At long last, “The Voice” has reached the finals, where the voters get to make the decisions and, usually, the biggest surprises begin.
However, after the Top 12 took the stage, the only surprise would be if Queens' Trevin Hunte was sent home, as the rest of the finalists turned in a mix of performances ranging from good to flawed. Actually, even Hunte's version of “When a Man Loves a Woman” started slow, but the way it built into a thrilling close, once again showed that there is brilliance in him.
The same goes for Baldwin's Melanie Martinez, who bounced back from an unpopular song choice last week to another crafty reworking of a current hit. She took Young the Giant's “Cough Syrup” and made it emotional and unique, winning praise from all the judges.
Blake Shelton called her “the most unique sound in this competition.” Christina Aguilera said it was her “most emotional performance.” And her coach Adam Levine said, “You have something that's all your own. ... You're spectacular.”
Here's a look at this week's power rankings:
1. Trevin Hunte, “When a Man Loves a Woman”: While it would probably serve him better to step away from his copy of Michael Bolton's “Greatest Hits, 1985-1995,” Hunte continues to put something special into every song he sings. (OK, maybe he can do “Soul Provider” too, but that's it.) The soulful flourish at the end is well worth the nervous opening.
2. Melanie Martinez, “Cough Syrup”: In a competition filled with belting singers and broad performers, Martinez smartly stands out, starting out quietly seated cross-legged on the floor before letting the swell of the music lift her up. She regained her crown as the show's most interesting, enjoyable performance.
3. Amanda Brown, “Spectrum”: Martinez took the “interesting” crown away from Brown this week, as the former Adele backup singer took a risk with Florence and The Machine's “Spectrum.” It was good, especially as she expertly handled the difficult, highest notes, but no longer seemed as unstoppable as she did last week.
4. Terry McDermott, “More Than a Feeling”: The Boston classic is a difficult song to recreate live, though McDermott certainly came close. The problem was that he seemed so concerned with hitting all the high notes that he couldn't really sell it.
5. Dez Duron, “Can't Take My Eyes Off of You”: His crooning delivery over the Lauryn Hill-influenced hip-hop version was another smart move for the likable Dez. He's not going anywhere for a while, as the female screaming only seems to intensify for him.
6. Cassadee Pope, “Behind These Hazel Eyes”: Cassadee is sweet and all and this doesn't change anything, as it's well in her comfort zone. Her problem, though, is how weak she gets in the upper range (which only proves how great Kelly Clarkson is). She also muffed the big note, which will eventually catch up to her.
7. Bryan Keith, “Back to Black”: This was a great song choice and the gruff rocker handled it well. His delivery, though, showed his Achilles heel. He didn't really seem to understand the song or tap into Amy Winehouse's pain. He just shoehorned it into his own style.
8. Nicholas David, “The Power of Love”: Who knew this Huey Lewis & The News song could be so wild? Nicholas was all over the place with it, transforming it into something crazy. The result was great in places, terrible in others. I think we may have come to the point where Cee Lo needs to let Nicholas be Nicholas.
9. Sylvia Yacoub, “My Heart Will Go On”: She almost convinced me we needed another version of this song. Almost. In the end, the weirdness wasn't enough to make it, you know, good. And Sylvia could be in trouble.
10. Michaela Paige, “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)”: Oh, Michaela. Such a promising girl with a good voice, but she keeps taking on more than she can handle. The Pink song is tough to sing and young Michaela lost her way a couple of times. Help her Blake!
11. Cody Belew, “The Best”: This was so not the best. Even when Tina Turner sings it, it requires her legendary charisma to keep the opening verses interesting. Belew can't match that. Then, he missed the high note.
12. Adriana Louise, “Good Girl”: This was a terrible song choice. Is Adriana country now? She handled the belting OK, but Carrie Underwood's runs are harder than they seem and then Adriana ended up out of breath. I understood Christina's decision to pick Adriana over De'Borah, but this showed that Adriana still isn't on the same level as everyone else.
SHOULD BE ELIMINATED: Adriana and Cody
WILL BE ELIMINATED: Adriana and Michaela
ACTUALLY ELIMINATED: Adriana and Michaela