The Voice recap: ‘Live Top 11 Eliminations’

25 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘The Voice’ Season 9 Top 10 revealed: Evan McKeel eliminated, Korin Bukowski hangs on by a thread.

America knows what it likes, and we’re sticking with it. Maybe having been in this position only a week before helped the Gwen Stefani look-alike, because she gave a strong performance of Maroon 5’s “She Will Be Loved” and it captured just enough votes to advance.The Top 11 artists — along with coach Pharrell Williams, who sang his musically repetitive, lyrically clunky, yet curiously catchy hit “Freedom” — performed on “The Voice” on Monday night.

Jordan Smith must have given himself the upper hand by bundling all his insecurities into one Jessie J song, but Madi Davis also put herself in a good position and Emily Ann continued her dominance of the show’s country corner. This week’s Voice iTunes rankings were nearly identical to what we saw last during the Top 12 eliminations, and tonight’s episode also featured a very similar ending to what went down last week. But Evan Mckeel, who was lackluster in his live performance on Monday, sang Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” with more gusto as he too fought to stay alive. The Top 11 live eliminations included a performance from Brad Paisley, group songs from Team Gwen (New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give”) and Team Adam (The Beach Boys’ “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”), and a very sweet Thanksgiving celebration with the contestants and their families. Vocalists with the least number of votes will be revealed and at the end of the evening we will find out which singers are advancing in the competition and who will be going home.

And in honor of Thanksgiving week, the contestants’ family members sat in on their rehearsals, which gave us a chance to marvel at family resemblances and listen to the vocalists’ moms, dads and wives brag about them. The country mogul said he realized that Jeffery could give his newfound girlfriend the opportunity to become the first female coach to win “The Voice.” Pharrell said she came out on stage “like a cannon,” and her raspy growl, which hadn’t been on display much before, was a go-to tactic for this performance, although Gwen mentioned that she might want to use it sparingly because of its uniqueness. It’s been imperfect in the past, so it is impossible to say that one of these performances was markedly better than the other based on this flawed system.

Shelby was at her best when she was holding onto the “I” with blistering force, because when she came down to a gentler rhythm, her voice seemed to waver. On last night’s episode the remaining 11 artists: Jordan Smith, Jeffery Austin, Emily Ann Roberts,Madi Davis, Braiden Sunshine, Barrett Baber, Amy Vachal, Evan McKeel, Shelby Brown and Zach Seabaugh performed live in front of coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams for America’s vote. On the bottom for the second week in a row, Bukowski went for a potentially risky song choice with Maroon 5’s “She Will Be Loved.” The verdict from Adam Levine? “Hard not to go with you here, for obvious reasons,” he told her. “I’ve never heard a female vocal on that song. After a series of energetic performances ranging from Stevie Wonder to Kenny Loggins, Evan brought it down a notch, taking a seat center stage while strumming gently on his guitar.

But before anyone is declared safe tonight, our old friend Brad Paisley, who served as a guest advisor for Team Blake earlier this season, performs his single, “Country Nation.” It name-checks a lot of college mascots and references a whole heap of things I don’t understand — what does “cheer twenty-four and eighty-eight” mean? She also showed off her vocal power and apparent deep love of giraffes (making Levine promise to buy her one if she did well) and Alabama (giving a shout out to her home state). His voice was certainly showcased more prominently, which was an important step for Evan, but overall it was a fairly uninspiring performance — not to mention the strange silhouette back up dancer that only served to take attention away from the singer. Williams observed that, although Brown wanted a giraffe, she was “raging like a lion.” And Gwen Stefani marveled at Brown’s tender years (she’s just 17) but advised her to use the “growl” in her voice more sparingly. Levine admitted that he wasn’t sure how he was going to deliver the promised giraffe, but said Brown deserved one because she “killed it” (the song, not the giraffe).

Evan McKeel (Team Pharrell): In recent performances, McKeel has targeted an upbeat, inspiring vibe and overshot the mark, his enthusiasm tipping over into manic territory. That feeling was propped up by a choir of backup singers who were talented in their own rite, but Barrett did enough to let his individual voice shine through. Stefani said it was McKeel’s best performance because he’d let his voice “just shine.” Williams said his team member had created a “super-intimate moment” and allowed people to see who he really was.

Barrett Baber (Team Blake): Shelton’s tall, red-headed, plaid-shirt-wearing doppelganger gave Tanya Tucker’s country classic “Delta Dawn” his own hard-stomping, rock-it-out treatment, prompting Stefani to compliment him on the way he was able to “command” the room and “control everybody.” Levine called Baber an “energetic … showman.” And Shelton said Baber had taken everyone “to church” with “a song that has nothing to do with going to church.” Korin Bukowski (Team Gwen): Snatched back from the brink of elimination last week, Bukowski gave a beseechingly pretty performance of Mandy Moore’s “Only Hope.” One wonders, however, if Bukowski’s singing packed the power it probably needed for her to further prolong her time on the show. It’s hard to see the Brooklyn native going anywhere anytime soon unless more rigid voters tire of hearing their favorite songs picked apart and made into something brand new. Blake congratulates Zach with a pat on the back and jokes, “They didn’t make you sweat it out this time.” Blake has grown on me considerably this season, largely because he appears to have the most genuine rapport with his team members.

His voice wasn’t much to write home about during this performance, but considering how many female squawks were emanating from the crowd afterward, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he moves on. The normally steadfast Carson Daley made a significant slip-up reading off the votes when he started off by saying an artist from Team Adam was moving on. Williams said he thought Bukowski was “on the right path.” And Stefani said she was delighted Bukowski got a chance “to shine … all sparkly and beautiful and confident” and convey her message to the world. Madi brought out a deeper side to her voice with a hint of Adele to it, which was uncharacteristic but equally as impressive as what she had been doing in the high octaves earlier on. Amy Vachal (Team Adam): In another inspired Adam Levine song pick, Vachal tackled Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space,” bringing the song a different kind of gorgeous playfulness and a power and control that seemed to break new ground for the beautiful singer.

Leaving her family teary-eyed, Madi once again crushed this difficult song and proved why she deserves to be one of the last artists standing onstage when all is said and done. Each performer’s interpretation is a good example of the type of artist they are: Jeffery is solid and belty; Korin delicate and sweet; Braiden seems unsure; and Gwen is all attitude.

But then Carson paused and said, “excuse me, I meant to say from Team Gwen.” It turned out that Jeffery was the next artist moving on, and Shelby’s face visibly dropped with devastation. This was a tough song for Braiden because it precedes him by generations, but Gwen said she is trying to avoid the stigma that comes along with being a 15-year-old.

Madi Davis (Team Pharrell): Another absurdly talented teen, Davis put it all out there with U2’s “Love Is Blindness.” Her lush tone and consistent growth have made her a season favorite (at least, for me). But the fact that he can do both so effectively and powerfully is all the more reason why it would be a heinous crime if he were not the last man standing. Shelton called it “the best performance of the night so far” and the “perfect match of artist and song.” And Williams seemed at a loss for words, chanting Davis’ first name with wonder and rushing up to hug her … twice. That may not be evident to everyone watching, but a good portion of America knows exactly what Blake is talking about, and that is the population Emily Ann needs to captivate — if she hasn’t already. Braiden Sunshine (Team Gwen): His decision to do a classic rock song last week may have been a slight stumble, but Sunshine recovered his footing this time around, bringing his own emotional truth and pure-voiced youth to Spandau Ballet’s “True.” The 15-year-old singer more than staked his claim to stick around with one particularly impressive sustained note.

Stefani said Sunshine brought out the “mom” in her, calling him “so good” and “so cute” and his singing “so tasteful.” Jordan Smith (Team Adam): Already positioned as a singer who encourages listeners to embrace their own differences, Smith amplified that message of self-acceptance with Jessie J’s “Who You Are.” Williams complimented Smith on his “attention to detail,” effortlessness and ability to convey “intention.” Levine called Smith “one of the best performers” he knows. Emily Ann Roberts (Team Blake): Roberts amply justified Shelton’s obvious confidence in her talent and future success, looking beautiful and capable and ready to take the stage at the Grand Ole Opry with the Judds’ “Why Not Me,” on which she accompanied herself on guitar.

It was an honest mistake, but watching Shelby’s face flood with relief as she thinks she’s safe, only to realize 20 seconds later she still could go home, is heartbreaking. Of course, that’s exactly what it is (and what all Voice song choices are — this is a competition), but it shouldn’t so obviously feel that way.

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