1. Kristen Merlin, “Two Black Cadillacs,” Carrie Underwood
Nice song choice for Kristen, as long as (as Shakira advises her) she doesn’t get crazy with the growls. Sometimes singers get so caught up in the vocal tricks that they forget to just sing. Anyway, Kristen starts off pretty solid and then subtly builds to the big stuff, it’s a nice crescendo to the big notes at the end. Great way to start off and her best performance to date.
2. Deja Hall, “Battlefield,” Jordin Sparks
Her reasoning for this choice is sound — we need to see Deja sing something that’s not a ballad. However, the performance falls pretty flat. She’s going through the motions and hitting the notes, but there’s no oomph behind it. Love is not a battlefield in this case, it is like stroll in the park. Unless two of the last three singers biff it, Deja is headed home.
3. Tess Boyer, “Human,” Christina Perri
Gosh, Tess has a beautiful voice. She’s one of the best singers in the competition. Her low register is so, so rich — supported, not breathy, gorgeous. She also builds really nicely to the big ending, I was so sucked in I barely wrote a note during her performance. She’s got a spot in the live shows sewn up.
Could you see a Sisaundra Lewis/Tess Boyer finals? I could.
4. Patrick Thomson, “Trouble,” Ray Lamontagne
This is a great song, but it’s getting really overplayed on singing competition shows. Anyway, Patrick has the same problem as Deja — he’s perfunctory, but he’s nothing special. The song is repetitive and Patrick isn’t really injecting any life into it, so he just wanders around the stage saying, “I’ve been saved by a woman” and “She let me go” over and over again. There are also a few bum notes here and there. I have a feeling that Deja and Patrick are dunzo.
5. Dani Moz, “The Edge of Glory,” Lady Gaga
Beautiful choice to be at the piano, this is a “moment” for this season. Tess was the best vocal of Team Shakira, but this is a special performance. Dani is captivating and it’s definitely the best she’s done so far. Her tone is pure and clear, plus the emotional connection is palpable. Her big “the edge, the edge, the edge” jump at the end? I’ve got goosebumps and I’m tearing up here at home. Holy moly. Outstanding.
So, Dani, Tess and Kristen should be the three who advance for Shakira — and then they are. Well done, ladies.
1. Delvin Choice, “Let’s Stay Together,” Al Green
Interesting choice, going retro instead of a current R&B tune. However, Delvin’s got a perfect Motown-y voice, so it absolutely works for him and shows off a different side.
He’s pitch-perfect and having a ton of fun, plus he throws in some impressive runs near the end to jazz it up a bit. It’s not an overly flashy performance, though, but hopefully Adam remembers him by the time all five singers are done because he should probably go through.
2. Jake Barker, “She Will Be Loved,” Maroon 5
Say what you will about Adam Levine, but his falsetto is spotless and I’m not sure Jake can keep up with the leaps to his upper register in this song. Also, this song is a little boring for a situation like this. When Jake starts singing, the verses are fine, but the leaps to “will” on the chorus are predictably a little rough. He’s slightly under pitch and he doesn’t make it sound effortless like Levine does. Plus, he’s not really making this song his own. You what would have been interesting? If he would have slowed it down and done an unplugged version.
Jake is probably going home.
3. Kat Perkins, “Open Arms,” Journey
As Levine says, “It doesn’t get much tougher than Journey.” Yes. Steve Perry is one of the most talented vocalists of all time. Can Kat keep up? We shall see. The verses are nice, of course, but the verses aren’t the money notes. On the choruses, Kat handles it pretty well. I don’t like the choice of doing “this empty house seems so cold” as a big soaring moment. That’s not the right emotion of the lyric. But anyway, she seems to have done more than a enough to advance, unless the last two people really blow us away.
Levine cites degree of difficulty and says, “Steve Perry does not screw around” and I have to say, I love his admiration of Steve Perry. Makes me think I could hang out with Adam Levine and I’ve never actually thought that before.
4. Morgan Wallen, “Stay,” Florida Georgia Line
I finally figured out who he looks like. Danny Bonaduce circa “The Partridge Family.” Hee. Anyway, this is … OK. He could have picked a showier number. It’s a little boring, plus it’s not really showing off his vocals much. He also just wanders around taking what my college acting teacher calls “two steps to nowhere.” Since the pimp spot is coming up, I think Jake and Morgan are out.
5. Christina Grimmie, “I Won’t Give Up,” Jason Mraz
Very pretty, though a surprise that she’s in the last spot and not Kat Perkins. Anyway, her upper register is gorgeous when she’s singing so quietly and sweetly. Very pure tone, very … gentle is a good word, but there’s still power behind it. This is another great crescendo, she really builds the song nicely to the big ending — she handles the key change with aplomb, but she does get a little shout-y on one of the big notes.
However, barring something weird, Kat, Delvin and Christina should be advancing. Adam chooses Christina, Delvin and Kat. Yep.
No big controversies tonight, I think the ones who should advance were pretty obvious. One more team left and then it’s time to vote, “Voice” fans!