Last night Teams Cee Lo and Adam had their chance to each show off their top six contestants and see how they stacked up against Blake and Christina's teams from last week's live show. Overall, I'd say both teams showcased solid vocal ability (with perhaps a few exceptions), but there weren't many stand-out performances during the live show (again, a couple exceptions). I also think Team Cee Lo won the night overall, as his star performers earned the buzz, somewhat overshadowing Team Adam.
It seems like as the crop of singers dwindles down, it's a given that every person who walks onto that stage has got an impressive voice. With that raised standard, it's harder for any one performer to distinguish themselves and now it comes down to factors such as confidence, ability to engage and connect with the audience, perceived public persona and overall star quality and likability. When you consider all those traits, not many of the remaining singers truly shine.
Team Cee Lo: Strongest Performances
There was one clear star during the two-hour live performances and that was Juliet Simms
. Though she sang in the middle of the show, she was by far the most memorable in terms of matching exceptional voice with audience engagement and showmanship. Juliet excelled in both the quiet moments, the small tremble in her voice captivating the listener, as well as the full-on rock choruses. Her "Roxanne" rendition was interesting and exciting, resulting in a standing ovation from both her coach and Christina.
Probably right behind her in terms of performance of the night was Jamar Rogers
, who concluded the night with a flashy show (featuring female guitarists on stilts), but somehow managed to remain the focal point of the song with his confident, cool swagger and infectious energy. Jamar has established himself as "the comeback kid," someone with a difficult past (being a former drug addict) who proclaimed to his fans "I don't want anyone idolizing me. I implore you, I beg you, if you have a bad day, are feeling hopeless, get up - run again. I reflect that: a second chance." Powerful words coming from this likable multi-genre singer who is a shoo-in for the next round and will probably be alongside Juliet in the final eight, if last night is any indication.
Team Cee Lo: Middle of the Road
If one thing was made clear last night, it was that James Massone
has emerged as this season's ultimate girl crush. With his reserved, humble nature (his favorite line is "I came straight from the body shop") and charming smile, this young man has clearly got the ladies to back him up. His unexpected song choice in Norah Jones' "Don't Know Why" was decent, though his voice is still hesitant in the higher notes. But he is clearly a likable guy (Blake: "I almost threw my panties on stage") and if he can work on projecting his voice and commanding more of the stage, he can go far. For now, he isn't in any danger of being sent home; his female admirers will see to that.
For the third-to-last person on Team Cee Lo, I wavered between Cheesa and Tony Vincent
. Performance-wise, I think Tony was the weaker of the two, as his voice seemed to be "restricted" by the song choice (I agree with Christina and Cee Lo's assessments) and I just never felt that special energy that pushes a song over the edge into star performance. But people seem to like Tony, with his Broadway cred, edgy eyeliner and genuine attitude. For that reason, my guess is he will probably be safe tonight.
Team Cee Lo: Going Home
As I said, I think Cheesa
did better -- her song choice allowed her to emphasize her strengths vocally and she took control of the stage in her best performance yet. But somehow I don't think it will be enough to top the other performers in Cee Lo's strong group. I appreciate that she gave it her all and proved Cee Lo made the right choice in picking her over Angie in the battle rounds, and the judges gave her positive remarks, but I'm not sure if she can edge out Tony.
I wasn't expecting Erin Martin
to be at the bottom, with her quirky, wily charm and "acquired taste" voice, but I suspect she isn't as likable as she could be to a mass audience (supported by the fact that Cee Lo said people thought she should have gone home instead of the Shields Brothers). Her "Walk Like an Egyptian" full-costumed performance was a lot of show without much voice to back it up. Her quirkiness was heard during rehearsal, but in the live show it seemed masked by everything else going on.
In summary: Juliette, Jamar and James are safe; Tony will probably get by, leaving Cheesa and Erin to go home tonight.
Team Adam: Strongest Performances
I think Mathai
probably did the best of Team Adam, but she definitely paled in comparison to Cee Lo's strongest performers, which is saying something for Adam's chance at a second win this season (but who knows, anything is possible). Like Erin, she is young and attractive, but without the off-putting attitude. Like Blake said, the fact that Mathai seems so genuinely happy to be on stage, singing her song, adds a lot. Her adlibs were interesting enough to make her voice somewhat distinct in sea of great voices.
Honestly, after Mathai, Adam's whole team (with the exception of Karla) seemed to fall into the same category: solid voice, but lacking performance. There just wasn't that needed extraordinary quality. That said, I think Tony Lucca
will probably be safe, based on the fact that people seem to like them and they have had stronger images up until this point (Tony for his Mickey Mouse Club background and voice that turned all four chairs, and Pip for his unique style and whole Georgia boy with old soul persona).
Team Adam: Middle of the Road
By process of elimination, that leaves Kim, Katrina and Karla (the three K ladies). I think Katrina Parker's
unexpected performance of "Tonight Tonight" by the Smashing Pumpkins was better than Tony or Pip's, because her voice displayed more melodic richness (though look-wise, she seemed to be channeling Adele for some reason). But as was touched upon in her clip before the performance, she struggles with "being Katrina," and solidifying that public image. For that reason, I think she has some danger in going home.
Then there's Kim Yarbrough
, who actually sang an Adele song, which seemed to be a questionable choice, as even her coach admitted the popular, very current singer is "a freak" and therefore the comparisons were inevitable. Of course, "Rolling in the Deep" isn't an easy song to sing, and Kim did it justice by maintaining her voice the whole way through, but there is also the fact that much of The Voice
audience is of a younger crowd and that hip, contemporary factor that many of the other singers have could work against Kim.
Team Adam: Going Home
I think the weakest performance of the night was Karla Davis
, who as a country singer, chose to sing the pop/rap song "Airplanes" to step out of her comfort zone. It seems the choice was too much of a challenge for the shy singer, whose wispy, timid voice never seemed to catch the boldness and projection it needed to carry the song and performance. As everyone else's voice last night was so strong and/or dynamic, I think Karla will most likely get the boot.
In summary: Mathai will be safe, probably along with the likable Tony Lucca and Pip. If Kim, Katrina and Karla are in the bottom three as I predict, I think Adam will save Katrina, though it depends on their last chance performances.
One last note: these are of course all my personal opinions and if there's something I've noticed about The Voice
, it's that there are often many contestants with fans and few instances of an overwhelming majority of support for one or a few singers. It's anyone's competition to win, and if my predictions from last week
(where I completely misread Charlotte Sometimes' appeal and RaeLynn's apparently solid fan base) are any indication, there could be a couple surprises tonight.
Who do you think will go home tonight? Did you have a favorite performer of the night? Do you agree Team Cee Lo had a stronger showing than Team Adam?
(Image courtesy of NBC)