With the Blind Auditions, Battle Rounds and the Knockout Round of The Voice
behind us, we're at a point where your vote now matters: the live shows with the top 20 singers.
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Up first tonight are Team Adam and Team Blake. We'll also be treated to a performance by Christina and Flo Ria. Team Cee Lo and Team Christina will take the stage Tuesday, and the results show will air Thursday.
My two singers to watch from Team Adam are Grey and Will Champlin.
Grey might be the most commercial singer in the competition -- I can picture her face plastered everywhere. She's technically almost always perfect, but I'm waiting for her to show more personality and be more memorable.
Will, on the other hand, has the personality and is one of the first singers I think about when it comes to this season of The Voice. He's been stolen twice, and I can't imagine him not being here at this point. With Will, you don't know what you're going to get (in a good way), other than an entertaining performance.
This isn't to take anything away from Tessanne Chin and Preston Pohl. They are both great -- Tessanne will deliver the usual powerhouse vocals while Preston's tone could make any song interesting. James Wolpert sits at the bottom of Team Adam so he really doesn't have anywhere to go but up.
My two singers to watch on Team Blake are Nic Hawk and Cole Vosbury.
What does it mean that Blake's singers two watch are both stolen singers? That he better be thanking his lucky stars the steals came into play not only in the Battle Rounds (Nic) but the Knockouts (Cole) as well.
Nic's "Genie in a Bottle" was a risk that paid off. He's always been a confident performer, but showing us some flair and changing up the song just added another dimension to him as an artist. Moving forward, doing an original version of a song isn't going to be enough. What will he do next?
Cole's "Let Her Go" single shot up the iTunes chart, and rightfully so. I'm excited to see how he'll top that. These two singers have all the momentum heading into the live shows, but will they be able to sustain it?
Shelbie Z is also a frontrunner on Blake's team, while Ray Boudreaux has a style that no one else has. Austin Jenckes has yet to have a standout moment, so for him, the time is now.
Who are you excited to watch on the live shows? Join us in our live blog!
The two-night top 20 show will be cut to 12, meaning eight will leave Thursday. Wow, that's a lot leaving at once. Here's how the voting will work: those who make the iTunes top 10 by 11am Eastern will have their votes multiplied by five.
I'm not feeling Christina's part in her performance with Flo Rida on "How I Feel," his first single off his upcoming album The Perfect 10. The chorus seems to rip a little off from "Feeling Good" -- Nina Simone or Michael Buble version, take your pick. She doesn't sound on key for one.
Adam is looking quite dapper, while Cee Lo goes with the sparkles to mark the special occasion. Blake, as usual, probably doesn't even go to wardrobe.
Shelbie Z ("Fancy" by Reba McEntire)
Her goal was to make it rock country, and although I do not know the original version, I think she succeeds. But I'm really not feeling the beginning, and it takes her a little bit to get into it, and then she really gets into it. Her lower register, however, isn't as strong as it can/should be. And by now, it feels like her performances have been rather familiar and predictable.
James Wolpert ("A Case of You" by Joni Mitchell)
Looking for redemption, James' stripped down performance is nothing like we've ever seen from him, since my last memory of him is him practically screeching through a Boston song. But this song choice is fantastic, and he brings out the guitar.
I believe him now when he says he can sing anything. It starts off feeling like he's thinking way too much about it, but once he finds his comfort level, the performance soars to this amazing place. It's beautiful. To borrow a line from a judge from another singing competition: dude can sing.
Nic Hawk ("Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke)
Why is this a song you sing on The Voice? It's more like a song you hear during the Blind Auditions -- one of the ones that fails to turn a chair round. He's rocking this not-quite leopard print jacket, and just like that wardrobe choice, I'm confused by why this is happening. Props to him for both singing and rapping, but he sounds, well, not like I've heard him before.
By the end, he's out of breath. By the end, I'm wondering why it doesn't end any earlier. Oh, Nic -- and Blake, who gave him this song. What were you both thinking? The coaches are too complimentary, and I'm making a gross-out face at my television. Even Nic himself thinks his singing could've been better.
Ray Boudreaux ("Home" by Marc Broussard)
Ray is just too cool for school. So much suave. There's a grit to this performance -- he's opening up a little more each time he's on stage, so that's good. I do hear some pitch issues, and his voice cracks at times. He doesn't nail the "home" notes like he should. He's also starting to remind me of Lance Bass when he sings.
Austin Jenckes ("She Talks to Angels" by The Black Crowes)
Wow, tell us how you really feel about Team Blake. With five performances down, we've already seen four of Blake's singers. This is probably Austin's best and most memorable performance, which could not have come at a better time. I couldn't even tell you what he's sang in the past. But here, he's really pouring himself into it, and I love that he smiles while he sings. I feel like I'm really noticing Austin for the first time.
Grey ("Still Into You" by Paramore)
Good on Adam for trying to get Grey out of her pretty pop comfort zone, but her vocals are shaky, that's pretty obvious. The song just doesn't fit her. There has to be a better song that isn't so hard for her while showing another side of her. The performance does not get any better as it goes along. By the end, it's borderline nasally.
Will Champlin ("Secrets" by OneRepublic)
The intro arrangement is different -- I'm not sure if I like it more than the original -- but I'm glad he sticks with the melody of the chorus. While it's nice he's behind the piano, the performance doesn't actually start until he's away from it because that's when you can really feel his passion. There's a rock element to it that I love, and by the end, I'm glad he changes it up.
Preston Pohl ("Nothin' on You" by B.O.B.)
This is such a good song choice for him, and it's my favorite performance of his. His tone gives this tune another dimension, and he even delivers during the rap portion. He attacks the song in a way the original doesn't. I like this version so much better than the original -- it could be his single.
Cole Vosbury ("Maggie May" by Rod Stewart)
I cannot believe the coaches almost let this guy get away. Cee Lo pressed his button for his song choice, not necessarily the voice. I know this sounds ridiculous, but his voice just gets me excited about life. He rocks it as great as he rocks that beard, and his tone does remind me of Stewart's.
Tessanne Chin ("Many Rivers to Cross" by Jimmy Cliff)
I don't care how high the key is, she sang background vocals for the man, I expect her to deliver a flawless performance. I mean, she kills it. It's really emotional, and she's even teary at the end. There isn't much else to say about it. Plus, she closes the show so she lives up to the billing. I don't even want to imagine how much her country (I think?) is paying for the rights to see her perform live, but it's gotta be worth it.
What a great way to kick off the live shows! Let's see what Team Christina and Team Blake will bring Tuesday at 9pm. The special Thursday results show will air at 9pm on NBC.