Last night, we had the first two teams belt their hearts out for the chance to advance. But tonight it’s Team Blake and Team Pharrell‘s competitors to take the stage on The Voice Live Playoffs as the Top 22 gets ready to be narrowed to the Top 12. So let’s see how they did:
Darius Scott (Team Pharrell) – Darius chooses Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” for his performance, revealing that he wants something more current and also something that he can use his producer skills and deliver his own arrangement. There’s no auto tune here. Darius offers attitude early, then shows off his vocal range and power later in the performance with the song’s high energy finish.
Gwen says the music just lives inside him and was wowed by the last note. Adam loves the way he maneuvered through the vocals and felt it was soulful and flawless. Blake doesn’t know the song, but loves the version and intends on buying Darius’ version. Pharrell loves the arrangement and he asks the audience for a standing ovation.
Ivonne Acero (Team Blake) – She picks Joan Osborne’s “One of Us” and dedicates it to her mother. Blake compliments her on how her confidence has grown. During the performance, her rendition starts off okay, but there’s nothing overly standout about it. However, by the end of the track, Ivonne delivers some moments of pure power and strength that really raise a few eyebrows and she definitely finishes out with some of her best moments.
Pharrell congratulates her and loves that she’s able to hit such big notes but then has such a reserved personality. Gwen loves her confidence and says it really shows. She was totally drawn in. Adam feels that she’s able to take things to another gear and when it happens, it’s so great. Blake says her transformation is part of what makes The Voice so cool and that she should enjoy the moment.
Morgan Frazier (Team Blake) – Morgan started young in the industry and shares one of her earliest CDs with Blake. She says she looks at him as an inspiration and loves that he paid his dues before hitting it big. Blake has her performing Jack Ingram’s “Lips of an Angel,” which was actually first made famous by Hinder as a rock song. Morgan’s take is pure country, with a steel guitar backing and the right amount of twang and power vocals.
Pharrell says it’s great to see how far she’s come and feels that this is her time. Gwen loves the tone in Morgan’s voice and the way she built the track. Blake feels like she’s a country standard in the way that she performs and commands the stage. (For our interview with Morgan Frazier, go here)
Evan McKeel (Team Pharrell) – Evan and Pharrell agree that his off-the-cuff version of Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed” deserves to be heard in full, so that becomes Evan’s song of choice here. He worries a bit about getting too caught up in the emotion of the song, but Pharrell says that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While the performance is solid, it doesn’t pack the surprise that it did when he sang a portion during the Blind Audition. He definitely has the song down though and there’s no discounting the fact that this was a solid performance.
Gwen says his vocal performance was crazy good, but critiques his overly theatrical stage presence. Blake says the way he navigated through the melody was perfect and he showed people what a great singer he is. Pharrell says there were a lot of great notes and defends the body language as genuine. (For our interview with Evan McKeel, go here)
Madi Davis (Team Pharrell) – Pharrell is jealous of Madi’s voice as she belts Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird” in rehearsals. She reveals it’s one of her mother’s favorite songs. Pharrell wants her to be so comfortable in the performance that it feels like second nature. The vocal shows off Madi’s unique tone, though the audience clapping along seems a little out of place for the ballad. She offers a few moments that put her own stamp on the song and there’s a moment where you can tell she’s caught up in the emotion of the song.
Adam says he’s fallen in love with her sound. Blake says he loves the falsetto and her transition and feels it was a breakout moment. Pharrell thought it was great and urges the public to vote her through. (For our interview with Madi Davis, go here).
Celeste Betton (Team Pharrell) – Coach Pharrell says after her amazing Battle Round pairing with Mark Hood, there’s no way he could not make Celeste his “come back” choice. The soulful artist goes country, taking on Carrie Underwood’s “Something in the Water.” Though a country song, there are moments where Celeste can offer vocal runs, show the dynamics in her voice and bring full amounts of power, soul and emotion to the performance. There may have been no artist so far in the proceedings that seemed more connected to their song.
Gwen is in tears after hearing the performance. Pharrell says it was all that anyone could ask for and felt like she tapped into the universe.
Zach Seabaugh (Team Blake) – Zach leans country and he’s got the perfect song to show it off. He picks Steve Holy’s “Brand New Girlfriend” and Blake urges him to really get into the energy and the shuffle of the track, flirt with the crowd and take command of the song. When he hits the stage, he’s got the moves, channeling a bit of Elvis in the process. Gwen offers a “Wow” and Blake gives him a standing “o.”
Adam waits for the girls to calm down and says it was a favorite because of the way that he was able to pull off the gyrations while still maintaining the vocal. Blake says he’s like to stop the “Superman” talk and start the “Elvis” talk. He admits that he wasn’t sure what Zach was going to do and didn’t expect the stage performance that went along with the song. He now feels that Zach just got a ticket to the next round.
Riley Biederer (Team Pharrell) – Riley gets a chance to show that sass once again, taking on Tori Kelly’s “Should’ve Been Us,” but her rehearsals also show some strength and power. The performance offers a few very dynamic moments that really solidify what Riley can do and show that she’s more than just the attitude and stage presence.
Gwen loves how she can hit the high notes and has such confidence. Pharrell gets the crowd to give her a cheer and feels that she just fought with her performance to stay in the competition.
Nadjah Nicole (Team Blake) – One of the biggest injustices was Nadjah not advancing, and Blake was thrilled to bring her back. He feels that Diana Ross’ “Upside Down” is the type of fun and playful song that will garner attention and show a different side to what she’s sang so far. Onstage, Nadjah seems more in her comfort zone and there’s a confidence in the performance.
Adam is thrilled she’s back and loved the song and thoroughly enjoyed the performance. Blake says it was so much fun to watch her really get in the moment with the song and they share a laugh about how quickly her hair “grew out.”
Emily Ann Roberts (Team Blake) – The young vocalist is greeted by Blake with a birthday cake and song for her 17th birthday. Once they get down to business, Emily Ann chooses the gospel hymn “In the Garden,” a favorite of her grandfather’s. It’s a touching song and Emily Ann delivers it beautifully. The only knock is that it didn’t allow for many dynamic moments.
Gwen feels that her voice is so pure and real. Adam says that he truly enjoyed the purity of the moment of what Emily Ann delivered. Blake says she has the voice of an angel and just laid her heart into the song.
Mark Hood (Team Pharrell) – Mark decides he’s going to not only sing, but play keyboards as well and he chooses Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean?” as his track. Pharrell suggests building his performance, with a scaled back opening and adding more of his voice and personality as it moves forward. When he hits the stage, it’s a silky smooth opening and once he moves out from behind the keyboard, his personality and command of the stage take over and add to the presentation.
Gwen is crying because Mark is so good and she says he’s crazy talented. Blake says he was blinded by the lights flashing as people were getting into the performance and knows it was a special moment. Pharrell gets the audience to applaud and feels it was unbelievable. (For our interview with Mark Hood, go here)
Barrett Baber (Team Blake) – Barrett chooses the hugely successful country song “You Drive My Truck” from Lee Brice. Blake says it’s the type of powerful song that he can see Barrett thriving with later in his career. Blake says the heart-on-the-sleeve delivery has the feel of a finale song. As expected, Barrett connects with the emotion of the song, nailing both the power moments as well as the tender ones. Blake gives a standing “O,” while Pharrell looks as though he’s about to tear up.
Gwen says that he gives so much with every one of his performances. Adam says that he has passion in spades. Blake says the only other artist he’s seen give as much of himself to a performance is Garth Brooks. (For our interview with Barrett Baber, go here)
And that will do it for Night 2 of The Voice Live Playoffs. The voting is open and The Voice will return for a special episode Wednesday night at 8PM ET/PT on NBC when the results for all four teams are revealed. Each team will be cut from 6 to 3, so there’s some hard decisions to be made. Based on tonight’s performances, let’s offer up our rankings for Teams Blake and Pharrell.
6. Morgan Frazier
5. Ivonne Acero
4. Emily Ann Roberts
3. Nadjah Nicole
2. Zach Seabaugh
1. Barrett Baber
6. Riley Biederer
5. Darius Scott
4. Evan McKeel
3. Celeste Betton
2. Madi Davis
1. Mark Hood
What do you think? Who will be the Top 3 for Teams Blake and Pharrell? Let us know your thoughts on The Voice’s Live Playoffs in the Comments Section below.
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