Monday’s version of The Voice was an up and down affair. It started rough, then began climbing upward, with some up and down moments the rest of the way. The episode had no group performances and no coach performances-just a brief recap and then right down to business.
First up is Sugar Joans from Pharrell Williams’ team. Let’s get it out of the way quickly-I’ve never liked anything she has done since the season started. Tonight, in Pharrell’s production of My Fair Sugar, she takes on “Take Me To The River”, well known for being performed by Al Green and the Talking Heads. And as usual, she is a giant ball of meh-but the coaches are all singing her praises. I. Don’t. Get. It. Maybe the fact that she had to be saved last week, bodes well for her finally going home this week.
Next up for Gwen Stefani’s team is Ryan Sill. Ryan is performing “Ordinary World” by Duran Duran. Maybe it’s nerves, but he didn’t wow me either. Very shaky performance-and the notes at the end were just off-key screaming. Yet the coaches are on their feet, again proclaiming a good performance. What are they hearing?
Blake Shelton’s first artist to perform is Jessie Pitts who sings Don’t You Worry Child by Swedish House Mafia. She does the song at the piano…I wonder if she is really playing? Even if she is, she does marginally better than the first two artists. Are nerves getting the best of the performers? What I really think about this performance though, is that while I’m not as big a fan of her voice as Blake is, I thought her voice was pretty good tonight. But I think the song didn’t mesh well with her strengths…and again some more off-key notes.
Adam Levine’s first artist is next up, and it is Damien. Damien does “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” by the Hollies. The potential for going overboard is apparent by the song choice, but Damien keeps it under control and does very well. At this point, he’s the best in the show by a wide margin. I was a little bit surprised by Adam’s song choice for Damien, but it paid off handsomely for him. He is definitely one to watch going forward.
Back to Team Pharrell for the next artist. DaNica Shirey will perform “Creep” by Radiohead. During rehearsals, Pharrell suggests a change in the arrangement, which I think suits DaNica better. When the actual performance comes though…I didn’t really feel it. Yet I could find no real fault with her performance. It was an “it’s all right, but it’s all wrong” type of performance. Something seemed a bit off, but I couldn’t begin to tell what it was. I don’t know if it’s enough to get her booted from the show, because she certainly is one of the more talented vocalists left in the competition, but I’m concerned for her going forward.
At the halfway point, Team Gwen’s next artist is Taylor John Williams. In my opinion, he is the best artist she has. So imagine my surprise when she gives him “If” by Bread to sing. The song reminds me of elementary school music class, where we would sing some of the recent pop hits of the day-if recent were five years prior. Anyway, as opposed to his performances where he made the songs his own, he sung this one pretty straight. He hit a rough patch towards the end of it, which surprised me because he has been solid throughout the competition. I don’t think it’s enough to knock him out though.
Next to sing is 16 year old Reagan James from Team Blake. Reagan performs “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over” by Lenny Kravitz. Again, nerves win out-the performance was very breathy. And more bad notes. Reagan has always left me cold-I can never understand what’s great about her performances. All I seem to hear from the coaches is that she is so wonderful for being so young. Whereas I think, if she were a little older, I think she would be a bit better. It wasn’t her best performance of the season, but she may get some underdog sympathy for the votes.
Luke Wade is up next from Team Pharrell doing “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran. It must be the Ed Sheeran season of the show. There have been a lot of his songs performed so far this season. Luke had a blackout moment early on-he came in on a line two beats too soon-but he recovered well. He gave another solid performance in a string of solid performances. Will the voters hold his mistake against him? I hope not; he has enough good will from earlier performances that this should not put him out of the show.
Next up from Team Adam is Matt McAndrew, who performs Hozier’s “Take Me To Church.” After comparing tattoos with Adam during rehearsal, Matt gets the song down and goes out and performs. And he does very well. Though I thought finishing on his knees was a bit much, he did a very good job with the song. He brought power to the vocal in all the right places, and he built the song up very well. No complaints here.
Craig Wayne Boyd is up next for Team Blake. Blake gives him a country song “You Look So Good In Love” by George Strait. After my surprise last week that Blake didn’t save Taylor Brashears (who I thought was his most “country” artist), he gives Craig a straight up country song. I had always thought that Craig leaned more toward blues-rock or southern rock, but he handled the song with ease. Absolutely no problems at all with this performance, and again one of the best of the night. Boyd should breeze into the next round.
Chris Jamison steps up from Team Adam and performs “Jealous” by Nick Jonas. Must have missed the part where the Jonas Brothers broke up…anyhow. I think Adam sees Jamison as a guy who can get votes if he can get solid performances out of him, and a solid performance is what he delivers. Very good on the falsetto parts of the song-he nailed them each time. The girls in the audience are screaming-which may mean Adam may be onto something with this kid. Or the girls just think he looks good. Whatever-a very good performance.
The final artist to perform is Anita Antoinette from Team Gwen. Gwen gives her Redemption Song by Bob Marley. Yes, it’s another reggae song. My question-how can we see her range if all she is going to sing are reggae songs or songs tweaked with reggae-style arrangements? Again, Anita gets a song in her wheelhouse and does a good job with it. But we’ve seen this act before-I think it’s time she showed that she can do something else.
So there it is. To me, Craig Wayne Boyd, Damien and Matt McAndrew were the best of the night. I think all three should be safe. I’d worry if I were DaNica or Reagan. I would think Sugar Joans should also be nervous, but she has nine lives or something. All will be revealed later tonight.
And here’s the Spotify playlist of the songs performed on Monday’s show:
Have an opinion? Leave your thoughts in the comments.