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The Voice: Season 8, Top 8, 4/27/15 (and Results, 4/28/15)

April 29th, 2015 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

We now know who made top six on season 8 of The Voice, so we can look back on Monday’s eight performances knowing who got enough votes to stay and who may be next to go. This week brought a welcome twist as three former Voice judges returned as guest advisors. Only Shakira was missing (she had a family obligation in Spain) so Gwen Stefani worked with two teams–Christina’s and Pharrell’s.

1.  Blake and CeeLo coach Hannah Kirby:  The coaches agree Hannah needs something theatrical that shows her personality.  Her song choice is Tina Turner’s “We Don’t Need Another Hero” (theme from the Mad Max:  Beyond Thunderdome movie).  She doesn’t sound very good in rehearsal, but after Blake advises her to cut the squeaks in her voice by about fifty percent, she sounds much better in the performance. Christina thinks the staging and the power vocals had “CeeLo’s stamp all over it,” and Adam agrees.  Blake thinks Kirby was perfect. However, her performance proved too little, too late, to keep herself out of the bottom two.  She was sent home on Tuesday. Who knows how deep she may have gone had it not been for those two pathetic performances in the early rounds?

2.  Adam and Usher coach Adam’s one team member, Joshua Davis:  As the one adult male left in this competition, Davis gives the feel of a classic folksong to Sting’s “Fields of Gold (Fields of Barley).” It’s given a different tone when sung with an American accent–those “fields of barley” instead of “fields of baw-ley.” Here Davis’ upper register is used much better than it was last week. After the performance, Blake comments how hard it is to just stand there and sing with very little musical accompaniment. Adam notes Davis is very different from the show’s powerhouse singers, with a style that depends heavily on class and elegance.  Voters must have liked the result, because he was placed safely in the top five on Tuesday night.

3.  Christina and Gwen coach Kimberly Nichole:  Christina wants to give her powerhouse soul-rocker a vulnerable moment, so she assigns her Radiohead’s “Creep,” but with jazz inflections. Nichole’s coached to play up how the song’s very sad, very insecure. The result’s beautiful and sophisticated, bridging the divide between classic jazz and contemporary rock. Pharrell raves afterward, “If that’s insecurity, that’s what we all need!” Adam praises how Nichole once again made the song unique. Christina agrees, “You showed things people don’t even know.” Nichole looks like she’s on her way to top four.

4.  Blake and CeeLo coach Meghan Linsey: Blake’s Nashville vet wants to do the Beatles’ “Something” because she says it’s about true love, a change from all the heartbreak songs she usually does. CeeLo likes her combination of country twang and soul.  He suggests an orchestra accompany her. Like Kimberly, Megan wants to show some vulnerability with her performance.  Some Internet sites noted afterwards how her performance earned praise from her fellow country singers, but it was the kind of performance that could have earned Ringo and/or Paul’s approval as well. Adam thinks the result was “awesome,” and compliments how well Blake coached material that was the singer’s choice. Blake declares he expects to see Linsey in the finale–and two nights later, we can say she’s his last best hope.

5.  Christina and Gwen coach India Carney: Christina’s passionate pop singer, as host Carson Daly calls her, wants to sing her favorite song, “Over the Rainbow.” She channels Judy Garland and more, infusing every word with heartfelt drama and emotion.  The judges were impressed, and I thought she gave the performance of the night, but she ended up in the bottom three on Tuesday. Maybe voters mistakenly assumed she was safe.  Maybe it’s just an indication that her voting base is mid-size. Maybe the Voice audience prefers the more contemporary Koryn Hawthorne.

6.  Pharrell and Gwen coach Sawyer Fredericks:  There are some teen talents who are too big for their britches.  (Witness a large portion of the Idol field this year.)  There are other teen talents who need considerable grooming and packaging in an age-appropriate fashion.  (Witness another large portion of the Idol field this year.) Then there’s the unique voice of Sawyer Fredericks.  Somehow the usual advice to work hard, get experience, and pick age-appropriate material just doesn’t apply to him. His country Heartland personality fits perfectly with a folk-rock version of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man.” Gwen says, “It’s not like he’s performing, he’s being,” and that’s just in rehearsal. “I can hear him on the radio,” she adds, “Something very raw about him.” If this is what Fredericks is like at 16, then by the time he’s 21–or 31–we could be looking at an American voice to rival Dylan. After the performance, Pharrell says he wants every kid who’s a Sawyer fan to vote, every kid who’s a little bit different.

7. Blake and CeeLo coach Corey Kent White:  Blake’s love of eighties’ music can take strange turns.  Blake wants his teen country singer to make a half-forgotten Bad English song, “When I See You Smile,” sound country. Blake says when a country singer does rock, it can show just how country he is. CeeLo adds, “Country’s not your cowboy boots, it’s your core.” White gives the song a dramatic edge, and Blake thinks it was a breakout performance.  However, on Tuesday, Corey was cut. My guess is that he lost his country audience and didn’t pick up any pop/rock fans to make up for it.

8.  Pharrell and Gwen coach Koryn Hawthorne: Pharrell’s powerhouse teen belts Alicia Keys’ “This Girl is on Fire.” She shows lots of power and emotion, but also her inexperience. However, the judges are impressed. Christina thinks she’s thriving and Adam thinks she’s made the biggest leap of anybody on the show. Pharrell continues to pitch her as an inspirational singer, declaring “the whole entire room and everybody in the country is inspired.” She made top five on Tuesday, making her the last remaining contestant who was advanced as a judge’s choice.  However, her youth is probably going to catch up with her against such formidable competition.

On Tuesday, Twitter votes on the East Coast saved India Carney.  Corey Kent White and Hannah Kirby were eliminated, leaving Blake with only Meghan Linsey. Last week I tweeted Blake and requested he assign Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” to Kirby and Alan Jackson’s “Midnight in Montgomery” to White.  See what happened when he didn’t listen to me!

Tags: The Voice