“The Voice: Season 12” Top 11 perform for America’s votes

“The Voice: Season 12” Top 11 performed for America’s votes. (Photo property of NBC)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

Before we get to The Voice: Season 12 Top 11 recap, I must deliver some breaking news!

Sources such as Idolator, MJ’s Big Blog, and TV Guide have confirmed that this season will be Alicia Keys’ final season as a coach.  In all honesty, I rather Alicia on the dais then Gwake.  For two seasons in a row, the “No One” singer-songwriter has discovered incredible talent and may be on her way to score her first victory in the competition.  Plus, it would be a shame that Mark Burnett and the Voice producers do not have Alicia and Christina Aguilera (the show’s two best female coaches) interact with each other on a future season.

While I continued to protest Alicia’s decision and resumed to wish for a Xtina return, the Top 11 took the Universal Studios Hollywood soundstage by storm.  Which artists rose to the occasion? Who should have gotten buzzed (or berated) for their vocals?  Did a front-runner emerge tonight?  Read on to find out!

Team Alicia’s Stephanie Rice kicked off the evening with her interpretation of The Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes.” From the pre-performance rehearsal, I got chills from Stephanie. Each and every word that Stephanie sang stabbed my heart. Stephanie’s “Behind Blue Eyes” is probably one of the best female rock performances I have ever seen since Kimberly Nichole’s “House of the Rising Sun.” I hope that Pete and Roger were watching this performance because I believe that they would be proud of Stephanie. A

Team Blake’s Aliyah Moulden remains one of the youngest artists in the competition. She sang Reba’s “Take It Back” and dedicated to her performance to her grandmother. While it is considered a country song, I thought that Etta James’ ghost possessed aliyah. It was gritty, but it was not my cup of tea. Is Aliyah talented? Absolutely, but Blake needs to pick songs that both she and the audience can connect. B-/C+

I would have a use a Simon Cowell zinger to describe TSoul as a singer and performer. TSoul is a performer who should have NEVER MADE THE TOP 12! This vocal performance was just a mess from the first note on and his tone was all over the place. F  

Team Adam’s Lilli Passero continues to grow each week and this week, Adam assigned her to perform Gene Pitney’s “Town Without Pity.” While I have not heard of the classic song, I thought it was an entertaining performance. Lilli’s voice continues to be the piece of ear candy that continues to make me smile. I agree with Carson Daly; someone contacts the Bond film producers. Lilli should sing the next James Bond anthem. A-

I do not enjoy listening to Hunter Plake. I do not see him as a legitimate recording artist, and there are better voices in the competition.  Also, I see him as a Will Champlin and Matt McAndrew copycat and that falsetto sounded like a dying cat. F

In my humble opinion, La’Porsha Renae has delivered the premier cover of Rihanna’s hit song: “Diamonds” on any singing competition series. I was a little hesitant to learn that Vanessa Ferguson was going to cover this song. While I will always love La’Porsha’s version, Vanessa delivered a bombastic version that put a smile on my face. I sincerely hope that America saves this talented woman! A

If I had to go for the performance that almost left me in tears, it was Lauren Duski’s cover of “Somewhere in My Broken Heart.” Like Stephanie’s cover of “Behind Blue Eyes,” Lauren tugged at my heart strings and almost pulled a Regina and tore my heart from my chest.  She is one of the show’s best song interpreters and always shines on stage. This was her breakout moment that I believe will help her go to the finale. A

I do not think that Mark Isaiah deserves to be on the show. Like Hunter, he is a Shawn Mendes, Justin Bieber, Harry Styles, and Cody Simpson wannabee. Anytime he is on the show; I just want to vomit. His voice is third-rate karaoke at best! F

Over the past few weeks, Jesse Larson is slowing growing on me. But, I got to say that “Human” was an interesting performance, to say the least. I did not get the song at all, and I felt that he was rapping during the verses. I hope that Jesse is not up against Mark tomorrow night. C-

Team Gwen’s Brennley Brown surprised me in the right way tonight. She tackled Joni Mitchell’s legendary Christmas anthem: “River.” This was what I have been looking for from Brennley since the live shows began. Her vocals melted my heart, and she proved why for the first time in this competition why she belongs in the Top 11. B+

Chris Blue concluded Top 11 night with his cover of “When A Man Loves A Woman.” While my mind immediately drifted to Joshua Ledet’s over-the-top cover of the Percy Sledge song, Chris Blue brought me back to the show with his velvet vocals. This was the show-stopping performance that I had waited all night for and Chris gave the perfect reason why he deserves to join Lauren in the finale with a spectacular vocal performance that gave me chills. A+

Tomorrow night, Alisan Porter returns to show to debut her new single: “Deep Water.”

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar