The lineup for “The Voice” live shows is finally set, with the Top 20 set to compete starting next week. While it looks like Adam Levine may have the toughest team, Christina Aguilera should be able to ride with Matthew Schuler right into the finals after last night’s stellar performance. Here’s how the night went down:
TEAM ADAM: Lina Gaudenzi vs. Preston Pohl
Lina’s version of Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind” was good, though slightly disconnected. Preston Pohl’s version of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” was already slow and he slowed it down even further in the verses, which delayed the likable part of the song a little too long.
ADAM PICK: Preston
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Preston
TEAM BLAKE: E.G. Daily vs. Ray Boudreaux
E.G. Daily didn’t listen to Blake when he told her to scale back on Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and she paid the price with a bum note that ruined what had been a good performance. Ray Boudreaux’s take on Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle” was a little too buttoned-up. He was polished, but seemed not hard to handle at all. There was a lot of bromance in the air for Ray, but really after E.G.'s flub, there wasn't much choice.
BLAKE PICK: Ray
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Ray
TEAM CHRISTINA: Anthony Paul vs. Jacquie Lee
Two singers, four first names! Christina encourages Anthony Paul to add some vocal flourishes to his version of Jason Derulo’s “The Other Side” when she should’ve encouraged him to pick a better song, though when his falsetto flopped at the end, it really didn’t matter. Jacquie Lee’s transformation from sweet to powerful on Serena Ryder’s “Stompa” was a sight to behold and far more compelling.
CHRISTINA PICK: Jacquie
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Jacquie
TEAM CEELO: Stephanie Anne Johnson vs. Tamara Chauniece
On paper, Tamara Chauniece’s reggae version of Alicia Keys’ “No One” should have been far and away more interesting, but Stephanie Anne Johnson’s version of Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why” was thrilling, even as she slowed it down. “I want my music to be like soul food tastes,” Stephanie Anne says. Tamara’s control was good, but Stephanie Anne was cool.
CEELO PICK: Tamara
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Stephanie (stolen by Christina)
TEAM ADAM: James Wolpert vs. Juhi
Give James Wolpert credit for taking on Boston’s “More Than a Feeling,” one of the hardest songs in rock to sing. He did a good job, but you could actually hear his fear, like a diver tiptoeing to the edge of a jump. Juhi was fearless as she took on Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” but she didn’t quite show enough control.
ADAM PICK: James
SHOULD’VE PICKED: James
TEAM BLAKE: Austin Jenckes vs. Brandon Chase
Austin can’t quite translate his emotional connection to Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be” into a memorable performance, though the was certainly passable. Brandon’s risks on Eli Young Band’s “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” paid off early, but he tripped up near the end.
BLAKE PICK: Austin
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Austin
TEAM CEELO: Caroline Pennell vs. George Horga Jr.
Caroline Pennell’s version of Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Way I Am” was adorable, with her breathy, sweet way of offering her sweater, though she still managed to insert a bit more power than the original. George Horga Jr.’s take on Ne-Yo’s “Because of You” was a bit more straightforward and commercial, though he struggled at the end. “Caroline makes me want to buy a cat,” Blake says.
CEELO PICK: Caroline
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Caroline
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TEAM CHRISTINA: Will Champlin vs. Matthew Schuler
Is Matthew Schuler the one who will break country’s hold on not just “The Voice,” but so many other singing competitions? His soaring version of Florence and The Machine’s “Cosmic Love” certainly puts him in the running, as it showed off his powerful vocals, wide range and incredible charisma. CeeLo called him the “Mike Tyson of ‘The Voice.’” Poor Will Champlin would have won pretty much any other knockout round with his gorgeous version of Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man.” Luckily, Adam stole him back.
CHRISTINA PICK: Matthew
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Matthew