“The Voice” Top 10 night was filled with bad ideas.
Let’s start with Blake Shelton tweeting out Adam Levine’s personal cell number. Was it a prank on Blake’s bromance, aka People’s Sexiest Man Alive, part of their ongoing bro-vorce? Or a prank on the viewers? Hard to tell, though Adam did seem upset. Either way, it wasn’t actually funny.
The real bad ideas, though, were many of the song choices the coaches made. They know how the game is played. The main goal to assure safety in the Top 10 on the iTunes chart and the best way to do that is either something current or something so radically redone that it sounds current. So what was Usher thinking giving Josh Kaufman Kenny Loggins’ “This Is It”? Or Blake giving Sisaundra Lewis Steve Perry’s “Oh Sherrie”?
Do they not like having the best singers as the front-runners on this show?
Here’s how the Top 10 stacked up:
1. Christina Grimmie, “Hold On, We’re Going Home”: This is exactly how to win a week of “The Voice.” Turning the Drake song into a soul ballad was risky, but she pulled it off. Changing the gender of the lyrics makes the song even more moving actually. “That sounded like your song and you created that,” Shelton said. Shakira said, “I think this was your best performance by far.” Her coach Levine quickly pointed out that this was not his idea, adding, “There’s no ceiling to how proud I am of you.”
2. Kat Perkins, “Landslide”: She did a great job with the Fleetwood Mac classic, not falling into the trap of the tough low notes, as mentor Graham Nash noted. (Am I the only one shocked that he actually mentored Levine? Who knew?) Kat put a little too much emphasis on landing the big note, which kind of shattered the mood, but at least that happened at the end. “It’s such a beautiful, inspired, perfect song,” Levine said. “You are just a blissfully, perfect, amazing singer.”
3. Sisaundra Lewis, “Oh Sherrie”: Look, she really does have an incredible voice. And when she hit the big note at the end that was even bigger than Steve Perry’s? That was incredible. But her talent still isn’t corralled in a way that will make her win this show. The judges rightfully loved her, though. “There used to be a roof in here,” Levine said. “Now, it’s gone.” Shelton, her coach, went for a different cliche. “Here’s the song,” he said. “And here’s the crap you sang out of it.”
4. Kristen Merlin, “Let Her Go”: Shakira isn’t going to let her main chance of winning go. Transforming the Passenger song into something that could have been Lee Ann Womack’s follow-up to “I Hope You Dance” was brilliant. And Merlin handled it effortlessly. “You always looked comfortable, now you sound comfortable,” Shelton said. Alluding to last week’s technical glitch, Levine said, “I’m so happy the microphone was on the whole time.”
5. Audra McLaughlin, “You Lie”: This is why Shelton has won so many times. Giving McLaughlin the Reba classic is a great move. She landed the big note and country fans will love her for it, as well as the sweet way she choked up at the end. “That took you to another plateau,” Usher said. Shelton agreed, saying, “You just grabbed everybody and you made them pay attention,” he said.
6. Josh Kaufman, “This Is It”: OK, this made no sense. The Kenny Loggins song is great and all, but are there really votes to mined for Josh in sounding just like Loggins? He did a good job and he certainly showed his vocal range and power, but come on. “It would’ve taken me a week to record what you just did,” Shelton said. Luckily his coach Usher is probably right in saying, “Look forward to seeing you here longer.”
7. Tess Boyer, “Ain’t It Fun”: Personally, I think this Paramore song is amazing and Tess did a good job with it, though the mix was weird and there was too much guitar. Yes, it’s in the song, but this is the singing competition version of the song. Tess’ problem is that she doesn’t connect with the song’s lyrics very well. The coaches’ praise centered on her skill. “She never misses a note,” Shelton said. Coach Shakira thought she accomplished what was needed. “I feel that you were sassy and confident,” she said. “I feel your tone is so unique .?.?. your low register is so special.”
8. Jake Worthington, “Run”: A rare misstep from young Jake, thought it was really Shelton’s fault. The George Strait song was a little too big for him and he couldn’t handle some of the phrasing. Usher said he didn’t look like a deer in headlights any more. Shelton made a good plea for votes by saying, “You represent everybody in between [New York and Los Angeles].”
9. Delvin Choice, “Bright Lights”: This was another bad song choice, compounded by bad staging. When Levine had to wave off Carson Daly from taking the stage, you know the song is messed up. “The best part of the song was coming and they thought he was done.” Yes, because it seemed like it was done – even to the producers! That’s a problem. That song works for Gary Clark Jr. because of the combination of his guitarwork and his singing. Choice just singing isn’t enough. “You just keep taking it to the next level,” Shelton said.
10. Bria Kelly, “I’m With You”: This was OK, but she made the craziest sound before the bridge -- kind of like a gargle. And she made the already overdramatic Avril Lavigne song even more overdramatic and shouty. Even Levine said she was not connected to this song.
BOTTOM THREE Tess, Bria, Delvin (Actually, Tess, Bria, Kat)
WILL BE ELIMINATED Tess, Bria
SHOULD BE ELIMINATED Bria, Delvin
ACTUALLY ELIMINATED Tess, Bria