It was the first night of The Voice’s live performances and it was great performance after great performance from the teams of Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, and country singer Blake Shelton. Both teams were set up not only to perform songs chosen by their coaches, but to alert fans watching in the audience and at home that it was time to vote them in to the coveted Top 12, which will be determined on the show’s Thursday night program.
The show kicked off the night with a hot performance by Flo Rida and Christina Aguilera, who helped him with his current song, “How I Feel”. Seeing Christina dressed in a sequined top and short combo took me back to the “Back to Basic” days when she dressed to impress on stage. Christina, as a coach, pretty much showed her team what it is to be not only a singer but to have a strong stage presence when performing. I hope that her team took notes, because her performance was pretty good.
In the two hour live show, the five contestants of Adam and the five contestants of Blake all proved to the audience and the viewers at home that they deserved a spot in the top twenty. Out of those ten performances, I’ll share who I felt were the best performers that shouldn’t be overlooked; and believe me, every single performance on last night’s show was great in its own right, but something about these performers stood out a little bit more.
After having a shaky performance during last week’s Knock-out rounds, James P. Wolpert managed to make some forget that he had such a performance when he took to the stage with guitar in hand to perform Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You”. His performance, along with a few others into night, sent shivers through me. Adam, as always, has a great way of selecting songs that raise the bar for his artist to step out of the box or to bring out something different when they perform. I loved that James played the song acoustically and I loved that he showed a little bit of vulnerability with singing the song. James deserves to have a spot on the Top 12 come Thursday, and if he does not, I will be very surprised.
The second performance that got my attention in the night was from Blake’s team. Nic Hawk is just the showman when he takes the stage. He has such a charismatic and humorous personality, so it was not a surprise to me that Blake would choose a song that would bring out that charm on the stage. Many would be surprised that Blake would give Nic the song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, but I was not. He, as Blake said, is great with rolling with the fast-paced lyrics that are in the song. While there were some slight glitches in his performances, Nic shouldn’t really be overlooked too much. Sometimes a little show based performance can be a good thing, and he make the crowd get into his performance.
In two words when it comes to the third performer from the live show that just grabbed the audience both live and at home is that of: Preston Pohl. I could not agree more with Christina when she said that when he sings, he takes whatever song he has back to old school. When he sang “Nothin on You” by B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars, he just took it to a whole other level vocally. He has such soul in his voice that it is so mesmerizing. If Adam continues to choose songs that will advance Preston to be above all of the rest in the competition, he could find himself sticking around well past the top twelve. He is, and will remain one of my favorite performers on the show.
After being stolen back by Adam, Will Champlin, shared that he knew that the pressure was on for him to prove himself when it came time to perform on the live show. Selecting One Republic’s “Secrets”, he, just as James did during his performance, sent a chill down my spine. What a beautiful song for him to take on. His performance was just crisp and clear. When he sang the song you could just feel the emotion that he was feeling when he poured out the lyrics. His ability to really nail the high register in a performance is really wicked. Will is another artist that if chosen to stay on for the top twelve could be a contender to have some staying power on the show.
Cole Vosbury from Blake’s team was given the song “Maggie May” by Rod Stewart and he, for me, at least made it a favorite song all over again. He has such a beautiful voice and I just love that he’s done different varieties of music to show that he has a place on this show. I will admit that he is a good fit for Blake’s team because Blake has the ability to steer him in whatever direction he wants to go musically. Cole definitely has a chance in being in the running for one of the twelve spots on the show.
The final performer that stood out last night was that actual final performer. Tessanne Chin from Adam’s team sang “Many Rivers to Cross” by Jimmy Cliff. In rehearsals, Adam moved the song up a level to make the song stand out more when Tessanne performed it. This is the last performance that gave me goose bumps. She has such emotion when she sings and when she sings with such bravado, it just makes those listening to her so connected and focused. After the performance was all done, the tears of happiness from her just flowed. I so want her to be in the top twelve come Thursday night.
Even though I chose my favorite six artists from last night’s live show, I can say this much; not one artist did a bad job at all. Every person from Teams Blake and Adam did a great job. Shelbie Z, who recently got married, did Reba McIntyre’s “Fancy” beautiful justice. The song fit her like a glove because she always adds such sass and feistiness when she performs. Also from Blake was Ray Boudreaux, who nailed Marc Broussard’s “Home” and Austin Jenckes, who did wonderfully with the song “She Talks to Angels” from the Black Crows. Lastly, from Adam’s team was Grey, who did Paramore’s hit song “Still into You”.
Voting is going to be difficult because every artist last night did such an amazing job. This has to be one of the best seasons of the show thus far and Tuesday night’s live show featuring performances from Team Christina and Team Cee Lo should be just as great as the first night, so tune in Tuesday 9/8 C, and then again Thursday 8/7 for the live elimination show.