The Live Playoffs continued on tonight’s episode of The Voice. Although earlier today Gwen Stefani shot down claims that she is dating fellow coach Blake Shelton (despite her representative issuing a statement saying she is), the show continues to play up the rumored romance.
Tonight’s stripped down performances are from the five members of Team Pharrell and Team Blake. In addition, both Blake and Pharrell get to bring back one eliminated artist as their “comeback pick” to try and make the cut on Wednesday. Currently, there are 24 singers in the competition (6 per team). However, by next week there will only be 12 artists left (as voted by America).
So here is a recap of tonight’s performances:
“Love Lockdown” by Kanye West
Darius tries to enhance the hit Kanye song and bring his own artistry to his performance. He claims he stayed up all night trying to figure out how to add an edge to the song. The arrangement was definitely worlds away from the original. However, I didn’t think it fit well with the song. There was weird piano accompaniment that sounded out of place. Overall, it was very choppy.
“One of Us” by Joan Osborne
Ivonne is a return performer, who was unsuccessful at getting any chairs to turn last season. However, this season she has made it all the way to the Live Playoffs and is aiming for a spot in the Live Rounds. It took a while for her performance to gain momentum, but she did have a few moments that showed off her strong vocals and range.
“Lips of An Angel” by Hinder
Morgan decides to take on the countrified version of “Lips of An Angel.” Luckily, Blake saved Morgan from going home during the Knockout Rounds and got her back on his team. I am not a huge country artist, but as far as country performances go I thought Morgan did really well. Her vocals were crystal clear. However, I do feel she could improve her stage presence.
“Overjoyed” by Stevie Wonder
During the blind auditions, Pharrell asked Evan to do an impromptu acapella performance, where he sang “Overjoyed.” Therefore, Pharrell decided that the world should be able to see him sing the entire song.
Evan is one of those singers who can sing every note perfectly but doesn’t bring anything extra to their overall performance. So while he may have been incredibly accurate, he wasn’t much else.
“Songbird” by Fleetwood Mac
Madi takes on Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird,” which just so happens to be one of her mother’s favorites. The 16-year-old has both youth and a polished voice working in her favor. Somehow, Madi was able to command the stage while also strumming her guitar. She adds unique quirks to her vocal performances such as yodels and interesting dynamics. Overall, I thought she was really strong throughout.
Rival coach Blake Shelton even confessed that he felt Madi had a “breakout moment.”
Celeste Betton (Comeback Artist)
“Something in the Water” by Carrie Underwood
Fortunately, Celeste was given a second chance after she lost her battle against Mark Hood. The singer decides to take on a country song and put her pop-R&B spin on it.
I thought her performance was really good, as she was obviously connecting with the lyrics about growing and gaining strength. I also liked how the performance started upbeat from the get-go, and I didn’t have to wait till the last 10 seconds for the song to actually go somewhere. I think Celeste definitely earned her second shot at the title.
“Brand New Girlfriend” by Steve Holy
The 17-year-old country artist is the proclaimed “heartthrob” of the season. Blake advises him to make every girl in the audience feel like they are the brand new girlfriend that he is singing about.
Again, I am not too big of a fan of country music, so I didn’t find his vocal performance to be anything special. However, I do commend his charisma, and I am fairly confident he earned a spot in the top 12 simply from his flirtatious visual performance.
If he improves his vocals, Blake may have another winner on his hands. Even Adam admits that not just anyone can pull off the amount of “gyrations” that Zach had in his performance. Zach also earned himself a comparison to Elvis from his coach.
“Should’ve Been Us” by Tori Kelly
After some help from Pharrell, Riley begins embodying the lyrics of the song and unleashes her enviable confidence on stage. She definitely stood out from the rest in terms of attitude and stage presence. Not too mention, her vocals were incredible – giving off some Arianna Grande vibes when she belted out several impressive notes. She is definitely a big contender for the title this season.
Nadjah Nicole (Comeback Artist)
“Upside Down” by Diana Ross
Blake claims that he knew from the second Nadjah was sent home during the Knockout Rounds that he would be bringing her back. Blake believes the Diana Ross hit will allow Nadjah to show off her “fun, playful” side.
Nadjah hit the stage looking like a whole new person, and it wasn’t just her Rapunzel-esque extensions. She brought a new attitude to the up-beat song, but her vocals did fall a bit flat for a good portion of the song. In addition, she didn’t work the stage – at all really. I am not too sure about her fate in the competition.
Emily Ann Roberts
“In the Garden” by C. Austin Miles
This week, 17-year-old Emily Ann Roberts celebrated her birthday in the rehearsal room with her coach, Blake Shelton. She chooses “In the Garden,” as it not only showcases the type of artist she wants to become, but it also was one of her grandfather’s favorites.
Unfortunately, the song was very slow and only allowed Emily to show off her range and power in short glimpses. I don’t think it will be enough to keep her in the running.
“What Do You Mean?” by Justin Bieber
The last singer of the night from Team Pharrell was Mark Hood, who was assigned the Bieber hit, “What Do You Mean?” This is definitely a stretch, as Mark is more accustomed to singing classic R&B songs.
In past seasons of The Voice, typically taking on a lyrically shallow Bieber song was like digging your own grave. Therefore, I was not expecting much from Mark’s performance.
I will admit that Mark did the best with what he was given, but I think Pharrell missed a big opportunity by assigning the contemporary song to Mark. It took until the last 30 seconds of the song for Mark to be able to show off his true vocal abilities (which he did quite well). However, judging from the audience’s reaction, those 30 seconds will most likely be enough to get him a spot in the top 12.
“I Drive Your Truck” by Lee Brice
The last performer of the night was Barrett, who decides to go the emotional route with his performance. Barrett is a country singer, who has a bit of a Kings of Leon tone to his voice. Unfortunately, I don’t think he brought enough to the stage to make it through the cut tomorrow. However, if there are enough country fans watching the show this season (which there always seems to be plenty of), I could be wrong.
You don’t even have to wait another week to catch more of The Voice! On Wednesday, November 11th, two artists on each team will make it through based on the viewer’s votes. In addition, each coach will choose another one of their remaining four artists to perform in the next Live Rounds. Thus, the contest will be cut down from 24 to 12 by tomorrow night.
You can catch The Voice on NBC at 9 pm tomorrow night.