NBC’s ‘The Voice’ review: Amanda Brown, Nicholas David shine among top 6

Amanda BrownBefore Monday night’s new episode of “The Voice” wrapped up, we made a rather controversial statement that the top six on this show were as good (if not better) than any other singing competition in years. Are we going to find a superstar in this group? That’s going to be hard given NBC’s track record thus far; however, we have not seen a group of singers who are pound for pound so likable and talented since possibly the eighth season of “American Idol.” There’s not a dud in here, and that makes figuring out who will leave incredibly hard.

Before we dive to deep into the performances from all of the acts this week, let’s start things off by giving some props to Christina Aguilera for actually doing her best to try being an impartial judge this week … with a caveat. When it comes to female judges, we almost feel as though they cannot win: if they are too nice, then they are blasted for that (see Jennifer Lopez). If they are too honest, then they are called a word we cannot repeat here. As angry as we are at her for sending De’borah home, she was right about 95% of the time this week when it came to her actual feedback

Now, the caveat. Most of her judging good will was hurt by her making a big deal out of tiny moments of pettiness, such as Melanie not making eye contact with her … probably because she was scared out of her mind.

The performances

Nicholas David

Song 1 – Nicholas is an interesting beast. He’s so sure about who he is as an artists that he does not take a whole of risks, and that is both a blessing and a curse. You see, this take on “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire did not have any problems within it at all. At the same time, though, this was part of its problem. It was just exactly what you would expect from him, and this could hurt him when the results show results around.

Song 2 – This is what we wanted to see! This was a magical, touching arrangement of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” that felt like Nicholas felt it in every single bone in his body. This was actually the final song of the night, and it left us with such a warm and fuzzy feeling in our hearts.

Cassadee Pope

Song 1 – Blake took her down the country road again this week, but what was interesting for Cassadee here is that she combined a little bit of this with more of her pop sound. We don’t know what has happened with Cassadee in the past few weeks, but she has morphed into someone who has a genuine shot at winning the whole competition.

Song 2 – Yes, it was almost as predictable as the Sun rising in the east that Cassadee would sing “I’m With You” by Avril Lavigne. We could criticize her for not stretching herself musically, but it’s hard to when she sang the song so well, and probably even better than Avril does (and that is not a cliched phrase we throw around lightly). It feels like there is little that she is doing wrong that could keep her from the finale.

Amanda Brown

Song 1 – “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” has for the past ten years really been Kelly Clarkson’s song. Tonight, it was Amanda Brown’s song. What a stirring, powerful moment this was. The vocals were perfect, the song choice was perfect, If Amanda hadn’t already given a pair of perfect performances already on the show this season, we would have it as one of the best “The Voice” has ever seen.

Song 2 – Who else in this competition can go from Aretha Franklin to Whitesnake in a single night. The woman has some serious range! While this song admittedly started off a little slow, she genuinely rocked it out like nobody’s business at the very end of it.

Terry McDermott

Song 1 – By far, this was Terry’s best performance on the show since it went live. Did he still sing a dated song in Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is”? Sure, but he at least gave it an intimate arrangement where the piano and his vocals were in the forefront. Terry’s voice is not technically perfect, but this was one of the first times we felt like he was an artist and not just a 1980s tribute act.

Song 2 – In following up a pretty strong moment, however, Terry picked a song in “Stay With Me” by Rod Stewart that we will forever remember more for what Skylar Laine did with it on “American Idol” last season. It was okay, but nothing to really write home about.

Trevin Hunte

Song 1 – Cee Lo, even though he was not present for the mentoring this week, gave Trevin a song in “Walking on Sunshine” that could have been a disaster. Instead, it was surprisingly decent. Were there bum notes in here? Sure. The biggest issue with Trevin is that he still feels a little karaoke, and we’re not seeing any sort of that artistic punch in anything he does.

Song 2 – This performance was basically the equivalent of someone charging up Trevin’s batteries backstage and telling him to just go absolutely insane on stage. “I Am Telling You I Am Not Going” is a song that only the brave sing, and Trevin morphed into a complete different beast during it. He was confident, he was strong, and he was spectacular. This vocal alone punched a ticket for him to the final four, and we’re pretty sure that Christina

Melanie Martinez

Song 1 – It was a bold, bold move for Melanie to take on a Gnarls Barkley song in “Crazy.” We wish it had worked better, but it was one of her weaker numbers since the early stages of the live rounds. Whenever she holds out notes her pitch tends to fall flat, and the entire arrangement just felt a little bit like a sleeper rendition of the original.

Song 2 – For this entire performance, we were imagining the theme song from “New Girl.” Who’s that girl … it’s Melanie! This was a weird choice for Adam Levine to allow, mostly because it felt nothing like the other performances she has done. It was fun, cheeky, cheesy, and something that we will certainly

Who is your favorite from this performance, and can you even start to imagine at the moment just who is going to end up winning? Be sure to vote in our poll below, and you can see how we ranked the performers before the show over at the link here.

Photo: NBC

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