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The Voice: Season 6, Final 10, 4/28/14

April 30th, 2014 · No Comments

Dani Moz and TJ Wilkins got eliminated from The Voice last week, and Tess Boyer was who got the Instant Save. Based on past voting patterns, that means she’s one of two singers going home this week. The question is, who’ll join her, leaving a field of eight?

1.   Kat Perkins (Team Adam) gets some advice from Graham Nash, her team’s guest mentor this week. She sings “Landslide,” a song with a checkered past. It started as an obscure Stevie Nicks song on a seventies’ Fleetwood Mac album, then got a masculine interpretation by Billy Corgan (of Smashing Pumpkins), then the Dixie Chicks passed off a lifeless off-key butchering as a country rendition. It’s been a favorite of TV singing contests, too. Given the song’s history, Perkins doesn’t do anything remarkable or extraordinary with it. Usher says the rendition is like a winding road (that may be a kind way of saying it didn’t go anywhere). Shakira also notes Nicks’ vibrato, a characteristic Perkins doesn’t play up.

2.  Tess Boyer (Team Shakira) appears doomed to leave this season sooner rather than later. Shakira decides to change things up this week, do a style that’s less rock, more “poppy and soulful.” Her team’s guest mentor, Busby (apparently just Busby, producer and songwriter) compares the result to Kelly Clarkson. This style change puts Tess more in Shakira’s genre. The song choice is “Ain’t it Fine,” and the rendition is flashy and showy. The judges like it, including Blake, who raves about how the performance was dead-on, pitch perfect.

3.  Audra McLaughlin (Team Blake) will have to erase last week’s shaky outing if she wants any hope of remaining a strong contender. This week her song is “You Lied,” originally by Reba McEntire. It’s a better performance than last week, even if that’s not saying much. The judges are impressed but I’m not.

4.  Josh Kaufman (Team Usher) made top ten on iTunes last week, so apparently he’s found a fan base. Usher selects Kenny Loggins’ “This is it,” for him, explaining, “It uses every register in your voice.” It is a good match for Kaufman, whose voice has now been compared to Loggins, Steve Perry, Adam Levine–and I think Michael Jackson’s name got dropped, too.  All four judges have some pertinent comments. Usher comments, “Your voice is unique, it keeps the girl part of your voice without sounding like a girl…falsetto but manly.” Shakira notes, “Soulful renditions may be your sweet spot.” Blake suggests it was like listening to a record. Adam raves about how Kaufman shows a tone that no one else has (despite the comparisons to other high-voiced male vocalists).

5.  Christina Grimmie (Team Adam) established an Internet following before she went on The Voice, so maybe her fan base will support her through one or two shaky outings. Adam wants her to perform a contemporary song, so she comes up with doing a Drake rap, “Hold on, We’re Going Home” as a piano ballad. During rehearsal Nash tells her he’s amazed by her range, control, and depth.  This performance is much better than the Katy Perry song she tried last week, and the judges are all positive. Shakira says, “Your personality is starting to cut through.” Usher thinks she’s already earned a spot in the finals.

6.  Besides Josh Kaufman of Team Adam, Jake Worthington (Team Blake) was also well-received on iTunes last week. He performs a George Strait song, “Run.” The judges like it.

7.  Bria Kelly (Team Usher) sings an Avril Lavigne song. Blake tells her it’s different from what the judges have seen previously. Usher says, “You have to continue to grow–and you grew!”

8.  Maybe TJ Wilkins got voted off early in part because he shares a fan base with Delvin Choice (Team Adam). It’ll be interesting to see how long Choice lasts now. He gets very bluesy with “Bright Lights, Big City” by Gary Clark, Jr. It’s the type of blues-shouter that Susandra Lewis might lay siege to, but Choice proves he’s up to the challenge. Adam explains, “We want to make you comfortable but we’re pushing the envelope a bit.” Adam jumps to his feet at song’s end, although the other judges are more restrained.

9. Kristen Merlin (Team Shakira) takes a song, “Let Her go,” that normally isn’t classified as a country song, but Merlin makes it country. This could broaden her appeal but it could also cost her some country rep, so we’ll see how audiences respond.

10.  My experience is that powerhouse singers like Susandra Lewis (Team Blake) don’t tend to win these TV singing contests. My theory is that viewers think they’ll get enough votes anyway, so they focus their attention elsewhere. Lewis’ time on this show may be short if Blake keeps making blunders like he made with her during this round. He babbles about how he likes to hear a female vocalist sing male lyrics. So he assigns her the gender-inappropriate “Sherry,” originally a Journey hit. He could have given her several much more appropriate ways to match Steve Perry’s vocals:  “Don’t Stop Believing,” “Separate Ways,” “Wheel in the Sky.” The result is a gimmick, not a performance, and it probably didn’t get her any more fans than she’s already got. If she’s still here next week, how about giving her the far more appropriate “Bright Lights,” so we can compare her delivery to Delvin’s?

Tess Boyer remains most likely to be voted off this week. As for who else, Susandra’s following will be tested following tonight’s shaky outing. Josh and Jake look good but everybody else needs to step it up.

Tags: The Voice