“The Voice” is live — but are we really feeling alive after sitting through this two-hour performance show? That’s what we are still debating. We’re not sure if it is the overdone production, Carson Daly doing his best robotic Steve Jones impression, or just the show forgetting some of the fun we saw in the earlier rounds. There just wasn’t very much magic here.
Of course, some of these problems would be redeemed if there were some better performances — but with a few exceptions (Chris Mann, Jesse Campbell, and Charlotte Sometimes), pretty much anyone left on “American Idol” could wipe the floor with these contestants.
Monday night’s show featured the contestants of Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton dueling it out to see who comes out on top.
Jermaine Paul (Blake) – If you want to watch Jermaine howl the entire second half of a Bon Jovi classic, this is your performance! He had a great audition, but since that point some of his flaws have shown off. He screams too many notes, has some breath control issues, and also just comes across as too intense. This works in some genres, but on this show you have to drop the edge a little bit.
Chris Mann (Christina) – We don’t mean to be cynical, but we’d like to not see this show use Chris’ story and his mother as a storytelling tool, and to see the focus turn to the music. Why? He’s that good, and we’d like to know more about the man that he is — even though we do wish his family the best in everything they are going through. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” is a personal favorite, and we loved his rendition along with some of the emotion he showcased throughout. Could Chris win this show? We’re not sure, but he has an incredible voice we haven’t quite heard since Josh Groban first burst on the scene.
RaeLynn (Blake) – Is RaeLynn really the person everyone in Nashville is talking about? If you listen to Blake Shelton, the answer here is a clear “yes.” If you listen to her voice, however, the hype is only somewhat justified. While her performance of “Wake Up Call” (by Maroon 5, in a nod to Adam Levine) was fun, but for our country rock we’ll go to Skylar Laine on “American Idol.”
Moses Stone (Christina) – We are all for hip-hop artists on singing shows, in particular some that possess that Drake or Nicki Minaj-like ability to handle vocals and rap versus with eases. Unfortunately for Moses, he pretty much did this entire performance of Kanye West’s “Stronger” in one note and without any variations in his diction.
Naia Kete (Blake) – If the audience is louder than you, there’s a problem. We’re glad Blake Shelton pushed her out of her reggae comfort zone with her performance of Adele’s “Turning Tables,” but her quiet voice int he first half of the song was a major detriment. With that being said, she more than made up for it with a sensational closing chorus.
Lindsey Paveo (Christina) – First things first, we love Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know.” We also love the weird people in the masks moving around on the stage like they were at one of those weird parties on “The Vampire Diaries.”
We really did not care the arrangement during the chorus here, mostly because her changing up the lyrics made it feel like she was messing up when she wasn’t.
Jordis Unga (Blake) – Considering that she has experience on “Rock Star” several years back, we expected Jordis to be more prepared for this — and she was. While this “Alone” was not on par with Carrie Underwood or Allison Iraheta’s versions of the song, it was powerful — and also showed off her crazy vocal range.
Sera Hill (Christina) – We’re glad that Sera had some fun with this performance, mostly because it was painful to watch. She turned Drake’s “Find Your Love” into a bizarre Vegas sideshow act, complete with a white pantsuit and shirtless guys gyrating around.
Erin Willett (Blake) – At one point early in the competition, we were happy to see Erin rocking out on stage. Then, she was attacked by a mob of backup dancers and a band so excited to be on stage that they forget they are supposed to be helping out someone with their performance. The one highlight? The big note at the end.
Ashley De Le Rosa (Christina) – Dubbed the “biggest surprise of the night” by Adam Levine, Ashley showed off what it means to be an aggressive performer on the show. Sometimes, this is more important than just having a “unique voice” as it was touted during the blind audition rounds. We’ll take this over some of the other artists we’ve seen tonight any other day of the week.
Charlotte Sometimes (Blake) – Congratulations, Charlotte! You know how to re-arrange a Paramore song. This “Misery Business” was at least more dynamic than some of the straight-up covers we saw throughout the night, and it brought a rock edge helped to differentiate herself from just a girl who sounds kind of like Lana Del Rey.
Jesse Campbell (Christina) – Jesse took a Louis Armstorng classic and made it into something nice. While even this did not necessarily blow our mind, it was pleasant to listen to, and this is something that the other contestants need to take note of. You don’t always need to sing giant songs to do well — pick something you can put your heart into at all times.
While we have a hard time ranking a bottom two or three this week, we can at least present to you our top five favorite performers for the night:
1. Chris Mann
2. Jesse Campbell
3. Charlotte Sometimes
4. Ashley De La Rosa
5. Jordis Unga
Who did you love on the show, and did you find the overall talent and production of the show to feel a little bit more like a letdown than you were hoping for?