Night Two of “The Voice” playoffs didn’t pack the same punch as the first night.
And even though Blake Shelton told his team to be on the lookout for big “moments” that they could use in their own performances, they didn’t really come out with major “moments” of their own. That may have been more Shelton’s doing with his ultra-country song choices than the finalists’ fault, though.
Shelton took his team of country singers to a karaoke bar to “get them to loosen up” and that did work. “As long as I’m out there, people know that they are not the biggest idiot,” he explained, adding that he succeeds because he is comfortable with being himself.
It’s also interesting that his duet with Shakira was on Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” showing her versatility and his desire to stay in his comfort zone where he sounds best.
Here’s how the rest of the night shook out:
His team sang Little Big Town’s “Boondocks” and because they’re all coming from the same place artistically, it worked better than any team song Monday night.
DANIELLE BRADBERY, “Maybe It Was Memphis”: It takes a lot of work to make a 16-year-old sound this old-fashioned. However, her natural charm and strong delivery made the Pam Tillis signature song from 1991 enjoyable. Blake called her “one of the most important artists who’s ever been on ‘The Voice.’” We’ll see.
JUSTIN RIVERS, “Meet in the Middle”: He actually brought the most fun of the night, bringing the Diamond Rio hit to life with a strong, good-time performance. Shakira called him solid and reliable. Adam called him a threat to Blake’s career. In either case, he was quite the surprise.
THE SWON BROTHERS, “Fishin’ in the Dark”: Shakira called them comfortable. Adam said they were “so Blake,” which is accurate. They put in some extra country into the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s song and ended up with something nice and likable, but not extraordinary.
HOLLY TUCKER, “How Do I Live”: This didn’t go very well. She started off wobbly and, though she recovered nicely at the end to knock out some huge notes, she didn’t seem to connect to the song. She was too smiley for a song about desperate love. However, the judges loved it, with Blake calling her the one to beat.
TOP TWO: Danielle, The Swon Brothers
BLAKE SHOULD SAVE: Justin
ACTUALLY SAVED: ???
Their team performance was incredibly strange – a timid “We Are the Champions” that, although it was choreographed, seemed quite random. While Blake picked mostly unfamiliar songs for his team to put their own stamps on, Shakira went with very familiar songs that her team could use to show they are on a level that they could handle them. Blake’s strategy seemed to work better.
SASHA ALLEN, “Oh! Darling”: She powered her way through The Beatles classic, with both passion and control. Shakira said she has “one of the best voices I’ve ever heard in my life.”
GARRETT GARDNER, “Imagine”: It’s kind of a no-win proposition to do the John Lennon anthem since you either fall short of the classic or you reinvent it for no good reason. Garrett did manage to show off his ever-improving voice and delivery and was likable enough to help his cause.
KRIS THOMAS, “When I Was Your Man”: His nerves showed a bit too much early on, his voice a little too fluttery and his pacing a little off. He has a great voice that he hasn’t quite mastered yet.
KARINA IGLESIAS, “Let’s Stay Together”: “Karina, you gave me everything,” Shakira said. And that’s true. She was all over the place with an arrangement that was just too much. She can sing, but she also needs to be able to focus.
TOP TWO: Sasha, Garrett
SHAKIRA SHOULD SAVE: Kris
ACTUALLY SAVED: ???