NBC’s ‘The Voice’ review: Did Tessanne Chin, Will Champlin, and Austin Jenckes rule 1st live show?

Ready? -Tonight, “The Voice” live shows began with some pretty great performances. While there were some bumps in the road, there always is at this point. The goal for the live shows is to see who is really comfortable with the nerve-wrecking situation of performing live for millions of viewers.

We’ve got all of our impressions for tonight’s show below; remember of the acts three from each team will move on to the top 12, so there are some tough decisions ahead.

Shelbie Z., “Fancy” (Team Blake) – Shelbie is one of the more interesting contestants, mostly because she is the sort of contestant that does very well on a show like this: A woman who sings country on Team Blake Shelton. But, the complicated part comes in that she is a much more aggressive and in-your-face artist than Cassadee Pope or Danielle Bradbery. The jury is still out on whether or not viewers think that she is getting to be a little much, and if this starts to cross over to cheese.

James Wolpert, “A Case of You” (Team Adam) – We’ve never given up on James despite a shaky knockout round, and he is here largely because there were so many mistakes elsewhere. This was an improvement, and a return to the James that we feel like can still win the competition. He’s going to be hurt tonight by performing a pretty unknown song, but at least he did so with a ton of passion and heart.

Nic Hawk, “Blurred Lines” (Team Blake) – Odds are, you probably thought that it was gong to be a mess when Nic and Blake Shelton decided that this was going to be a good idea. And … it mostly was. Nic may be a big character singing a hit song, but there are a ton vocal problems here. We get him staying a la a Rylan Clark from “The X Factor” UK, but if the show is based on singing ability, he will be gone soon.

Ray Boudreaux, “Home” (Team Blake) – The cool thing about Ray is that he legitimately sounds like a guy who is going to perform in the swamp. His tone is so rugged and intense, it seems perfect for some sort of lengthy roadtrip with your pals on the way to a barbecue joint in the middle of nowhere. We think he has a little bit of a generic look, but he can actually mix it up with his vocal quality.

Austin Jenckes, “She Talks to Angels” (Team Blake) – The best of the night at this time. Austin is special in that his voice is somewhat made for country, but at the same time he can get down and dirty with a good rock song, as well. He’s got a little versatility here, and that ability to make you care about what he’s singing even though you have heard it already a billion times.

Grey, “Still Into You” (Team Adam) – There is still potential here, and she really tried to make this a big pop / rock performance with moving around the stage and getting into it. Unfortunately, this was a case of her moving around so much that she forgot a little bit about what the song was supposed to be. Her phrasing and her pitch were both off in a couple of spots.

Will Champlin, “Secrets” (Team Adam) – This was about 80% an awesome performance. He is right up there with Austin vocally, but we just wish that when he started walking around the stage that he sped up the tempo a little. That is when this started to turn out a little sleepy, and when you have a song that is this well-known, you need to do something to spice it up.

Preston Pohl, “Nothin’ On You” (Team Adam) – Not the best song choice, since this is really a song better for a duet like it is with the original. He did almost everything that he could with it, but the issue is that we just did not ever get excited to be watching this. Our mind drifted to feeding our cat or what was coming on TV next. You want to be lost in the moment.

Cole Vosbury, “Maggie May” (Team Blake) – When it comes to performing and delivering the essence of this Rod Stewart number, Cole did that perfectly. There was not a single bum note, and he felt completely natural or not at all nervous. But is “Maggie May” an exciting enough song to get people to vote? Mid-tempo numbers do not always work out well on this show.

Tessanne Chin, “Many Rivers to Cross” (Team Adam) – It’s pretty obvious that the show has a favorite here, right? Tessanne has gotten a ton of last-spot moments this season, and that can be a bad thing sometimes when folks start to think that someone is being forced on them. But the vocals here were just INSANE. It was a little too “I’m going to do this huge ballad” for our taste, but she at least picked something that has not been done a billion times on singing shows. Kudos for that.

Who was your favorite tonight, and do you think that every artist picked the right song? Share your picks below, and click here if you want to see where we ranked all the contestants moving into this show. Episode Grade: B.

Photo: NBC




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