so loud you couldn't really hear the contestants very well. How do the producers not notice this??

Jordis is the best. I want to root for Chris Mann, but maybe it was the song.
This was a sorry lot. The performance I found most excruciating was Opera Man. Though Naya Sera and Moses were pretty atrocious too. These people are not ready for the spotlight. Also whoever chose Chippendales dancers, clown masks, etc. needs to be fired. And yet the worst part of this show is really the judges, who are so obviously underwhelmed and hate each other, but put on a happy face to justify the multimillion dollar paychecks. American Idol is blowing this show away this season.
Jesse as #1? maybe if it had been Anthony, the guy who Christina picked Jesse over.. but I just don't like Jesse at all.. I'd easily put it 12. Moses, 11. Jesse, 10. Chris Mann, 9. RaeLynn.. and then the rest I'm not sure, but they were all better than the ones I ranked personally. it pains me to put RaeLynn that high because again, the wrong person was picked in her battle.

I did agree that Wake Up Call sounds like it could be a country song, maybe if it had been somebody who's actually good like Carrie Underwood or something.
I hate to be "that guy" MaryAnn but it's Adam Levine, not Adam Lambert!

But I agree with almost all your rankings except I would probably switch up Lindsey Pavao and Sera Hill. Adam was dead on about her lacking power and she just didn't impress me.

Jesse Campbell's voice is amazing, no doubt there, but I just really haven't liked the guy much ever since the battle rounds and him trying to show off. He just seems like he's in his own world where he knows he's amazing and expects everyone to tell him exactly that. Erin blew me away though, her vocals sounded amazing throughout the song and at that point in the show it was refreshing to hear someone stay on pitch because the first half of the live show wasn't as great as it could have been.
We have fixed the Adam mix-up!

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