Tonight, the first round of The Voice UK live shows have officially arrived! We’ve got nine performers coming on the show tonight, and that included the return of Bethzienna! Team Tom Jones got an extra member of his team based on the result of the public vote near the end of the episode.
We don’t want to waste a whole lot of time on the introduction since there is SO much stuff to get to. That’s why we want to hone in on the contestants since there are some interesting, daring risks tonight.
Emmanuel Smith, “Giant” – Our first performance of the night and a lively affair — you got some movement around the stage but then also some energy and a little bit of some local flair. Emmanuel does have that big personality and that winner upside that you need for a show like this — perhaps even more than this, though, the guy has individuality! We cannot speak to the importance of this enough.
Nicole Dennis, “Dream On” – Seriously … Aerosmith? This took a lot of guts. Nicole is someone known for doing songs suited for her stage career. Yet, here she chose to belt out an iconic song with one of the highest notes in existence. She hit the notes! Yet, we’ll admit that more than just seeing her doing a largely straightforward rendition of the track, we would’ve preferred her staying at the piano and doing something a little bit slower and more stripped-down.
Deana, “Autumn Leaves” – This is certainly a powerful, haunting song choice, and one that we didn’t expect for Deana going into this episode. What does this show? Perhaps more than anything, we’d say that it is a testament to her versatility. She may not be the best overall vocalist on the series, but what she does bring to the table is a tremendous sense of artistry and an understanding of how notes work and the sort of artist she wants to be.
Bethzienna Williams, “You Don’t Own Me” – This was fantastic. While the arrangement itself was pretty similar to the original, she packed SO much in here in between the choreography, the dancing, and also still staying in tune and keeping herself perfectly in rhythm. This was one of the best performances we could’ve ever hoped for from her — she’s already got Britain on her side, so it’s easy to think that she could make it to the finale.
Jimmy Balito, “Fix You” – Maybe his timing wasn’t perfectly in-sync with his backing band, but there’s something about the way Jimmy carries himself on stage that is incredibly compelling. You just want to root for him — he’s just so raw and emotional. You feel him and you understand him, which is what makes him a serious championship contender. He just has to make it past one more round after this one tonight!
Moya, “I Will Wait” – A really big departure from the original. She completely transformed the Mumford & Sons song into something soulful and perfectly suited for her. We don’t know what was going on with that weird chair routine around her, and we personally would’ve slowed down the chorus a little bit, but that doesn’t change the fact that she nails these notes and had a power we didn’t see anywhere else.
NXT GEN, “Embrace” – This was risky — these guys came out and performed their own song. Whether or not viewers respond to this is TBA. The vocals weren’t necessarily spectacular throughout, but the energy was there and lyrically, this song made sense for the sort of consumers that would be out there for some of their music a little bit down the road. We like the strategy of betting on themselves more so than just trying to win this show.
Cedric Neal, “High Hopes” – This was a lot for Cedric to take on, given that this is such a lyrically-packed song — yet, he really brought everything to a funky, cool arrangement that had a little bit of R&B, pop, and even rock and jazz thrown in there. They guy knows how to perform and to use every single inch of the stage. We just like the idea of Cedric going out there and proving that he can do something current rather than relying on old standbys.
Molly Hocking, “I’ll Never Love Again” – This was a BIG song for an 18-year old to do. We do think that she hit every single note that she was meant to. Yet, we didn’t get the same subtext here that we got from some other people on the night. We didn’t feel the same sort of deep, earthy passion and drama here that we did in some other corners of the competition tonight.
Now, the results…
The first person who made it through was Bethzienna, and that was absolutely delightful! She got put through by the public for tonight, and now, she gets to continue the journey. Molly joined her, which shouldn’t come as a shock given that she was last on the night, and Deana followed her after that.
The fourth and final spot in the final went to Jimmy, who seemed genuinely shocked about it. That means that neither will.i.am nor Jennifer Hudson gets a chance to have artists in the finale.
Personally, our top 4 was Bethzienna, Deane, Cedric, and also Jimmy.
What did you think about tonight’s new episode of The Voice UK from start to finish? Share your overall thoughts in the comments, and remember here to stay tuned for some other thoughts. (Photo: ITV.)