The live shows begin with some great performances.

By Esther Zuckerman
Updated July 30, 2020 at 08:05 AM EDT
Credit: Trae Patton/NBC
S7 E15

Well, we’ve hit the homestretch Voice folks, meaning we’re into the live play-off rounds. Monday’s competition focused on Adam’s and Blake’s teams and featured quite a few pared down performances with singers sitting on chairs at the beginning of their songs. But it was a night of hard choices ahead, so let’s get right down to it.

Team Blake

High Performance(s): The show just wants me to pick Craig Wayne Boyd’s closing performance as the top one for Team Blake. For the entire night perhaps. Blake even said, “that was the performance of the night, dude,” and Boyd did sing the crap out of “Some Kind of Wonderful,” completely winning over the room. I’m going to, however, tie him with Reagan James. First off, it’s still impossible to believe this girl is only 15, given how assured of her own style she is. James’ take on Colbie Caillat’s “Try,” showed off the range of what she can do. She opened the song playing guitar, and then got up and started to groove.

Middle of the Pack: The two Team Blake performances that I felt landed in the middle of the field were James David Carter’s “Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House” and Jessie Pitts’ “Holding Out For a Hero.” Carter is an all-around impressive performer, but I can’t help but compare him to Boyd. (Perhaps because Blake paired them during the Battle Rounds.) Whereas Boyd got the entire audience going, Carter’s performance was steady but not magnificent. Meanwhile, I have always loved Jessie Pitts’ voice, and she probably unfairly suffers in comparison to James, whose turn was more consistent.

Low Performance: This pains me to say, because I actually adore her and her song choice, but Taylor Brashear’s take on the Dixie Chicks’ “Long Time Gone” fell a little flat. Her fiddling at the beginning of the song seemed to throw her off, and it almost seemed like she was looking for air at certain points.

Team Adam

High Performance: Matt McAndrew’s “God Only Knows” was simply gorgeous. McAndrew has always been a favorite of mine on the program, and by taking on a song that is so beloved, he had a hard task to accomplish—but he pulled it off. Perhaps the nicest thing a coach did for any contestant this episode was when Pharrell essentially shilled for McAndrew prompting him to direct people to his website. A close second to McAndrew is Damien, whose take on Sam Smith’s “I’m Not the Only One,” was brimming with emotion.

Middle of the Pack: There’s a strong middle of the pack here. Mia Pfirrman’s “Young and Beautiful” was a powerful counter to Lana Del Rey’s original version and could have easily fit into the “high” category. At times Pfirrman risked over-singing for my taste, but her conclusion was quite remarkable. Taylor Phelan’s “Cool Kids” was solid and familiar, given his previous work on the show. Gwen even said that “it’s like watching a peer.” That’s obviously high praise, but Phelan needs to amaze, too.

Low Performance: I have never quite gotten the appeal of Chris Jamison, and his performance of Ed Sheeran’s “Don’t,” didn’t do anything to convert me. Perhaps it was the wrong choice of song. Jamison was intimidated by its lyrical complexities even in rehearsal, at which point Adam recommended cardio, explaining that Usher sings his songs on a treadmill to prep for a long tour. During the performance he also struggled to catch his breath, and although he recovered well, the performance ultimately didn’t win me over, as energetic as Jamison was. I think I’m going to be on the wrong side of history on this one.

Please visit the EW Community to read season 2 semifinalist Katrina Parker’s take on last night’s episode of The Voice.

Episode Recaps

The Voice - Season 14

The Voice

A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.

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