We are down to the final five performers on The Voice season 7 and it’s anybody’s game at this point. America, you have the vote. Last week, we saw our Top 8 sluiced down to the Top 5, forcing us to say goodbye to Luke Wade and DaNica Shirey from Pharrell Williams’ team and Ryan Sill from Gwen Stefani’s team. That left Adam Levine still in the lead with Matt McAndrew, Damien and Chis Jamison. Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani have one player each remaining: Craig Wayne Boyd and Taylor John Williams, respectively. That means it’s a boys game from here on out. Maybe we should just arm wrestle for the final prize? Nah, vocal performances are much more entertaining.

My personal favorite remains Craig Wayne Boyd, but Matt McAndrew has a lot to offer and should be taken seriously as a heavyweight contender. Damien is magnificent as well. Last week’s cover of Adele’s “Someone Like You” stole the show on an evening when everyone’s nerves seemed to get the better of them. It was teased several weeks ago that the coaches have brought in some of the industry’s best songwriters to create some original pieces for the artists to perform. Apparently, that’s not what we’re getting tonight. Perhaps next week?

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My favorite performance of last Tuesday’s Top 5 results show was RaeLynn performing her new hit “God Made Girls.” I’ve downloaded it and have been singing it around the house until my husband is about ready to kill me … or my Bose speakers. But I just can’t get enough of that song. Since there are no more female contenders, I hope RaeLynn or a couple other female vocalists return to entertain us.

Be Still My Blake-ing Heart

Wait — I just remembered one thing we have been promised for tonight: Blake Shelton will be performing his new single “Lonely Tonight.” Swoon, ladies, this should be fantastic. Blake has such a charming tenor and plenty of southern rock swagger to go with it.

Doesn’t it just seem like the big, already-risen stars aren’t as great when singing live as they are in recordings? Of course, that’s because in the studio they have the special walls and all the equalizers and augmenters that could probably even make me sound like a rock star. Nevertheless, these guys are stars for a reason as it’s a treat to watch them perform live, but it’s never as extraordinary as I always think it’s gonna be. Oh, well. I still love you, Blake. #ThatIsAll

Double Dipping Artists on the Horizon

Carson Daly explains that each of the five competitors will be performing twice tonight. First, they will perform a selection chosen by their coach. In the second half of the evening, each will sing a song of their own choosing as an homage to their hometowns. He also reminds us that tomorrow night is the wild card event. Each of the Top 12 who haven’t received enough votes to stay in the competition will get a chance to woo America once more for a final shot at the brass ring. This seems a little pointless to me, but whatever.

Damien Performs “She’s Out of My Life”

Adam chooses this somber Michael Jackson ballad for Damien tonight and he does okay. The coaches have run out of original things to say about Damien’s singing. The performance is flawless, but that’s what we’ve all come to expect from Damien. At this point, I’d like to see him break out in something completely different. Maybe something like “Born in the USA” or “You Shook Me All Night Long.” Something different. Adam, whose sweater I am totally loving, compliments Damien on being the most coachable guy on the planet.

Craig Wayne Boyd Performs “Workin’ Man Blues”

Blake chooses a rocking Merle Haggard song for Craig and promises us we are about to have our worlds rocked. Bring it, Blake. Bring it, Craig. Bring. It.

Okay. He brings it, but it seems to be more of a filler song for in between the mind-blowing mountaintop songs one might expect at a live concert. I like to think the reason for this (and for Damien’s performance a moment ago) is that these are not songs the artists chose themselves. I think we’re going to see the real gold when each competitor gets to sing to their hometowns. 

Taylor John Williams Performs “Falling Slowly”

Gwen says she let Taylor choose this song because he loves it and he’s done it many, many times before. This gives me hope that his performance will outshine the last two. Here we go.

Well, there you go. Excellent. He’s beautiful without his hat on! He really is! He looks like a man for the first time tonight. The low to mid to high and then mid again is a bit pitchy by a very thin hair at times, but it’s so lovely in the delivery that I don’t mind it at all. 

Matt McAndrew Performs “Make It Rain”

Adam heard this song played on Sons of Anarchy and felt it would be perfect for Matt. Ignore the Beetlejuice suit, this piece is half “House of the Rising Sun” and half the theme song for Sons of Anarchy. The excellence in this song choice is that it truly, truly showcases his forceful vocals. Forceful, yet coming from a place of strength, not aggression. This is not my favorite song academically, but it is, hands down, the best performance so far.

Chris Jamison Performs “Sugar”

Won’t it stink for Adam if Chris’ cover of the Maroon 5 song is better than the original? Okay, let’s be real. That would never happen because Chris is no Adam Levine. Let’s give him a fair shot, though.

I’m loving the leather jacket. The performance is a mixture between the feeling of Michael Jackson’s “Candy Girl” and the staging, with the four hot girls wearing guitar pimp chains and black tights reminiscent of Robert Palmer in his “Addicted to Love” video. 

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Damien Performs “I Don’t Want to Wait”

In Monroe, LA, escorted by a motorcade, Damien visits his high school to sing with the choir and is met with such warmth and admiration it brings him to tears. For once, these are not maudlin tears, but happy, appreciative tears. 

And then my wish comes true. Damien sings a fun, upbeat, heart-filled rendition of “I Don’t Want to Wait.” The coaches are feeling the excitement that I’m experiencing here on my own crumb-covered couch. See? Now that’s what we get when the artists choose their own songs, people. The rest of the evening should kick ass as well.

Matt McAndrew Performs “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”

Matt visits his hometown of Philadelphia, PA. He surprises his mom, then sees his music students and then, like Damien, performs to his hometown fans. 

Back on our live stage, he sings his own choice of material and it’s a classic: U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” He stays fairly close to the original, but gives it a decidedly Matt McAndrew tenor. Well done, Matthew, well done. The crowd goes stark-raving lunatic wild. You just know this guy is going forward.

Sweet Baby Jesus. How are we going to choose who wins this thing? I just don’t know. That’s why we all have to open our laptops, our flip phones, our iPods and iPads — whatever — and vote, vote, vote tonight. Do y’all hear me? This is going to be a squeaky tight race.

Craig Wayne Boyd Performs “The Old Rugged Cross”

Craig goes home to Nashville and sees his baby boy for the first time in months. His parents are there to surprise him as well. That night, he performs to a packed Wild Horse Saloon with Randy Houser. 

Once he takes the stage on The Voice, he lets the world know who he really does all of this for. This is a beautiful performance. Pharrell says it: to God be the glory. Oh my, how refreshing it is to see powerful people praise their maker. Our faith in our Maker is something we all decide upon in our lives, and we hesitate unnecessarily to show our true colors, and what is at our hearts … what wakes us up, and what lays us down. Kudos to you, man. And thank you for that.

Taylor John Williams Performs “Blank Space”

Portland, Oregon, is Taylor’s hometown. He’s surprised by a call from Gwen in the midst of a radio interview during which he learns he’ll later be opening for Christina Perri and Andy Grammer. We hear a bit of his opening performance and his voice resonates wonderfully. I wish we could hear more of that during his Voice performances. 

The only way to truly hear Taylor John Williams’ voice would be to do away with all that background music and let him truly perform alone with his guitar. Carson said Taylor would be alone with his guitar for his performance of “Falling Slowly,” but that wasn’t what happened. There were background vocals that came too close to overwhelming his voice during the second half of the song. It’s irritating that what sounds like a true talent under all that music is getting minimized by the accompaniment.

This performance left a blank space in my memory banks. It’s a strange song and the performance is unremarkable. Now that we’ve heard more of his voice in the previous song, I’d like to hear him with some choices that allow us to experience that again. 

Chris Jamison Performs “When I Was Your Man”

Chris goes home to Pittsburg, PA, to see his homies and it’s an emotional event. He still looks like such a child.

Now see? If Chris Jamison had sung songs like that from the beginning, it would be so much more clear how he’s made it this far in the competition. That’s an extraordinary performance by this young man. Will it elevate him enough to give him Top 3 status? I don’t know. I will have to go back and revisit all the performances of the evening and do some more thinking about it. 

Tomorrow the Top 3 Will Be Named

Tonight and half of tomorrow the polls with be open for live voting. If you have an opinion, make it known by voting. See you tomorrow night!

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The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.

(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)

Catherine Cabanela

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV