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'The Voice' recap: 'Top 8 Performances'

With a lot of talent, and a few overlapping voices, season 8 heads into tricky territory.

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The Voice

TV Show
Reality TV, Music
run date:
Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson
Current Status:
In Season

Some tricky business is about to start happening on season 8 of The Voice. The Top 8 performed tonight, and while it was a mixed bag of melodies and the occasional missed note, it was as evident as ever that this is a particularly talented group of singers; but two still have to go home on Tuesday night as we work our way toward a winner. And while it’s pretty easy to figure out who the top performers in this crew are, it’s a little more difficult to find an overlap between the artists who most deserve to be cut loose, and the artists who are most likely to head home tomorrow.

The biggest issue facing these artists now is that some of the best performers dwell in a similar space and are bound to start canceling each other out with voters. To see the emerging talents of Kimberly or Koryn (both on the pop charts tonight) go home tomorrow would simply be a crime, while it’s becoming difficult to imagine that the country vote will every fail Corey even though he hasn’t been at peak performance recently. Hopefully the risk of losing great performers will encourage voters to go with artists whose album they would actually want to buy, as well as encourage these artists to give performances inspired by the album they’d actually want to make. Because isn’t that what this is all headed toward?

I firmly believe that The Voice is capable of producing a real superstar, and with all the mentoring power of the ghosts of coaches past and present (except for Shaki, miss you, girl) assembled there tonight, as well as Matt McAndrew—proof that winning isn’t everything—it’s clear that this season has all the tools to be the one that finally means something big to the current music industry landscape. But it’s tomorrow’s results following tonight’s performances that will be most telling…

TEAM BLAKE: Hannah Kirby, “We Don’t Need Another Hero” by Tina Turner

Hannah and Cee Lo hanging out in a room together makes a lot more sense to me than Blake and Cee Lo occupying the same space, but I don’t know if she ended up benefiting from his extra coaching or not. I’m with Adam that I was so distracted by how cute the dancing children in white bedazzled jackets were I often wasn’t focusing on what Hannah was doing during her Tina Turner cover. She did tone down the yelling that has overshadowed some of her recent performances, which is a good thing, but she also seemed to lose some of her normal energy among all of the production.

TEAM ADAM: Joshua Davis, “Fields of Gold” by Sting

It was good to see Joshua back in his element after a few weeks of confusingly off performances. Now the questions is, after seeing the weaker side of his voice last week, is that element dynamic enough to make Joshua a viable recording artist? There is no denying his perfectly husky tone when it’s right in its sweet spot—consider Sting the eye of that storm—but there’s also no denying that very tone might just lull you to sleep in two tracks flat. I need iTunes to tell me whether that’s a negative or positive thing to the music-buying public.

TEAM CHRISTINA: Kimberly Nichole, “Creep” by Radiohead

She’s done it again. I would like to point out that even if the show didn’t mention it, Kimberly credited Postmodern Jukebox and Haley Reinhart’s “Creep” cover that went viral a few weeks ago as the inspiration for this arrangement. But whether someone else created the melody or not, Kimberly Nichole absolutely embodied it out on that stage. Christina wanted the normally edgy Kimberly to show some vulnerability, and it started in the practice room when a few perfect notes from Christina (“Can I try singing this for a second?” The answer is always yes, Xtina) moved her to tears because she relates to the outlier message of this song so much, especially in regard to her time on The Voice. But the irony is that Kimberly so very much belongs on this show, and her dramatic, controlled, and perfectly angsty performance tonight proved that fact yet again. (And props to Gwen for pointing out that Kimberly’s normal rock-ballerina style would have been at odds with this performance.)

NEXT: Blake lets his cawn-fi-DENSE get him carried away…