“This is it, the semifinals,” our intrepid and timely host Carson Daly reminds us.
Though the finality and urgency of his words seemed to insist that Monday night’s episode would in fact be an epic one — this is the penultimate week of the competition after all — four out of five of the remaining singers didn’t get the memo. Talk about a snooze-fest of semifinal performances. The only singer who seemed to grasp the gravity of this moment was Tessanne Chin. Her rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” — inspired by her own undisclosed personal turmoil (Adam Levine said that chatter of her intimate connection to the song was edited out) — woke me up from the deep sleep I had fallen into starting with her teammate James Wolpert’s U2 salute.
The final five’s group performance of “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors was another soporific (and sophomoric) surprise that left me wondering, where’s the power, the energy, and… my blankie, you guys? Their final set of harmonies was thin and weak, and only served to uplift the true winner of Monday night — Tessanne.
Onto the Top Five performances…
TEAM ADAM: James Wolpert
The song: “With or Without You” by U2
The performance: “I just wanna see him really let it go,” said Adam of the U2 ballad, which apparently has never been performed on the show before. James, who won the Twitter save last week, has a lot to prove to America if he wants to break that instant save curse. Is he a worthy Top Three candidate? Not sure about that. Singing among giant blank screens slapped with floating ink stains, the ’50s looker with the glam-rock voice sang Bono’s yelper with too much polish at times. I wished he had used more of his achy-breaky-vibrato in the beginning.
The feedback: His coach Adam seemed to love it — “I just know how incredible that performance was… James, that was even beyond what I thought you could do.” Blake Shelton said, “You needed a moment like that,” after falling to the bottom two last week. “That was really strong,” he added.
TEAM ADAM: Will Champlin
The song: “Carry On” by Fun.
The performance: Let’s start with the positive. Will had the best stage sets of the night. The nighttime cityscape looked hauntingly beautiful on the Voice stage. Look, I’ve been a fervent converted fan of Will’s since mid-season, but with this lackluster song choice, I think all of Will’s hard work and clutch-player-momentum took a giant step backwards. His rendition lacked warmth, and most of all, it lacked quiet moments that could let his voice shine.
The feedback: Judging by the rare smile on Will’s face, Adam was satisfied. Blake thought that Will’s display of vulnerability was positive — “That’s gonna go a long way in the competition.”
NEXT: (Please don’t) Sing Me To Sleep…