This week kicked off with the Top 10 performing on NBC’s The Voice. Yes, the competition is already down to 10 competitors, with each of the four coaches – Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine – having at least one musician still in the running.
The Voice has got me rather confused about Braiden Sunshine as he’s easily one of the dimmer lights shining in this season which is populated with far superior voices going home than him. Last night’s cover of Imagine Dragons‘ “Radioactive” was just bad, and it felt like a small poodle trying to act like a Rottweiler. Sunshine literally shines when he does the ‘pretty voice’ songs, but when it comes to meatier more meaningful powerful vocals, he just can’t cut it. It was shocking that the judges were being so effusive after his performance when he had a ragged note near the end, and then he missed that powerful breathy gasp in the chorus. This song is a rather dark one, and it felt like Braiden Sunshine was trying to turn it into a piece of cotton candy.
I understand Gwen Stefani not wanting to hinder this young singer’s wishes, but as a coach/mentor, you would think she would guide him to songs that better suited him and didn’t make him stand out for all the wrong reasons. America voted him as most popular last week for some reason, but true artists like Madi Davis and Jeffery Austin deserve the votes much more. That’s my two sense, so fire away with why I’m wrong and who you think is more deserving.
So as we enter the final stretch of season 9 of The Voice, here is a recap of tonight’s performances:
“Jealous” by Labyrinth
Jeffrey kicks off the night with an incredibly strong vocal performance. Against a barren stage and wearing a simple suit and tie, Jeffrey relies on his voice and dynamics to carry out his performance. While it was a slow song, his clarity and range kept it interesting throughout. In addition, I felt that he was able to evoke emotion without being over-the-top theatrical, which many singers tend to do on The Voice stage.
Afterwards, Jeffrey got some pretty impressive compliments from the coaches. Both Adam and Blake noted that they felt transported by his performance and were thoroughly captivated by his voice.
Emily Ann Roberts
“She’s Got You” by Patsy Cline
Following Jeffrey is 17-year-old Emily Ann Roberts. It is safe to say Emily had a good week, considering she got a phone call from Wynona Judd praising her performance from last week and was gifted a brand new guitar from her coach, Blake Shelton. Once again, Emily had a strong performance. The song she performed was a perfect match to her bluegrass tone. Furthermore, I am pretty sure she is a shoe-in for next week’s performances.
“Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons
Braiden was like a whole new person this week, as he exuded confidence throughout his rehearsals. Braiden opted to put a jazzy spin on “Radioactive,” and got hands-on when it came to setting the stage and visuals.
This week, Gwen didn’t simply convince Braiden to straighten his curly locks for his performance. Gwen was actually able to get Braiden to cut off some of his hair and sport a more edgy look.
Admittedly, I have not been a big fan of Braiden’s since the start. I never felt he had the vocal strength that the others did. However, this week he improved a lot both vocally and in terms of his stage presence. I still don’t think he should win the competition, but I think he earned his spot this week if he is saved once again.
“Go Rest High On That Mountain” by Vince Gill
Shelby, Adam’s sole country artist, decides to sing “Go Rest High On That Mountain” in honor of her late grandfather. She wanted to choose a song that she could emotionally connect with, and this song was a favorite of her grandfather, which made it a suitable choice. In rehearsals, we see Adam gift his team member with a stuffed animal giraffe, which he promised her if she did well last week.
Undoubtedly, Shelby has an amazing voice. Specifically this week, she was able to incorporate her grit without going overboard. Unfortunately, I feel like her lack of differentiation may ultimately lead to her demise as she is one of the artists I always fail to remember afterwards. However, I am admittedly a harsher (but definitely not qualified) critic when it comes to country artists.
“Same Old Love” by Selena Gomez
For the second time, singer Korin was saved during the Live Saves last week. During rehearsals, Gwen advises Korin to bring all the “drama” and personality to her performance that she can, because “that’s who [Korin] is.” While giving her tips, it almost looks like Gwen is coaching her mini-me.
I wasn’t a huge fan of her performance this week. She kind of went a weird route with the styling, as blaring red lights flashed above her while she wore a full red suit. She wasn’t really able to have any breakout moments this time around, and the chorus fell flat. This might finally be the end of her lucky streak in the competition.
“Bye, Bye, Bye” by NSYNC
Amy explains how she has continued to take “twists and turns around the musical genres” throughout the season. This week is no exception, as she and Adam decide to go with a bluesy take on the infamous boy band hit. From her rehearsals, it seems like Amy once again has it in the bag.
And…She did not disappoint. Probably one of my favorite performances thus far, Amy’s rendition played up both the fragile aspects of her soft-spoken voice and the stronger, powerful qualities. In addition, I think she is feeling more at ease on the stage, which complemented the well-chosen visuals that surrounded her.
“Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley
Jordan opts to go with a haunting rendition of the classic song, “Hallelujah.” Him and his coach, Adam, decide to reconfigure the song so that it emphasizes the build-up of both his vocals and the instrumentals from beginning to end.
I was initially a bit hesitant with Jordan’s song choice, as it is obviously a popular song for singing competitions (and thus, can be boring and predictable). However, he was able to bring his artistry to the song in a tasteful manner, which is tough with a song like “Hallelujah.” Unsurprisingly, Jordan was able to once again showcase his incredible range and dynamics.
“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen
The resident heartthrob of this season, Zach Seabaugh, decides to put a more modern twist on the Queen hit. The song, which was originally written as a tribute to Elvis, fits right into Zach’s established wheelhouse.
Throwing it back to his first live performance, Zach brings out all of his dance moves – including his now signature gyrations. This week, Zach had much more stable vocals, and his dance moves definitely won over the in-house crowd and most likely the viewers at home. I think he’s found his sweet spot in the competition.
“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper
Madi has a lot to prove, as she is the last member of Team Pharrell. Ultimately, Madi decides to bring her own stripped down, alternative twist to the Lauper hit.
Madi seems to have borrowed a trick from Team Adam’s Amy Vachal’s playbook, as she brought a unique take on a popular song. Madi owned it, as she embellished the slowed-down rendition with her strong, powerful vocals. I was surprised that she was able to manipulate the song so much but managed to keep it feeling smooth and not over-worked. Fortunately, I think Madi is here for at least another week, keeping coach Pharrell in the competition.
“I Wanna Lay You Down” by Conway Twitty
The last singer of the night was Team Blake’s Barrett Baber. Barrett opts for a Conway Twitty song, as the singer is also from Arkansas State and wants to pay tribute to it.
During his performance, Barrett decides to play his guitar and stay seated. Therefore, I didn’t feel captivated by his performance, as he wasn’t bringing anything new to the stage. Ultimately, if it were up to me, I would say Barrett should be the next to go home. However, with all the country fans out there I have a feeling that won’t be the case.
And that’s it for tonight’s performances!
You can catch the Live Results tomorrow, as host Carson Daly announces which 9 singers will move on to next week’s performances. The Voice airs tomorrow, December 1st on NBC at 8 pm.