What an odd trajectory season 8 of The Voice has turned out to have. During the Battles and Knockout Rounds, this season seemed inordinately full of diverse and dynamic talent; but as the numbers have dwindled, so have the dynamics of this season’s makeup. Just look at Team Christina… from the strongest in the competition to entering the Finals empty-handed. The five artists left going into tonight are no less talented than the group at large was in the beginning, but they all seem to fit a little too easily into two categories: Folksy fellas and loud gals. Or, as they’re known in the singing show biz, WGWGs and Belters.
It’s true that the two Belters left at the end of tonight have incredibly different styles, but does it even matter? We all know what’s coming. We all know what’s coming when Carson asks each artist what they’d like to say to their fans—that’s, uh, thank you. We all know what’s coming when Carson asks the Bottom 2 what they’d like to say to their coaches—that’s another big ol’ thank you (with “please get me a record contract when this is all over” undertones). I will admit that I was not expecting Carson to say the word “edibles” tonight, or get quite so giddy around Snoop Dogg, but still… we all know what’s coming. We haven’t seen the top of Sawyer’s head yet, and we’re not going to, because that Derby hat is getting replaced very soon—this is all a countdown to Sawyer’s crown.
It’s not that I’m opposed to Sawyer winning; Sawyer has a unique sound and often moving style that’s far beyond his years. It would be more entertaining if there were a little more suspense, but the young man can sell a song on iTunes, and good on him… The Voice needs a winner that can sell some records if it wants to live to see another eight seasons, especially considering O.G. Coach Adam’s waning interest. All singing shows must die—just ask American Idol or Arya Stark—but it would be good for this one to be able to crank out a super star before it does. Is Sawyer the one? Someone else in this season? I don’t know. But I know that the introduction of original singles written by big deal hit-makers like Max Martin did a great deal in determining the viability of each of last season’s Top 4 as successful recording artists, and I’m hoping they’ll be a game changer again this season. I’m also hoping for more ridiculously cheesy music videos. But that’s not until next week…
TEAM PHARRELL: Sawyer Fredericks
TEAM BLAKE: Meghan Linsey
TEAM ADAM: Joshua Davis
Bottom 2 Perform:
TEAM CHRISTINA: India Carney, “Dark Side” by Kelly Clarkson
With “Gravity” and especially with “Earth Song,” India had possibly her best night of the season on Monday, but apparently it wasn’t enough to keep her safe, and this “Save Me” song wasn’t enough to get her the Twitter Save. It just wasn’t up at the higher end of the spectrum we’ve heard from her, but I wouldn’t blame India if she was feeling a little uninspired to fight for her spot in the Finals for the third time in a row.
TEAM PHARRELL: Koryn Hawthorne, “If I Were a Boy” by Beyoncé
But this was Koryn’s first Instant Save battle and she was ready to fight for it. She certainly didn’t sound perfect, but that song has such weight to it, and Koryn performed it with such conviction that it felt like she had to be the one who stayed to keep fighting.
INSTANT SAVE: Koryn Hawthorne
This was a tough call with both happiness and sadness at the end of the tunnel either way. Koryn and India are both lovely, talented singers who have shown a lot of growth, and therefore, still have a lot of unexplored potential. Koryn’s original single will go a long way to determine if she can be the “inspiration” that Pharrell has been describing her as all season (no pressure), but I would have been equally interested to see what kind of song India would have wanted for her first single… that I never really knew might be the reason she left just short of the Finals. I just hope that Christina’s lack of stakes in this competition now means she starts dropping truth bombs all over these artists—someone has to!
Do you agree that we’ve officially entered the Countdown to Sawyer? And if not, who is his stiffest competition? What are you expecting out of the original singles next week and could they sway your opinion on the Top 4 at all?