Tonight, the competition continued on NBC’s The Voice. All of the Top 11 contestants performed for the coaches and audience, as they try to secure a spot in the Top 10. In addition, the show also had a family theme going on to complement the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend. Therefore, the contestants were joined by some of their loved ones during their performance rehearsals. Coaches, Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton and Pharrell Williams all had plenty to say, as usual.
So here’s a recap of tonight’s The Voice performances:
“You and I” by Lady Gaga
17-year-old Shelby is the only country star in the competition that is not on Team Blake. Her father joins her, as she takes on a more edgy pop song. However, the song still has some country twangs in it, which plays right into Shelby’s wheelhouse.
She kicks off the night with a really strong performance. In the beginning, she did struggle a bit, as she seemed to be trying to force gritty vocals wherever she could in the song. However, half way through she hit her stride and gave a great performance till the end.
Blake and Pharrell both agree that this was her best performance yet, which I completely agree. This is fortunate as from previous episodes we know even one bad night can send a worthy contestant packing. In addition, Gwen calls her out for her overusing her “growl,” so hopefully that puts an end to it.
“Smile” by Nat King Cole
Evan, who is joined by his mother, decides to take on a slow-paced, bluesy song this week. Evan explains that he wants to go back to his performing roots, where all he had was his guitar.
His performance starts with just his voice overpowering a very light instrumental in the background. Unfortunately, I think he cheated himself out of a chance to win over viewers. His vocals were fine, but the overall performance was incredibly boring, and even the visuals subtly put me to sleep.
“Delta Dawn” by Tanya Tucker
Barrett, who is joined by his wife in rehearsals, decides to take a classic country song and put a rocker spin on it. Barrett hopes that he is able to show his inner artistry through this performance and his ability to think outside of the box.
He brings a newfound confidence to the stage this week and is very dynamic in his vocals. However, as a non-country fan, I didn’t find myself to be interested in his performance. Nonetheless, I have a feeling he will be around for another week.
“Only Hope” by Mandy Moore
Korin decides to throw it back with Mandy Moore. In rehearsals Korin, who is joined by her father, reveals that she used to record herself singing Gwen’s hit “I’m just a girl.”
While I am not necessarily a fan of the song choice, I will admit she was able to thoroughly showcase her vocal clarity. Through the haunting rendition, she let her slight quirkiness shine through. There were even a few moments where she almost sounded Broadway with the strength she put behind every note, which I am not sure whether that is a good thing or bad.
Side note, Korin is looking more and more like her pop star coach Gwen Stefani, as she opted to go without glasses this week.
“Blank Space” by Taylor Swift
Her father, who fully resembles Walter White from Breaking Bad, tags along with Amy during her rehearsals. Amy explains that Adam already has a plan in motion for her this week, as he assigns her “Blank Space.”
Just like she did with “Hotline Bling,” Amy puts her own folky twist on the hit pop song. I love watching performances where the singers transform popular songs. However, it is sometimes a gamble since the songs are so well known.
Her performance is a mix of folk and old school pop. Overall, I really liked Amy’s performance. However, I think she needs to push the envelope a bit more when it comes to taking vocal risks.
“Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” by Thompson Swuare
Zach brings his mom with him to rehearsals. Awkwardly enough, Blake asks his mom about “the dancing he was doing” (i.e. the pelvic thrusts) last week. Blushing, she responds that she didn’t realize her son could do that, and she was uncomfortable. Zach doesn’t give her much of a break as she sits in and listens to him belting out suggestive lyrics like “are we gonna do this or not?”
Unfortunately, I thought Zach’s vocals were relatively weak in comparison to previous weeks (which weren’t too strong to begin with). However, he does have superstar goods working in his favor and is undoubtedly milking this factor for all that it’s worth.
“Love is Blindness” by U2
Madi brings in her mom to rehearsals with her coach, Pharrell. This week Madi decides to slow it down, as she accompanies her vocals on the piano. During rehearsals, Madi receives the ultimate compliment, as her coach notes some similarities between her vocals and Adele’s.
While the song starts off a bit slow and mostly in her lower register, Madi kicks it up and ends it off with some incredible moments. Rightfully so, all of the coaches are in shock with how amazing her performance was. The camera even cuts away to her dad, who is lovingly in tears.
Blake tells Madi that he thinks she had the performance of the night, which I agree. I think she is my favorite at this point in the competition.
“True” by Spandau Ballet
Braiden and his dad join Gwen in the rehearsal room, as Braiden prepares for this week’s performance. Gwen tells Braiden’s dad that it is “trippy” to be coaching Braiden, as he is just a few years older than her eldest son.
Gwen assigned Braiden “True,” in hopes that he will once again deliver a performance like he did when he sang Michael Buble a few weeks back. However, Braiden isn’t too familiar with “True” and is eager to study and learn the song inside and out.
Unfortunately, the song was a bad choice to begin with, and Braiden’s vocals didn’t bring anything that could revive it. He hit one really long note towards the end, which got him a few cheers, but I think the rest of his performance lost the viewers’ attention – at least it did for me.
“Who You Are” by Jessie J
Jordan, who is arguably the strongest vocalist left, takes on “Who You Are.” Both him and his coach, Adam, feel that he could evoke a strong connection to the lyrics and also showcase his powerhouse vocals.
Not surprisingly, Jordan has a really good performance. He has numerous memorable moments and makes them all seem so effortless. He continues to be one of the front-runners in the competition, but will have to bring some innovation to his future performances if he wants to stay in it for the long haul.
After his performance, Jordan couldn’t help himself but blurt a short inspirational pep talk about being who you are. Of course, the coaches just eat it up and praise him for his spirit and outlook.
Emily Ann Roberts
“Why Not Me” by The Judds
Blake decides to get Emily to take a bluegrass approach to her song for the week. Emily is ecstatic as Blake customizes the production of the song to fit her vocals perfectly.
This week, Emily reminded me a lot of Carrie Underwood during her American Idol days. Whether it be through winning this show or not, I think Emily has a big future in country music. She has a strong voice but also has some unique qualities that actually make her a memorable artist. Her performance was really strong and earned her a hug from Blake, who ran up onto the stage.
“Dancing on My Own” by Robyn
The last performance of the night was from Jeffrey Austin, who was able to crack the Top 10 list on ITunes last week. With his mom and Gwen in rehearsals, Jeffrey exclaims, “as a gay man, being able to sing Robyn on national television? [It’s a] dream come true.”
Jeffrey decides to sing the Robyn hit, as he wants to bring his own qualities to a pop-dance song. Gwen gives him a few tips when it comes to his stage presence.
After last week, I was looking forward to Jeffrey’s performance, and I was not disappointed (for the most part). There were a few parts of his performance where it seemed like he was singing a bit flat, but overall it was thoroughly entertaining and actually memorable. He showed a bit of his falsetto towards the end, but I hope he showcases this portion of his vocals more in his future performances.
And that’s it for this week’s performances. You can catch the live eliminations tomorrow night, as the Top 11 become the Top 10. The Voice is back on tomorrow, November 24 at 8 pm on NBC.