'The Voice' live blog: Team Christina and Team CeeLo sing live for the first time in Season 5
Before any of the finalists can take the stage, we're treated to a second performance from Xtina, who's teaming with A Great Big World on their single "Say Something." It's a remarkably emotional song. Not exactly the sort of thing that says "Tonight's going to be a blast!" But it's a nice contrast to last night's Flo Rida extravaganza.
First up: Team CeeLo's Amber Nicole
For her first live performance, Amber taking on "Wasting All These Tears" by Season 3 winner Cassadee Pope. CeeLo wants her to take on the country song to show her range and subvert America's expectations for an R&B artist. It feels slightly contrived to pick a song from a "Voice" alum, but whatever. It's a valiant attempt at showing versatility, but Amber's voice feels out of place on the song. She fights with pitch throughout, especially when attempting those big belts at the end. It feels like a misstep.
Adam picks up on the big note blunder, noting that she was a little "under," which Blake echoes, nothing that he has a hard time seeing anyone other than the artist he mentored taking on that song. Christina is more of a fan than the fellas, but also harps on the pitch issues. Coach CeeLo says he's proud that she rose to the occasion, taking on the challenge her threw at her, but even he can't avoid the pitch issue.
Up next: Team CeeLo's Jonny Gray
As the former military man takes the stage for his first live performance, Jonny's taking on The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony." Jonny continues to seem very awkward on stage. His voice definitely has a Bob Dylan thing going on, which, as has been noted here before, will likely either lead the viewer to love him or hate him. He handles the song well, but he seems as if he'd be more at home in a coffee house as opposed to a massive stage.
The coaches eat his performance up, showering him with the same effusive praise they have all season long. It'd be nice to see someone mention his awkward stage presence, but no one does. Oh well.
Third to go: Team CeeLo's Tamara Chauniece
Tamara's hoping to show that she's more than a gospel artist, earning the support of her church community as she shakes up her image. She's taking on Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" for her first live performance, and she absolutely owns the song. She takes to the stage with a newfound confidence, sounding amazing as she does. There's not much to be critical of here. Instead, it feels as if it's the moment Tamara finally arrived in Season 5.
Adam calls it her "best performance at the best time," while Blake says he's glad his team isn't competing against her for votes this week. CeeLo says her performance was the sort of energy the show needs. Watching Tamara beam with pride during the critiques may have been the cutest moment of the night.
Up next: Team CeeLo's Kat Robichaud
CeeLo's having his rocker chick take on Mary Lambert's "She Keeps Me Warm" for her first live performance. You'll recognize the song as the chorus in Macklemore's "Same Love." It's nice to see Kat slow it down. She sounds great on the track, and the moment at the end where she sang to a girl in the audience, nodding to the song's message, was quite sweet.
Adam wished she'd gotten to rock out a little more, something Christina echoed, though she admitted she appreciated Kat's intent behind the softer approach. It's hard to watch these coaches advise the artists to become one-trick ponies. Versatility ought to be celebrated, not discouraged. Not ever song demands an over-the-top approach, this one especially.
Taking the stage next: Team CeeLo's Caroline Pennell
CeeLo's having Caroline sing The White Stripes' "We're Going To Be Friends" for her first live performance, saying it was the first song he thought of for her back during the blinds. They have a really cute mentor-mentee relationship. The song is right up Caroline's alley, as it lends itself to her cutesy, quirky style quite well. She's consistently charming, understanding her strengths and limitations so well that every performance is a success.
Adam praises the performance for being "pure Caroline," while Blake admits that he could be undergoing an amputation and her voice would make him think of cotton candy. Uh, sure Blake. CeeLo's nearly bursting with pride. If she doesn't get America's vote, he'll clearly use his one save on her, without a doubt.
Up next: Team Christina's Josh Logan
For Josh's first live performance, Christina's having him take on CeeLo's iconic Gnarls Barkley track "Crazy." He's stripping the song down, accompanying himself on the guitar. It's a risk to do it in front of the original single, but it's been adapted just enough that it can stand on its own. The bluesy approach is a total slam dunk for Josh. There's such soul in his voice, and those impressive jazzy runs are stellar. Simply put, it's a stunning performance.
CeeLo says he's flattered by the performance, while Adam says he found the approach a little overstuffed, contradicting his early comments to Kat. Figure out what you want, Adam. Christina says she loved Josh's approach, praising his originality.
Next up: Team Christina's Olivia Henken
For her first live performance, Olivia's taking on Katy Perry's "Roar," tackling it with a bit of country flair. Katy's songs tend to be difficult for other singers to take on, and this performance is no exception. The first verse is all over the place as Olivia struggles with the low pitch, resorting to just speaking some lines at one point. By the end, Olivia's just belting the word "roar" over and over. The country twist worked surprisingly well, but it didn't feel like Olivia's best.
Blake noted his surprise over how well the song worked with the country influences and expressed his discomfort over a strong country artist being on a rival team. Christina praised the performance, and no one noted how wonky that opening was, though they should've.
Taking the stage now: Team Christina's Stephanie Anne Johnson
For her first live performance, cutie pie Stephanie is taking on the Ray Charles classic "Georgia on My Mind," which Christina advises she approach as a bluesy barn burner, rather than a ballad. She's wildly successful in her performance. There's a confidence in her that hasn't been there before. It feels like a revelatory moment for Stephanie, who'd come off as a little bland going into this.
The coaches swoon over the performance, with CeeLo noting his jealousy over having let Stephanie go, Adam admitting she did the song proud, and Christina gushing over her versatility.
Taking the stage next: Team Christina's Matthew Schuler
Christina's having her frontrunner take on Miley Cyrus' power ballad "Wrecking Ball" for his live performance, hoping that he'll be able to show a different dimension of his abilities. Coming off his stunning Knockout Round performance of "Cosmic Love," he's got a lot of goodwill and hype surrounding him that he's got to live up to. The performance does, to an extent. It's not as magnificent as that earlier performance, but could anything have been? There are one or two notes that he seems to strain to reach, but it's another powerful moment for Matthew.
The coaches can barely get their comments out, due to a mixture of their stunned reaction and the wild screams of the audience. If the in-house crowd can be trusted as an accurate representation of America, Matthew's in this thing for the long haul.
Last, but not least: Team Christina's Jacquie Lee
Christina's tasking the youngest artist in the competition to take on "I Put A Spell On You" for her first live performance. How is this girl only 16? There's such strength, confidence and conviction in her voice as she sings -- nay, owns -- the song. It's almost ridiculous. Without a doubt, it's the performance of the night.
CeeLo calls it "the absolute best," while Adam praises her for making CeeLo mad with her ability. Christina can barely speak, she's so proud. Just like that, Jacquie became a frontrunner.
With that, it's up to America to decide who moves on to the Top 12. Don't forget to tune in on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET to see which two artists on each team advance from votes and which lucky one gets their coaches save. Who deserves to move on and who should get the boot? Let us know in the comments below.