Monday nights episode was full of special moments. I didn't get to watch the episode until the following morning, but lets just say it was a great way to start the day! Some contestants let their nerves get the best of them, but others took it to a whole new level.
Andrea Thomas “Cry” vs. Lauren Duski “When You Say Nothing At All”
In my first vlog I mentioned that I was a little angry The Voice hadn’t televised a full performance of Andrea Thomas’s. They must’ve noticed my frustration, which encouraged them to finally give us a full dose of Andrea Thomas. She took on a Faith Hill classic, and did a really nice job. It was great hearing her voice in its entirety, but I have to agree with Alicia, it felt like she was focused too much on singing and showcasing every part of her voice rather than feeling what she was singing and embodying the song. For that reason, I think she was overthinking a few parts which caused her to be a little under the pitch. There is no denying her powerful voice though! Lauren, on the other hand, sang with lots of feeling and emotion. While she may not have had the super high notes or flashy runs, she took the song and immersed herself within it, making every single song she sings her own. Lauren has been a favorite of mine since the beginning. Her tone is unique, which lent itself nicely to this particular song. My winner of this knockout was Lauren Duski and Mr. Shelton also chose her as the knockout winner. Congratulations Lauren, see you in the Live Playoffs!
Jack Cassidy “Unsteady” vs. Vanessa Ferguson “If I Were Your Woman”
Taking on a tough song, Jack gave it his all hoping to secure a spot in the Live Playoffs. There were parts of his performance that were really nice, but I felt like he was in his head a lot which allowed some nerves to come through in his performance. The way he began the song was intimate and vulnerable, but when the full band came in something didn’t click, for me. I’ve been a fan of Jack’s since the beginning and am still a big fan, but unfortunately this wasn’t one of his best performances! On the other hand, Vanessa came into this knockout fists up, ready to fight. Her performance was the best of the night! She took the song and made it her own, effortlessly moving from her low register into her intense belt. The grit of her voice is AMAZING! She has full control of every note she sings and the emotion that comes through in the way she performs and sings is so good. Although Jack is really talented, it’s tough for anyone to compete against a performance like Vanessa’s. If she keeps giving performances like this, she could win the entire show. I chose Vanessa as the winner of this battle and Alicia chose her as well. I. CAN’T. WAIT. To see what she does in the Live Playoffs!
Davina Leone “Toxic” vs. Jesse Larson “The Letter”
All of the coach’s commended Davina on her ability to take a song like “Toxic” and make it her own. However, I’ve heard this song done in a similar fashion. I’m not saying Davina didn’t make it her own, but a few other artists have flipped this song, including Melanie Martinez from season 3. With that being said, Davina’s performance was good, but I felt like all of her high belted notes weren’t supported enough, which caused them to sound thin and a little wobbly. They were on pitch, but didn’t feel as strong as some of the other notes she sang. Her voice is really cool, but there are a lot of artists this season that are delivering some incredible vocal performances. Every contestant on this season is a great singer, for that reason you have to deliver something even more to stand out. For instance, Davina’s competition Jesse, delivered that extra something! I love this guy! His voice is incredible and his guitar playing is just as incredible. He is comfortable on stage and enjoying every second of performing. Sometimes artists that play guitar or piano on the show can keep them from delivering a good vocal performance. In the case of Jesse Larson, he doesn’t have a problem with that at all. His vocals have boon spot on in every performance, and some of the runs he sings are just CRAZY! Adam is right on when he says Jesse sounds like Cee Lo Green. He really does. Plus, they are both bald. Maybe if I shave my hair completely off, I will sound like Cee Lo and Jesse???? Jesse is the winner of this battle and Adam agreed! Congrats Jesse. You killed it!
Malik Davage “Rock With You” vs. Mark Isaiah “Love Yourself”
I love Michael Jackson, especially the album that has “Rock With You” on it, but something about Malik’s performance didn’t work for me. You can tell that he’s got a great voice, but I didn’t feel like he made the song his own. It almost sounded as if he was singing a karaoke version of the song. There’s nothing wrong with paying tribute to an original song, especially an older classic by Michael Jackson, but for this particular performance I would have flipped the song a little more to make it completely my own. Mark took center stage next giving us his take on a Justin Bieber favorite. His performance was strong, but there were a few parts where I felt like he was trying to do too much. Some of the runs he sang were good ideas but they weren’t as clean as he’s made them in previous performances. His nerves came through in this performance which was the cause of a few of his notes coming off flat and the runs not being as clean as they normally are. However, with all of that being said, my winner for this knockout is Mark. He has a sound that is well suited for radio and I think he will continue to improve with time. Adam named Mark the knockout winner as well!
Brandon Royal “Redemption Song” vs. JChosen “Without You”
Brandon gave a great performance. He’s got a great voice and his song choice suited his voice nicely. His performance was really chill and calm, which only allowed the words he was singing to come through even clearer. He did a really nice job, but unfortunately he had to go up against JChosen who completely knocked it out of the park. I’ve never heard someone sing “Without You” live as well as JChosen did during his knockout performance. I’m fairly certain even Usher can’t sing it that well live and it’s his song! He showcased his vocal acrobats as well as hitting every low note and high note perfectly. There wasn’t one pitch issue and hearing about his mother’s stroke just made his performance that much more special. You knew the words he was singing were coming from a real place. JChosen’s performance was one of the best of the night and there was no way Gwen could deny it. She chose him as the winner of the knockout which is EXACTLY what I would’ve done!
Aliyah Moulden “Before He Cheats” vs. Caroline Sky “At Last”
I definitely didn’t see this song choice coming! Aliyah delivered an awesome performance. The maturity of her voice is beyond her years and the control that she has at such a young age is pretty unbelievable. She showed no signs of being nervous and looked comfortable as she commanded the stage. I have to agree with Adam, I’m not sure if Aliyah has had a boyfriend yet, but based on her performance, I’d tell any guy to steer clear of getting on her bad side! Caroline had the tough task of following Aliyah, and on top of that, she chose a tough song to sing! There were some really nice moments during her performance, particularly the parts of the song that were in her lower register. Those notes came through strong and clear, but she had a little trouble with the notes that sat in her higher belt. I’ve heard her hit those notes in past performances, but I think nerves got the best of her causing her to land a little under the pitch. Due to Aliyah’s overall strong performance, I have to give her the win! Blake agreed and is eager to continue working with Aliyah!
Stephanie Rice “Safe & Sound” vs. Troy Ramey “Chandelier”
WOW! What a way to end the knockout rounds. Both of these performances were winners in my book. Stephanie’s voice is really special. She floats between her chest voice and falsetto and embodies every song she sings. Her version of this song is a clear indication of the type of album Stephanie would put out. There is nobody that can listen to her sing and NOT feel something. She is vulnerable, open, and unlike anyone else in the competition. Listening to her sing could put me to sleep, and I mean that in the best way possible. It was so peaceful and calming. Then you have Troy come in with his grit and hard hitting take on Sia’s “Chandelier”. If you would’ve had me guess what song Troy would sing for his knockout, I wouldn’t have come anywhere close to picking this song, but that is why I loved it so much. He went outside ofmhis comfort zone AND it paid off! Similar to Stephanie’s performance, Troy sang with tons of emotion and strength. He didn’t try to sing it like Sia, instead he changed the melodies and rhythmic patterns of the song. I was captivated by his vocal decisions, waiting eagerly to see where he would go next. He made it his own and it translated really well! This was one of the tougher decisions of the night, but I would’ve given the win to Troy, Gwen agreed and named Troy the winner, but Alicia was quick to come to the rescue and STEAL Stephanie for her team! I think it is a perfect match. Congratulations Stephanie AND Troy.
Who else is looking forward to the Live Playoffs next week?!?!? I can tell you from personal experience, there is nothing like performing live. Knowing that millions of people are watching you through the camera is really nerve wracking. To all of the contestant: perform to the people in the room. Don’t worry about it being live. Plus, there is so much going on that you may even forget once you get on stage.
Until next time…