It’s getting down to the wire for “The Voice” contestants, with only eight left in the competition — three each for Adam Levine and Blake Shelton’s teams, while Shakira and Usher are down to one apiece. Let’s see how the singers fare this week.
1. Sisaundra Lewis, “River Deep, Mountain High,” Tina Turner (Team Blake)
Terrific song choice. Sisaundra is owning the stage and vocally, she’s just as flawless as she always is. She’s on a whole different level than most everyone left in the competition. It’s also nice to see she can last through a longer performance. When they’re down to only eight singers and have two hours to fill, everybody’s song is going to be longer and not everybody can pull it off, particularly on such an aerobic song like this one. Really well done.
2. Josh Kaufman, “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” Bonnie Raitt (Team Usher)
This is an interesting song choice, quite unexpected. However, it’s great to hear him really break it down. This is a gorgeous song that just needs to be sung, just a beautiful melody laid bare because the lyrics do a lot of heavy lifting for you if you can emote. And Kaufman can, he really does a lovely job. It’s always nice to hear a singer who likes the vocal acrobatics just slow down and put forth a simple but strong vocal. When he finally blows the song up a little, he’s earned it because he did such a quietly powerful job on the first two verses and chorus. Another great performance. He is always good, but that may have just catapulted him into the front of the pack.
3. Kat Perkins, “Get Lucky,” Daft Punk (Team Adam)
This is a good rebound song from “Landslide” last week. I thought she did a great job last week, but she ended up in the bottom, so. But this gets back to her rock ‘n roll side, which apparently is what the voters want out of Kat. It’s a killer arrangement, it builds to … insanity. It’s a terrific crescendo, instead of just starting at 11. Kat struts and stomps her way around the stage, awesomely knocking over the mic stand and punching audience members. (OK, that second part didn’t happen). But she kills this song. This is maybe my favorite performance so far tonight. There is no reason why she should be in the bottom again.
And then Adam Levine continues to be my BFF when he says, “Bottom 3, my a**. Vote for this girl, she is incredible.”
4. Kristen Merlin, “I Drive Your Truck,” Lee Brice (Team Shakira)
This is not a great song for Kristen. It’s almost like she can’t hear her accompaniment very well because she’s horribly out of tune throughout the first verse. The chorus gets her back on track, but she’s off again on the next verse. Yikes. You know, Merlin has had some really good performances, but she just isn’t as strong as the upper echelon of singers this season. I fear Team Shakira is about to be knocked out tomorrow night.
5. Delvin Choice, “I Believe I Can Fly,” R. Kelly (Team Adam)
If I never hear this song again, it’ll be too soon. Ugh. I’ll try to be impartial, but I seriously hate this song. Anyway, Delvin does a fine job vocally, but the performance is kind of a snoozefest, especially when compared with the first three who performed tonight. It also goes a little wonky at the end, he could have reeled that in a bit. Adam may be at risk to lose his first team member.
6. Audra McLaughlin, “Forgive,” Rebecca Lynn Howard (Team Blake)
I am neither in love with her outfit or this song choice. The chorus sounds terrific, but it’s one of those issues female singers run into sometimes where they have to take the key down a touch in order to hit the high stuff, but in doing so, they sacrifice the low stuff. Audra is cheating the low notes. She should still be fine, because she’s probably very popular with the voters and she won’t be the worst tonight by a long shot, but this is not her strongest performance. Also, don’t wear pants under a prom dress. It looks super-goofy.
7. Jake Worthington, “Hillbilly Deluxe,” Brooks & Dunn (Team Blake)
Well, he’s sick, so there’s the sympathy vote, no matter how much Jake says no pity party for him. Interestingly, this is the best he’s done in weeks. Maybe he should get sick all the time. At least he’s in tune, which has not been the case the last two performances. I still don’t think Jake is in the same league as most of the singers left, but he hasn’t even been in the bottom after two weak performances and this one isn’t bad, so he’ll surely be safe. Kudos to him loosening up on stage and really working the crowd, too. Jake doesn’t always have the best stage presence, but he’s certainly working on improving in that regard.
8. Christina Grimmie, “How to Love,” Lil Wayne (Team Adam)
This version of this song is amazing, really gorgeous. Obviously, Christina also sings the heck out of it, but it’s a great place to start from. The staging is also very cool. My only criticism is there are a few of the higher notes that sound a little nasally, she really needs to watch that. The one big long note isn’t nasal, she really puts her back into that one and opens up her mouth and throat, but in the beginning there were a few that felt a little closed off and sung through her nose. But overall, really good.
For me, Sisaundra Lewis, Kat Perkins, Josh Kaufman and Christina Grimmie were the best tonight. The other four — I would be surprised if Jake Worthignton and/or Audra McLaughlin are eliminated, so I expect Delvin Choice and Kristen Merlin’s time has come.
What do you think, “Voice” fans?