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The Voice: Season 7, Final 12, 11/17/14

November 18th, 2014 · No Comments

Already the final rounds–when the audience votes for favorites–have started on The Voice Season 7.  “The top twelve are fighting to stay in!” announces host Carson Daly.  This final field may be the strongest The Voice has ever seen because there are at least six potential winners.  Even American Idol hasn’t seen a final twelve like this in several seasons.

1.  Sugar Joans of Team Pharrell starts the evening with “Take Me to the River.”  Pharrell calls her an Italian girl singing soul.  In judges’ comments afterward, Gwen complains she may be too retro.

 2.  Ryan Sill of Team Gwen is the last of several teen idol types who made a splash early this season.  He picks a nineties Duran Duran song, “Ordinary World” and pours emotion into it.  Gwen advises him to look like James Dean.  After the performance, Adam and Pharrell praise how well rock fits the singer.  “The way you gotta go!” Adam says.  Gwen adds, “So perfect, I hope everyone understands now why I saved you.”  She picked him over her other teen type, Ricky Manning, but will he be able to overcome needing her save last week?

3.  Jessie Pitts of Team Blake sings “Don’t You Worry, Child.”  Blake says, “Jessie brings something to The Voice that really needs to be here, that indy artist sound.”  Of course there are a few other indy artists this season but Jessie is Blake’s artist in that style.  He also says her artistry reminds him of his wife Miranda Lambert.

4.  Damian is the only black male vocalist left in the field. Adam, in coaching mode, advises him to “do passion” this week. His assignment for the one-time TSA agent:  sing “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother.”  Adam appears to have a habit of dusting off half-forgotten seventies’ hits, and this one proves to be a great song choice.  The performance has a gospel flavor, leading Pharrell to declare, “I don’t know which’ll be prouder, the church or Donny Hathaway!”

5.  DaNica Shirey (her name’s more like “Da-nica” than Dan-ica) sings a sultry soulful version of Radiohead’s “Creep.”  Pharrell, her team coach, says she has to juxtaposition alt and soul, that she needs to sing it like Al Green.  (“Give that record to Al Green!” he admonishes.)  Adam in particular loves the result, “Every song ever written, you can sing every one!” he gushes.

6.  Carson Daly calls Taylor John Williams pop-folk.  Like Pitts, he’s one of this season’s alt reps  Adam isn’t the only coach that apparently likes to go back to half-forgotten seventies-era hits.  Gwen, as team coach, assigns Williams  the haunting rock ballad “If” by Bread.  She says it shows his dark side, but she wants him to stay away from his bluesy side.  This performance proves one of his best, and one of the best of anyone this season.  He conjures up an intimacy that reaches clear out of the TV–like he’s breaking the PA, but in a good way.  Afterwards Adam gets technical and says, “A song in a major key!” then adds, “delicate, different, the purity in your voice came through!”  Pharrell praises how Williams brought out the tenderness in the song.  Gwen sums up, “He’s a great singer and he’s cute!”

7.  Reagan James of Team Blake is this season’s teen-appeal girl.  She turned 16 last week and Blake brought her some flowers to celebrate.  She’s one of several soulful singers–black, white, male, female–this season.  Blake assigns her some contemporary R&B, “It Ain’t Over ’til it’s Over” by Lenny Kravitz.  Afterwards Adam notes, “Totally different from the original!”  Blake adds, “The way you navigate a melody just blows my mind.  You don’t copy anything.”

8.  Luke Wade of Team Pharrell takes on “Thinking out Loud,” modern R&B with a classic sound.  Pharrell advises him to make it like a contemporary record.  Wade chooses to play guitar and make it a singer-songwriter type of performance, more alt than he’s previously done.  After the performance, the judges spend much time discussing how he came in a few beats early but recovered.  Pharrell raves, “Hashtag Luke-ified again!”

9.  When Matt McAndrew meets with his team coach Adam, they spend time comparing tattoos.  The song choice is very contemporary, the goth-flavored alt-rock “Take me to Church” by Hozier. The geeky-looking rocker turns in a performance that mixes up Elvis Costello and Jim Morrison–but it works. Pharrell and Gwen both rave about how they want to buy the record.  Pharrell exclaims, “If I was KROQ [the world-famous alt radio station] I’d be callin’ right now!”  Adam proclaims that’s a guy that can win the show.  He’s probably not going anywhere for a few rounds at least.

10.  This season’s other really-rocks rocker is Craig Wayne Boyd of Team Blake, but tonight he shows his softer, more tender country side, singing George Strait’s “You Look so Good in Love.”  Blake coaches that he wants a “full-on heartthrob moment.”  Afterward Blake proclaims a “breakout moment, two in a row–every time you get on stage you show a different side, you take it to a new level.”

11.  Last singer for Team Adam is Chris Jamison.  Adam gives him “Jealous” by Nick Jonas, saying it’s a song the girls will like.  Jamison gives it a soulful, bluesy feel, and even wears a suit for a little bit of a cocktail jazz effect.  Afterwards Pharrell proclaims, “100% your best performance!”  He also notes the singer’s effortless falsetto.  (Jamison does sound a little like his coach, so maybe we’ll hear him do a Maroon 5 song.)  Gwen calls the song perfect and notes the screaming girls in the audience.

12.  Last singer of the night is Anita Antoinette of Team Gwen.  I’d picked her to be one of the weaker contestants but tonight she shows some similarity to former Voice winner Tessanne Chin.  She takes on the great Bob Marley classic, “Redemption Song” and evokes her memories of life in Jamaica.  Gwen says it’s Anita’s chance to share her story with America.

There were so many great performances, I voted for half the field–McAndrew, Jamison, Pitts, Sill, James, and Williams.  It’s likely who’s cut tonight is someone who didn’t establish a large voting base last week, but the public could prove fickle.  The field will be down to ten next week.      

Tags: The Voice