Last night, the top remaining eleven artists gave their live performances. Before we get to those, a little bit of housekeeping is in order. Last week, on the elimination show, the bottom two singers were Mark Isaiah and Troy Ramey. Isaiah I had predicted, but Ramey I didn’t. After their Instant Save performances, the viewing audience voted Isaiah to remain on the show.
The show began with Stephanie Rice from Alicia Keys’ team, singing “Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who. Her performance began like many of her previous ones, but once the drums kicked in there was an increase in passion and feeling. It’s not to say that she doesn’t have those in the slower parts of the song, but we’ve heard a lot of it before. I thought this was a good performance, but not as great as her coach and others thought it was.
Next to sing was Aliyah Moulden from Blake Shelton’s team. Her song was “Take It Back” by Reba McEntire. Again, she has another song that plays to her strength, which is the powerful pipes she has, even at fifteen. This performance featured a lot of that vocal power, but like Rice, it’s not anything we haven’t heard before. While we get that she can wail, I’d like to see what she can do with a song that requires more finesse.
The next singer to perform was TSoul, also from Team Blake. His song was “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith. You would have thought from the yelling from his coach and the cheers from the crowd that this performance brought the house down. I wasn’t as sold. Like all the other TSoul performances, there were the usual twists and turns; some worked and some didn’t. His falsetto was very good, except for one note that sounded a bit off to me. I won’t put him in the bottom two, but he could be there.
Lilli Passero from Adam Levine’s team was next, and she sang “Town Without Pity” by Gene Pitney. An interesting song choice, but it fit Passero much better than her Shania Twain cover of “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” did last week. It also helped that Lilli was in better health than she was last week. This was a much better performance than last week in every way; it reminded me of the Lilli I’ve liked since the beginning. She was voted through by the audience last week, when I thought she could’ve been in the bottom group. There shouldn’t be any doubt that she makes it through to the next round this time.
Hunter Plake from Gwen Stefani’s team was next on stage, and he performed “All I Want” by Kodaline. In another case of playing to a singer’s strengths, Plake performed yet another slow, emotion-filled song, and once again he was very good. In an opposite to Aliyah Moulden, who I’d like to sing something softer, I want Hunter to pick up the pace. We’ve seen what he an do with songs like these; I want to hear him do something that has a faster tempo.
Team Alicia’s next performer was Vanessa Ferguson, who sang “Diamonds” by Rihanna. One thing about Vanessa, she is never nervous; she handles her business like a professional. Such was the case again with this song. I wasn’t a fan of her asking the crowd to sing along; after all, the show is about your vocal, not the audience. But that’s a minor quibble; she was solid as always.
Lauren Duski from Team Blake performed “Somewhere In My Broken Heart” by Billy Dean. Lauren has been coming on week after week, and this was another step forward. A good song beautifully sung, and even the lower notes of the song were handled with ease. She may not be a frontrunner, but she’s definitely one to watch—especially if she keeps coming through with performances like these.
Team Adam’s Mark Isaiah performed next, singing “How To Love” by Lil Wayne. You would think that his cover of Drake’s “One Dance” last week would have convinced Mark to not sing another hip-hop song, but it didn’t. Again, it wasn’t a great performance. The song more than Isaiah was capable of, and that’s saying a lot considering a rapper performed the original. The band didn’t help, as at one point they drowned out his vocal, and the sheer number of words to sing caused the young man to sound winded at times. Adam praised him to the rafters again this week, but I have a feeling he may be in the bottom group again.
Jesse Larson from Team Adam performed “Human” by Rag’n’Bone Man. I predicted last week that Jesse would have his guitar back this week, but that wasn’t the case. He sang the song without it, and was actually pretty good. I don’t know if I agree with Adam’s assessment that he’s the best singer left in the competition, but he’s good enough for sure. He should have no trouble making it to next week’s show.
Brennley Brown from Team Gwen was up next, and she performed “River” by Joni Mitchell. Just when you think a song is too much for the youngest performer in the competition, she just shows you how talented she really is. I like the fact that she can do ballads; but this song proves she can pull even the difficult ones off as well. This was a beautiful performance from an up and coming artist.
Chris Blue from Team Alicia closed out the show with a rendition of Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves A Woman.” I loved Alicia’s advice to Chris in the rehearsal footage; don’t fall back on that amazing voice. While Chris tried to heed his coach’s advice; he couldn’t quite submit to her command. He gave a true performance of the song, while he sacrificed some of the emotion inherent in the song. But it was quite a performance though, and he should have no trouble getting into the next round.
If I had to pick a bottom two, I’d go with TSoul and Mark Isaiah. Aliyah Moulden could also be there, but I think she’ll get enough votes to go through. We’ll see what happens tonight.
(photo from Creative Commons via Eva Rinaldi—available for reuse).