Realizing that this recap is at least one or two days late (hey! I just started here!), I am writing a recap of Wednesday’s Voice program which whittled down the 20 remaining artists down to the final twelve. Going into the show, I couldn’t predict who would stay or go, but I had some idea of certain people who would be around. What I didn’t know when I began watching was that there would be a few mild surprises, and to my ears, one unbelievable shock. (Author’s note: I have been writing Voice updates on Facebook for weeks now; this is just a way to add some of that content to this new blog).
After the first group performance by the members of Team Blake, it is Blake Shelton’s team that is first up on the chopping block. The rules of elimination for this round is that the American public saves two artists from each team, while the coach makes the final third save, leaving two artists out in the cold. America’s first save went to Reagan James. I wasn’t totally surprised, even though all I hear is how great Reagan is for being fifteen years of age. That’s nice and all, but I don’t think she is as good as they make her out to be. Something about her performances leaves me cold. That said, she may have the potential to do greater things as the show goes on. The second save by the public was for Craig Wayne Boyd. This one was a no-brainer to me. His performance of “Some Kind of Wonderful” by the Soul Brothers Six was one of the best of the first night of live performances. Blake used his save for Jessie Pitts. While I think she has done well enough, I don’t like her voice as much as many others do. I was surprised that Blake didn’t rescue Taylor Brashears-as I was of the opinion that she was the most “country” singer he had on his team. James David Carter, the other artist who bowed out of this round, was good, but he wasn’t good enough compared to his teammates.
The next team to face the elimination round was Team Pharrell. It was this writer’s opinion that his team was the strongest going into the live rounds, so he figured to have the toughest decision. America saved Luke Wade and DaNica Shirey-which were two good choices. Although I thought DaNica’s version of Joni Mitchell’s “Help Me” was outstanding and far more ear-pleasing than Luke’s version of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” Wade had been outstanding up to that point. The tough part was left to Pharrell, from which he had to choose from Elyjuh Rene, Jean Kelley and Sugar Joans. Based on Tuesday’s performance and coaches comments, it didn’t look good for Jean, which left Pharrell’s choice between Elyjuh and Sugar. The coach picked Sugar Joans, and I was absolutely flabbergasted. I mean, speechless. But not surprised. Pharrell and the other coaches have played up Sugar’s performances exponentially throughout the competition. These ears, however have only heard a giant ball of meh. Based on actual voice talent, Elyjuh sang rings around Sugar in my opinion, and up to her last performance, even Jean Kelley had outperformed Ms. Joans. But then, we’ll see. I may not be hearing what everyone else is hearing.
Third team up was Gwen Stefani’s team, that I considered the weakest of the four. Yet on Tuesday night, they surprised me. They were very solid, even if they have the weakest collection of talent. America’s votes saved Taylor John Williams (who I believe is her best performer), and Anita Antoinette, who was coming off her weakest performance in my opinion after stepping a bit out of her boundaries with Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.” Gwen’s surprise pick to save was Ryan Sill, who got the nod over Ricky Manning and Bryana Salaz. I thought she would pick Manning, given that I believed he had been growing and getting better from week to week.
Last up was Adam Levine’s team, which he was forced to rush to pick due to time almost running out on the live show. After his team’s group performance, precious few minutes remained to name the three members going on to the final twelve. Quickly named to the final group were Damien and Matt McAndrew; two very solid choices by the viewing public. Adam then had mere seconds to get out the name of his artist that he wanted to save, and he picked Chris Jamison over Mia Pfirman and Taylor Phelan. A mild surprise that he didn’t pick Phelan, but it was very close to me between him and Jamison, almost a tossup.
I can’t call a winner, but I see several favorites based on talent. DaNica Shirey, Craig Wayne Boyd, Damien and Taylor John Williams have done very well throughout. Luke Shaw has a lot of potential as well. The others have been very solid if not always spectacular, and Sugar Joans has been Sugar Joans. We’ll see what happens when the final twelve sing on Monday night.
A Spotify playlist of the original versions of the songs sung on Monday and Tuesday follows (with the exception of “Two Of A Kind, Workin’ On A Full House” by Garth Brooks (sung by James David Carter)):