The Voice sure knows how to ratchet up the excitement, people. Tonight, we’ve got Taylor Swift performing. Can you see me waving a lit Zippo in the air? We’re likely to see more group performances by our Top 10 couched between Carson Daly’s nail-biting dragged-out announcements of which performers made it, and which didn’t.

The Top 10 as they stand are as follows: Team Adam shares the lead with Team Gwen at three artists each. Adam Levine has Matt McAndrew, Damien and Chris Jamison. Gwen Stefani has Ryan Sill, Taylor John Williams and Anita Antoinette. It would be wonderful to see one of the new coaches win season 7, and as I see it, we’ve got a 50/50 shot at that.

The Voice Recap: The Top 10 Perform >>>

Team Blake and Team Pharrell Got the Goods

Blake and Pharrell have two artists each, though in my book they have the best to offer from this year’s The Voice crop. Blake Shelton has Reagan James and Craig Wayne Boyd, my personal picks for first and second place in no particular order. Pharrell Williams has DaNica Shirey (love you, sweetie! *Kiss, kiss*) and Luke Wade who is equally impressive.

Both Luke and DaNica are killer performers and my choices for third and fourth place. I’d put Luke a freckly and a hair above above DaNica just because his tenor and style is distinctive. Here’s what I mean: if I close my eyes and listen to a bunch of women sing against each other, I probably would not be able to pick DaNica out of the mix. However, with the same exercise and Luke performing against a bevy of other male singers, I could pick Luke out in a heartbeat.

Here are my rankings of Monday night’s performances:

Even the Critics Disagree

My esteemed colleague Mr. Dean Bextor wrote his predictions article this morning and we do not exactly see eye to eye. But that’s perfectly excellent as that’s what makes it fun, folks. Dean and I are in agreement about Craig Wayne Boyd, Luke Wade, Matt McAndrew, Anita Antoinette and DaNica Shirey being the cream of the crop, but then we part ways. I favor Reagan James over Taylor John Williams, and where I have Damien safely nestled in the top seven, Dean has him tagged as being on the chopping block. Then we come back together agreeing that Chris Jamison and Ryan Sill are on their way out. I don’t know about you, but it’s the differences of opinion between us viewers (and recappers/critics) that add a great deal of fun to the proceedings.

It’s Up to You, America

As the top of the hour draws nearer, I’m feeling more and more nervous. This is a good time to share some interesting data with you about our viewers’ tastes and who they thought kicked performance ass last night. The results of our poll at the end of Monday night’s show are as follows:

ThePeolpeVoted.jpgThe Live Blog Begins and Carson Has Announcements

Carson Daly opens with the announcement that Adam will be late tonight, but the big news is that all of last night’s artists’ performances landed in the iTunes Top 200 Downloads. What a money maker this is for The Voice franchise, huh? I hope the performers see some of that moolah. Carson announces that Pharrell will be performing with his team later in the evening.

Adam, Chris, Damien and Matt Perform “Only the Good Die Young”

And right now, to start the evening off, Adam is performing the Billy Joel classic “Only the Good Die Young” and I am in heaven. My first date with my husband was to a Billy Joel concert in Minneapolis and it was a phenomenal performance, so this brings me back. The fact that I’m one of those good Catholic girls (don’t laugh) adds a particular level of thrill to this song for me.

Now, that’s how a group performance should go. It’s a punchy song and everyone gets a fair chance with solo vocalizing; not a lot of choral parts. This is exactly how it should be and already puts Adam’s team performance head and shoulder above Gwen’s last week.

First Two Advancing Artists Are Announced

The artists gather on the stage with the expressions of cattle brought to slaughter. Craig Wayne Boyd and Reagan James are clinging to each other. And the announcement comes:

Result: Craig Wayne Boyd advances for Blake’s team.

Another harrowing wait, and then Carson spills.

Result: Matt McAndrew advances for Adam’s Team.

Carson chats with the coaches and then the drums roll and another two are announced.

Result: Luke Wade advances for Team Pharrell.

Result: Taylor John Williams advances for Team Gwen.

An Even Spread Across Teams

So at this point, each coach has one artist, and six more artists await the results on the chopping block stage. Carson wastes some time asking the coaches questions. He asks Blake what the name would be of a song if he wrote it about Taylor Swift. Without missing a beat, Blake tosses up: “I’m Cray Cray about Tay-Tay.” And I’m rolling. #PerfectResponse

Team Pharrell Performs “What a Wonderful World”

And it’s kind of a yawner. Before the next two artists are announced, Luke Wade, DaNica Shirey and Pharrell take the stage on stools and a Christmas special unfolds … way too slowly. Each artist gets plenty of solo time, but the song drags and does no favors for any of the voices on display. This is not at all what I would expect from a live Pharrell Williams performance. What the heck?

Result: DaNica Shirey advances for Team Pharrell.

Result: Chris Jamison advances for Team Adam.

Taylor Swift Performs “Blank Space”

Could that girl’s complexion, teeth and lips be any more perfect? Dang. I can’t help watching her mouth closely to figure out if she’s lip-syncing. I still don’t know. I also can’t tell if I like the song or not. It will probably grow on me, but my favorite album of hers is still Fearless. And then my dream comes true — Carson asks her about her experience coaching all the artists on The Voice. Of course, she loved it as we knew she would. She looks like such a little girl, but a super tall one. Carson announces how Taylor is the first female to ever beat herself on the Billboard chart, the first to ever replace her own song at #1 on the chart.

An Early Thanksgiving

Next, we are treated to a video of all the artists gathering for a special Thanksgiving dinner put on by NBC for the artists and their families. Each performer takes a turn talking about what they are thankful for and how much they feel like one big happy family.

The Final Result Before the Live Tweet Vote

Now it’s time for another result announcement. Reagan James, Anita Antoinette, Damien and Ryan Sill stand on the stage while Carson tries not to drag it out too long because this is a live show and we still have to see the bottom three perform for their lives.

Result: Damien advances for Team Adam.

Three Harrowing Live Artist Performances

Remember last Tuesday’s performances by the final three? All of the performers were scared to within an inch of their lives and they weren’t that much fun to watch either. It’s complete torture for these poor artists knowing that everything depends on these three minutes of their performance.

Reagan James Performs “I’m Like a Bird”

She looks relaxed, but you gotta know she’s dying inside. Her voice gets lost in the deeper notes and it’s not the most amazing performance, but like I said, the pressure is tremendous.

Anita Antoinette Performs “The Remedy”

Annette comes out and she’s got a mouth full of words. She sounds a bit sharp on some of the verses and you know she’s singing like this might be her last performance on the big stage for now. But her message is clear: she’s going to face this situation like a true Jamaican: She’ll take it all in stride.

Ryan Sill Performs “Collide”

Even the best fall down down sometimes. Out of the doubts that fill my mind, I somehow find you and I collide. These are some of the lyrics of Ryan’s song. It’s a good choice for this perpetually positive favorite of Gwen Stefani’s.

Final Result: Ryan Sill advances for Team Gwen.

There you have it, folks. America instant tweet saved the boy next door. That rounds out the Top 8 and I, for one, am shocked as hell.

The State of the Nation

Here’s how it stands:

Team Adam: Matt McAndrew, Chris Jamison, Damien

Team Pharrell: Luke Wade, DaNica Shirey

Team Blake: Craig Wayne Boyd

Team Gwen: Taylor John Williams, Ryan Sill

I cannot believe that Reagan James was in the bottom three. I’m in shock. What the hell, people? I’m going to throw my glass of Diet Coke at the screen and refuse to come back next week. Oh, well, alright, fine. I’ll come back. But first I’m going to indulge in some ranting offline. How’s that? You feel free to do the same if the spirit moves you. Then, what say we get back together next Monday and Tuesday to see who the next two unfortunate artists will be to get the boot?

Final thought: if you look back at the poll we took Monday night, you’ll see that the predictions of our poll last week were absolutely correct about the bottom three. #Impressive 


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

(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)

Catherine Cabanela

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV