The first 24 live performances of The Voice season 9 have been delivered. Over two back-to- back evenings, Night 1 and Night 2, and four full hours of entertainment, America watched as the hopefuls sung their hearts out for a shot at becoming entertainment royalty, or, as we call it, The Voice. America has voted through phone and social media, and, more importantly, with their dollars. All that remains is the audit report.
The Live Playoffs Results event will certainly bring heartbreak for some artists and intense relief for others, but it also promises to deliver some fantastic team performances, celebrity appearances, and duets with coaches. Who will be that first guest celebrity? None other than The Voice of season 8, the young Mr. Sawyer Fredericks. Past artists usually appear when they have a new album, single, or tour to push, so we’re about to find out what Sawyer’s been up to since he stole the title from the equally (some say more) deserving hands of his runner-up, Meghan Lindsey.
The Voice Recap: Teams Blake and Pharrell Perform in the Live Playoffs Night 2 >>>
The Shocker that Rocked The Voice Constituency
If you’ve been following along all season then you already know all about the shocker announced the first night of the Live Playoffs: Four eliminated artists were brought back from the dead, er, the land of the exiled. Even more surprising to yours truly is that the coaches knew about this plot twist from day one. What the …? How do we know this? Because Blake and someone else (Pharrell?) explicitly told us they planned their Battles and Knockouts pairings with this plot twist in mind.
I still contend this stunt was created to even out the number of winners and losers on each team after the playoff eliminations. Do any of these returnees have a snowball’s chance in hell of making it past tonight? (Spoiler: It turns out they do not).
It’s All a Numbers Game, So Vote and Purchase Singles!
As we go forward and react to what we have already figured out (Chance Pena is a goner; Jordan Smith is golden), I’ll provide some personal stats for as many of the winning artists I can cram in. Hopefully this will help us make sense of it all. The Voice uses iTunes rankings to multiply artist votes. (Is that really fair? Does someone’s cover being popular mean they have the best chance to become an original solo artist? Pardon me while I snort my opinion. iTunes is making more money than God with this sweet racket, but if you can get past that obscene capitalism, vote for your artist with your wallet.)
For this round, artists compete against only their teammates rather than against the whole group. (Is this fair? Hell no. The cream should be able to rise to the top regardless of their team affiliations.)
Team Gwen Performs “Ooh, Child”
How do these artists perform knowing their future will be decided within the next 60 minutes? The group descends upon the stage from the audience and does a fair job of singing the Five Stairsteps single recently made more popular by its inclusion in the soundtrack for the runaway movie, The Guardians of the Galaxy. Holy buckets, Gwen’s dress last night was to die for, but tonight’s is the stuff of a fashionista’s wet dreams. (Someone get me a glass of cold water and hold me back before I rip that outfit off her body).
Major Upset: Team Gwen Keeps Braiden Sunshine and Korin Bukowski; Jeffery Austin Also Saved
Since they were first to perform, they are the first to get chopped as well. Jeffery Austin (#43 on the charts) and Braiden Sunshine (#125) are announced based upon America’s votes. Gwen then has to choose between the remaining four as each artists breathes from their eyelids (or not at all). Gwen chooses Korin Bukowski who won both of her rounds (Battles and Knockouts), but failed to make the Top 200 cart with her delivery of “Adia” in the Playoffs. Gwen says Korin is the artist she feels she can help the most. What … the … hell? I have never understood Braiden’s appeal (*Gack*), but Gwen must have a tumor not to have kept Regina Love or Ellie Lawrence. I have nothing against underdogs or bookish looking people, but Korin’s voice is no where near as powerful as her competitors. Doesn’t Gwen realize this show is about winning?
Results: Jeffery, Braiden and Korin advance to the Live Top 12
Michelle Obama Thanks Veterans
In a prerecorded message, Michelle Obama thanks veterans for their service and reminds them that they don’t have to have Adam Levin’s haircut to have been key in the protection of the rights and freedoms of the American people. She’s beautiful as ever. Not quite as glitzy as Gwen, but who is?
Sawyer Fredericks Performs His New Single “Take It All”
We are sent back to a night (many nights, actually) as Sawyer takes the stage. The kid hasn’t changed a single hair on his head or a single thread covering his wiry little body either. He’s putting out his new single “Take It All,” and it’s actually pretty fricking good. I hadn’t realized how much I missed his voice. (Sorry for the diss earlier about stealing from Meghan, Sawyer, but I still think she had the goods … and way more experience!)
Team Blake Performs “Stand”
Rascal Flatts is one of my favorite all-time bands. I saw them back when they were opening for Jo Dee Messina. The group sounds great, if not a little bit like elevator music because of the arrangement. This means this is the next team to get the good/bad news.
Predictably, Team Blake Keeps Barrett Baber, Zach Seabaugh and Emily Ann Roberts
Blake talks about how difficult these choices are no matter how many times he has to do this. He tries to make the remaining four not feel so bad that they would want to egg his house or send him hate mail. America chooses Barrett Baber who won both of his rounds (Battles and Knockouts), then yanked our hearts out with “I Drive Your Truck” in the Playoffs. Next, America chooses gyrating Zach “Superman-and-Elvis-All-Rolled-Into-One”Seabaugh who also won both of his rounds, before poking our eyes out with his magical pelvis during “Brand New Girlfriend” in the Playoffs.
Finally, Blake chooses Emily Ann Roberts who won both of her rounds as well, then performed “In the Garden” for the Playoffs.
Results: Barrett Zach and Emily Ann Roberts advance to the Live Top 12
Team Pharrell Performs “Everybody Hurts”
Pharrell, of course, chooses a mellow song for his group with REM’s “Everybody Hurts.” It seems like a personal message to all those team members who don’t advance tonight. Pharrell has some of the strongest contenders this season. Not all of them had break-out performances last night, but their bodies of work are mostly solid and improving. Now, I can never predict who Pharrell will choose.
Righteously, Team Pharrell Keeps Madi Davis, Evan McKeel and Mark Hood
Of all of America’s votes, these are the most absolutely perfect. Pharrell makes his little speech and just can’t choose. The lights start flickering at Pharrell to tell him to get a move on. Finally, he chooses Mark Hood who won all of his rounds before performing “What Do You Mean?” in the Playoffs. Pharrell now has an amazingly tight and solid team going forward.
Results: Madi, Evan and Mark advance to the Live Top 12
Team Adam Performs “Diamonds”
A loverly performance.
Team Adam Keeps Jordan Smith and Shelby Brown, Adam Shockingly Chooses Amy Vachal
Jordan was a shoe-in, and I’m thrilled about Shelby Brown who won all of her rounds before crushing her Playoff with “You’re No Good.” Adam sweats through a tough decision and eventually I’m shocked as hell when, as the credits roll, he blurts out Amy Vachal’s name. I mean, she has a beautiful voice, but I thought he’d go with Keith Semple or even Blaine Mitchell. However, Amy’s Playoff single is #60 on the iTunes chart. Blaine’s is #150 and Keith didn’t even make the top 200. So, what was it I said earlier about this being a numbers game?
Results: Jordan, Shelby and Amy advance to the Live Top 12
One of These 12 Artists Will Win Season 9 of The Voice
Here they are in one lump for you, folks. America voted for Braiden Sunshine, Jeffery Austin, Barrett Baber, Zach Seabaugh, Madi Davis, Evan McKeel, Jordan Smith, and Shelby Brown. Team coaches chose to save Amy Vachal, Korin Bukowski, Emily Ann Roberts and Mark Hood. Is there anyone better than these top 12 who you think should be advancing?
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC
(Image and video courtesy of NBC)