Not only did The Voice’s coaches Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani recently make their relationship official, but fans of the show were also gifted with night 1 of The Live Playoffs tonight.
In episode 15 of The Voice’s 9th season, Adam and Gwen’s top five team members, along with one comeback artist, give “the biggest performance of their lives” (as quoted by the hype master himself, Carson Daly) in hopes of earning votes from America and moving on to the next Live Rounds.
The comeback artist is a new addition to the show this year. This allows coaches to bring back a singer that they had sent home during the previous rounds.
So here are the performances from tonight:
Starting with Team Adam…
“Never Tear Us Apart” by NXS
Blaine, who Adam stole from Blake Shelton, is a rocker at heart who feels emotionally connected to the NXS song. He ends up giving a very dynamic performance. I am not sure if it is just his appearance, but he definitely gave off some Hozier vibes tonight.
“Hello” by Adele
I am sorry Regina, but it was just too soon to cover this Adele hit. She sounded surprisingly unstable and off-pitch when singing, which I did not expect from her (being a powerhouse). Overall, I did not like it. However, she got lots of praise from the [overly nice] judges.
Life Lesson: Just don’t cover Adele songs. Ever.
“To Be With You” by Mr. Big
Keith is a rock musician from Ireland. Although he can hold a note and has stage presence, I find his voice very unoriginal and found his overall performance boring. Additionally, his arrangement of the song was not a suitable choice for the first week that America gets to vote (i.e. bland and too low-key). Fortunately, Shelton somewhat brought light to Adam’s poor song choice, as he pointed out that it has a lot of gaps and background singing.
“You’re No Good” by Linda Ronstadt
Shelby is Adam’s only country singer. She has a powerful voice, which was played up in the song. However, I thought the chorus fell flat during her performance but she did amp it up a bit with a few drawn-out notes and notable runs.
Now for Team Gwen’s turn…
“Adia” by Sarah McLachlan
Gwen decided to give quirky artist Korin a makeover for her performance by chopping off a few inches of her curly hair. She was able to evoke emotion and dynamics in her performance, but it progressed rather slowly. Again, I was not sold on the song choice for the first Live Round.
After the performance, Blake comments that last time Gwen convinced a singer to cut their hair (Season 7’s Craig Wayne Boyd) they ended up winning the competition. Gwen let out a giggly schoolgirl laugh in response to her new boyfriend.
Ellie Lawrence (Comeback Artist)
“Ex’s & Ohs” by Elle King
Gwen advises Ellie to get theatrical with her performance and infuse some tomboy rock into it. Ellie follows Gwen’s advice and completely owns the stage. Unfortunately, I think her vocals took the backseat to her overall visual performance. Nonetheless, I think she managed to keep herself in the competition for another round.
“Say You Love Me” by Jessie Ware
Jeffrey was able to perform the ballad and still keep it interesting. He has somewhat of a Sam Smith quality to the way he performs. He definitely got immersed into the lyrics and balanced his strong vocal moments with softer, more vulnerable moments.
“Everything I Own” by Bread
Braiden, who is the youngest competitor this year, tries to win the audience over with an emotional performance. Unfortunately, he isn’t too successful in doing so and ended up with a very flat performance. Even judge Adam noted he felt that Braiden wanted to do a lot more with the song.
I think this might be the last we see of Braiden.
Back to Team Adam…
“The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra
Amy’s soft-spoken vocals foster a unique rendition of the jazzy song. Adam compares her vocal qualities to the late Amy Winehouse. In the end, it seems she will be one to look out for in the competition as Pharrell notes her performance seemed almost “effortless.”
And back to Gwen…
“All Around the World” by Lisa Stansfield
Viktor, who Gwen stole from Adam’s team, is an already established pop singer in Hungary. It looks like Blake has some competition to look out for, as Viktor flirtatiously speaks to Gwen in Hungarian. Viktor had a really good performance, highlighting both his stage presence and falsetto.
Afterwards, Blake states that Team Gwen is “whipping the crap” out of Team Adam.
And then lastly, Adam…
Chance Pena (Comeback Artist)
“Barton Hollows” by The Civil Wars
Adam advises Chance, his comeback musician, to get rid of the extra frills (such as voice breaks) in his performance and focus on strengthening his true vocal abilities. While it didn’t feel like he listened to Adam necessarily, I thought the little-added elements he put into his performance made him more interesting. Personally, I am hoping he moves forward as I want to see him take on different songs.
“Halo” by Beyonce
It’s The Voice, which means we are pretty much obligated to have at least one Adele or Beyonce cover per episode. However, we are provided with both tonight.
Fortunately, Jordan’s rendition was really good. So unlike Regina, his risk paid off. He showcased his crystal clear vocals while also evoking plenty of emotion. I have a feeling he will be going far in this season’s competition.
And that rounds out the performances for tonight.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 10th, Coaches Blake Shelton and Pharrell Williams will showcase their top 5 performers and comeback artists in the next set of Live Rounds.