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The Voice recap: Season 11, Episode 17

The Top 12 performances feature both slips and standouts

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Tyler Golden/NBC

The Voice

type:
TV Show
genre:
Reality TV, Music
run date:
04/26/11
performer:
Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani, Alicia Keys
broadcaster:
NBC
seasons:
12
Current Status:
In Season

No matter how you feel about the results of last week’s election (ahem, for the purposes of this article, we’re only talking about The Voice‘s first live rounds), you gotta admit the resulting Top 12 is an interesting bunch. Tonight, they once again lay it all on the line in hopes of currying some favor with audiences — and, once again, there are a few surprising slips and even more surprising standouts along the way.

Here’s how the second, less-rushed round of lives went down, followed by a few predictions for tomorrow’s eliminations.

Sundance Head (Team Blake)

“My Church” by Maren Morris

With his crocodile teeth-studded rancher hat and thick beard braid on display, Sundance Head is doing his best Charlie Daniels impersonation on more than just the performance level. The Team Blake favorite turns up the notch on his southern style-o-meter even more — with a light show that should be preceded by more warnings than a roller coaster, no less.

The problem with such a busy stage showcase, though, is Sundance’s killer chords do get stuck in a repetitive rut along the way. The coaches eek out some compliments about his fitness for the big crowds, but not much is said of his unusually monotonous rigmarole of an opener. The good news is he’s already got a strong voter base at home, and his energy proves he’s in it for the long haul, so he’ll probably be fine. But this was not his best, even if it was his brightest. Next time, he should try to dial it back a bit to show off some of the more intimate tones buried beneath all that hollerin’ honky tonk.

Darby Walker (Team Miley)

“Ruby Tuesday” by The Rolling Stones

Look, if I’m being honest with myself and everyone else, Darby Walker has been on my list of need-to-go competitors for a while now — she’s gotten much too far on a played-out impersonation routine where others with more individual talents have been cast aside. Garth Brooks, however, was brought to tears just by talking to her, and tonight it’s clear she’s trying something new to convert some more Team Miley voters into her corner, now that the rescue bids are all dried up.

This isn’t a song you’d expect from her (note: Miley chose it), and it gives her a chance to show off more of her full voice, with some lovely Joni Mitchell moments of falsetto that feel organic and enjoyable instead of excessive. As Blake Shelton puts it, “it kinda shreds and gets raspy [with] more character and passion.” All of that is true, and the song still fits neatly within her wheelhouse without being a “rinse and repeat.” Is it too little too late, though?

NEXT: A rare miss may cost this singer a lot…

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