The Voice's First Live Show: Ranking Team Blake and Team Adam

The Voice S03E19: “The Live Playoffs, Part 1”

It was so cute the way Carson Daly kept trying to tie voting on The Voice into voting for our commander-in-chief, state representatives, and a whole slew of proposals as though the two carry the same weight and require the same amount of thought. However, the comparison was just too readily available to pass up, so I understand the eagerness to be topical. It was also downright delightful to see Daly appear to be enjoying his hosting duties for once, channeling an enthusiasm that didn’t seem forced, bantering with contestants and judges alike, handing out sincere-sounding compliments, and saving the “I-hate-everyone” face for when Blake Shelton shoved his finger into his cheek like a five-year-old during his closing shpeal, at which point the “I-hate-everyone” face was entirely appropriate.

By the end of this week’s live rounds (which will suck up airtime across three nights because NBC is determined to drive this gravy train straight into the ground), the twenty remaining contestants will be cut down to twelve through America’s voting and the judge’s last-minute saves.

Here’s how last night's performances stacked up, ranked according to my own preference just to keep it real:


5. Bryan Keith - “Iris”

There is an ongoing feud in my apartment regarding Keith. My co-pilot is convinced that Keith is the worst musician to grace the stage and the epitome of overrated. I think Keith is pretty awesome. However, I will readily admit that his take on the Goo Goo Dolls’ tune was my least favorite of his performances so far. It just felt flat, like he was going through the motions. Blake said Keith reminded him of Neil Diamond. Say what?

4. Joselyn Rivera - “Give Your Heart a Break”

Rivera’s take on the Demi Lovato song was solid, but largely unmemorable. In her rehearsal montage she fretted about singing and moving at the same time, but in the end, she was fine. It was all fine. And that’s the problem. “Fine” can only get you so far.

3. Melanie Martinez - “Hit the Road, Jack”

I was thrilled that Melanie broke with her usual formula of taking Top 40 tunes and refashioning them into coffee-house background noise and her Ray Charles cover was energetic and awesome. AWESOME, I SAY. The only reason she isn’t ranked higher is that, well, the next two performances were simply MORE awesome. Carson Daly said, “You are so much cuter than Ray Charles, that was wonderful,” and it sounded like he meant it. It was the highlight of the banter for me and a nice change from the insincere smoke-blowing that tends to dominate the live rounds.

2. Loren Allred - “All Around the World”

I keep finding myself rooting for Loren Allred because she has everything working against her in this competition, but still continues to push through. She was an unfortunate denizen of Montage Mountain during the blind auditions, and then she was paired with powerhouse Nicole Nelson during the knockout rounds. She’s like the Little Engine That Could, except, like, hot. Her take on the Lisa Stransfield song was fantastic.

1. Amanda Brown - “Dream On”

I had my doubts when it was announced that itty bitty pop singer Amanda Brown would be performing an Aerosmith song. I underestimated her versatility and I am SO SORRY. I love when I’m wrong about awesome things. “You obliterated the notion that you could only do one thing,” proclaimed Coach Adam.


5. Cassadee Pope - “My Happy Ending”

Okay, look, Pope’s Avril Lavigne cover wasn’t bad. Not at all. She just seemed so bored and honestly, so was I. I’m sick of listening to her sing the same thing all the time and she's sick of doing so, telling Coach Blake that she wanted people to see her as more than a pop-rock girl. He encouraged her to stay in her cozy little mold and she listened because as we saw with Gracia Harrison, the last time someone on Team Blake tried to be different, they went home.

4. Michaela Paige - “Everybody Talks”

Cee Lo declared this performance the “best all night” and I suspect that his wig may have been on a little too tight. I thought there was too much bouncing around, which made Paige sound shaky. I was distracted by the Christina Aguilera fashion cues. It was still a fun and energetic performance, though.

3. Liz Davis - “Independence Day”


Davis hopped off her Miranda Lambert suck-up train to cover a Martina McBride song. It was a refreshing change, but not TOO refreshing because Davis is the “only country artist left” in the competition and we have to be reminded of that every single time she performs. Remember, on Team Blake, it’s not about growing as an artist. Its about knowing your place and liking it. With that said, it was a good cover. Christina said that it was an “appropriate” song to sing on election eve. I don’t think this song is about what she thinks it’s about.

2. Julio Cesar Castillo - “El Rey”

Julio Castillo’s mariachi cover was great. Blake advised him to make use of body language and facial expression to communicate the meaning of the song, since the whole thing was in Spanish and a good chunk of the voting public probably wouldn’t understand it, and his advice worked well. HOWEVER: Admirable performance aside, did anyone stop to think about the potential effect of the song choice on voting? Choosing the “right” song is half the battle and I’m fully aware that I’m a cynical bastard when it comes to reality TV, but I just don’t think that a lot of The Voice’s audience, let alone the faction of that audience that cares enough to vote, is running around with mariachi tunes on their iPods.

1. Terry McDermott - “Don’t Stop Believing”

Again, song choice is half the battle and please, oh please, raise your hand if you are SICK of this particular Journey tune. THANK YOU. For the love of all that is sacred, can someone PLEASE pull it out of the rotation for a few seasons of EVERYTHING? There are so many freaking covers of “Don’t Stop Believing” out there (Glee, Rock of Ages, etc.) and they all sound pretty much the same so just stop it. I beg of you. Terry McDermott’s performance was near perfect in its execution, but seriously, how many Journey covers does iTunes need?


1. How would you rank Monday’s performances?

2. Who are you looking forward to seeing from Teams Cee Lo and Christina on Wednesday?

3. How long until Carson Daly starts snapping at the judges and looking freaking miserable?

Comments (9)
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my favorites were the same: terry and amanda... i was O.O by amanda's performance... didn't expect her to be a rockstar as adam said...

i do like cassadee tho and also joselyn...

the ones i don't care about are loren and michaela...

i was starting to get tired of melanie too but she was really different this week so i guess i'll give her a second chance...

totally agree bout julio's song choice! when they revealed his song choice i was like: ok, bad baaaaaad choice... i'm not american but i think they won't vote for him much... he's amazing tho
For team Blake

1. Terry - Although I like everyone else am sick of the song choice he did do very well with it and I love his voice so crisp clear and powerful. His personality is also very likeable as well

2. Michaela - I'm not a fan of her Pink imitation haircut but I thought this was her best performance so far.

3. Julio - He's been one of my favorites from the beginning and sang the song beautifully but the song choice may hurt him.

4. Liz - She's attractive and a powerful singer. I'm not a huge fan of country music but I thought she sang the song well

5. Cassadee - I like her a lot as well but this was the weakest of the five. It's tough this year because I really genuinely like pretty much all the contestants this year.

Team Adam

1. Amanda - She's sexy, powerful, creative and unique. What more can you ask? I thought she sang the song very well which is not easy to do the ending falsetto was a little bold but definitely strong overall.

2. Bryan - I actually liked his rendition. The lower register was tough to sit through but the high parts were good. I think he could have done much better with it but team Adam disappointed this week for me.

3. Melanie - She is sort of a one trick pony but I liked that she went with a great Ray Charles classic not her best but still decent.

4. Joseyln - Eh her performance wasn't bad just forgettable I like her but I don't think she has the IT factor.

5. Loren - I think she is a bit overrated her song choice was bad in my opinion she sang all right but I wasn't blown away

I have to disagree with the idea that artists need to be well-rounded singing anything people. Blake just wants his guys to have a clear idea of who they are and what kinda music they want to make. This isn't supposed to be American Idol where the producers hand you a song at the end and say, "sing this." Every artist has to have a persona and musical identity, and that's all Blake is trying to push with the song choice stuff. Face it, it is weird if old guys sing about about young love/lust. How many "powerhouse divas" does one world need and are they still in style. He's just saying pick and identity and work towards it. Growing as an artist and singing a little bit of everything aren't the same thing. Blake's team is getting better every week in stage presence, comfort, and sound, and I don't even like Mariachi music, but he rocked it. I was so disappointed in Adam's team, they are just going through the motions. And like Christina with the silly Independence Day quip, I don't think they know what they are even singing.
I was pleasantly surprised by Amanda's performance and will openly admit that I fast forwarded the second half of it initially, but then rewound to watch after she got such rave reviews.

Mostly, though, I spent much of the time trying to figure out why Blake was so insistent on picking his contestants' songs instead of letting them be themselves and make their own choices, like Adam did. Seems like a misstep to me.

Totally agree about the mariachi song. He sang the hell out of it, but I'm not sure about the wide appeal.

Am I the only one that thinks Melanie Martinez should pick Fever as one of her songs (if she remains in the competition)? I think she'd do a fantastic rendition.
I don't really like when the judges pick their contestants' songs either. I'm sure that the contestants know what they can sing well.

Melanie Martinez would do a FAB "Fever!"
Although I agree with you about Loren being awesome, she was never on team Xtina. Or did Montage Mountain really go inception on us..?

And Amanda Brown: YES, PLEASE.
You know, I honestly thought she started on Team Xtina, and then when I checked on that this morning, I thought I confirmed it, but now I can't find the article that appeased me, so I think I was mistaken.

Thanks for the heads up! We'll make a correction. :)
We fall in line of where everyone belongs. Amanda's Dream On was incredible. She's got me excited. Terry is just solid. And will continue to be. I think Amanda can take the whole thing. And yes, that SONG needs to be taken out of rotation for a while.
I hated it. She threw off the rhythm of the song too much.

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