NBC’s ‘The Voice’ review: Ali Caldwell, Billy Gilman, Sundance Head perform in top 8 show

Voice -Tonight, “The Voice” is airing what is, easily, the most important performance show of the season. The top 8 are going to perform, and come tomorrow, half of them are going to be booted from the show. That’s a pretty dramatic way for these to go, but hey, that’s what the show has shown a habit of doing over the past couple of years. We get to know a lot of singers, and then within a few weeks, we see them all get chipped away far too quickly.

We feel like we could go on another tear here about abolishing the Battle Rounds and extending the live shows, but let’s ignore that for the time being since we’ve got a show to review and some other things to discuss. Be sure to refresh this article often, as we’ll be updating it with our take on each person after they hit the stage. At the tail end, we’ll be ranking them all to better showcase our personal favorites!

8. Christian Cuevas, “To Worship You I Live (Away)” – You could really tell that the song meant a lot for him, and as someone who works as a worship leader in real life, this is probably the first time that he’s done something that he felt really could impact him over the course of the rest of his life. The start of it was really strong vocally, but you could feel his voice straining by the end of the song when his emotions started to get the best of him.

7. Brendan Fletcher, “Angel” – It’s a good song, and a good performance from Brendan. Maybe it was a little too sleepy for our liking, but that’s just the nature of this song. We’re not going to criticize him too much for what remains our biggest issue with this song being on singing competitions: We associate it so heavily with all of the sad puppy infomercials that we cannot think of it any other way at this point. Personally, we’d prefer this “Angel” to be permanently retired as a reality TV song choice.

6. Aaron Gibson, “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)” – It’s a little bit ironic that Aaron and Brendan both have reasonably-similar voices, given that the two guys suffered from the same exact problems during the show tonight: Picking songs that were fairly low-energy. We do think that someone must have given Miley Cyrus the memo on why Aaron has struggled at times to get votes overnight from voters: Choosing songs that nobody really seems to know.

5. Josh Gallagher, “Danny’s Song” – It’s kind of funny that in the midst of so many ballads, a mid-tempo song is suddenly super-striking and gets us excited. There wasn’t really that much unique that Josh did with this song other than injecting a little bit of his trademark country twang, but at the same time we didn’t mind. This was a very enjoyable, nostalgic listen. It probably won’t get him in the top 4, but we enjoyed it.

4. Ali Caldwell, “I Will Always Love You” – For all of the talk about this being a hybrid of the Whitney Houston and Dolly Parton versions of the songs, it almost felt exclusively like the Whitney version — which Ali completely dominated vocally. She’s an amazing singer when given the right song, and the only concern we have coming out of this is that this is a really heavy song, and we’re not sure how it translates over to iTunes sales. It’s not something we could listen to several times a day.

3. We McDonald, “Scars to Your Beautiful” – What we do really like about We’s performance here is that she was cognizant going in that she was considering precisely what she was singing in terms of cultivating her message, and having this be something more than just her showing that she has a good voice. There were a couple of times where the band became dangerously close to drowning her out, but overall we’d proclaim this to be immensely entertaining.

2. Billy Gilman, “I Surrender” – Billy closed the night with a powerful version of the Celine Dion hit, and for the most part, we’d say that he hit all of the notes and carried much of the emotion of the song very well. The one thing that we’re bummed out about is that this is yet another week of him doing a big ballad, and over time we worry about all of his songs blending together. Still, we don’t want to take away from how amazing this was.

1. Sundance Head, “Love Can Be a Bridge” – It’s one of the most iconic country songs out there, and kudos to Sundance for completely killing this rendition of it. His vocals were amazing, and he really went there with him. You don’t always see country singers on this show choose to belt something out, and he did that while still keeping the integrity of the lyric there to go along with the necessary emotion you need to do a song like this.


4. Aaron Gibson and We McDonald, “FourFiveSeconds” – This was a bit of a surprise song choice, but that makes some sense given that this was an unusual pairing. The two sang this very well, but we don’t exactly think that there was anything about this performance that we’ll be remembering come this point tomorrow when we’re eagerly awaiting learning once and for all who is staying and who is leaving the show.

3. Billy Gilman and Christian Cuevas, “Unsteady” – This was … slow. This performance happened at a time that we’d just heard about three or four ballads in a row, and we were wondering if anyone was actually going to do anything uptempo in the near future. Sure, we know that ballads often get more votes and sales, but if you’re one of the few people doing a ballad in a sea of uptempo stuff, we’d like to think that is worth something.

2. Sundance Head and Josh Gallagher, “Feeling Alright” – The intro to this song was really fun, mostly because you could tell that the two guys have a lot of fun messing with each other. These duets are clearly not meant to really be judged that closely, given that they’re all just fairly-standard performances of songs that while fun, aren’t really much of a vocal showcase. It feels more like they’re just meant to be reasonably nice and fill time on the show.

1. Ali Caldwell and Brendan Fletcher, “It’s Only Love” – Maybe this wasn’t the best duet of the night in terms of the vocals, but we’re giving it a little bit of bonus credit for more or less being the only one that got us tremendously excited and it felt like the people doing it were having a genuinely good time rocking out to the song. We’ll take the little victories here pretty much everywhere we can.

Overall, this show tonight suffered A LOT from way too many ballads and not enough variance. It was probably our least-favorite of the performance shows to date.

Who was your favorite on the night? Share in the poll below, and head over here to see some other news on “The Voice” tonight! (Photo: NBC.)

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