- TV Show
- Reality TV, Music
- run date
- Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys
- Current Status
- In Season
Although Ashland Craft is initially intimidated by the soaring notes required for Gretchen Wilson’s “When I Think About Cheatin,'” those nerves and/or struggles in rehearsals are not apparent in her stage delivery of the verses.
What starts out as the softest and most subtle intro she’s had on the show so far quickly escalates into a full-on growl-belt-run-fest that blasts us with all of her drawl and power at once while not being the least bit of overkill. Ashland Craft is a good singer, and she knows how to use her instrument — even if it takes her a second to find the right note before it really counts.
After last week, I wondered if there was anyone who could beat Moriah Formica because, so far, she’s been such a compelling performer that she’s left everyone she’s run up against in the dust. Even where she lacks variety, she’s such a punch-for-the-sky kinda rockette that it’s hard to remember anything else after she sings. Tonight, however, that question has been answered.
What can beat Moriah, it turns out, is simply a poor song selection. She’s matched with Beth Hart’s “World Without You” because Miley thinks she sounds like that singer, but lo, it’s not a good choice. At all. Her signature rock star growls are slackened to the point of nonexistence, and what remains instead is a screechy, struggling mess. There’s only a single moment when the Moriah we’ve come to know this season comes through, but otherwise, she’s left behind most of what makes her effective, and the timing of that musical misstep couldn’t be worse.
There’s a lot to like about Janice Freeman, there really is. She’s a survivor, she wears her heart on her sleeve with every showing, and she’s got a genuine spirit that comes through in her vocals every time she sings. Tonight, that’s true of her rendition of Leela James’ “Fall for You,” as she brings all the warm, full gospel belts she’s been working with all season once again.
It’s nothing new, of course, but considering how convincing she’s been all season long, “same old, same old” isn’t a bad thing. To her credit, too, she’s a bit more measured and thoughtful about her runaways than usual, and exactly zero items of jewelry are lost in the process of her performance, so her self-possession is more on point than usual this evening. Perhaps the most impressive thing she pulls off is throwing in a fun, surprising throaty high note out of the blue that makes it seem like there’s still something we have yet to see and hear from her as the rounds roll onward.
Considering no one seriously blows it tonight, except maybe Moriah, it wouldn’t be too much of an upset for Miley to pick any of these artists for her advancing trio. But she seems to make her judgment based on tonight’s showcase alone because some singers are just more convincing at this crucial juncture than others.
- The first Team Miley member to get waved through is Brooke Simpson, who’s definitely done enough this season to earn a place in the live rounds, and while she hasn’t exactly broken the mold here tonight, she hasn’t hurt herself with tonight’s effort either.
- Janice Freeman gets Miley’s second slot for reasons unspoken — not that it isn’t already obvious that she just deserves it.
- Last but not least, Miley makes the tough call to take Ashland Craft on through, instead of Karli Webster, Adam Pearce, or Moriah Formica. Of the three who are being sent home, Karli seems like the biggest upset because of how well she’s done tonight, but since she and Ashland are in such similar lanes of music, a comparison of the two proves that Ashland is a bit less nerve-rattled and can probably hack it on the bigger stage.
- And with that…we have our top 12, ladies and gentlemen, and it’s time to press onward to the live rounds, where voters get to make all the calls from here on out. Who’s your favorite of the remaining contestants? Right now, it’s a toss-up between Keisha Renee and Addison Agen for me.
- Team Adam: Addison Agen, Jon Mero, Adam Cunningham
- Team Miley: Brooke Simpson, Janice Freeman, Ashland Craft
- Team Jennifer: Davon Fleming, Shi’Ann Jones, Noah Mac
- Team Blake: Keisha Renee, Red Marlow, Chloe Kohanski