The Voice: The Final 11

Before I get to the eleven singers that performed on last night’s show, a little housekeeping: last week’s elimination show featured Aaron Gibson from Team Miley Cyrus and Sa’Rayah from Alicia Keys’ team. After both performed, the audience voted for the artist it wanted to save from being cast off the show. Gibson won and was given another week on the show.

And on to last night’s show:

Singer #1: Ali Caldwell (Team Miley). Song: “9 To 5” by Dolly Parton. Caldwell was arguably the best performer on last week’s show, but I think she lost a bit of that goodwill with this performance. She certainly has the pipes to the song justice; but for whatever reason, I didn’t feel this like I did the Leonard Cohen song she did last week. It might have been the song choice. She’s too good to go home this early, but she might have some nervous moments tonight.

Singer #2: Sundance Head (Team Blake). Song: “No One” by Alicia Keys. I always say it takes some guts to sing a song made famous by one of the coaches while they are seated right in front of you. Thanks to a change in the arrangement, it sounded more like Sundance singing it his way than trying to do it the way Keys did it. For what it’s worth, she was pleased with his performance. I thought it was solid, definitely better than last week. What that means in terms of votes remains to be seen.

Singer #3: Aaron Gibson (Team Miley). Song: “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails. Another out of the box song choice, particularly since it hadn’t been performed on the show before. Unlike last week, people were more familiar with this song that Gibson sung than the last one. It was also a better performance, though I thought he did well enough last week to avoid the bottom two. I don’t think he’ll have to worry this time, but I’ve been wrong before.

Singer #4: Courtney Harrell (Team Blake). Song: “What I Did For Love” from A Chorus Line. This was a better song for Courtney than her Aerosmith cover from last week. This was a performance that screamed “big moment” but unfortunately, I just didn’t hear it. Blake told her to channel Whitney Houston in rehearsals, but that’s a tall order, no matter what kind of singer you are. To say Courtney fell short isn’t damning her; there just aren’t many out there that can do that. Solid performance; she surprised me in being safe last week. We’ll see what happens this week.

Singer #5: Josh Gallagher (Team Adam). Song: “Drunk On Your Love” by Brett Eldredge. The constant compliment I hear about Josh from the coaches is that he sounds like someone who could have hits at country radio right now. If that’s the case, he’ll need the hits; this performance was a bit off to me. He was way more interested in getting the crowd involved than actually singing the song. Because of his crowd engagement, I think his singing suffered. A few of my Facebook commenters rated this as one of the worst performances of the evening. I didn’t think it was anything special. He could be down at the bottom, but we’ll see.

Singer #6: Billy Gilman (Team Adam). Song: “All I Ask” by Adele. This may be the easiest summary I write on this post. Billy nailed it, as usual. If he isn’t the front-runner at this point, he’s not too far behind. He hasn’t made a misstep in this competition. Not many singers can take two Adele songs and not mess up either time, but Billy has done it. One of the best, if not the best, of the show.

Singer #7: Christian Cuevas (Team Alicia). Song: “Rosanna” by Toto. Apparently the theme for this week’s performance episode is out of the box song choices. Up to this point, Cuevas was the big man who sang the big ballads. For this performance, he was hopping around on the stage, having fun. But I think all of that moving around and jumping made his vocal performance suffer. I’m not saying he should sing nothing but ballads, but you can move around on the stage without compromising what you are there to showcase: the voice. I don’t think this will sink him, but he has done better.

Singer #8: Austin Allsup (Team Blake). Song: “Turn The Page” by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band. This was a good night for Austin, who gave perhaps his best performance so far this season. The song fit him like a glove, and he did well with it. I don’t think he’s going anywhere based on this performance.

Singer #9: Darby Walker (Team Miley). Song: “You Don’t Own Me” by Lesley Gore. I’m not Darby’s biggest fan, but there is something that is keeping her around. I think she got a bit winded toward the end of the song, some of her notes were flat or even somewhat off-key. But there isn’t anyone in the competition quite like her. I’m convinced she has detractors who are just as vehement about her performances as are her champions. Somehow, Darby’s wild ride is going to continue, I think. Even if her performances don’t necessarily warrant her continued presence.

Singer #10: Brendan Fletcher (Team Adam). Song: “The River” by Bruce Springsteen. A case where song choice fits singer perfectly. For me, this was Brendan’s best moment on the show. While he got tweeted by Greg Allman after last week’s performance of “Whipping Post,” this was a far better performance. Maybe The Boss will tweet him after this one. It didn’t hurt that his voice sounded a bit like Springsteen while he was singing.

Singer #11: Wé McDonald (Team Alicia). Song: “Love On The Brain” by Rihanna. This is what happens when a singer with amazing pipes gets a hold of a song that a lesser singer makes famous. I’m not Rihanna’s biggest fan, but she makes hits. McDonald made art with her performance of this song. A great performance to end the night.

As of right now, Billy and Wé are the leaders, with everyone else behind. There may be some nervous moments for Ali and Josh tonight.

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

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