'The Voice' live blog: The Top 10 fight to stay alive
Up first, we're treated to a group performance from our full Top 10, singing "Say It, Just Say It." There's a distinct KidzBop vibe to this performance that feels too silly and cheesy to be enjoyable. Not to mention that group performances on a show like this because everyone's voices are much too different to work together well. It just feels like community theater -- bad community theater, that is.
Up first with a song that doesn't feel meant for a preschool class is Team Blake's Austin Jenckes. Blake wants the rocker to shock the audience this week, aiming for Austin's major breakout moment. He's given "Your Love" by The Outfield, a song that gives the artist pause due to the fact that everyone will know the song.
Austin sounds great on the song, as he always does. The beginning feels a little hinky in terms of pitch, he sounds just under the notes in the intro, but his wailing at the end is pure powerhouse. Is it his breakout moment? That's not so clear. Blake thinks so. Christina praises the ending, saying Austin "took us there." Adam and CeeLo laud Austin's range, singling out his spectacular ending, as well.
Before we can get to another song, it's time for host Carson Daly to have some chatter with Olympic runner Usain Bolt, whose there to cheer on Jamaica's Tessanne Chin and race the goofy host in that small Sprint Skybox because, why not?
Before we can hear Team Christina's Jacquie Lee sing tonight, we get to see how her coach introduced her to yoga because, why not? Tonight, she's taking on "Clarity" by Zedd and Foxes, which is a massive risk because Season 4 finalist Michelle Chamuel absolutely slayed on that song just last season. Will stripping it down to a ballad be enough of a difference?
It's a good thing Jacquie did some yoga leading up to this because sitting and singing is incredibly tough, in terms of opening up your full lung capacity. She seems to struggle with pitch at the very beginning, wavering on a couple notes. Once she's able to stand up, the vocal feels more assured. However, stripping the song down seems to strip it of some of its power, as well. CeeLo and Blake mention those opening moments, blaming it on the nakedness of the song, surmising she doesn't have the anger to work with that she has in the past two weeks. After her performances the last two weeks, the performance feels like a misstep.
Up next, Team Adam's Will Champlin. Watching Adam meet with Will's family after last week's show is adorable. Could that little girl get any cuter? This week, Adam's having him take on John Newman's "Love Me Again," a huge song in the UK that will likely be unrecognizable to the American audience. It's a massive bit of UK neo-soul that could absolutely provide Will with the big moment he sorely needs in this competition.
Will sounds much more sure of himself this week, much more comfortable. He doesn't struggle with timing or pitch. He seems right at home. It's an enjoyable performance, one that leaves the artist on stronger footing than last week. Adam praises Will for hanging in through all the ups and downs he's faced this season, calling his performance a testament to his perseverance. Christina thinks this is the week he finally came into his own, while Blake celebrates him for being such an accurate vocalist.
Taking the stage next is Team CeeLo's Caroline Pennell. One of Season 5's most adorable artists will be taking on John Denver's "Leaving On a Jet Plane," a song that she feels connected to. It's a sharp reversal from last week's Avicii track, which seems deliberate. The retro warmth of the song fits with Caroline's sound much more. Simply put, it's lovely.
CeeLo says he's pleased to let go of his control over Caroline and let her guide herself, but mentions he felt the song would overpower at a certain point during the performance. Adam praises her artistry, saying it's great to see someone so sure of who they are determined to stay true to that.
After last week's masterful turn on Miguel's "Adorn," Team Blake's Cole Vosbury will be tackling "To Be With You" by Mr. Big. After an initial run with the piano, Blake admits that this song is more of a guitar moment. Cole's excitement over the song is adorable. Turns out it was one of his favorite songs, which Blake was unaware of when he selected it. Cole knocks it out of the park, per usual. It's not as powerful as "Adorn" last week, because it's a bit more expected, but it's just so winning.
Blake loved how acoustic the performance was, saying it was simply all about Cole. Adam says the switch from piano to guitar was smart, but admits Cole could've succeeded with it either way. CeeLo admits he's proud of the growth he's seen in Cole since he left his team for Blake's, but says the shadowy background singers remind him of "American Horror Story: Coven." Uh, sure CeeLo.
Oh, yippee, more Carson in the Sprint Skybox. Good news though? Season 4's Swon Brothers signed with Sony. Good for them.
After that wasted time, it's time for Tessanne to hit the stage. Adam's having her take on Gladys Knight's "If I Were Your Woman" because he says she needs a big soul moment, though she says with an artist like that, she needs to tread carefully. The performance is a stunner, but when hasn't that been the case with Tessanne? At this point, is there anything she can't do?
Adam admits that taking on Gladys Knight is no small order, but declares the performance as her solidifying moment on the show as a major contender. While transitioning to Christina, Carson says that listening to that song, he couldn't help but think of her, which seemed to feel odd even to Christina herself. And we all know that woman loves a good compliment. Also, Usain Bolt sticking around to cheer Tessanne on alongside her family? Too cute. Her subsequent freakout? Even cuter.
Up next is Team Blake's Ray Boudreaux, who Carson will be taking a song true to the sort of artist he wants to be: Ray LaMontange's "The Best Thing." Well, the name's aren't too dissimilar, at least. Blake comments that the two Rays have a similar vocal tone, but warns his artist to be careful about swallowing his words. There's little to critique with the performance, but, as in the weeks prior, there's also not very much to get wildly excited about. It's technically proficient, but it continues to feel a bit safe, a bit bland. The girls in the crowd (and probably at home, too) love Ray. He's not going anywhere just yet.
Blake raves about his artist, while Christina says she thinks he's shown the most growth this season. She believes he's found his identity, one that wasn't evident at the onset. CeeLo praises Ray's consistency, but Adam admits he wanted to see him bust out and entertain a little more. Adam is the only one speaking the truth tonight, apparently.
Team Adam's James Wolpert is up next. Last week seemed to be a close call for the indie rocker, however much his coach loved his "Mr. Brightside" performance from last week. Tonight, Adam's having him take on Harry Nilsson's "Without You," giving him the opportunity to take on rock classic. During his performance, James sounds great when he opens up on those massive notes, but his timing gets a bit wonky during moments. He does sound a bit hoarse by the end, however. Perhaps just a bit of vocal stress at this point in the competition.
Adam says the song is one of the hardest songs with those long, sustained notes, but praises the way James took the song and turned it into something so intrinsically his. Christina says James' voice is always clean, even though his pitch doesn't always match up. She admits the ending went a bit astray, but other than that, she loved it.
As we near the end, up next is Team CeeLo's Kat Robichaud who only survived by the skin of her teeth (and some fervent Twitter fans) last week. Tonight, she's taking on Pat Benatar's "We Belong." CeeLo wants this performance to be epic for Kat, bringing in a big-time choreographer to amp up the theatricality. Kat says she's never done anything like it, hoping it be enough to push her through.
In the end, it doesn't seem choreography was the missing ingredient for an epic Kat performance. It all feels a little stilted, a little too overwrought. Why won't CeeLo just unleash this girl and let her do her thing? There's too, too much happening every week, when all she should do is sing. CeeLo and Adam love it, however. Hmm.
Wrapping the night is Team Christina's Matthew Schuler. After last week's epic "Hallelujah," Matt's taking on "Beneath Your Beautiful" from Labrinth featuring Emeli Sande. After some more yoga footage, he takes the stage. His first few notes feel a bit shaky, but he quickly recovers, turning in another incredible Matthew performance. It's nothing like last week (but nothing could've been), but it's more than enough to earn the crowd's explosive reaction. It might've been more fun to see him do something upbeat this week, but there's time for that.
Which artists are sure to advance to the Top 8 after tonight's performances? And who will land with a thud at bottom? Sound off in the comments below.