The Voice: The Final 12

Following last week’s twenty performances in two hours with real-time voting, The Voice returned to normal in last night’s show. By normal, meaning that the show featured nothing but performances; and while voting was open throughout the show, no one was eliminated. The elimination portion of the program will happen tonight.

Oh, and some singer named Garth Brooks was the guest mentor for the show.

So, about those performances….

Singer #1: Sundance Head (Team Blake Shelton). Song choice: “My Church” by Maren Morris. Sundance established tonight’s theme early on: the shouted vocal. I didn’t think he so much sang the song as shouted it out. But, it looked like he had a good time with it. He’s been good enough previously to get by with this one, but another week with a song like this and he might be in trouble.

Singer #2: Darby Walker (Team Miley Cyrus). Song choice: “Ruby Tuesday” by the Rolling Stones. You would never guess from the staging and the costuming, but they are playing up Darby as the “hippie, flower child from the 60s aesthetic” (written with all the sarcasm I could muster). That said, this might actually have been Darby’s best performance so far. I haven’t been her biggest fan, but it has to be said that her voice may be the most interesting of those left in the competition. I think she’ll be safe for another week with ease.

Singer #3: Christian Cuevas (Team Alicia Keys). Song choice: “The Scientist” by Coldplay. One thing Christian has proved so far is that he can handle ballads very well. Nothing changed this time out either. He was powerful and controlled, but a bit shouty in places. Still, there’s nothing in the performance that says he must be eliminated. I’m betting he won’t be.

Singer #4: Sa’Rayah (Team Alicia). Song choice: “Livin’ On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi. And now, the first curveball of the evening. As a performance, Sa’Rayah knocked it out of the park. Her singing though? Hit or miss for me. It was good and soulful in places, off in places, and just plain weird in still other places. If you didn’t see her, you’d think it was mostly awful. It was a risky choice, singing such a well known song identified with a male singer that didn’t quite pan out. She may be up for elimination tonight.

Singer #5: Billy Gilman (Team Adam Levine). Song choice: “The Show Must Go On” by Queen. I think Billy may be the frontrunner, if only because of his story: child singer goes to top of Country charts, then career falls off due to his voice changing. Comes on television singing competition show for another shot at stardom. He may also be the frontrunner because he can flat out sing. He was solid as always, with another song that begged for shouting. If anyone is taking on Freddie Mercury on this show, it’s this guy.

Singer #6: Austin Allsup (Team Blake). Song choice: “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” by Aretha Franklin. Curveball number two. Never would have guessed Austin would have picked an Aretha Franklin song. However, he had the arrangement changed to a more southern rock type of song, and it suited him far better than the original arrangement. With the new arrangement, he pulled off a decent performance. Not outstanding, but good enough to keep him around.

Singer #7: Wé McDonald (Team Alicia). Song choice: “Take Me To Church” by Hozier. Great verses, shouty on the choruses. And with all that, she killed it. The opening of the song, with her behind the piano was absolutely fabulous; amazing range and control. To be fair, she was coached to hit those choruses hard, and she didn’t disappoint. She’ll be moving on, without a doubt. If Gilman is the front runner, she’s not all that far behind.

Singer #8: Aaron Gibson (Team Miley). Song choice: “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” by Father John Misty. Right off the bat, I will say that I’m not familiar with the song, so in a good way I had to judge strictly off Gibson’s performance. It was a good performance, and in the parlance of the evening, not “shouty.” I think he hangs around for one more week at least; he took a chance by singing a song not many people would be familiar with, but he pulled it off.

Singer #9: Courtney Harrell (Team Blake). Song choice: “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith. Um…where do I begin. I think Courtney is really talented, but she has a couple things working against her. First, I think there are better singers than her remaining in the competition who are in the same lane as she is. Second, performances like this one aren’t much of a help. I felt it was all over the place, but not really wretchedly bad. It’s that on a night when Ali Caldwell (see below) is clearly the best of those in your spot and Wé McDonald is slaying all comers, you have to be better than this. I think the song choice did her in. I wouldn’t be surprised if she is eliminated tonight.

Singer #10: Josh Gallagher (Team Adam). Song choice: “Why” by Jason Aldean. I thought his performance was a bit off, but I was assured by my companions on Facebook that he sung the song just fine. Garth says that Josh could have a long career, because his sound is what’s working on Country radio today. I haven’t had any problems with Josh this far, so I expect he’ll be around for one more week.

Singer #11: Ali Caldwell (Team Miley). Song choice: “Did I Ever Love You” by Leonard Cohen. I have to give it up for Miley Cyrus—she made an inspired choice with this one. With Cohen’s recent passing, and Caldwell’s performance, this was the best moment of the night. Caldwell may have shouted a little, but she killed this song. It was just about perfect. If she doesn’t go through, I’ll be shocked. Caldwell’s performances have been consistently better than Sa’Rayah’s and Courtney Harrell’s, so until further notice, she has that spot sewn up.

Singer #12: Brendan Fletcher. Song choice: “Whipping Post” by the Allman Brothers Band. Fletcher closed out the show with something out of a concert video. If he was looking for a song to show his more extroverted side, he found it. If he was looking for a song to give him a showy performance for his voice, this wasn’t it. It will more than likely be good enough to keep him around for next week, but I wasn’t thrilled about it at all.

I believe only one artist will be eliminated tonight, but I don’t know how many they will have to pick from. For me, Sa’Rayah and Courtney are both bets to be among the choices to go, with maybe Brendan or Josh. I’ll be tuning in tonight to find out, and will report the results tomorrow.

photo from Creative Commons via Eva Rinaldi (available for reuse.)

2 Replies to “The Voice: The Final 12”

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