It all comes down to this, “Voice” fans. Who do you like, Christina Grimmie, Josh Kaufman or Jake Worthington?
1. Christina Grimmie, “Wrecking Ball,” Miley Cyrus (Team Adam)
Great song choice, America. The giant spiderweb set is kind of weird, but then again, we are talking about a Miley song, so perhaps it could have been 1000x weirder. Either way, this is right in Christina’s wheelhouse — big, soaring notes and lots of opportunities for dramatic dynamic changes. She does very well with it, really reaching for the stratosphere at the end and pretty much nailing it.
2. Josh Kaufman and coach Usher, “Every Breath You Take,” The Police
This sounds terrific, Josh and Usher have very complementary voices and the R&B arrangement suits them perfectly. Now, the stage presence is a little boring, but this song doesn’t exactly lend itself to really dynamic staging. However, I feel like they could have done something slightly more than just wandering around aimlessly for two minutes. But anyway, vocally it’s a win. Not Josh’s most exciting performance ever, but a solid start.
3. Jake Worthington, “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” Keith Whitley (Team Blake)
It’s kind of lather, rinse, repeat with Jake — he has a decent tone, he has nice moments, but he is also horribly out of tune at times, it’s not even funny anymore. But that doesn’t seem to matter to the voters, so he’ll probably win the whole thing, which is a shame because both Christina and Josh (and several eliminated contestants) can sing rings around Jake.
Do people just not hear the problems when he sings, or do they just like him so much they don’t care? I can’t really figure it out. It’s also annoying the coaches never call him out on the pitch issues. This show’s judges panel is really lacking its Simon Cowell figure who will tell the singers the truth.
4. Josh Kaufman, “Signed, Sealed and Delivered,” Stevie Wonder (Team Usher)
Another good choice, America. The horns are on blast, Josh’s falsetto is up in the rafters and the backup singers are getting their groove on, what a fun performance. It’s times like this when Josh strongly reminds me of Justin Timberlake, he should really be going for a JT or a Bruno Mars-like vibe when he’s done on this show. Now, vocally this is a lot of fun, but I feel like Josh’s best performance is still forthcoming. The first two were both great, but he needs a big finale “moment” if he’s going to trump Christina’s online fandom from being a YouTube star or Jake’s apparent voting bloc.
5. Christina Grimmie and coach Adam Levine, “Somebody That I Used to Know,” Gotye
This is an awesome, sexy choice for them. Adam and Christina have great chemistry on stage and, just like Usher and Josh, very complementary voices. They sound terrific together, their harmonies are super tight. The staging is also deliberately dramatic, as opposed to the aimless wandering. Christina definitely is in the lead so far tonight.
6. Jake Worthington, “Right Here Waiting,” Richard Marx (Team Blake)
Can Jake melt my cold, black heart by choosing one of my favorite ’80s ballads? Not if he butchers it, which is what he is doing. Seriously, can he hear himself? Can he hear his accompaniment? This is painful, you guys. Yikes.
This is my first season covering “The Voice,” is this always the way it goes — some middling country singer keeps getting voted through because most of the viewers of this show like country music? I mean, I say this as a country music fan. I love me some George Jones, Alabama, Patsy, you name it. But Jake should have gone home a long time ago. This is a farce of Tim Urban proportions.
7. Jake Worthington and coach Blake Shelton, “A Country Boy Can Survive,” Hank Williams Jr.
This is a good song, but Jake’s struggles as a singer are on even more display when he’s put next to someone with an instrument like Blake Shelton. Whereas Josh Kaufman and Christina Grimmie both held up well next to their coaches, that is not what is happening here. Man, I just don’t even know anymore, kids. Is this guy going to win the whole thing? Wow.
8. Christina Grimmie, “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” Elvis Presley (Team Adam)
Good choice, though I can’t help but think of Jena Irene doing this song two weeks ago on “American Idol.” It’s tough not to compare if you watch both shows, but in a wonderful turn of events, they both did it great and in very different ways. Christina’s version has a very R&B vibe to it and there are some huge diva notes, she’s really pulling out all the stops for her final performance. This is like if Whitney Houston took on this song, is what it reminds me of. Really well done.
9. Josh Kaufman, “Set Fire to the Rain,” Adele (Team Usher)
Love the bold choice of picking Adele for his final performance of the season. The “Phantom of the Opera” set is also kind of cool. This is definitely Josh’s most interesting song of the night and vocally, he really nails it. I was all set to call this for Christina Grimmie, but now I’m not sure.* Josh really leaves it all out on the stage with this performance.
*Of course, I say that as if this was a real competition because Christina and Josh are probably going to lose to Jake. But if this were not bizarro world, then Josh just tightened up the race between himself and Christina.
So, who do you think is going to win? I really feel like Christina should win, but I have a feeling that it’s going to be Jake, you guys. What do you think?