We’re thankful The Voice is on this week, with the Top 8 artists. While we get ready to feast on turkey and pie, we’re going to feast our ears on some great music. Tonight will also feature a live performance by Robin Thicke. (We are promised there won’t be any twerking involved.)
Last week saw the end of the road for glam rocker Kat Robichaud and country-blues singer Austin Jenckes, while singers like Matthew Schuler and Cole Vosbury continued to impress the coaches and the audience at home.
It’s definitely getting to the point in the competition where every elimination hurts us where we live, and every performance means the difference between skyrocketing to the top of the iTunes charts or down in the bottom three, praying for a save.
As ever, we’ll be following it all here in real time, with links to performance videos. Stay tuned and refresh often!
After Robin Thicke's performance of "Feel Good" and some commercials, we begin with the first of the top 8, James Wolpert is taking on a pretty ambition song with Queen's "Somebody to Love". Adam thinks he should do it in a tux, and then James shatters our hearts by revealing that he has a (beautiful, supportive) girlfriend. He's got the Freddie Mercury mic again (it's actually appropriate this week). It's definitely one of his best performances vocally (which is weird since it's the hardest song he's had to sing yet). If we could make one criticism, it's that it's too much like Freddy Mercury, but that's sort of like telling an actor they reminded you too much of Meryl Streep.
Adam rightly says that singing Freddie Mercury is the tallest order, but James has the pipes to sing with Queen. "There was not one thing that wasn't dynamic and beautiful about that vocal. Powerful, potent — you never lost your way, you owned this entire place." Blake had planned to talk about "the putter" (his mic), but the vocal was too awesome to dismiss it in that way. Christina liked that he really used the stage well and she felt like she was watching a Broadway show. However, for a minute she was amused by James's army of dudes in tuxes that looked like the offspring of Adam and James. (Christina's brain works in mysterious ways.) Cee Lo, being a huge Queen fan, was impressed and said it was a "razor sharp" performance, among the best in the show's history.
Look out Maroon 5, your frontman is about to jump ship and join a new band: Tessanne and the Dudes. In order to bring out the Jamaican in her, Tesanne is singing a song by a band from Orange County. Adam says No Doubt helped make Jamaican style music popular in the States (we're pretty sure Bob Marley did that), but whatever. It's a perfect choice to deliver what Christina asked for last week. When she gets to Lady Saw's solo we are convinced Adam is a genius. That's the most interesting Tessanne has been in weeks. That's not to say she's not good — she's amazing. But the songs choices have been a little underwhelming.
Adam says it's an amazing moment for her and the song was tailor-made for her and he's so glad they finally found a way to showcase her Jamiacan spice. Ceelo said it made him feel "irie." Christina was glad Tessanne took her notes to heart and that she "tapped into her truth" and thinks next week she should try Xtina's own reggae-infused version of "What a Girl Wants."
The sole remaining member of Team Ceelo, Caroline only narrowly made it back this week, but benefited from the Instant Save. Ceelo treated her to gelato as a consolation and then discussed strategy. They're taking on Florence and the Machine, and Caroline is understandably intimidated. "There's no room for error," she observes. We're pretty confident that the dog days are over for Caroline or at the very least suspended for the week. This was definitely a big improvement over last week, and we're glad she let Ceelo pick the song.
Ceelo was happy with Caroline's power and poise under pressure. Ceelo wrote Caroline a very affectionate message, basically saying that she may be the last one standing, but that only means that now nothing else matters to him but "Sweet Caroline." Um, we might need a tissue. Adam says she her performance was bold and exciting and win or lose, she's pushing herself to improve, which is the best thing you can do.
Cole Vosbury is getting back to his country roots with a stripped down version of Vince Gill's hit. His grandmother was a country artist and he grew up on that kind of music. Blake's suggestion to get rid of the band and do acoustic guitar and strings was a good call. We're not huge country fans (please don't send angry letters), but we would buy that track.
Carson could tell Blake was really into that performance, and he's right. Blake said Cole left his heart on the stage and he went from "a guy everyone knows can sing good" to someone who's going to be around for a while. "You did country proud tonight." Christina admired how invested the male coaches are with their contestants, and said she heard something really special tonight.
Christina encourages Matthew to stray from the melody with his performance. She also brought in her choreographer to work with him on the song, which is going to have an army corp stomping behind him. We're not sure if he's sick or having a bad week, but we heard a little struggle on the big notes until the very end, which he nailed.
Christina appreciates that Matthew comes from a place of integrity and he sings what he feels. She kind of rambled a little bit about armies and lost us, but it's all good. Ceelo said he's doing a damn good job. True that.
Adam wants to think outside the box, so he's giving him an unexpected song that no male vocalist on the show has ever performed. Adam says nobody works harder than Will — let's see if it pays off! The microphone stand dip was a little rehearsed and stiff, which I think is kind of the thing with Will. You can see him in his head, thinking about everything he does really hard. The end of the song was pretty incredible, though.
Adam loves Will's ambition and said he hit notes five times higher than anything he did in rehearsal. Christina says her soul is in that song, so she knows how hard what he did was. She also says it looks like he found a way to think about it all very hard and throw it away for the performance. Agree to disagree, Xtina.
Jay Leno gives a little career advice to Ray, telling him Hollywood is just high school with more money. Blake is the quarterback and Jay's the class clown (who happens to own, like, 100 cars). Matthew may have had an army corps behind him but Ray appears to have the equivalent of half the state of Louisiana backing him up with horns and sexy dancing. Well played, Blake. The performance is fine, but all we could think is how much better Cole is.
Blake said it was a very entertaining performance, but the parts he liked most is when he broke it down and went for the bigger notes. Christina was impressed Blake learned the word "swag" and enjoyed seeing something uptempo and lively. Ceelo said he's gonna start calling him Sugar Ray, and he loved hearing some "real rock n roll" with energy.
Did you know Jacquie Lee is the youngest person in the competition? Thanks for reminding us Carson. Christina wants Jacquie to return to her soul roots, so she's singing "Who's Lovin You" by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (but made famous by The Jackson 5). We were really into it until the end which sounded way out of tune to us, though we admire her commitment to the note, which she drew out forever.
Christina says Jacquie's a complex person and that's where her soul comes from and loves her. Adam is impressed by a 16-year-old's ability to convey such heartache in her performances and she's gotta meet a nice boy. Blake days it was full of energy and dynamics and some really good crowd interaction. Ceelo says it's like she swallowed an old lady. Thanks for that parting image, Ceelo.
Which performances impressed you the most?