by Lyn Jensen
Each season The Voice has semi-finals according to the following format: the members of all teams sing, and the audience votes to select the top two from each team. Then each judge (or coach, if you prefer) selects one more singer to keep. In this way the field is reduced to twelve singers, who will spend the next several weeks competing to be the season’s winner.
In recent seasons the judges have been able to call back one additional singer–after they’ve cut their teams to five. That means six singers from each team sing for votes, but only three can advance. I see no reason why calling back eliminated singers makes sense–at least for this format. It was bad enough when the coaches had keep one singer out of three. Now they have to keep one singer out of four. Maybe if they could only call back a singer from another team instead?
Also this season votes are now taken as the show is in progress and the results are announced at the end, instead of on a results show. Carson Daly said something about tweeting and re-tweeting, and maybe texting and online voting is still being used–but that means half the country can’t vote, because the show only airs live in eastern time zones.
1. Casi Joy, who’s a Nashville girl looking for her big break, sings a current country hit, “Parachute.” During rehearsal Blake compares her to Gretchen Wilson and Martina McBride, about how you think their claws are out–then they bring their claws out. Being one of only three country singers left this season, she should do well.
2. Felicia Temple is who Blake called back. (The episode shows the coaches/judges coming backstage to singers they’ve just cut, telling them they’re being called back, like a relationship that’s on-and-off again. There’s got to be a better way.) She shows her Broadway style, singing “Defying Gravity” from Wicked.
3. Aaliyah Rose with her nasal voice, sings “Brass in Pocket (I’m Special)” that was a big hit for the Pretenders in the eighties. Maybe because Blake’s her coach, she brings some country flavor to it. She’s got the kind of freaky quirky personality that may get a lot of votes–or not. She had to give her best performance to have a chance, and she does. It’s possible that if she’s not voted through, Blake’ll keep her anyway.
4. TSoul re-imagines “Knock on Wood,” bringing a contemporary sound to vintage music. He may give the most entertaining performance so far. Given tonight’s voting, however, the results may skew to the i-phone generation, putting singers such as him, with a more classic sound, at a disadvantage.
5. Aliyah Moulden chooses a song that many outside the i-phone generation don’t know–Duffy’s “Mercy.” It’s not a good song choice–she sounds off, maybe overly raspy, or overly sharp, and doesn’t show much range. Is she trying to blues-shout it or sing more subtly? It’s hard to tell. Blake tells her, “Best I’ve seen you sing” but I thought it was her worst performance.
6. Lauren Duski, Blake’s other Nashville girl, is friends with his season 4 winner, Danielle Bradbery. Blake notes that (like Bradbery) she’s not a belter. Her song, “Someone Else’s Star,” shows her softness and subtlety, which is more than can be said for Moulden.
1. Chris Blue sings Rhianna’s “Love on the Brain” in the same key Rhianna did, and he doesn’t sound like he’s overly dependent on falsetto either. He shows a Sam Cooke-like delivery here.
2. Anatalia Villaranda overreaches on “Stand by Me.” She’s a powerhouse but she’s a tiny young powerhouse and this song is just too big for her at this time. She comes off as too inexperienced to survive this night of brutal cuts.
3. Jack Cassidy is the eliminated singer Alicia called back. If he wasn’t impressive enough to make it through the brackets, he probably isn’t going to be impressive enough to win the most or second-most votes. He sings “Don’t Let the Sun go Down on me” but Elton John–and George Michael, and Clay Aiken–sang it better.
4. Vanessa Ferguson does a song only the i-phone gen is going to know (“Lean On,” Major Lazer, or something–yeah, kids, somebody must know what and who). However, she does show how she resembles her coach Alicia Keys, as a singer, pianist, and entertainer. It looks like she and Chris Blue are the most likely top two.
5. Ashley Levine may lure country fans. She sings a swamp-flavored version of “I Can’t Stand the Rain.” Will she sneak into the top two, and if she does, who will she displace?
6. Stephanie Rice sounds very shaky while attempting “Every Breath You Take.” Wrong song, wrong delivery, like she’s trying to power her way though a melody she just doesn’t get. It’s a very bad misstep when she had to be perfect.
Results for Team Blake are announced: Lauren Duski (which makes sense) and Aliyah Moulden (which doesn’t). Moulden’s votes may have been based on her previous performances, because she was the weakest member of Team Blake tonight. Blake has to decide which of the remaining four is going to advance. Blake keeps TSoul.
Results for Team Alicia are announced: Chris Blue and Vanessa Ferguson! Of the remaining singers, Alicia keeps Stephanie Rice, probably based on her past performances.
We’ll see Team Adam and Team Gwen tonight.