With the number of artists down to the manageable number of 12, things are about to get interesting on The Voice. Now all singers are competing, not just against their teammates, but against the singers on the other teams as well. And just to keep us on our toes, this season they've introduced a new element to the live rounds: the Instant Save. But we'll get to that tomorrow.
Today, let's talk about our top 12! Right now, the hot contestants are Team Christina's Jacquie Lee and Matthew Schuler, along with Team Adam's Tessanne Chin and James Wolpert, Team Cee Lo's Caroline Pennell, and Team Blake's Cole Vosbury, who all had impressive iTunes sales and great showings last week. Will they continue to blow the roof off? We could easily seem powerhouses like Josh Logan and Kat Robichaud stepping up this week. There's nothing like a near-elimination to put a fire under you.
We'll be following along here live, so watch along with us as we discuss the contenders, share video highlights from the performances, and predict who will be in danger of going home Tuesday night.
Carson reveals at the top of the show that two singers will go home on Tuesday. With 12 performances on deck, they get started right away with darling 17-year-old Caroline singing a country-folksy rendition of "Wake Me Up" by Avicii. Her set is pretty darling, and she looks more grown-up than we've seen her before, turning in her cutesy dresses for shorts, heels, and a sleeveless top. It's nice to see her branching out into something a little more upbeat, but we'd be lying if we said this performance stuck with us as much as her previous outings.
Cee Lo disagrees, saying Caroline continues to get better and that he's so glad the energy is positive in her favor. Blake is glad tor a more up-tempo song and says Caroline does a good job of "staying in the pocket." He also finally calls out the rhythmically challenged audience for their off-beat clapping (seriously, SO DISTRACTING). Adam says there's a "purity" to what Caroline does that he really appreciates... as well as the studio audience's clapping. Such a kiss-up.
Christina wants Josh to scale back on the runs and connect with the audience, so she gave him the very affecting "Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson. He's got a stripped down stage to let his voice sit center stage. We love Josh's voice, but we wonder if his coach made the right choice with a song belonging to such an iconic voice as MJ's. Still, we really appreciated that he didn't go crazy with the ad-libs as his coach directed. We're just not so sure that performance is gonna keep him in the game.
Coach Christina loved that he showcased his hear. Adam said he loved the song choice, as well as his performance, but wishes he had come out to the front of the stage more. Cee Lo continues to be impressed by Josh, and says his performance was "much improved" from last week. Blake says if his performance had been like this last week, he doubts he'd have been in the bottom three.
After plugging No Shave November with Matt Lauer and a Behind the Scenes of The Voice special slated for Tuesday morning, Carson preps us for our geek crush, James. He has a pretty tough challenge this week: to top last week. Tonight, Adam wants James to take his acoustic set electric with The Killers. "This is a dream, and I just want to stay asleep as long as I can," James says of his time on The Voice. Awwww.
We love that he lets the emotion of the song take over him. However, he lost it a little at the end.
Coach Adam was way into it, though. He called it a "dynamic, yet controlled, blistering performance." Christina is so proud of James's growth, but she was nervous for him with this song because he tends to get pitchy with more instruments behind him, but he didn't this time. Cee Lo says people may make comments that the coaches are "too nice" with their feedback, but there's nothing bad to say here. James reminds him of Talking Heads frontman David Byrne. High praise!
Austin Jenckes has a lot riding on The Voice. Success here would make him feel ready to settle down and marry his longtime girlfriend. Blake wants him to win over the country fans, so he's giving him a classic by a modern country legend. Austin gives it his bluesy, gritty spin.
Coach Blake admires how solid Austin is every time he hits the stage. He says that everyone he knows back home wants to sit down and have a beer with Austin. Cee Lo and Adam accuse Blake of blowing smoke (EXCUSE?), but then circle back to Austin's performance, congratulating him on hitting a big note at the end there. Christina says, "It just. felt. good," and that's what Austin does. We would also add that he is like a teddy bear and we really want to give him a hug. Is that weird?
Christina wants Jacquie to sing something a little more current, but still in the same vein. She's singing the Jack White version of U2's "Love is Blindness". She hit her stride in the second half of her performance — the first half felt like a lesser sequel of the prior week.
Coach Xtina felt the energy in the room lift up with Jacquie's swells. "You set the stage on fire." Adam says she continues to impress and the song choice was great. Cee Lo loves the way Jacquie makes him feel and causes him to get lost in the performance. He wants to download her version and play it the next time he goes horseback riding. Wait — Cee Lo rides horses? Well, he is dressed like Zorro tonight.
Coach Blake is handing a huge challenge to Ray Boudreaux by having him take on John Legend, which is not only a tough song mechanically, but requires him to really dig down and convey a lot of emotion. Ray is a great singer, but we were bored until he started the falsetto at the end. He is definitely not hard to look at, we gotta say.
Blake was wrapped up in the performance and is dreading the weird faces he'll see when he watches the playback because he had a case of the moon-eyes. Blake said while it was out of Ray's comfort zone, but it really worked. Christina, creeped out by Blake's mancrush over Ray, felt the performance fell short vocally a few times. Apparently Blake spent too much time mooning over how sexy Ray is to allow Adam and Cee Lo to chime in.
Cee Lo is glad America got to see the softer side of Kat, but apparently they just came to rock. So we're returning back to Kat's roots and give it all that "Kattitude" that won people over early on. We have to say, she seems so much more comfortable being the lovable freak she is. She even threw in a (very controlled) crowd surf. We have to say, it was a great move returning to her wheelhouse. She looked like an established rock star.
Her coach was loving it. It's not all about being pretty and prissy all of the time and he loves that Kat brings the anger and the pain in her vocals. Blake loved watching Kat, and thinks she looks like a lion stalking a herd of antelopes, and both he and Blake were impressed that the crowd surface didn't affect her vocals. Christina can tell Kat has "come to play."
Jonny Gray really relates to the song this week, which is good... he's at his best when he can make a strong emotional connection to what he's singing. He's also back behind his guitar. The arrangement is really nice. Definitely our favorite performance of his since his blind audition. Is he gonna win? Probably not, but if you prove us wrong and vote him the winner, we'd totally listen to his album.
His coach says he can't read the audience's mind, but he's pretty sure they got the point. He agrees with us that he's ready to hear the songs Jonny has to share. Adam loves that Jonny was able to recover from some weird sound issues (and the aforementions off-beat clapping of the crowd). Carson is sure to thank Jonny for his service in the military since it's Veteran's Day.
Adam says Tessanne has a "godliness" to her voice that's worthy of Grammys. She really connects to this song because it reminds her of her husband. Of course she's awesome. We've run out of superlatives for Tessanne's talent. She's not only a fantastic singer but an emotional one. If Adam wins with her it's nothing to do with him, let's put it that way.
He knows it, too. Adam says he's continually blown away by her and he'll keep pushing her to go further because she hasn't pushed the limit yet. Christina says it was beautiful and she conveyed a lot of passion. She also said that while parts of her performances remind her of other great artists, tonight she heard "Tessanne."
Matthew will showcase the more vulnerable parts of his voice with the emotional "Hallelujah." This song is pretty much sacred ground as far as we're concerned, but Matthew's voice is so pure and soaring on it, we almost forget for a minute to compare it to the Jeff Buckley version. Matt's falsetto at the end is really beautiful. Mom and dad in the audience barely keep it together.
Christina is almost speechless. "You make people feel something so special and it's so rare." She feels so humbled and appreciative that Matthew chose her as his coach. Blake says last week he'd have told Christina Jacquie was his front-runner, but tonight it's Matthew. Adam changed into a black t-shirt and leather jacket to fit in with the other judges. He says the legacy of the song is pretty incredible. It's "one of the greatest songs ever written," and, like us, he's a little "possessive" of it when people attempt to sing it. However, Adam concedes that Matthew's performance lived up to the legacy of the song.
Cole got into music to deal with the pain of losing family members, including his sister Tiffany. Blake wants to see him put his stamp on a song that is a little unexpected. He's afraid to go falsetto on the high part of the song, but Blake encourages him. We have to say, it's hard to reconcile all that hair with the voice that comes out from behind it. Another fantastic performance.
Blake says every time Cole comes to the stage he brings a gun to a knife fight. Every time he hears him perform, he's blown away. Cee Lo is very excited for Cole, who picked Cole from the blinds in a one-chair turn. It's pretty amazing that the coaches almost passed on him.
Adam shocked everyone by choosing Will Champlin over two artists he'd worked with for longer. Adam gives him the big note to work on his breath with the "non-stop" song. He really goes for it at the end, but it got a little pitchy, sadly. Still, we think it was a great effort to break out from underdog to front-runner. We're just not so sure with some of the competition that he can.
Coach Adam says if Will wants to succeed in the music business you need to love it "way too much," which Will clearly does, and you can feel that passion in his performance. With time running over, the other coaches aren't able to chime in, because it's your turn!
Whose performances rocked your world tonight and whose left you cold?