Here we are at the 26th episode of The Voice season 7 and tonight's performances are going to seal the deal for one of four artists still standing. Last week, the Top 5 remaining singers performed twice, resulting in the advancement of three: Chris Jamison, Craig Wayne Boyd and Matt McAndrew.
Tuesday night was a mess of last-ditch performances by all the eliminated Top 12 artists vying for the first-ever Wild Card spot. Low and behold, it all went as 33% of our viewing audience said it should
: Damien joined the other three to compete tonight for the grand prize: a recording contract with Universal Music Group and the right to be called "The Voice."
What Was the Point of All That?
So, this new last-minute Wild Card seems pointless. Of course, one of the final five would win it. Big surprise, right? A representative number of our readers proved that 59% of the vote would simply nullify the two eliminations from the Top 5.
Here's my theory: NBC got greedy with the audience participation and decided one night (Monday) of voting just wasn't enough. Or they couldn't find as many guest star performing artists as they needed to fill the two-hour schedule for tonight and needed to add two pity performances. What do you think?
If America Has Any Sense...
Craig Wayne Boyd or Matt McAndrew will take home the prize tomorrow night. I begrudgingly admit that Chris must stand sort of a chance because he's here, isn't he? We have absolutely no idea what the stretch was between second and third place in the voting tallies. I'm predicting here and now that Matt will take the cake. He's quirky, versatile and interesting, or at least that's what America seems to think. He's also quite talented, but so are these other guys. My personal preference would be Craig Wayne Boyd, but I don't trust America to vote in my favor. If Chris wins, I'm moving to Canada. Damien can sing circles around Chris, but I don't see how he can beat the baby crooner who makes little girls squeeee and punch their vote buttons 10 times for Chris.
Everyone Gets Three Tries Tonight
Tonight, our four artists will perform thrice. First, by themselves. Second, in a duet with their coach. (Can we handle that much Adam in one night? Ask me when it's over.) Third, they will perform an original piece written by the coaches and some top industry writers just for the finals on The Voice. However, things will not go in that specific order; they are going to be all over the place, so stay awake.
Damien Opens the Night with "A Song for You"
We revisit Damien's journey from four chairs turning in the Blind a\Auditions to his Wild Card win last week. Adam tells him the world is available for him and reminds him that this is one of the final times he'll perform on this stage. Way to go, Adam, scare the poo out of the poor guy.
The performance is good, but not spectacular. His rendition of Adele's "Someone Like You" was much more powerful. I do like Damien, but I'm hoping for something stronger later in the night.
Craig Wayne Boyd Performs "My Baby's Got a Smile on Her Face"
This is an Original. Blake. Shelton. Song. Blake says he's had this little gem in his back pocket for years without recording it because it's so freakin' hard to sing. He says it's fun and sexy and perfect for Craig. These originals make me nervous because they could be awesome or fall completely flat. As an audience, we have no idea what to expect and we have nothing to compare them to as we do with cover songs. Let's just see what happens.
Okay. I love this song. It's intimate. And real. And gives me the tingles. What I love about this song is its charm. It's not nasty like some of Adam's choices we are going to see him make Chris sing, and that's refreshing. Thanks, Blake and Craig, for being adults.
Just like Damien's song choice, this wasn't the best vehicle for showcasing Craig's range and power, but it's well executed. Regardless, I do think that song will sell, and sell well. Fabulous lyrics. Gwen says Craig is ripe and ready for the picking. Blake couldn't be a prouder papa. Way to go, Craig Wayne Boyd.
Chris Jamison and Coach Adam Perform "Lost Without U"
All I can figure out is that Adam sees himself in Chris, that's why he's so jazzed about his young falsetto brother. The thing is, Adam has been out there in the world as an experienced adult. Chris just seems too young for such a lusty piece that includes the line, "I hope you want to touch yourself when you see me." That being said, the guitar accompaniment is exquisite and smooth, and the falsetto by both performers is quite impressive. Adam is out to win, by god. This is a dynamic piece with dreamy accompaniment and it is a pleasure to listen to ... if you don't pay too close attention to the lyrics.
Matt McAndrew Performs His Own Original "Wasted Love"
Matt McAndrew is ready to check the box tattoo on his wrist marking the achievement of his life's goal: to be signed with a recording studio. He hopes to do that with tonight's performances.
The song comes out a bit pitchy and whiney. America will probably kill me for that, but I'm just not feeling it. We don't get enough of his beautiful falsetto vibrato. The Matt McAndrew love will carry this young man forward. Fortunately, there are two more performances for him tonight.
Grammys and Tattoos on the Dais
Carson Daly congratulates Pharrell Williams on receiving six Grammy nominations. Pharrell, of course, is humble and gracious. After that, Carson introduces the diminutive blonde to his right: season 4 The Voice winner Danielle Bradbery. At Carson's urging, Danielle unveils her exciting new tattoo which reads, "God is greater than the highs and lows." Very cool, Danielle. That about sums up her advice for this evening's artists.
She announces she's opening for Miranda Lambert next soon. Now we know why she's on The Voice tonight: to promote herself and for people to see that there is success after The Voice.
Craig and Coach Blake Perform "Boots On"
This is a sh*t kickin' country rock song. Again, not featuring a great deal of Craig's unique vocals, but it's fun. Now I'm wondering what Craig's final performance will be and hoping it's something slower, something more like his performances of "You Look So Good in Love" or "The Old Rugged Cross" or "I Walk the Line." But maybe that's just me. Nah, I don't think so. I think it's simple math. Craig is just gooooood at what he does.
Damien and Coach Adam Perform "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me"
A good, slow, emotional song. Right up Damien's alley. There are some notes he has to hold in his non-vibrato range, which seem a little awkward, but all in all it's a decent performance. A bit slow, but powerful in places. It's always a pleasure to listen to Damien perform, and this is no different. Wait, where are all the powerhouse songs of 26 episodes gone by? I'm getting antsy.
Chris Jamison Performs "Velvet"
Did they actually say that Adam Levine wrote this song? I can't tell. But Adam's right in that it is reminiscent of Michael Jackson and Bruno Mars. I'm a little freaked-out that Adam Levine's descriptive sex life is coming out of the mouth of this college student. I do like the color of Chris' pants, though. Here's the thing. I think Chris has some talent and he's kinda cute, but I think he's being pushed too hard in the smut direction. Ease up a bit, dude, and give us some depth to your performances.
Checking In at the Sprint Skybox Once More...
Carson is up there with four very familiar faces. Taylor John Williams, DaNica Shirey, Sugar Joans and Luke Wade tease some of tomorrow night's festivities. Sugar and DaNica talk about their collaboration for the finale and Luke gives some thoughtful comments about the wonderful futures ahead for all four remaining artists.
Matt McAndrew and Coach Adam Perform "Lost Stars"
This song comes from a movie Adam performed in, apparently. At first, I feel like I'm watching a Simon & Garfunkel performance. That's how together they are and the sense of the rhythm.
It's a little rough in the beginning with the notes a bit off, but it improves. It's a smooth piece featuring plenty of falsetto. Matt does seem to be really reaching or straining for some of those notes. Whether that's nerves or a lack of a pre-song warm-up, I can't tell. I do prefer Matt's performances when he's just a tad further down the scale and able to engage his vibrato. We'll see what the voters think.
Craig Wayne Boyd Performs "In Pictures"
Craig's cover of "The Old Rugged Cross" is number two on the iTunes chart. Craig says the iTunes numbers have affirmed for him that he's doing the right thing by pursuing this dream. His faith has led him here, he has leaned on it and it is bringing him home. This particular song choice is reflective of his relationship with his frequently-absent father, and of his current relationship with his own little guy back at home.
It's a gut-wrencher. More emotional than technically perfect, and more pensive than vocally powerful. The question will be, is it enough to sell iTunes singles and will it win him the top spot? Fortunately, the iTunes renditions are studio perfected, so all the kinks and near-misses are smoothed over. I look forward to hearing the studio version of this and adding it to my Craig Wayne Boyd collection.
Damien Performs "Soldier"
Adam and Damien talk about how today's technology provides fantastic and immediate feedback to performers. After the Blinds, Damien got a million hits. Was that on Twitter or iTunes or Facebook? I don't know, but a million hits on anything is sick. Dang.
Damien's final performance is moody and rich. I get the sense that we've already had the best from these performers because tonight has been all over the place as far as being a good representation of each artist's abilities and talent. Damien does well with this song, but it's not his best either.
Chris Jamison Performs "Cry Me a River"
In the pre-song blurb, Adam talks about how much this young man has grown. I'm telling you, I think he sees a younger version of himself in Chris! Whether that's good or bad, no one can tell yet, but Adam, don't think Chris is where you are, man. He's just not at your level yet. You're going to wear him out with all the falsetto and the sex talk. Let the boy pace himself.
We get to see Chris when Adam tells him that Justin Timberlake gave his blessing for Chris to perform one of his own songs. Now, I'm not a Justin Timberlake fan and I have no idea what this song is supposed to sound like, but he does a decent job of it. There's lots of smoke and lights and falsettos. I'm not particularly moved or aroused by this performance, but I'm not 13 years old, so my opinion may not matter. We'll just have to check the iTunes charts tomorrow morning, I guess.
Matt McAndrew in the Pimp Spot with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
Adam comments on Matt's incredible range. Fearless, unique, genuine. That's how Adam describes this
year's winner performer. Apparently, Matt is the first artist to make the iTunes top 10 in one week. Did you also know that this is the first time one coach has had three artists in the finals, and the first time the finals have been a single-sex affair (all boys).
Once again, Adam and Matt are going with a classic, and it's a great choice. It's dreamy but pretty gorgeous. A tad slower and his pitch would have suffered. The speed of this song is just right for Matt to show off his range. It's beautiful. Is it the performance of the night and deserving of the pimp spot? I'm not sure yet. I have to go back and re-watch some of the other performances. I still contend that if this is truly a popularity contest, Matt's got this in the bag.
Tomorrow night is the finale and we say goodnight to another season of The Voice. Remember to vote, The Voice lovers, or you don't get to complain when your guy doesn't win.
The Voice season 7 finale airs Tuesday night at 9pm on NBC.
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)