Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Playoffs – Teams Shakira & Adam – Recap ('The Voice' s.6)

This is turning out to be the best season of The Voice, so far. The caliber of talent and performances put out by the artists is unreal, and we're not even at the Live Shows. I can't imagine what's to come, but based on what we've seen, the Live Shows are going to be insane!

Last night, Shakira's and Adam's teams took the stage. Ten extraordinary singers gave us their all, but only six moved on. I put out my predictions a few days ago, and only got one right with Team Shakira. But, I'll be the first to admit that after seeing their performances last night, I completely agree with Shakira's choices. Even before she announced her picks, I knew I only had one right. As for Team Adam, I predicted two correctly, and the third could have went either way. But, I think Adam made a good choice for his team.

Team Shakira started the night off, and they really set the bar high. First up was Kristen Merlin doing “Two Black Cadillacs.” Being the only country artist on her team, Kristen really needed to step up and kill the song. Carrie Underwood is a powerful vocalist, and I was a little worried Kristen wouldn't meet what the song demanded. But, she she did and nailed it perfectly. She knew what she needed to do, and she did it. She had great tone, solid control, and a deep connection with the song and the audience. My only critique would be about wardrobe. While she looked good, I just had a problem matching her image last night to the song she performed. But that doesn't matter when you put out that amazing of a performance. Even Blake said that it was as flawless as a live performance could be.

Deja Hall followed with her rendition of “Battlefield.” I think this was a good song choice for her, as she needed to show us the other side of her soft and angelic voice. She started soft and strong but did seem a little nervous. As the song grew in strength, however, so did she. Deja did form the connection with the audience and never strayed from the pocket, but I don't think she gave the song the power it needed, and the power that I felt she was capable of. She was solid, and it was a great performance... just not as strong as she needed it to be.

From a single chair turn, to being stolen by Blake, then stolen by Shakira, Tess Boyer has shown everyone how grossly underestimated she was thus far. Singing “Human,” she made one of my top three picks for the night. She started in the lower register (which not many female artists can do so perfectly as she can). Within seconds, she connected with us and with the song, and as the power in the song grew, she grew with it in perfect sync, both physically and vocally. Her pitch was perfect. Her tone was amazing, and her control with the high notes was incredible. With no doubts, she has the look, the sound, the personality, and the power to win this. I can not wait to see what she does next.

Patrick Thomson was another artist Shakira stole during the Battle Rounds. He has this natural roughness and rasp in his voice that makes him unique on Team Shakira. I thought his performance of “Trouble” was soulful and true to himself. He had the power, but after what Kristen and Tess delivered, I didn't think the performance was enough to compete with them. I like Patrick, and I don't doubt that he has a bright future ahead of him.

Closing out for Team Shakira was Dani Moz doing “Edge Of Glory.” She chose to do a stripped down version of the song, with just herself at the piano. I don't think it was more than a few bars in before we were hit with the emotional connection she had to the song. Her tone was amazing, and I love her sound, but it was the connection and passion that drew us into her world. The range in this song is very dynamic, and Dani was flawless. She played the scale with no effort, and one of the her 'power' notes near the end made Shakira jump out of her chair with excitement. Honestly, Dani blew me away with that simple yet very powerful vocal performance.

After all was said and sung, Shakira had to pick which three she would be taking to Lives. Before the performances, I thought it would be easy, but after... Dani and Kristen definitely changed the game.

Shakira's Top 3:
1. Tess Boyer – find her on Twitter
2. Kristen Merlin – find her on Twitter
3. Dani Moz – find her on Twitter

Adam's team was next and Delvin Choice started it off with his performance of “Let's Stay Together.” Delvin sees himself as an R&B/Soul singer and wanted to showcase that last night. Now, I admit, that this isn't my favorite style of music, but I can't deny how well Delvin did. Right from the beginning of the song, I felt as though I was sitting in an upscale Blues Bar. He had a great sound and a very strong Bluesy feel. The audience loved him, and the coaches loved the performance.

Jake Barker followed with “She Will Be Loved” by Adam's band. It's always a huge risk to do your coach's song. Adam obviously has a deeper and more personal attachment to his own song than he would with another artist's and will probably be much more critical of how his song was performed. Jake did have great tone and control, and for someone who's had very little stage experience, he did really well last night. His vocals were very strong, and his falsettos were spot on, but I didn't feel as strong of a connection to him or the song as I would have liked. But, all things considered, it was really well done.

Just when I thought I'd seen her best, Kat Perkins came on and blew me away with “Open Arms.” She hit the stage looking absolutely stunning, and from the first note, she grabbed the audience and never let go. Her power never faltered, and she hit every note flawlessly and effortlessly. Her emotional connection to the song was true, and you could feel her devotion to it. Usher told Adam he had a sure thing with Kat, and Adam commented that there “has not been a better performance.” Overall, it was an incredible and memorable performance and definitely part of my Top 3 for the night.

Morgan Wallen picked “Stay” for his song, and he did okay. His low and raspy voice is rather unique in the competition and fit well with his song choice. I felt, however, there were times that his nerves got to him a bit, but he did still have a nice tone. My only problem is he seemed to show a very limited range during the song. I would have liked to see him expand that some more. The coaches liked it (and I enjoyed it), but I didn't think it was enough last night to advance him.

Closing out the show and the last for Team Adam was Christina Grimmie singing “I Won't Give Up,” and her performance rounds out my top three. She started off softly but with a beautiful tone. The way she chose to arrange the song allowed her to make it her own and show just how big of a range she has and how well she can control it. She worked the stage. She engaged the audience, and she killed it. She was like a ball of fire that engulfed the entire room... an amazing performer and an amazing performance. If Christina keeps moving in the direction she's going, she is a very strong front-runner for the win.

After his team performed, in my opinion, Adam's choices as to whom he was taking to the Live Shows weren't as difficult as Shakira's. The performances last night were great, but some completely stood out more than others.

Adam's Top 3
1. Christina Grimmie – find her on Twitter
2. Delvin Choice – find him on Twitter
3. Kat Perkins – find her on Twitter

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