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

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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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.
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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 song...you should have sung If I were a Boy....

Bryan...you 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 now...no threats from these two and you will win....Cheers
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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i really liked trevin doing usher's song but only once, please, now go back to ballads lol
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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.
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Last week i knew Blake definately had the strongest and Christina definately had the weakest team. I will be overjoyed when Dez goes home.
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Amanda Brown is still the best. Trevin just might not be ready for it. I love Terry too.
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Best performance of Cassadee's, but it's going to take more than one good performance to make me vote for her. Still don't see what some others appear to. Hoping Amanda pulls through and wins this season despite a slightly weaker performance.
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I don't get what people hear when they listen to Cassadee Pope's voice. I only get chills like in a bad way. She's number one on iTunes? Really?! Will this be a final between her and Dez? Let's call the show THE FACE and forget about the voices.
Her rendition of the song was nice but without the background story which was shoved into our faces she wouldn't have transported any feelings through her voice. She sound flat and screechy to me.
I stick with team Cee-Lo. They were entertaining and Nicholas covered the feelings department beautifully. Absolutely great that they are all through to next week!
I'm very sorry to see Sylvia go, she was my favorite of Team Christina. :-(
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I actually thought Cody was the most entertaining. I smiled really hard during his performance, and he was streets ahead of all the rest (entertainment wise), and way more compelling to watch than bore Bryan Keith. I don't think it was a 180 of his personality at all. In my opinion, he's always been a fun, big personality.

The Rest: Terry was one of my favourites but I wish he would get a little variety in his song choices. Amanda Brown was great, much better than last week. I really like Nicholas but I feel like the gospel choir was a little bit overkill. I would've liked to see a more intimate rendition of the song so his voice would shine more. I finally liked Cassadee yesterday. The rest were boring to me/didn't care for them.
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bryan was the weakest in the competition i think...
dez was really good and i agree he should win most improved award
sylvia was good but the thing is all of the competitors are and someone's gotta go...
cassadee made me cry
nicholas made me happy
cody and trevin made me smile
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People actually watch this crap?
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Dayman90, I thought of you when Dez went all Buble!! He actually surprised me and did a good job this week. So I take back the comment I made about him. He wasn't superb but he definitely held his own and showed some good stuff.

I wish Nicholas would win because I could listen to the guy all day. I actually bought his last two songs on iTunes.

Cassadee surprised me as I wasn't her biggest fan and then she made me cry this week. It was really good.

I love Cody. He is the most entertaining singer to watch. He has a nice voice but it's not as spectacular as Nicholas or Amanda but he just enjoys himself so much and it totally shows. I hate Crazy in Love but I loved his little dance thing at the end. I think he knows his strength is his performance style and he's with the right coach for that.

I feel really old since the Reckless album (with Summer of '69 on it) was the first tape I ever bought and now it's a 'classic'. I would love to hear Terry do something more up to date just to see what it's like.
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Thanks Liv I agree mostly with your comments but I just don't think Cody is that strong of a singer and if he is he's not showing it if this was the best performance show he would be a front runner but it's the voice and I just don't think he's as strong as Nicholas or Terry or Amanda etc.
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I agree. Not coming across as the strongest singer. But so entertaining I can forget that most times.
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Wow I really think America got it wrong this week. Was really sad to see Bryan go and I thought it was pretty rude what they did with Sylvia even though I wasn’t that disappointed to see her go. That being said here’s my voice top 8 cumulative standings

Cassadee – Was probably her best performance and definitely an emotional one which helped her with the votes. I felt it was her most sincere performance as well.
Amanda – Great rebound performance from last week. I liked that she kept it clean vocally but had an amazing connection with it and really picked herself up after last week’s mishaps. Love Grace Potter and was cool to see Amanda do her justice.
Terry – I was really, really nervous this week because his song choice was awful. His voice is really great and I have no problem with him singing the classics but he should have chosen a song a bit more challenging. Next week I’d like to see him really test himself because he deserves to stay in the competition but everyone is really stepping there game up.
Dez – Great song choice I called it last week when I saw the similarities in Buble now he chose one of his songs. Was his best performance not nearly as good as Buble’s or Simone's but still solid and I really like the direction he is heading in.
Trevin – I appreciate the risk he took with this song choice and going out of his comfort zone. Not a huge fan of the song but damnnn when he hits those high notes he just kills any song he sings.
Nicholas – Was a great song choice for him. I think the chorus was a nice touch and he sang the song great but it could have been a standout huge moment for him because of the songs vocal implications. I still love the guy though and he always feels the music in such an organic way.
Melanie – Great song choice one of my favorite bands but I don’t know if she really connected with it the way Jack White did. The song needs a bit more feistiness still was a cool arrangement for the song and she did an all right job with it
Cody – He changes his style every week wish he would stick with one style. That being said was an excellent song choice and a refreshing arrangement that had a lot of energy not sure it really showed off his voice very much except for the high notes but a fun performance. I think he should have probably gone home this week though because he is the weakest of the bunch.
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