After weeks of growing to love certain vocalists on The Voice, learn their backstories and become attached, sadly it’s come to this. The nine remaining singers will be cut to four after tonight, which means it’s time to give your best performance to date. Who will thrive in the spotlight? Who will wilt under pressure? Let’s get into the performances on the next to last week of The Voice.
Barrett Baber (Team Blake) – Barrett gets the dreaded opening slot, but a memorable performance could help him advance to the finals. Seeing how flipping certain songs have helped other acts, Barrett takes Ella Henderson’s pop favorite “Ghost” and decides to “swamp it up.” While it does have a certain swagger, and Barrett is aided by a backing choir that brings something to the performance, we’re not sure that it’s the home run he needed. It’s a brave risk and Barrett’s charisma makes this a solid performance, but by going first it had to be jaw dropping knowing what might be coming next. Adam applauds the risk on the song, while Blake feels like he kicked down the door to the finals.
Shelby Brown (Team Adam) – Shelby chooses Jo Dee Messina’s “Even God Must Get the Blues,” but admits she’s a little fearful of taking it on. It’s one of her favorite songs, but not one that everyone knows. The track gives Shelby a chance to bring some emotion to the performance. It’s a simplistic performance, with Shelby mostly singing in place while a piano backs her up. It’s a beautiful song that shows her power, her soul and gives her a chance to scale back in certain places and deliver the full throttle notes elsewhere. Blake and Pharrell commend her confidence and feel like she connected with the material well. Adam campaigns for her saying she deserves to be voted through to the finale and that she continually gets better and better.
Jeffery Austin (Team Gwen) – Jeffery chooses to take on Cher’s “Believe,” but is adding a twist to the arrangement that compliments his soulful delivery. Instead of the electronic, dance groove of the original, Jeffery is backed by a sparse piano, with strings eventually being added to bring strength to the arrangement. Jeffery nails his performance, with the emotion powering through. Like Shelby before him, Jeffery lets his voice do the talking as there’s little movement or command of the stage needed for this emotional ballad. Blake says that while he hopes his artists are all in the finale, Jeffery proved that he belongs there as well. Gwen gushes over Jeffery, initially saying it’s a lock that he’s going to the finals, but the making sure the bases are covered by asking fans to vote.
Braiden Sunshine (Team Gwen) – Braiden gets emotional after barely advancing last week. He decides to break out the very personal “Amazing Grace.” He admits that his voice has changed over the span of the competition, which makes it a little bit harder to hit the notes he wants. Like Shelby and Jeffery before him, it’s Braiden, a backing piano and little movement as his voice reaches every corner of the room. While he’s struggled in recent performances, this rendition, backed with increasing orchestration, may have been one of his finest moments. When the backing vocals join in and play off of Braiden’s vocals, it’s almost a tear-inducting moment. Sure enough, Gwen and Blake both offer standing tearful ovations.
Zach Seabaugh (Team Blake) – After ballads from Jeffery, Shelby, and Blaine, the string continues with Zach choosing Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” to perform. Blake tells him that after the upbeat performances, he might need to go there to show that he has that side as well. But with one ballad after another, it’s getting hard to differentiate which sorrowful, emotional song stands out over the other. As for the arrangement, it has the country twang and sorrow fitting of Zach’s voice. He gives the viewers something else to look at as he plays guitar along with his vocal. Not only is it a solid performance, but the lyrical content is fitting of his journey on the show and he’s clearly emotional at the end of the track. Gwen commends him on the song choice. Blake feels it was his best performance.
Madi Davis (Team Pharrell) – Madi digs into the past for a song that features a unique voice and showcases her own unique sound, choosing the Four Seasons’ “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” The arrangement however is a little different, turning it into a reggae bounce. As for the performance, she’s placed in an outdoor cafe set piece giving it a little atmosphere that other performers haven’t had. Like Zach, Madi also chooses to pick along on guitar. It’s a strong vocal performance, backed by accordion and backing singers. It swings a little more than the original and is a memorable performance that could catapult her to the finals. Blake and Pharrell offer standing ovations. Adam felt it was unexpected and a break from the norm. Blake felt it was too perfect to be live. Pharrell loved the production and her performance was amazing.
Emily Ann Roberts (Team Blake) – Emily Ann jokes that Zach has been having too much fun with the sassy upbeat songs, so she picks a fun song, taking on Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.” Backed by what seems to be an army of musicians, Emily Ann brings more sass than normal to the track and shows some improvement in her command of the stage, but were not sure this raised the bar on past performances. Still, it’s a solid enough performance that she should be in contention for one of the final spots. Gwen loved seeing the crazy, kooky side come out. Blake says that she’s going to make a record company so much money.
Amy Vachal (Team Adam) – At heart, Amy Vachal is at home in the singer/songwriter world where her lilting voice shines. This week she gets back to that a bit by taking on the ultimate singer/songwriter Bob Dylan. The oft-covered “To Make You Feel My Love” is her choice, a song that is at it’s best when the vocalist’s voice is allowed to power the track with minimal instrumentation. As Amy strums along seated with two members of the house band, you feel as though your in an intimate room instead of a large soundstage, where it feels like you can hear a pin drop based around her heart wrenching vocal. Pharrell felt it was a beautiful, light performance that was needed. Adam feels that Amy created a moment.
Jordan Smith (Team Adam) – In the prime spot once again is Voice frontrunner Jordan Smith, and his status won’t be threatened any after the show closing spectacle of performing Queen’s ‘Somebody to Love.” Where to start? The full on backing choir dancing away? Jordan’s vocal gymnastics? His insane high notes? It’s the kind of performance guaranteed to advance him to the finals and left everyone in the house standing while Adam took Jordan’s mic and dropped it. Being honest, the competition is going to be close for the four spots, but the only one seemingly assured of moving on is Jordan.
So there you have it? Which five will be saying goodbye and who will move one step closer to being crowned “the voice?” Based on tonight’s performances, we’re predicting Jordan, Amy, Madi and Braiden. But it’s never that clear cut and someone may advance based on the overall body of work, in which case Jeffery or Emily Ann might leapfrog into the Final Four. Be sure to tune in at 8PM ET/PT on NBC for The Voice results show to find out who will advance.