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'The Voice' recap: Tessanne Chin rules semi-finals

Tessanne Chin performs

Tessanne Chin performs "Bridge Over Troubled Water" on "The Voice" semi-finals in Season Five. (Dec. 9, 2013) Credit: NBC / Tyler Golden

“The Voice” producers sure like the drama.

Instead of sending home two contestants last week, they chose to cut only one to make this week a double elimination -- an especially brutal one, trimming the field from five to three. To raise the tension further, there was time for only one song from each contestant in the show -- cut to an hour so NBC could air two hours of “The Sing Off.”

Judging from last night, there was only one singer who seemed completely safe -- Tessanne Chin. During her lovely performance of the Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” she was head-and-shoulders above the rest of the performances, showing control and passion, skill and charm.

All the other singers left in the competition have some of the elements that great singers need. Tessanne has all of them. “That was crazy,” her coach Adam Levine said. “I’ve never been speechless on the show before .?.?. That’s probably the most flawless and graceful performance I’ve ever heard on this show.”

Jacquie Lee also seems pretty safe. The New Jersey teenager showed up the guys with her take on Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel.” It was a well-choreographed effort, with seemingly every note agonized over, as well as the emotional staging. It’s actually still not clear how much of what she sings is what Jacquie feels and how much is what she wants you to think she feels, but she was impressive this week. “You did things I didn’t even know you were going to do tonight,” her coach Christina Aguilera said. “You blew me away .?.?. showed self-control.”

That leaves the three guys to duke it out for the final spot. James Wolpert doesn’t have the best voice, but he may have the most sellable demeanor. He handles the U2 song "With or Without You" well performance-wise, even though his bottom notes aren’t always right and his top notes go a bit over. His near-miss last week suggests that he’s on his way out, though Blake Shelton said, “You might’ve dug yourself out of the hole.” Um, probably not.

Cole Vosbury is a likable natural. His take on Billy Joel’s “Shameless,” which leaned more toward the Garth Brooks version, showed why he’s still in the contest. He sings so effortlessly and connects so well, the song really does feel like his. Shelton says Cole wanted help finding out who he was as an artist. “Mission accomplished, dude,” he said.

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It’s going to be tight between Cole and Will Champlin. Will can probably out-sing the competition, but he can’t outperform it. He has a great voice, but Will doesn’t quite know when to take his foot off the pedal. He starts the great fun. song with too much, leaving him nowhere to go after the first 20 seconds. His problems are all fixable. He had some great moments in the song, but he had some clunkers as well. “It is really cool to see you all swaggy up there,” Cee Lo Green said.

He is clearly the most-improved performer of the season and could win the show. Hopefully, he gets a chance to compete for the title.

1. Tessanne Chin
2. Jacquie Lee
3. Will Champlin
4. Cole Vosbury
5. James Wolpert

WILL BE CUT: James, Cole
SHOULD BE CUT: James, Cole

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