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The Voice: Season 9, Top Twelve Perform, 11/16/15

November 17th, 2015 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

Usually The Voice cuts two contestants during voting rounds but this week they’re only cutting one. After seeing the top twelve singers perform Monday night, we have some indications of who’s going to go several more rounds into the competition and who’ll be scrapping by, if at all:

1.  Braiden Sunshine of Team Gwen:  Gwen’s 15-year-old male vocalist wants to do some rock because that’s what he’s been doing since elementary school. He sing Styx’s “Renegade,” and it actually suits him better than some of the songs he’s done in this competition. “I’m a fan!” rock judge Adam raves afterward.  Blake thinks Braiden can sing any style and wants him to try some country next.  Pharrell gets technical, talking about “cool runs” and Gwen adds, “Vocally you just nailed it!”

2.  Amy Vachal of Team Adam: This season’s young cocktail jazz artist turns Drake’s “Hotline Bling” into a smoky lounge song. During rehearsal Pharrell comes over and suggests the arrangement include an upright bass. After the performance Blake says, “Elegant classy song for a booty call!” Then he has to say something about Gwen singing it on The Tonight Show and everybody forgets all about critiquing Amy. (Adam does eventually say he likes the way The Voice allows a new spin on a song.) Now Blake’s got his romance with Gwen on top of his bro-mance with Adam. Sheldon, you charming two-timer!

3. Mark Hood of Team Pharrell:  This season’s only remaining R&B vocalist brings jazz and gospel overtones to Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds.” Gwen says it shows his sensitive side.

4.  Emily Ann Roberts of Team Blake:  While coaching his young female vocalist on Patty Loveless’ song about “Blame it on your lyin’ … lovin’ heart,” Blake says it’s about that part of a relationship where you don’t love ’em or hate ’em, it’s just over. He gives her a talk about attitude and tells the camera how Roberts can be a mainstream power vocalist. I don’t hear anything like that in her performance but the judges get all gushy.

5.  Korin Bukowski of Team Gwen:  “You’re really quirky and original,” Gwen tells her female vocalist with the chirpy cartoon-character voice. Bukowski shows her alt style with “Titanium,” but the song doesn’t suit her. Blake sympathetically tells her that’s one of the hardest songs to sing because of its range, and advises, “Keep thinkin’ you’re not cool, because that’s what makes you cool.” The question remains, how far does “cool” get in a Voice season?

6.  Barrett Baber of Team Blake:  “When you open your mouth, you’re country,” Blake tells his bass vocalist. Baber’s song choice, “Right Here Waiting,” is a subdued, subtle ballad but still allows space for a singer with Baber’s power.

7.  Madi Davis of Team Pharrell:  Davis sounds like Jewel, so having her do “Who Will Save Your Soul?” is a good idea–but having her do it as reggae is a terrible one. The result is unlistenable. Either give her Jewel or give her reggae, not some hodgepodge of the two. She mixes up the words, too, and her range consists of getting loud. Afterward Pharrell just can’t stop talking about her being 16, as if that’s all that matters.

8.  Jeffery Austin of Team Gwen:  Austin’s song choice is odd, James Bay’s “Let it go” and he turns in a laid-back performance. Voice host Carson Daly observes, however, “The room is captivated.” Adam praises Austin’s unique voice and powerful stage presence. Gwen says, “You’re gonna get voted through–you took the song to a whole ‘nother place.”

9.  Shelby Brown of Team Adam:  Brown’s all crying and emotional, and Adam’s telling her, “I want you to sing like a country singer.” (He invited her to join his team because she wasn’t strictly a country singer, now his trying to put her in the country mold.) She does the contemporary country hit, “(You Should’ve Seen it) In Color.” Her voice is noticeably off. The judges in various ways explain she got ahead of the band but they say she made up for it with a big powerful climatic note. I didn’t think that note was all that notable, and this is The Voice.

10.  Evan McKeel of Team Pharrell:  McKeel gives a soulful sound to Kenny Loggins’ “This is it.” Pharrell comments he thinks McKeel’s strength is in “emotionally connecting.”

11.  Jordan Smith of Team Adam:  There are times The Voice could be mistaken for a religious broadcast, and this is one of them. Smith sings a Christian song, likely campaigning for the Christian vote. He’s just making a lot of “eehh” noises where he should be hitting high notes, and his performance drags on and on. Adam’s gushing about comparisons to Whitney Houston but I sure don’t hear any.

12.  Zach Seabaugh of Team Blake:  “Elvis is in the building!” announces Daly. Seabaugh is shaping up to be this season’s heartthrob, and Blake gives him a romantic country ballad, “My Love” that he can sing to the girls in the audience. The judges are impressed with the result. “The range you have is so crazy,” says Pharrell. “Your future is beyond the show.” Gwen comments, “You have so much confidence,” and predicts the birth of a “huge star.” Despite Blake’s record of grooming Voice winners, the country judge insists, “I’ve never had anybody like you,” somebody that could immediately go on a headlining tour.

I voted for Seabaugh, Austin, Vachal, Hood, and Baber. Who’ll go home?  Several people stumbled but I’ll guess Korin. I just don’t think she’s garnered the fan base to compete with the others.

Tags: The Voice