Season 12 (Live Playoffs, Night 1)

HERE WE GO!

As soon as I saw the opening credits, I was reminded of the nervousness I would feel before each show and all the events that would occur on the day of a live episode. There is truly nothing like it. Again, congratulations to all the contestants that are competing in the Live Playoffs. Before you know it, some of you will be standing on stage during the finale wondering how you ended up there. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Last nights performances were great. You could sense that every contestant was a little more nervous, but most of them fought through the nerves, delivering some stellar performances!

 

Casi Joy “Parachute”

Chris Stapleton is one of my favorite vocalists, so I was excited to hear Casi’s take on one of his hit songs. She started the night off with a lot of energy and effortlessly made her way around the stage owning every note and movement. It was a really fun way to begin the night. I didn’t see any nerves coming through in her performance, which is pretty incredible given the pressure of the first night of live shows. Personally, I felt that the music was overpowering her vocals, making some of her vocals tough to hear. Obviously, she had no control over this, just a personal preference of mine! Great performance Cassi!  

 
 

 

Felicia Temple “Defying Gravity”

This was an interesting song choice. Very rarely do we hear contestants on a show like The Voice sing songs from broadway musicals. As the bring-back artist on Team Blake, Felicia was looking to impress not only her coach but America! Similar to her knockout performance, she took the stage wearing a very elegant gown and delivered a beautiful vocal performance. The arrangement of the song made it feel less like a musical number and more like a contemporary song. There were spots that fell a little under the pitch, particularly the notes she held out at the end. Other than that, I loved how she took the song and made it her own, honestly at times I forgot it was from a musical!

 
 

 

Aaliyah Rose “Brass in Pocket”

Aaliyah did a great job! A lot of her vocal decisions were really nice, specifically when she went for some of the notes at the top of her register. She has this break to her voice, that almost sounds like her voice is cracking. Maybe it is cracking, but regardless I love the character that it adds to her voice. It gives her more of a throwback classic sound, which is refreshing coming from a 14 year old (which is insane!). I felt like there wasn’t a lot of peaks and valleys to her performance. A good amount of it felt like it stayed in the same place dynamically. However, I think that is just how the song is, nothing that Aaliyah did or didn’t do.

 
 

 

TSoul “Knock on Wood”

I could listen and watch TSoul perform songs like this for the rest of the season. You can feel that he is right in his wheelhouse when he’s singing soul music. Makes sense, given his name. But more than just singing, his performance style is really fun to watch. He jumps around stage in a way that is unique to him and like no one else I’ve ever seen. We can’t forget the one dance move where he spun into sitting indian style on stage and then stood right up, all done to the rhythm of the song. Yeah, there were a few notes throughout his performance that weren’t perfect, but look at any one of my performances. There were definitely a few parts in all of them, that weren’t perfect. Must have been my charming personality and handsome looks that got me through! hahaha!!!

 
 

 

Aliyah Moulden “Mercy”

The way she began the song was adorable! Her little giggle at the end of the spoken part was sweet but then she went into her singing, which was powerful, and strong! She has a mature grit to her voice, that makes her sound a lot older than she actually is. Her vocals were spot on and very impressive. Something was a little weird about her very first note, but I'm assuming she just had trouble hearing her first note. The grit in her voice lends itself nicely to these harder-hitting energetic songs! If you remember, her knockout performance had a similar energy to it! Based on this first live performance, she is only going to get better if she continues in the competition.

 
 

 

Lauren Duski “Someone Else’s Star”

It was cool seeing Lauren end the Team Blake performances with a simple intimate performance. She sat on a stool and sang, which is one of my favorite ways to deliver a song. There wasn’t anything flashy about her performance, but similar to her past performances, she delivered the emotional, heartfelt lyrics in a storytelling fashion that was really captivating. Lauren has been a frontrunner, in my mind, since her blind audition. I haven’t heard any of her original material, but my bet is she’s a great songwriter. I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more from her!  

 
 

 

Before I move into Team Alicia’s performances, I want to get your thoughts on Adam’s hairstyle. Instead of it being blonde, it almost looks more white. Blake had a few nicknames for him in the first half of last night's episode including Anderson Cooper and Annie Lennox. I think Adam enjoyed the nicknames, but what do you think about the hair? Are you a fan? Like I mentioned a few times before: maybe it’s because I’m simple and boring but I prefer the all-natural look!

Team Alicia’s artists took the stage next and they came out ready to win!!

 

Chris Blue “Love on the Brain”

First of all, Chris is singing this song (that is originally a Rihanna song) in the original key. For those of you that don’t know who Rihanna is, she is a female. That means a male is singing a female song in a female’s key. INSANE! He then took the live stage and completely slayed his performance. The things he can do with his voice are pretty incredible. Gwen and Alicia both commented that his gift is undeniable, and I couldn’t agree more. My jaw was on the floor by the end of his performance. He will obviously be around next week, so I can’t wait to see what he sings. Personally, I’d love him to give us a slower, more intimate performance, but let’s get real. I’d be cool with whatever the guy sings!

 
 

 

Anatalia Villaranda “Stand by Me”

Anatalia usually gives us super energetic performances, so it was nice to see her pull back the energy a little and really focus on delivering some great vocals. Although she was more reserved the energy just oozes out of her, which allowed that Anatalia that we all have grown to love really shine through. She is confident and her personality is out of this world. My favorite part of her performance was the key change. She perfectly took the song a half step higher wowing us even more with her vocal range and capabilities. Congrats on an awesome performance, Anatalia!

 
 

 

Jack Cassidy “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”

Alicia chose to bring Jack back after being sent home after his knockout performance and Jack is ready to prove himself to Alicia and America. There were some really nice parts of  his performance, particularly those higher notes that he was hitting. Alicia was looking to see Jack at 100% during his performance, and that is exactly what she said she saw. There was something different about Jack’s voice when he went into his lower register, that I didn’t notice in past performances. Some of the notes that sat in his middle range were a little shaky, but the strong parts of his performance definitely outweighed the weaker parts!

 
 

 

Vanessa Ferguson “Lean On”

Vanessa’s vibe and style is so cool! I love watching her perform and hearing her sing. The tone of her voice is really unique and fun to listen to. I agree with Adam, she is ready to do this now. Her music career is only just beginning and I can’t wait to hear what kind of records she puts out. She started her performance playing the piano and ended it the same way. It was a great way to tie the entire thing together. Vanessa is really special and a favorite of mine. I get excited just having the opportunity to write about her. She is inspiring and going to be in the finale. Just watch.

 
 

 

Ashley Levin “I Can’t Stand The Rain”

This was the perfect song for Ashley. She showcased her country sound and the soulfulness of her voice. This was Ashley’s best performance of the season. She nailed every single note and owned every word that she sang. Ashley was confident in every vocal decision she made, which was the reason she was able to hit every note with ease. I had a blast watching her perform. Based on the way she sang last night, I think we will be seeing her next week, and for that reason, I’m excited to see what her and Alicia come up with next. Seriously, congratulations on a great performance Ashley! You were awesome!!

 
 

 

Stephanie Rice “Every Breath You Take”

Singing songs like this are definitely Stephanie’s sweet spot. I feel like I say the same thing about her every post I write, but the emotion she sings with is hard not to talk about. It was great seeing Stephanie sit down and play the piano, allowing her emotion to come through even more. Like Gwen mentioned, she had a confidence about her last night that was different than her past performances. She was going for notes that I hadn’t heard her sing before and she was nailing them. The song choice was perfect and her delivery was equally important. I have a feeling Stephanie is going to be around in this competition for a while.

 
 

 

THE RESULTS ARE IN!

TEAM BLAKE

America saved Lauren Duski and Aliyah Moulden.

Blake then had to make the tough decision of choosing one out the four remaining artists on his team. After a lot of thought and positive comments to the artists Blake chose to keep TSoul in the competition. America and Blake did a great job in choosing the final three members of Team Blake. He has a really diverse group of singers. I will say though, I thought he was going to choose Casi Joy, but I’m excited and happy for TSoul. He deserves to be in this competition as much as the next guy!

 

TEAM ALICIA

America saved Chris Blue and Vanessa Ferguson

Alicia then had to quickly choose who she would keep on her team and she chose Stephanie Rice. In all honesty, I think Alicia had/has the best team on the show. All of her singers did an incredible job with their performances, each one deserving to continue in the competition. That’s the biggest bummer about being on a reality competition show. At the end of the day, regardless of the talent, there has to be a winner and a loser. A show like The Voice is loaded with incredible singers, which only makes it to choose who stays and who goes.

Ashley, Jack, and Anatalia, you are each PHENOMENAL singers and artists. Big things are coming for each of you and I STILL stand by my previous comments about Ashley’s performance. It was by far her best performance on the show!

 

WOW! What an awesome way to kickoff the life shows! Watching this just gets me even more pumped for tonight’s episode. Make sure you are voting on Twitter and keeping your teams updated on The Official Voice App. Before you know it we will be in the finale!

 

Congratulation again, to those of you on Team Blake and Team Alicia and moving on to the Top 12!!

 

Keep Singing,

Chris

Proverbs 16:9