The Voice: New Playoffs Determine Top 12 Live Show Teams (Part 1)


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The Voice: New Playoffs Determine Top 12 Live Show Teams

Tonight on The Voice, the live shows begin! The Top 12 will perform Monday, viewers can vote via phone and internet Monday night, and on Tuesday, the next eliminations will happen with an instant Twitter save helping determine the final results. To prepare, let's recap the last “Playoffs” round of the competition.

I was initially not impressed by the addition of these not-live “Playoffs” before the live shows begin. I don't like the idea of not being able to vote on the Top 20. However, the “results” portion of the shows went much more smoothly than at this point in past seasons. Editing the shows allows them to be sure that each eliminated performer has a chance to speak, as well as letting the coach give their comments and not have their decisions rushed or cut off. Considering the coaches still had more say than the audience, I suppose it's a fair trade-off. (I reserve the right to change my mind if any of the coaches makes a stupid decision.)

Night One – Team Blake

Audra Mclaughlin
A Broken Wing (Martina McBride)

This week Audra's powerhouse vocals were admirably showcased. It was probably one of her best technically, there were not any noticeable problems with her performance, and it was very entertaining. While it didn't exactly provide any surprise, it did exactly what she needed to stay in the competition for another round. I hope that she's able to continue in the competition for a long time, and that she will have an opportunity to show some different sides as well as develops herself as a distinct “artist” a bit more. She has an unusual “yodel” quality to her voice that I'd like to see her bring back, but only at the right moments. For the majority of the competition, singing as clearly as she can, as she did tonight, will keep her on the right track.

Ryan White Maloney
Second Chance (Shinedown)

This was Ryan's best performance yet; it was an improvement over everything else I've heard from him on the show (and I think some of his performances were cut, too). Unfortunately, that still wasn't impressive enough to get my “vote” or Blake's. For me, perhaps it's a matter of personal taste.

Madilyn Paige
Clarity (Zedd ft. Foxes)

Madilyn is a talented young woman, but her song choice this week really hurt her. Clarity has already been performed at least twice on the show, once more successfully (by Michelle Chamuel) and once less so (by Jacquie Lee). It's a recognizable song with heavy radio play that everyone knows. So, any mistakes or stumbles are that much more noticeable. It also didn't show the side of Madilyn that needed to come out at this point in the competition. In a week when all her other teammates improved, some by leaps and bounds, the competition was just too much.

Jake Worthington
Anywhere With You (Jake Owen)

I think this was really Jake's breakout moment. Not only did he sing extremely well, and continue the improvement that he has worked toward all season... But his personality shined. He's extremely likeable, and he had the best rapport with the judges of practically every contestant on the show, ever. Even if Jake doesn't win, Blake finally has a male country artist in his stable who can duet or tour with the likes of Danielle Bradbery and Cassadee Pope.

New York State of Mind (Billy Joel)

I almost don't know what I can say about her performance, because it almost didn't matter. I knew going in that Blake would be foolish to cut her unless she REALLY screwed up, and I knew with her professional backup singer experience and crazy talented ability that was unlikely to happen. At this point, I'd be shocked if she's not in the top 3. At a certain point, whether the audience roots for a certain performer can come down to taste and genre preferences, and personality, more than actual talent. I enjoy her performances, but she runs the risk (for me) of choosing songs I don't care for, or focusing too much on runs and jazzy ad libs.

Team Blake Results:

I predicted Blake would choose Audra, Jake, and Sisaundra, and I was right! The best singers did move on, and Blake has a strong team again this season.

Night Two – Team Shakira

Kristen Merlin
Two Black Cadillacs (Carrie Underwood)

Kristen's been one of my favorites since her blind audition, but thanks to the show's editors, we haven't been able to see much of her since. This makes her a bit of a dark horse. This performance had a lot of strong, sustained notes, and showcased her “fast vibrato” that coach Shakira compared to her own voice. I enjoyed the song even though I wasn't particular familiar with it, and I think that when a contestant can bring new songs to the audience's attention, or at least the attention of those who may not listen to a particular genre as often (rather than focusing solely on the overplayed Top 40 hits of the moment or the same standbys we've heard a million times) it's a good thing.

Deja Hall
Battlefield (Jordin Sparks)

Battlefield is a very pop-sounding, youthful song that fits her well. Perhaps it was not the best to show vocal ability, but it allowed a different side to her to be shown. Her stage presence has improved. I am scared that this was simply not enough to get her through to the live shows, especially since the competition includes several other female singers of equal talent and perhaps a bit less shyness. However, I think Deja has the potential to be a true diva.

Tess Boyer
Human (Christina Perri)

She's been with 3 different coaches this season. It that a help or a handicap? This performance was ayy better than I was expecting. A perfect song choice for her at this point in the competition. It highlighted her low range, which is her best. However, it also showed versatility and the higher notes were well executed, as well as the softer moments at the end of the song. I didn't think she would be making it through to the next round, but this performance made me reevaluate her.

Patrick Thompson
Trouble (Ray Lamontagne)

He has a gravelly and unusual tone that's basically a love-it or hate-it thing. Unfortunately, I am not on the “love it” side. I don't think he deserved the steal, let alone to continue to the live shows. (Yes, I'm still bitter about some of the already-departed artists, #sorryaboutit.)

Dani Moz
Edge of Glory (Lady Gaga)

I have extremely high expectations for a Gaga song, and those expectations were actually met. Dani brought her own unique twist to it, while being true to the spirit of Gaga. This was the most artistry she's shown so far, and her glamorous look and choice to use the piano added to her performance.

Team Shakira results:

Shakira has a tough choice, because all four girls on her team deserve to stay, based on tonight and on their past performances. It's a really close competition that comes down to personal preference. I'd like to see Kristen, Dani, and Deja continue. Tess is also fantastic, but I've liked Deja more consistently throughout the previous rounds.

Into the live shows: Tess, Kristen, and Dani. I'm OK with that, but disappointed to see Deja go. I think that they all have potential to win, some more than others. They have some work to do during the live shows to build fan support, however.

Continued (due to technical limitations) here: