The Voice season 10 Live Playoffs are here. The Top 20, plus four coach comebacks, will be performing for your votes for the first time this season, though you probably already know that because Carson loves to scream say it constantly. First up to perform is the stellar Team Christina and the pretty okay Team Blake. The competition is about to get real serious, real fast.
Remember, this is a live blog. If you want the latest updates on who is being brought back, who is making the most of their live debut and who is crashing and burning, check back here. It is best to refresh the page every 15 minutes or so to get the latest news on how many of my nerves Carson Daly is wearing thin.
Paxton Ingram Performs “How Deep is Your Love”
Paxton is a really good artist to begin things here, not just for Team Blake but for the show in general. Paxton has just a naturally happy and shiny attitude that it instantly puts me in a good mood. Unfortunately, nearly everything about this performance is forgettable as far as vocals go. At least Paxton is enjoying himself and dancing his heart out. While those neck motions are weird, you can tell he is super talented as a dancer. Maybe he’s a more talented dancer than a singer … just saying.
Ryan Quinn Performs “I’m Not the Only One”
It is insanity that Christina and The Voice think that that “Quinnsanity” moment was organic and not at all rehearsed. We’ve all seen Burlesque. We know you’re not that good of an actress, Christina.
In terms of Ryan’s singing, I thought we were over the horrible trend, started in season 9, that involved glasses-wearing contestants performing without their spectacles. Gwen is gone, but the trend is here and it is still dumb. Ryan doesn’t look as awkward as poor Braiden Sunshine did, but he does look almost like a completely different person.
It is not just appearance either. Everything about Ryan feels different. The best thing that can be said is that it does get rid of some of the fatigue I’ve been feeling with Ryan. Ryan is much better here on Team Christina than he was on Team Adam in the Knockouts. Do I think Ryan is going to make it through? Nope. But do I think he has improved? Sure.
Katie Basden Performs “Georgia Rain”
Okay, Blake, let’s slow our roll. Katie is good and proved to be a real contender in the Knockouts. She is most definitely not the biggest, most “rangiest” singer in the competition. That’s just straight-up fibbing. It would also be a lie to say that Katie isn’t awesome, and this Live Playoff performance makes it clear that the Knockouts weren’t a fluke.
This is the first performance of the night where I feel confident in saying that it earned the singer a spot in the live shows. Katie might not have the biggest voice, but she definitely has a full voice. It fills the room in the best way possible and demands attention.
Can we talk about Pharrell’s “comments,” though? What is going on with his beauty pageant-like questioning? He does know that everyone on The Voice wants a singing career, right? It is not brand-new information that Katie (or anyone else) wants to pursue singing professionally. So why exactly is he grilling her like she is on musical trial?
Kata Hay Performs “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”
The moment Christina describes Kata as “sassy” and it being one of Kata’s biggest strengths, I know I can check out of this one. This is just irritating. The weird bopping, marching and the attitude, I don’t like any of it. I don’t think Kata took a single piece of advice from Christina either. Kata’s voice is all rumble; Christina was trying to get her to move on from that. At least this creates a situation where Carson says, “You make me feel like a natural woman,” like an awkward, sweaty, dead-eyed robot. It’s not a lot, but it is something.
Christina Brings Back Nick Hagelin — And He Performs “Stay”
This is kind of dumb. I don’t mind that the coach comeback is back in play. It is a neat little second chance for some artists. I think it is just weird that the coaches can choose anyone to bring back. I like Nick and I think he can do much more on the show. He would not be my first pick of any of the artists, though. I’m kind of dreading the other artists who are returning after this one.
Nick’s performance of “Stay” is probably the best he has sounded on the show, but I really doubt it will be enough to get through to the Top 12. I just hope that Bash is all right and happy with whatever happens with Nick. I’d support Nick coming back if that means we get to see more Bash. Actually, can we start a petition to have Bash host The Voice instead of Carson? ‘m sure they are at the same level of reading comprehension.
Joe Maye Performs “Long Train Runnin'”
At least The Voice put Nick in between Kata and Joe as a little bit of a palate cleanser. I don’t think I could have taken this much theatrics back to back. I will give Joe credit that he isn’t quite as annoying as he was in the Knockouts. This is the most backhanded of backhanded compliments, though, because Joe was nigh unbearable in the Knockouts.
Blake’s not wrong when he says that Joe has the same amount of fun as Bruno Mars does on stage. Joe is just not nearly as talented or fun to listen to as Bruno Mars.
Adam Wakefield Performs “Seven Spanish Angels”
If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of millions of necks cracking from the whiplash it takes to adjust going from Joe to Adam. These two couldn’t be any more different. Even their song choices are polar opposites. Speaking of which, Adam is running a big risk here because “Seven Spanish Angels” isn’t exactly what anyone would call a catchy tune or a popular one. In terms of talent, though, Team Blake is leading the night so far with Katie and Adam.
Let’s just talk about Adam Levine throwing 75% of the previous contestants under the bus with his comments about Adam Wakefield’s performance. Adam would deny it, but there’s no way that he’s not thinking of three specific artists when he tells Adam Wakefield that he didn’t need to dance around to be memorable. Somewhere backstage, Paxton, Kata and Joe are feeling real bad about themselves.
Tamar Davis Performs “Rise Up”
I’m not wild about this song choice. The lyrics are little too simplistic, but the vocals are insane. There is so much control here and Tamar hits every note. She is why Blake was lying when he said Katie has the biggest voice in the competition. Tamar has the “rangiest” voice left on The Voice, not Katie. Even if Tamar should have picked a better song, it will be a travesty if she doesn’t move through to the live shows after this act. She is too good to lose this early and she can certainly redeem herself in the Top 12.
Mary Sarah Performs “(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden”
This is a really smart move on Mary Sarah’s part. Her biggest problem, as I see it, is being able to appeal to a wide audience. Mary is a very niche country artist. She has an older country voice and it is not a type of voice that is very popular in country music anymore. In her first live performance, she manages to have her cake and eat it too.
She picks a classic country song that most of The Voice voting public is going to have never heard before and makes into a pop hit. Country music purists might rustle, and they might have a point, but it’s a smart move. Mary Sarah is putting herself in a much better place than Adam is with his classic country tune.
It’s a shame that she nearly undoes all that good work when she gets her comments. There is no way she is that shocked or cute hearing the critiques. It is an act. She needs to close her mouth and stop mugging for the camera. It doesn’t matter how talented she is at singing; that is just plain irritating.
Bryan Bautista Performs “Pillowtalk”
I keep waiting for “Pillowtalk” to die, but it refuses to go down without a fight. Bryan has been doing so well in the competition so far. This is not where I was expecting him to go in the Live Playoffs. While this is vocally impressive (and superior to the original), I can’t get behind it. This is not the Bryan that I really love. I can’t understand a single word here. While that’s not necessarily a problem because the lyrics are moronic, I just have no foothold here. I also have no desire to listen to it again like I have with every other Bryan performance.
I hope that Bryan makes it through because I really like everything he has done, but this isn’t for me. Maybe it’s just because I think the song is idiotic, but I was expecting much more from Bryan and it was just okay. I don’t know why the coaches love this performance so much, but I suppose they must be right. I’m hoping they have learned more about music than I will ever know. It would justify why they make more money in a week than I probably will in a lifetime.
Blake Brings Back Justin Whisnant — And He Performs “Here’s a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)”
Justin is one of the Team Blake artists who I felt was unjustly kicked out of the competition. He had no chance of beating Mary Sarah in the Battle Rounds and it was clear that Blake had sacrificed him. I’m glad that Blake recognized his mistake and brought him back.
The shame is that by going out so early, Justin doesn’t feel as polished. He still has some work to do with his voice. He is not ready for the live shows completely. He is firmly in fourth place on Team Blake, but that means next to nothing. Personally, this is more enjoyable than Adam Wakefield’s routine, but I wouldn’t say Justin and his performance are better.
Alisan Porter Performs “Cry Baby”
There was never any doubt that Alisan Porter would get the final spot of the night. The Voice is clearly in love with this woman and exactly no one is blaming them. While the blatant favoritism is irksome, Alisan is such a great singer that it is forgiven.
Tamar Davis is very good at what she does, but she stays in her lane. Alisan Porter has so many different shades to her voice and that is what makes her very exciting to watch. Every performance feels like an almost different artist taking the stage, but each version of Alisan is equally amazing. We haven’t seen much of rock singer Alisan. While I don’t think I prefer this to blues singer Alisan, she is in complete control of this song and the competition so far.
The Voice Live Playoffs continue Tuesday, April 12 and Wednesday, April 13 at 8pm on NBC.
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)