By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
In my honest and humble opinion, this is the worst Top 12 I have seen in Voice history!
Out are titanic powerhouse singers (and surefire winners) such as Regina Love, Ellie Lawrence, Viktor Kiraly, Celeste Betton and Riley Biederer, in are abysmal and mediocre singers such as Zach Seabaugh, Braiden Sunshine, Emily Ann Roberts, and Barrett Baber!
The fact that either Braiden or Zach is dangerously close in joining Tessanne Chin, Josh Kauffman, Craig Wayne Boyd and Sawyer Fredericks in the winner’s circle not only makes sick to my stomach, but also makes me question the viewers’ taste in music.
I really wish that show runners Carson Daly and Mark Burnett hire an honest feedback judge that could critique the artists and the coaches’ preparation. I would love to see a slick and straightforward L.A. Reid, the haughty and cruel Piers Morgan or the Season Two and Season Three version of Christina Aguilera (who made Tony Lucca, Tony Vincent and Melanie Martinez cringe or cry when she gave her valuable feedback) take the contestants and their respective coaches to task if a performance went wrong! (Even, I am available for this position and willing to relocate!)
Unfortunately, it is all about the viewers’ choice. So which Top 12 members are closer to securing that Universal Music Group recording contract? Who might be up for the show’s first Insta Save of the Season? Read on to find out!
Team Gwen’s Braiden Sunshine may be the youngest artist in the competition, but in all honesty…he has his work cut out for him! In my eyes, the 15-year-old has not proven himself worthy to compete with the big boys and girls. Styx’s “Renegade” was too huge of a song for him to tackle! I wanted to press my stolen AGT buzzer and have an “X” flash on the screen. This was a total mess! F
I am glad that Adam saved Amy Vachal from elimination. She has one of the strongest voices in the competition and I loved her Jazz vocals. I was a little worried when the two-time Voice champion handed her—Drake’s “Hotline Bling.” Performing a current song could definitely backfire if not properly executed (see Regina Love’s “Hello”). With a bass guitar in her hand, Amy did an intriguing take on the Canadian actor-rapper’s latest hit. Was it her best? Not exactly, but it may take her to Week Three of the live competition. B-
Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds” is a Reality TV show staple! But, it has been covered ad nauseatingly on American Idol and countless versions of The Voice and X Factor. My question that I had for both Pharrell and his artist, Mark Hood, that raced through my mind was: “How were you going to differentiate your version from the countless clones?” The answer: strip the song down. Mark’s cover showcased sturdy vocals, but he had a lack of conviction that made this performance a B/B+ over an A- in my eyes.
Emily Ann Roberts tackled Patty Loveless’ “Blame It On Your Heart.” When Emily reaches the upper register of her voice, it feels like that I am listening to a shrieking goat. I missed hearing Emily’s smooth vocal delivery that she did last week when she sang “In the Garden.” If Blake continues to send her down this road, she may be finding herself at the bottom either this week or in the upcoming weeks. C
Last week, Gwen saved Korin Bukowski! I think Gwen picked the right song for her-David Guetta and Sia’s “Titanium.” One of the best versions of the track that I heard was Lucy Spraggan’s cover on the 2012 season of X Factor UK. While Lucy inserted originality into her cover, Korin tackled Sia’s lyrics head on. Her vocal was not quirky, it gave me chills and it was probably her best vocal so far this season. A-
Barrett Baber’s “Right Here Waiting” was a solid cover, but I do not want him to become predictable. Yes, driving in the country lane will give you votes. However, at the same time, you will start losing viewers’ interests. I would love for him to do something unpredictable and sing a song that we would not ever suspect him performing (ex: Madonna’s “Like A Prayer” or David Guetta and Kelly Rowland’s “When Love Takes Over”). B
Madi Davis went into Jewel’s toy box and pulled out her biggest hit: “Who Would Save Your Soul?” By adding a Reggae vibe to the tune definitely made it a much more modern track. Madi’s voice can instantly put a smile on my face and I think that Jewel would definitely be proud of her cover. This was probably one of my favorite performances of the season! A
Jeffrey Austin and I have had a love-hate relationship this season! I have loved some of his performances and I have pulverized his performances in my critiques. But, tonight…he finally won me over! His performance of James Bay’s “Let It Go” was a vocal master class and I believe that he could win this season! A
Shelby Brown is Team Adam’s last country singer standing! But, if her major stress levels take control, she might be out of the competition! Her cover of Jamey Johnson’s “In Color” had some pitch problems, but her vocal belt definitely made up for those mistakes. I think she could be a dark horse in this year’s competition. B
Evan McKeel tackled Kenny Loggins’ “This Is It” for his Top 12 performance. What I like about Evan is that he always puts on an impeccable show when he performs. I could feel his passion and excitement in his vocal. While there are artists that hope to stand there and belt effortlessly, Evan never fails to make people smile and I really hope that America votes him through. A-
I really wished that Jordan Smith closed the show! The Team Adam belter chose “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” for his Top 12 performance. Adam advised that Jordan sang without the band and the Maroon 5 front man’s suggestion might help Jordan head directly to the finale! Honestly, this was the performance of the night! A+++
Zach Seabaugh closed out the night and I felt sorry that he had to close the show after Jordan’s huge performance! I wanted to borrow the AGT buzzer again to buzz Zach, because his performance was atrocious from the very first note. F
Tomorrow night, the Top 12 will become the Top 11 as the Instant Save returns!