It is the first night of the new Playoffs round on The Voice.
Each artist from Team Blake will perform a song of their choosing and Blake chooses the top three who will continue to the live shows.
The Voice continues to change up the format to keep the show fresh and to maximize the talent who get to the live shows. It will be interesting to see how this new round plays out tonight, especially since we're only seeing one team at a time.
Based on past performances, I'm guessing Blake will choose Audra, Ryan and Sisaundra.
Audra McLaughlin ("A Broken Wing" by Martina McBride)
This aspiring country singer from Philadelphia has proven herself through the Battle Rounds. She has a classic country voice and huge range that always makes her performances impressive and fun to watch.
Blake gives her some feedback about some of her vocal choices in rehearsal, but he admits that he is nit-picking because she is generally incredible. I expect he will choose her for his team.
It is so nice to hear these singers perform on their own, Audra especially. She looks great and seems pretty confident on the new, huge stage right out of the gate. Her lower register needs some work, but, man, can this gal hit those high notes. She has a huge power behind her voice and has such star potential.
All the coaches find her performance to be impressive and powerful. Shakira feels that the performance was genuine. Adam feels that she is a major contender, but wants to see an "unleashed beast" in her performances.
Blake reflects that she started out strong in the Blinds and is getting better with every performance. He doesn't seem convinced that he will choose her yet, and I don't blame him only because he has a really strong team right now.
Ryan Whyte Maloney ("Second Chance" by Shinedown)
Ryan has a really unique voice that I just love. In rehearsals, Blake gets worried about the difficulty of the song that Ryan chooses to perform for fear of him blowing out his voice. Ryan knows it is a big song, but he has an emotional connection to the song since it came out during a time in his life where he was at a crossroads.
Like with any risk, Blake thinks it could be amazing or awful. I am really anxious to see him perform when Blake gets this concerned over the song choice.
I am not totally loving this song for his voice only because it sounds a bit too low, but it is clear that he is very emotional throughout the song, which helps make up for a few faltered moments. It does get better as the song progresses and he turns on the rock star performer. It's like he can hold those long notes forever.
Usher considers this a breakout performance for Ryan and compares his ability to hold long notes to Adam Levine, who gets all flattered and flustered by the compliment. So much so that he wants to file for a "bro-vorce" from Blake.
Blake considers this to be Ryan's best performance, making it that much tougher for him to decide.
Madilyn Paige ("Clarity" by Zedd feat. Foxes)
Madilyn was stolen by Blake on the final night of the Battle Rounds and he chose her because he doesn't think we've seen the best she can do yet. During rehearsals, Blake advises her to get into the song and better portray the emotion of the song.
Even though I think she's great, Madilyn may have less of a chance to make the live shows since she is new to Blake's team and he has invested less in her. It certainly puts the pressure on this performance.
She sounds great on the verses, but the chorus seems to get away from her. She doesn't pack enough punch to match the emotion of the song, which is likely due to her age and inexperience. She certainly has incredible poise, though.
Usher, her former coach, reflects that she is getting closer to being a more well-rounded artist. Shakira likes the timbre of her voice. Adam exactly articulates what I think, which is that she needs to let go and not be so worried about hitting the notes perfectly.
Blake says he is happy he used his steal on her and thinks she is very unique, which is what gives her points on his team.
Jake Worthington ("Anywhere with You" by Jake Owen)
Jake is a pure country guy and has a charming personality to go with it. He says that he chose this song as a thank you to his girlfriend for her support and "treating him like a skinny guy," which genuinely makes me laugh.
During rehearsals, Blake reflects that he is always impressed with Jake's song choices and encourages him to put a little more presence into his performances. Blake could choose him for his down-home country-ness, but his voice isn't nearly as big as some of the others.
He sounds great on the song. His performance is a bit awkward on this big stage, but it is clear that he is learning and trying. He is certainly a delight to watch and listen to when he is getting the comments from the coaches.
Shakira thinks Jake is a star. Adam is happy to see how far he has come. Usher wants him to believe that he is great so others believe it, too. Blake tells him it is a solid performance and commends him on being the real deal.
Sisaundra Lewis ("New York State of Mind" by Billy Joel)
Sisaundra is a powerhouse vocalist that is already dominating the competition, much like Tessanne Chin did in season 5. I am totally confident Blake will choose her for his team.
During rehearsals, Blake advises that she not over-sing the song for fear of it being too complicated and busy. He is very helpful with vocalists who just need support and a bit of simplifying.
She is just unbelievable. She is so connected with the song and just performs with such maturity, confidence and grace. She is one of those performers who I cannot wait to see what she does next.
All the coaches are in awe of her talent. Usher says that she deserves to have a long career. Shakira describes her as elegant and inspiring. Adam is impressed with both her soulfulness and her technical skill.
Blake coaches Sisaundra from the heart and is clearly so impressed by her.
For the live shows, Blake chooses: Sisaundra, Audra and Jake. Well, two out of three ain't bad for my personal predictions. It is clear that Blake followed his heart with Jake.
The Playoffs on The Voice
continue next Monday at 8pm on NBC.
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)