By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
As American Idol headed off to the sunset, The Voice: Season 10 heated up!
For the first time this season, The Voice went live from Universal Studios Hollywood as all eyes were on both Team Christina and Team Blake. In addition to new artists that were eager to join Cassadee Pope, Tessanne Chin, Craig Wayne Boyd and Jordan Smith in the winner’s circle, the show introduced a new element increasing the Top 20 into the Top 24. The coaches were able to bring back an artist who was previously eliminated in either the Battle or Knockout Rounds to compete for America’s votes.
Which Team Christina and Team Blake artists are guaranteed a spot in the Live Semi-Finals? Whose dreams were crushed? Which artists did the Diva and the Cowboy bring back into the fold? Read on to find out…
Before we get going, I have a friendly reminder…letter grades are back!
Up first to face America was Team Blake’s Paxton Ingram. The former Jennifer Lopez background dancer tackled “How Deep is Your Love.” While he failed to teach the Whip & Nae-Nae to his coach, he delivered a sturdy cover of the Calvin Harris and Disciples track. I like the fact that he worked the stage, but I needed to see some fiery vocal runs. B+
Team Xtina’s latest steal Ryan Quinn tackled Sam Smith’s “I’m Not the Only One.” Right now, Ryan is one of the strongest male artists left in the season and could be one of Xtina’s dark horses this season. His latest coach wanted him to show despair in his performance and delivered a tender cover that would make the Grammy and Oscar-winning singer-songwriter very proud. A
North Carolina native Katie Basden tackled Trisha Yearwood’s “Georgia Rain.” The four-time champion coach picked the track because Katie has the same vocal range as The Passion star. Her haunting voice gave me the first case of the goosies and the story she told broke my heart, and that performance made her a Top 12 contender. A-
Team Xtina spitfire Kata Hay gave a country-rock-soul makeover to the Queen of Soul’s anthem: “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman.” I applaud her moxie and her ambition, but that song did not fit her vocal and performance style. I think Kata might find herself in the “Danger Zone” tomorrow night. D+
This season, The Voice started to let the coaches pick eliminated artists. The Queen chose Nick Hagelin to be her comeback artist. For his final chance to get into the Top 12, Nick sang Rihanna and Mikky Ekko’s “Stay.” Don’t get me wrong; Xtina made the right decision bringing him back, but I believe that Nick dug his own grave by picking the wrong track. His voice broke a few times during the song, and I feel that his efforts were in vain. C-
Former Team Xtina member Joe Maye is now batting for Team Blake. For his premiere performance, Joe chose “Long Train Running.” I will be honest with you– Joe stole the show! He gave one of the best premiere performances in the past four seasons. His fantastic vocals and impressive showmanship made an impact in the series, and I believe that Xtina will be kicking herself in a few weeks when Joe makes the Top Six. A
Adam Wakefield tackled the legendary Ray Charles-Willie Nelson duet: “Seven Spanish Angels.” While it was hard to go after Joe, Adam delivered a superb performance that reminded me of “the second coming of Bo Bice.” I think that we could see an upset on Wednesday night if he doesn’t go through to the Top 12. B+
The lovely Tamar Davis covered Andra Day’s “Rise Up” and it was one of the best vocal performances of the night! She made every hair on my arm stand up. It will be a great injustice if she is not in the Top 12! A+
I love Mary Sarah, but over the past few weeks…she has been on a downward trajectory. I need her to sing something contemporary soon because she is losing her audience! She should have sung a Shania, Carrie or even a Miranda song…”Rose Garden” was a train wreck! D-
Bryan Bautista tackled Zayn’s “Pillowtalk” and I believe that he ruined his chance to be a champion with this performance. The former Barclays Center usher failed to convince me that he was ready for the big time. F
Blake decided to bring back fellow Okie Justin Whisnant to the season. Justin gave a superb cover of “Here’s A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)” and I think that he might be a threat to either Adam or Joe. Blake has a history to sticking by his fellow Okies and his rich voice might divide the country vote. B
Team Xtina’s Alisan Porter closed out the night. She tackled one of the greatest female icons in rock music: Janis Joplin! Alisan chose to sing “Cry Baby” for her Live Playoffs debut. If you are going to tackle the Janis Joplin Songbook, artists need to have fire in their voice, grit in their soul and a ton of determination. Alisan’s performance was not only the best of the night, but I believe that she inspired every parent who sacrificed their dreams to raise their family to pursue them again. A+
Who I want to advance on Team Blake: Katie, Joe & Adam
Who I want to advance on Team Xtina: Ryan, Tamar & Alisan
Tomorrow night, Team Adam and Team Pharrell square off as “The Voice: Season 10” Live Playoffs continue!