We're one week away from The Voice season 8 finale, people, and the numbers they are a-dwindlin'. Five artists remain, and I have to admit I'm still in shock that Kimberly Nichole is not one of them. Looks like 60% of our readers agree with me. Take a look at the results of our poll after the Top 6 results show. During the previous episode, American viewers with the fastest Twitter thumbs saved India Carney over Kimberly in, again, one of the closest races The Voice has ever seen. That seems to be the trend this season.
We'll see each artist perform twice again in the Top 5. Is this the night for duets with the coaches? It turns out that it's not. We'll get a coach-chosen song for each artist, then an artist-chosen dedication to each of their hometowns. At this point, three coaches have one artist each. Adam Levine has artist Joshua Davis, Blake Shelton has Meghan Linsey, and Christina Aguilera has India Carney. In the lead (?) with two artists remaining, Pharrell Williams has Sawyer Fredericks and Koryn Hawthorne still in the game. After this round of performances and results, we'll be down to the final competitors. That means one of the coaches is likely to be sent home -- er, I mean, become an observer rather than a participant.
The Voice Results: The Top 5 are Revealed >>>
Live Blogging the Top 5 Performances
It's a live conversation here on BuddyTV once again. Make sure to refresh your browser on a regular basis to see the most recent editorial commentary as well as that of your fellow viewers at the bottom of our recap.
A Word About Performance Rankings
After each round of performances is completed, we post a performance rankings slideshow. Doing this gives us all a single location to return to when we want to remember each artists' performances. This is especially helpful when the number of performers is in the double digits and we haven't memorized all the names yet.
These rankings are not based on iTunes sales or public votes and that's what makes them fun to do. They inspire debate and encourage readers to post their own rankings, which many do and I love that. My rankings are based on my opinions just as everyone else bases their rankings on their opinions. The performance rankings are not predictive, but evaluative by one person -- the one holding the talking stick -- and that's me. All of our differences are what make the world go around, so please continue to share your own rankings, folks.
Nate Ruess and His Flower Jacket Perform "Nothing Without Love"
Remember two-time Grammy winner Nate Ruess from the Knockouts? Here, he is to perform for us this evening. He has a new album coming out next month. "Nothing Without Love" is the second single Nate has released for the upcoming album he has entitled Grand Romantic.
Look at that jacket! Did he paste wallpaper flowers on his tunic? It takes guts for a guy to wear a jacket full of flowers in front of America, but artists are given a lot of leeway when it comes to creative freedom. That's why Bruno Mars can perform at the Super Bowl with a head full of rollers. At first, that jacket seems weird, but then I love it. I don't want it, but it's cool. Wait, maybe I do want it.
Joshua Davis Performs "I Can't Make You Love Me"
The coaches have chosen songs for each artist to perform. Last season, the coach-chosen songs at this stage of the game were somewhat of a disaster. Each artist appeared stiff, but when they later sang songs they chose for themselves, the show really began and the performances were fantastic. I'm hoping this time, the first hour isn't a repeat of last season's.
So Joshua performs a song I love. Who hasn't wallowed in melancholy love songs ad nauseum after a break-up? Unrequited love sucks, but Joshua's performance of Bonnie Raitt's song doesn't. There are some low notes in this song which Joshua (or his coach) eschews in favor of more comfortable notes, and that bothers me. It takes away from the performance for me, but he performs "I Can't Make You Love Me" well in many other aspects.
Koryn Hawthorne Performs "One"
Koryn stands inside a light bulb Slinky surrounded by dust floating in the air. This isn't one of her best performances, but again, these are coach-driven song choices. It's not bad, but it's not the ass-kicking delivery we've come to expect from this gifted teen.
Meghan Linsey Performs "I'm Not the Only One"
Wait -- is Christina Aguilera performing in place of Meghan? Meghan has had a fantastic make-over and now she looks exactly like Christina. Her rendition of Sam Smith's song is better than Koryn's performance of "One." Here, she seems to be lacking in something. Does anyone else feel it? We're not getting anything we haven't heard before. Whazzzzzzup with that?
India Carney Performs "Gravity"
India delivers a beautiful, mellow performance and the coaches can't say enough about her. This has been the best performance of the night so far. When her voice goes soft, it's magical, reminiscent of Whitney Houston. Too much?
Sawyer Fredericks Performs "For What It's Worth"
This Buffalo Springfield tune from 1967 should be perfect for Sawyer. It's a classic. He hasn't even begun to sing and I like it already, just knowing he will do this song justice based on his past work. When Pharrell introduces the song, saying this is something America needs right now, he has me worried. Occasionally, artists have chosen songs with a message and forfeited quality for it. This is not what happens with Sawyer here. He kicks it. He's way at the top of the list right now.
Anna Kendrick and Hailee Steinfeld Pimp Pitch Perfect 2
Anna tells us her new movie is a veritable vocal and emotional orgy. Wow. Is that a money back guarantee? I haven't seen the first Perfect Pitch. Did anyone out there find it orgasmic? Unless Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth or David Boreanaz is in it, I can't see it rocking my world. Has anyone else out there seen the first one?
The Real Show Begins
For the second half of the semifinals, we learn more about each artist as they are shown going back to their hometowns and other beloved environs. The first half of this episode has given me little to write about. Now we'll hear the artists perform songs they have chosen as a dedication to their folks back home. Here we go.
Joshua Davis Goes Home to Traverse City, MI
We get to see footage of Joshua returning home to Traverse City, MI, and receiving an energetic welcome. The streets are lined with fans and Joshua is overwhelmed. Joshua performs for a sold-out theater full of fans. It's a far cry from the audiences of 12 that he performed for before going on The Voice. I wonder how long celebrity like this lasts. Will these artists forever be recognized by the public for their five minutes of fame. Okay, it's a lot more than five minutes. My curiosity is piqued nonetheless, folks.
Joshua Performs "When I Paint My Masterpiece"
"When I Paint My Masterpiece" is about traveling the world and coming home. It's an enjoyable performance.
Koryn Hawthorne Goes Home to Abbeville, LA
Koryn returns to her hometown where she visits her high school. The principal of her school tells her there's a surprise for her, then we see a video of Kelly Clarkson wishing her good luck on The Voice. She performs at a picnic where the mayor of the town names May 5 as Koryn Hawthorne day, giving her a key to the city. This, says Koryn, is the best day of her life.
Koryn Performs "Oh, Mary, Don't You Weep"
Bedecked in white and chiffon, Koryn delivers a revival that would stir Lazarus. She puts her all into that performance, resulting in an interesting experience. By interesting, I mean that it draws me in like none of the others have done so far this evening.
Meghan Linsey Returns to Nashville
Meghan goes home and Naomi Judd visits her at her parents' home. Naomi says Meghan is going to win The Voice. She does an interview on the local TV station and signs autographs for fans. Big & Rich surprises Meghan with a visit during her performance.
Meghan Performs "Tennessee Whiskey"
Excellent song choice for Meghan. Her performance is sweet as strawberry wine and warm as a glass of brandy. Blake says this was her most important performance of the season. She's definitely going to make it to the finals, but will she win like Naomi Judd foretold? That's up to you, America.
India Carney Goes Home to New York
India is surprised at LAX by a group of friends. Her shocked response is crazy fantastic. This homecoming video excerpt gives me the first goosebumps of the evening. Christina surprises India with a chance to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" to open a New York Yankees game. Wow.
India Performs "Earth Song"
"Earth Song" gives India a chance to deliver some unusual and powerful gentle runs. This is what India has been trained for. In her blood red dress, she looks like Hestia, Greek goddess of fire, and Mother Nature all rolled up into one. The second performances are much better than the first. Now this is my favorite of the evening.
Sawyer Fredericks Goes Home to Fultonville, NY
A small group of family members meets Sawyer when he returns to the farm and we finally get to see Sawyer without a hat. He feeds the cows then heads out to the Fonda Speedway where they have a parade for him. Ten-thousand fans gather to hear Sawyer perform live. Sawyer gets a key to his city. Then he heads to the Palace Theatre to perform, where he learns that the show is sold out. It's a beautiful theatre and it certainly is a packed house. This is nothing for Sawyer, though, who has been performing live on television.
Sawyer Performs "A Thousand Years"
I love how these second performances for each artist are more thoughtful, giving ample opportunities for each to display their talent. Sawyer performs without his guitar and interacts with the audience. This isn't the best song for Sawyer's vocal range. Like when Joshua sang "I Can't Make You Love Me," some of the note variations are disappointing in that they change the mood of the song.
Blake tells Sawyer he's the frontrunner for this competition. If America's dollars are casting all the votes, this may be the case, but if the win were to be announced according to these performances only, Meghan and India would have a better chance of taking the title home.
On Tuesday night, we'll find out how all you out there watching and reading along cast your dollars and votes.
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)