As soon as Carson announced that one of the Top 6 artists’ two performances tonight would be dedicated to their mothers, I knew I would spend half of this Voice episode crying because I simply can’t watch mothers tearfully be proud of their children without also getting misty. But I did not imagine that the other side of that performance coin would involve quite so much rocking out—or attempts to rock out, as was sometimes the case. The coaches are really starting to fly fast and loose with the staging and song choice freedom and it’s making some artists pop, some try a little too hard, and some seem totally boring by comparison.
The opportunity to give more than one performance in an episode highlighted the difference between the contestants who are confident and consistent in their artistry versus those who are willing to throw a bunch of options up in the air and see what lands. As a result, I’m guessing that tomorrow’s results might highlight the reason the show just can’t seem to produce a star: Being an artist with a strong enough point of view to make an interesting record after the show doesn’t really matter when it comes to grabbing the Voice win. A large chunk of what matters in advancing are iTunes sales, and sometimes that just means singing a song that people will want to buy every week… and that had a pretty wide range of interpretations in tonight’s song choices.
The best performances are worth $1.29 or they’re worth a rewind, but they’re not always worth both. The show just might get lucky this season in having a winning overlap in a contestant who can sell songs and a contestant with a signature point of view; but with such an odd assortment of genres styles from each artist tonight, prepare for mixed opinions in the comments on who that artist is, probably not agreeing with any of the commentary below, and what I’m predicting to be a couple of surprising exits tomorrow night…
India Carney (TEAM CHRISTINA)
“Glory” by John Legend and Common, from the movie Selma
Tonight, the judges were all about talking when people have “popped” throughout the competition; I pretty much always disagree with them on that timing and India is the perfect example. For me, “Glory,” popped a brief glimpse of the artist that India could be if she won—this seemed like the first time she was really feeling a song rather than just trying to make us think she was feeling it. But for some reason…
“Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith
…Adam described India’s Sam Smith cover as the performance that made her a frontrunner. Eh. I thought it started off nicely and then it just went off the rails once she went into her high register with an excess of vibrato.
Joshua Davis (TEAM ADAM)
“Desire” by U2
I loved the idea of Joshua doing something more up-tempo, but I cringed a bit at the execution. Joshua has a great voice, but he’s not exactly the kind of artist who can front a band with three backup singers.
“In My Life” by The Beatles
But he is the kind of singer who can stand in the middle of a stage and sing meaningfully about his wife (his Mother’s Day guest). This wasn’t the most exciting performance, but it sure was lovely, and I say if people were moved enough to clap along, then let them clap however they want to, Adam.
NEXT: Rock Ballerina and Steamroll Soul…