Review: The Voice – Top 12

This week on The Voice, we heard the top 12, three members from each team, sing. Without exception, this was no one’s best night. There were some good performances, but the pressure appears to be getting to people. No one really knocked it out of the park. Still, I can rate them as I saw them from worst to best.

Bryan Keith sang Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black”. I don’t really see why this guy is still around. I think he did okay, but I don’t put him as the same caliber of the other singers that remain. I suspect I just don’t see what others see in him.

Except maybe Dez Duron who did Lauryn Hill’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”. Again, no staggering flaws, just not in the same league as the next worst, which is…

…Adriana Louise and her attempt to take the country out of Carrie Underwood’s “Good Girl.” Last week she powered through Katy Perry’s Firework and tried a similar, but less potent, take on “Good Girl”. I put part of the blame on the sound mixing which allowed the band to drown out a significant portion of the performance, but Adriana takes part of the responsibility as well. Her stage presence was great, but her vocals wavered in pitch.

Nicholas David then lowered his standards and went with Huey Lewis and the News’ “Power of Love”. Absolutely the wrong song choice. This is not Nicholas’s style and it showed.

Trevin Hunte is not pigeonholed. With Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman”, he went full into power balladeer mode and just didn’t hit it as solidly as the judges seemed to think. I don’t think the performance warranted a standing ovation. Okay, it did if you take into account his personal journey, but I’m not going to allow sympathy to bias my judging of their performances. He’s a great singer, and this was an almost great performance. Almost.

I’m not sure why Michaela Paige decided Pink’s “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” would be a good song choice. Any “goodbye” type song just seems unwise when you want people to keep you around and vote for you. Still, after a nervous start she proved that she still has everything that makes her very marketable.

Cody Belew took on Tina Turner’s “The Best” and I think he did well, but the choice did little to really allow Cody to show us the potential in his voice. High energy is good. Too much energy and the performance drowns out the song.

Rocker Terry McDermott rocked Boston’s “More Than a Feeling”, missing a few notes and having to compete with the music, which even his powerful voice couldn’t overtake at times. Very good Not his best and not his worst.

Starting seated as if hiding under a table, Melanie Martinez went with Young the Giant’s “Cough Syrup”. Melanie didn’t keep her voice soft, so her affectation wasn’t the center of her showcase. We did learn that that breathy sweetness comes through at any power. This was her best performance since the blind audition.

Also with her best performance since the battle rounds, Cassadee Pope sang Kelly Clarkson’s “Behind These Hazel Eyes”. She’s more nervous than I would expect of a veteran performer, but when she pulls it together, it’s clear why she’s up there in the top 12.

I’d never heard Florence and The Machine’s song, “Spectrum” before Amanda Brown sang it standing on a high platform center stage last night. I don’t have a baseline to say how she compared to the original. I noticed a few pitchy moments, but overall it was great. She’s clearly the most talented of the show’s contestants.

When Sylvia Yacoub announced she was going with Celine Dion’s Titanic ballad, “My Heart Will Go On”, I was very worried. When I realized she wasn’t going to even try to sing it as a Celine imitator, I realized she had made a perfect choice. I found this to be the best of the night, edging out Amanda in my mind, probably only because I was more familiar with the song and didn’t have to analyze both performance and song.

Noting that, if I had my way, the two at the top of the above list would go home, I will now make my predictions as to how it really will happen.

Given that last week, the Judges had to save Adriana, Cody, Michaela and Melanie, the best bets would pick the bottom two with these. Adriana is almost certainly not safe. Then we have to note that in prior shows, the contestants were only being compared in vote tallies against people on the same team and some teams are far stronger (Adam and Cee Lo) and some are weaker (Xtina). My gut tells me that both of the folks going home will be from team Xtina and I’m not sure most voters will see Sylvia’s performance as other than a poor Celine imitation, which is was not meant to be. I’m hoping to see Dez and Adriana go.

But, as I said, no one was stellar on Monday night. I wouldn’t be willing to place any significant bets on anything other than Adriana going home.

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