With Monday night’s show, “The Voice” moves into the part of the season that could end “American Idol” dominance for good.
What “Idol” has held over “The Voice” is its ability to create superstar success – something that has eluded the first three winners, Javier Colon, Jermaine Paul and Cassadee Pope. Now, it looks like “The Voice” is serious about changing that, with its Top 8 getting to sing entire songs and getting full production for their performances, complete with dancers and props.
This didn’t necessarily help everyone, but it didn’t hurt anyone as it has in the past, where the singers get overwhelmed by everything happening around them.
1. MICHELLE CHAMUEL, “Grenade” (Team Usher): Does she get to be the front-runner now? Michelle Chamuel has a great voice, but more importantly, she has an incredible ability to connect to a song. Her performance of the Bruno Mars hit actually sounded like she wrote it for herself, without losing any of the poppiness or swagger of the original. “That represented everything that we love about life,” Usher said. Well, not quite that Usher, but it was certainly incredibly good.
2. AMBER CARRINGTON, “Skyfall” (Team Adam): People generally shouldn’t do Adele songs on singing competitions, but Amber Carrington proved herself to be the exception to that rule. She hit every soaring note and brought the drama the song requires. She didn’t quite get the regal bearing that Adele has, bouncing around during her sweeping notes, but she’ll pick that up eventually. This was easily her best performance yet.
3. SASHA ALLEN, “Without You” (Team Shakira): The David Guetta/Usher song is tough to sing and Sasha had her occasional issues, but she held her own. Usher congratulated her on doing it her way and Blake said he compared his singing skills to hers and it wasn’t pretty. That said, Blake works his voice a little more effectively than Sasha, even though he may not have her range. She has so much potential that remains untapped. Will this be enough to keep her in? Probably not.
4. DANIELLE BRADBERY, “Grandpa” (Team Blake): After giving her some songs that may have been too old for her, Blake Shelton gives Danielle a song that is an older person’s idea of what a teenager should sing. It wasn’t terrible, but it’s a little too sweet. Of course, that means that her core audience is going to love it. “It’s cool that you sang a song about Blake,” said Adam, zinging her coach.
5. THE SWON BROTHERS, “Seven Bridges Road” (Team Blake): Hey, production values! The Oklahoma brothers get a campfire going to do the Eagles song justice. Adam pointed out a few minor harmony issues, but Blake is right in saying that they continue to grow. “It’s complicated in a really, really good way,” Blake says. Well, OK.
6. JUDITH HILL, “#thatpower” (Team Adam): Judith Hill did a good job with the will.i.am/Justin Bieber song, but the fact that she picked it shows that the contest has gotten into her head. She has a great voice, and she should be singing great songs. This isn’t it. Her performance came across as awards-show fodder, rather than artistry. Adam Levine said he was confused by the choice, but was happy he let her do it. He should have followed his first instinct. Adam, give her a better song next week. If there’s a next week!
7. HOLLY TUCKER, “Done.” (Team Blake): Holly nails the Band Perry song, connecting with it and showing off the strongest parts of her voice. She wasn’t perfect, but she was the best she has been yet.
8. SARAH SIMMONS, “Somebody That I Used to Know” (Team Adam): A little bit of bad advice for Sarah this week from her coach. The Gotye song requires restraint, as Usher pointed out, and she held back as long as she could, but when she busted out her big voice, she overdid it. Not only was she overpowering, she was a little off key and, worse yet, a little unbelievable. This could be a problem.
SHOULD BE CUT: Holly, Sarah
WILL BE CUT: Sasha, Judith
ACTUALLY CUT: Judith, Sarah