The Voice‘s playoffs are coming to a close with Miley Cyrus’ team, as she rounds out the top 12 and sends three singers on to the live performances. And man, is it a close one. Because unlike the rest of the teams, there aren’t really many struggling stragglers left here to make her decisions easy. Even her comeback artist is impressive enough to earn some serious consideration.
So, does she make the right choices when it comes to who she’ll carry through to the lives for season 13? Let’s take a look.
There’s no doubt Brooke Simpson has been a strong contender since her very first appearance on this show, and it’s been so interesting to watch her continue to come into her own on the stage, as she does tonight. Singing James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” (from a very different perspective than its originator, of course), she begins the number with some, as Miley Cyrus puts it, “runny” moments that she quickly dispenses with.
By about halfway through, she’s taken full ownership of the lyrics she’s singing and how they apply to her specifically. Brooke’s voice isn’t the most unique sound of the season, and that may be a problem for her in future rounds, but for tonight, she’s managed to belt her way into impressing the coaches, again, with her solid note control and lively sense of authority.
It’s good to see Karli Webster get another shot at this thing because she really is just delightful to listen to. It was Janice Freeman who knocked her out of this competition with her bangle-slinging badassery, and there were no steals left to save Karli at their stage of the knockouts. So it only seems fair that Miley would choose her as the comeback artist for her team and at least give audiences another shot at hearing her sweet little voice.
Unlike everyone else who gotten an extra chance at the top 12, Karli does nothing but prove why she deserves that shot. Her rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors” shows that there is at least one genre of music her angelic tones are perfectly suited to, and Miley is right to entrust her with a tune from her own “fairy godmother” tonight. Sure, there are some moments when she’s pretty shaky (Miley chalks it up to pure vibrato), but there’s an appeal to Karli’s blissful countenance that’s simply undeniable. I’d happily listen to anything she wanted to sing, but this is a surprisingly swell song to combine her flower power with some Grand Ole Opry appeal, even if it’s not as definitive as some of her competitors, where Miley’s concerned. (I’d still rather hear her take on Loretta Lynn or Patsy Cline than anything Red Marlow’s repping from the same generation of the genre, TBH.)
At this point, if we’ve heard one Adam Pearce performance, we’ve heard ’em all. That’s not necessarily a dig at him because he’s certainly solid and is able to tackle some very tough songs like he’s the one who originated them — his brassy throwback tone is somewhere in the neighborhood of early Steven Tyler meets Robert Plant in the shirtless heyday — but it’s hard to imagine him offering any more surprises going forward.
His take on Nazareth’s “Love Hurts” is only slightly less screamy than everything else he’s brought to the stage this season, but it also contains a few high notes that are audibly out of reach for him, despite some shouty effort on his part. Overall, Adam is still worth watching in a concert situation, but it’s not clear if his particular gift is unique or viable enough to get very far in a show called The Voice. (Recap continues on page 2)