By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
Move over Team(s) Adam and Blake!
Tonight, it was Team Gwen and Team Pharrell’s time to shine!
Who impressed you tonight? Which artists are in danger of going home tomorrow? Read on to find out…
Before the artists took the stage, Pharrell took the stage and transported the audience to a sexy forest containing beautiful dancers as the singer/rapper/producer debuted his new single: “Hunter.” I loved hearing Pharrell’s perfect balance between his falsetto and smooth raps.
Team Gwen’s Ryan Sill kicked off the artists’ performance with a cover of One Republic’s “I Lived.” In all honesty, before tonight I thought that he was very unworthy to make it to this stage. While the song (as Gwen stated) is “a celebration of life,” it was a boring performance with asinine vocals. I wanted to put on mute! He should be sent home! D
Jean Kelley is one of the artists that had a roller coaster ride on The Voice! She started out on Team Gwen, but was eliminated in the Battle Rounds. However, her new coach, Pharrell Williams, gave her a new outlook, as he stole her at the end of the Battle Rounds. Tonight, Jean tackled Brenda Russell’s “Piano in the Dark.” This was a song I was very unfamiliar with…but I think Pharrell picked a strong song for her! While there were some minor vocal glitches, Jean delivered a superb performance. I think she could be a contender to make it to the Top 12 tomorrow night. B+
Over the past couple of weeks, Elyjuh Rene showcased several bad vocals! If he did not deliver tonight, he could be in danger of going home! Pharrell chose Disclosure’s “Latch” for Elyjuh to sing! I liked Pharrell’s strategy of starting the track with a slow-tempo; it let Elyjuh to show his vulnerability. The tone and vocal styling that I fell in love with in the Blind Auditions came back and it was great comeback performance! B
Team Gwen’s Bryana Salaz took the stage and tackled one of my favorite pop rock songs of 2014: Five Seconds of Summer’s “Amnesia.” Unfortunately, the performance was a train wreck from the first note. There were too many sour notes in this song and I think it cost Bryana her place in the competition! D+
I do not understand the fuss with Luke Wade! After back-to-back seasons that featured astonishing blue-eyed soul singers Will Champlin and Josh Kauffman, I thought Luke’s performance of Marvin Gaye’s immortal “Let’s Get It On” was not only abysmal…but it lacked conviction! If you want to hear an excellent cover of “Let’s Get It On,” watch Elise Testone’s cover! F
Team Gwen’s Anita Antoinette was “All About The Bass!” I was very surprised that the No Doubt front woman picked this song for her! However, I respected Gwen’s decision to not pigeonhole Anita with one genre. Anita slayed this performance by showing her spunk and saucy vocals! If Anita does not go through tomorrow, there is no justice. A-
Pharrell gave DaNica one of the most challenging songs that I have ever heard on The Voice: Joni Mitchell’s “Help Me.” She continues to be one of the remaining artists that always delivered an outstanding performance! DaNica brilliantly executed to chord changes and her soulful vocals gave me goose bumps! A
I was nervous for Sugar Joans for two reasons! One, she had to follow DaNica’s amazing performance! Two, she tackled the Queen of Soul! There are only a couple of artists that have successfully performed and conquered Aretha tracks on Reality TV: American Idol’s Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson and Katharine McPhee and more recently, Team Blake’s Sisaundra Lewis! During her pre-performance package, Sugar mentioned that her father worked with iconic divas such as Barbra Streisand and Janet Jackson in the past. I could hear them and a little Aretha in the performance. However, while she has superb vocal range…Sugar needs to incorporate more of herself in these performances in the next few rounds! B+
Many fans cried “Foul!” when Pharrell kept Elyjuh and eliminated Ricky during the Knockout Rounds! However, Gwen swooped in and rectified Pharrell’s mess by adding Ricky to her team! “The Sweet Escape” singer chose Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down” for the 19-year-old to sing. It was an emotional performance and I thought that Ricky successfully connected with the audience throughout the entire song! Great job, Ricky! A-
Taylor John Williams had the daunting task of closing the show! For Taylor’s first live performance, Gwen chose Stealers’ Wheel’s “Stuck In The Middle With You.” I am glad that he is out of the Idol world and into classic rock mode! Taylor turned the song on its head and I loved the vibe of the performance! He is definitely going to have a place in the Live Rounds! A-
Tomorrow night, The Top 12 are revealed!