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The Voice: Season 12, Top Ten, 5/8/17

May 9th, 2017 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

With Mother’s Day coming this Sunday, the ten singers left on The Voice received visits from their mothers this week. Carson said the songs this week were for the contestants’ mothers, but I don’t think the singers “got it.” I don’t think I heard a single song with motherly sentiments all night. Two singers are being eliminated this week, and this may be the best field The Voice has boasted in several years, so the competition for the top eight is tight. Most of the contestants gave outstanding performances. Maybe I should start including arrows–up or down–to gauge each performance, or else rate how download-worthy a performance is.

1.  Jesse Larson (Team Adam) goes back to the eighties, and he doesn’t pick a song with motherly sentiment. He sings (and shreds on guitar) “Jungle Love,” by Morris Day and the Time, who were in Purple Rain and spent some time as Prince’s support act in the eighties. Adam advises him to give it the style of the Blues Brothers, the act Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi turned into a movie. Ackroyd and Day will probably approve of Larson’s rendition. He includes a flirtatious shout-out to Alicia Keys, and she comments afterward, “It’s all about our energy and attitude and the character you become.” Adam adds, “You pulled off a song that that’s 100% reliable on attitude.”

2.  Aliyah Moulden (Team Blake) says she’s singing the Labyrinth ballad “Jealous” for her father. (Makes me wonder what she’d do for Father’s Day.) He died so long ago she can’t remember him, and she plainly puts her loss, her grief, into her emotional, tearful performance. Blake says, “You got lost in the moment.” Gwen notes the change of pace, “a song we weren’t expecting” and adds it was beautiful.

3. Vanessa Ferguson (Team Alicia) falls to the bottom because she raps through Lauryn Hill’s “Do Wop That Thing.” She’s trying to get some teen ‘tude and we don’t hear much singing, when that’s what the contest is about. The judges’ comments fail to address the situation. I predict she’s one of the bottom two.

4.  Mark Isaiah (Team Adam) needs some teen ‘tude but he’s way too focused on technique. Once again he chose his song–instead of having Adam assign him one–and it’s the rock ballad, “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles. He still hasn’t shown us a teen-romance angle. It’s clear he’s not going to win. It’s just a question of how long he avoids being below the cut line, and if he ever does develop a teen-idol image.

5.  Chris Blue (Team Alicia) goes uptempo with Bruno Mars’ free, fun, danceable “24K Magic.” It’s not as much a spectacular vocal performance as the kind of spectacular entertainment Mars is famous for. “I think you’re gonna be in the finale,” Blake says, “You’d have to be deaf and blind not to see how talented you are.”

6.  Lilly Passero (Team Adam) could be a real-life version of the character Emma Stone plays in La La Land. She gives the classic standard “Unforgettable” the torch song treatment. Before the performance, Adam coached her to be simple, elegant, and let people hang on every word. Afterwards he notes how she took some liberties with the melody (but in a good way). She’s fitting into a cocktail jazz style, but I look forward to hearing her take on a contemporary song–provided she’s got enough fans to stay until next week.

7.  Lauren Duski (Team Blake) is the lone country singer on Blake’s team this season, so she’s not going anywhere anytime soon. She sings Wynonna Judd’s “Tell Me Why,” shows off some high notes, and Blake says, “You’re the missing piece in country right now.”

8.  Hunter Plake (Team Gwen) is one of the few singers who actually picked out a song for his mother–and it’s Steve Winwood’s “(Bring Me a) Higher Love.” Gwen compares his style to the Weekend, but I’m thinking his soft aspirate voice has to reach its limits eventually. Then again I never warmed to Voice winners Jordan Smith or Josh Kaufman either. I thought he was the third worst performance of the night, but the judges and audience loved it.

9.  TSoul (Team Blake) says he’s singing “At This Moment” (Billy and the Beaters’ eighties-era jazz hit) for his mother. It’s not a wildly popular song but it does give TSoul a chance to be TSoul. Blake says, “It’s the best you’ve sung so far.” I’ll add I think it’s one of the best performances of the evening.

10.  Brennley Brown (Team Gwen) and Lauren Duski are the only contestants left from the deep bench of country singers that started the season. On Martina McBride’s “Anyway,” Brown shows she’s starting to resemble another teenage country singer, Danielle Bradbery, season 4 Voice winner. If this season’s winner is a country singer, maybe it’s going to be the one from Team Gwen instead of Team Blake.

Should be the bottom three:  Vanessa Ferguson, Hunter Plake, and Mark Isaiah. Bye, Vanessa and Hunter–and Mark can screw up again next week.

More likely in the bottom three:  a peek at the iTunes charts shows Hunter’s fan base showing up in a big way, so he’s safe. Lilly’s old jazz standard didn’t get many downloads, so unless far more people vote for her than download her, she’s in jeopardy. If she and Mark are in the bottom three (most likely along with Vanessa), she should get the Twitter save but he probably will.

Tags: The Voice