Tonight, The Voice live shows officially begin on NBC! This is a chance to REALLY see who has what it takes to win this whole competition. This is, to us, where the exciting stuff really begins. No disrespect to the earlier parts of the season, but this is where nerves, song choice, and appealing to America really come into play. We want to see originality, good vocals, stage presence, and above all else entertainment.
Throughout the night, we’re going to be here offering up our take on all of the artists that come on the show and perform. Be sure to refresh the page as the night goes along! The focus here is on Team Blake and Team Kelly.
Michael Lee, “Every Time I Roll the Dice” – Our first playoff artist and a guy who chose a rollicking blues number. He’s got a nice tone and we loved the way that he seemed to get into the song. The problem is that this isn’t a great singing-show song; it’s more of a bar song. This was solid, but not necessarily anything that we see most diehard The Voice fans really remembering. Grade: B-.
Dave Fenley, “Angel Flying Too Close To the Ground” – Dave came out tonight with the Willie Nelson classic. Tremendous baritone. He’s not the flashiest singer in the world, but there’s just soul much soul in what he does. His voice brings you life, experience, and power. It’s precisely what you would want from an older singer in this competition. Grade: A-.
Natasia GreyCloud, “God is a Woman” – Great choice for a modern song that lets you do a lot of different stuff on the stage. Natasia’s voice is booming but she’s got a bit of an enunciation issue. When she gets down in the lower register it’s hard to understand her — if you want the audience to connect to you, they have to understand you. That’s the letdown of what was otherwise a decent performance. Grade: B-.
Chris Kroeze, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” – This is a simple song that can at times lead to boring performances. Chris has got a nice grown, but he’s missing something still with the arrangement of the song. While it was pleasant, this may have been better stripped-down without some of the backup singers and musicians all around him. Grade: B.
Funsho, “How Long” – We wanted to properly dig this more than we did. A good start, but a lot of tuning issues, a questionable song choice, and it actually felt like it was going on even in tonight’s super-truncated form. He’s a talented guy, but sometimes having all of that talent doesn’t translate in a live performance. Grade: C-.
Kirk Jay, “One More Day” – While Kirk’s own intonation wasn’t perfect, he did figure out how to use his voice to tell a story. While we do wish the camera actually focused more on his face throughout the performance, you could feel his connection. In country music, that’s essential. This kid’s got a chance to go a long way in this competition, especially since Blake’s got that country bump. Grade: B+.
Abby Cates, “Next to Me” – You could see her getting into this from the get-go and she really did her best to life up what is ultimately not the most exciting song on The Voice. This was a competent performance of what was really a karaoke arrangement of a song that’s been doing a lot on this show and others over the years. Grade: B.
Keith Paluso, “Someone Like You” – Really interesting arrangement. It felt very much like a bluegrass ballad. This is what we like about this show — a guy who was considered an underdog coming out and really going for the jugular. It was vulnerable and not expected for a dude who looks like him. One of the better performances on the night. Grade: A-.
Sarah Grace, “When Something is Wrong with My Baby” – While some of her enunciation choices are a tad strange, Sarah’s one of those unicorn contestants we can’t get enough of on this show. Her voice is so unique and the music just flows through her — you hear her and you almost immediately get brought back. This wasn’t over-the-top, but it didn’t need to be. Grade: A-.
Zaxai, “When I’m With You” – This is what we call taking the house DOWN. We can quibble a little bit with the start of this performance, but we sure as heck can’t quibble with anything in the second half of it. That was pure magic and class and everything that you would want from a performance like this on this show. Grade: A.
Chevel Shepherd, “Tell Me About the Good Ol’ Days” -It’s a classic country song and this was a classic country performance — good vocals, good intonation, and something that could be relatable to The Voice audience. Alas, there wasn’t anything about this that made us think that Chevel was pushing to bring in some new fans beyond just the established country base. It could’ve been so much worse. Grade: B-.
Kymberli Joye, “Radioactive” – Cool move by Kelly having one of her artists do a rock song even if they’re not strictly a rock singer. We’re just not sure that this fully worked. If felt like Kymberli was occasionally in danger of getting behind the song; at the same time, though, we can’t deny that some of her runs were next-level. A little too much scratchiness at the end of the song. Grade: B.
What do you think about some of the artists tonight on The Voice? Be sure to share right now in the attached comments. (Photo: NBC.)