NBC’s ‘The Voice’ review: Jordan Smith, Madi Davis, Korin Bukowski, Braiden Sunshine, and the semifinals

VoiceMonday night’s “The Voice” proved itself to be an interesting installment of the show almost immediately, and for a wide variety of reasons. First and foremost, the twelve remaining semifinalists are all competing directly against one another for the first time this season! That is an exciting proposition, mostly to see how many of them directly stack up against one another. Also, it’s a chance to see who can at least get themselves in a position to have the #VoiceSave used on them if they are in danger.

As always, we are reviewing the episode live! We’ll have some other updates on these performances throughout the night, so refresh often!

Braiden Sunshine, “Renegade” – Did Braiden become more of a contender? We’ll start by saying that we were stunned in general to see him do a rock song, but he figured out a way to make it work … at least to a certain extent. This wasn’t bad, but the reality is that it felt like a performance from someone who needs another couple of years of performing.

Amy Vachal, “Hotline Bling” – Can she reinvent the popular Drake tune? We loved the innovation and the attempt to do something really cool. However, the vocals themselves never took off in the way that we expected. Visually it was super-cool, but is that enough?

Mark Hood, “Against All Odds” – Did Mark make this song into something more? Eh … it turns out not so much. This wasn’t great. It was barely even good. Too many off notes and a blah arrangement. It’s hard to think that this is the same guy who did “What Do You Mean?” in awesome fashion last week.

Emily Ann Roberts, “Blame It on Your Heart” – Was this a stellar rendition of the hit? It was pretty great! Emily needs to really have the same amount of energy performing as she does when she’s not, since personality-wise she is one of our favorites. We want to see her stick around, mostly because she’s probably one of the best ones to watch even when she’s not singing.

Korin Bukowski, “Titanium” – Did Korin do something with this song that we haven’t seen before? We feel like the band was at times so loud that it made it rather hard to even hear her sing. There were some nice moments in here, but we cannot say that she did anything with the song unfortunately that we have not seen elsewhere.

Barrett Baber, “Right Here Waiting” – Did Barrett bring the passion to this performance? We’d say so. We’re not sure that there was anything that he brought to this that surprised us in any way, but we’re also not going to sit here and claim that we didn’t enjoy it. This was one of the better outings so far.

Madi Davis, “Who Will Save Your Soul” – Was Madi able to rise in the rankings? Compared to everyone before her, YES. This was the best vocal of the night. It felt like someone actually telling a story, and not just for the sake of a singing show.

Shelby Brown, “In Color” – Has she made her mark on the competition? We don’t know the song well enough to know so much about other versions, but we thought that vocally this was really nice. It sounded professional, and hopefully this allowed some country fans out there to realize that there is ability not just on Team Blake.

Jeffrey Austin, “Let It Go” – Did Jeffrey give our favorite performance two weeks in a row? We can’t speak for the rest of the show yet, but this was stellar. Wonderful focus, great presence, and a real, natural ability to pull your heartstrings. We know that Jeffrey may not be the favorite to win right now, but he should be.

Evan McKeel, “This Is It” – Is it possible to make Kenny Loggins current? We wonder after hearing this. Evan’s vocals were okay, but we feel like he tried too hard to move around the stage. Also, the arrangement just felt so dated and uninteresting.

Jordan Smith, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” – Did Jordan follow up one great performance with another? There’s no doubting his ability or the power in which he sings, and this was stellar vocally. We’re not sure that this particular hymn is melodic enough to win over secular voters, but it’s near the top of the night. We would not be upset at all if the finale comes down to Madi, Jeffrey, and Jordan.

Zach Seabaugh, “My Love” – Is Zach becoming a crowd-pleaser? This was a slower song than we imagined him doing, and it exposed a few of his weaknesses. There were some weird notes throughout, and probably too much pushing the “heartthrob” angle. Next time, more dancing please!

If you want to see where we ranked some of these contenders going into Monday night’s new episode, head over to the link here! Also, sign up here to get some other news and exclusive updates on all we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: NBC.)


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