November 20, 2017 at 11:54 PM EST

The Voice

TV Show
run date
Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys
Current Status
In Season
Reality, Music

We made it! We’re in the lives now. And with just 12 singers left in the competition, the endgame is starting to become clearer for some of these singers. While we’ve got a few left who are desperately trying to establish their identities, others know exactly what they’re doing and how to do it.

So, who arrives as the most impressive singer(s) of the night? And who might find themselves in the bottom for tomorrow’s eliminations? Let’s take a look.

Team Miley: Brooke Simpson
“Praying” by Kesha

The final slot of any given live round is largely considered to be the so-called “pimp spot,” but there might be a near-equal benefit to being the first performer of the night…as long as you can knock it out of the park, at least. For Brooke Simpson, it’s no trouble for her to handle Kesha’s most important number because she’s got the right smooth mid-voice to make that cascading chorus come through as beautifully as the evocative original.

Brooke has got the energy and self-possession of a pop star but also boasts some organic groove. She’s still not the most unique singer of the show this year, but she does have some pipes and a solid approach for using them. And that moment when she switches to her head voice in the outtro? *Chef’s kiss*

Team Blake: Red Marlow
“The Church on Cumberland Road” by Shenandoah

Some people might be charmed by Red Marlow’s deep drawl and smirky asides, but when it comes to his actual voice, there’s just not much happening. Even in the rehearsals footage, Blake Shelton seems to know that his old-school country crooner risks being a bore for those not born and bred into the deep country music circuit.

And Red does little to improve upon that possibility in the live performance. Not only does he hover around the same three notes the entire time — even a well-placed “woo” might’ve kicked up the appeal here — but he’s drowned out by the instrumentals and background singers for a good chunk of the song, so it’s hard to even hear it when he does carry the chorus like the original version. 

Team Jennifer: Shi’Ann Jones
“Vision of Love” by Mariah Carey

There’s…a lot happening in this performance. Shi’Ann Jones has been known to put it all out there during her showcases, but this has got to be her wildest stage moment yet. To be fair to her, that’s exactly what this number requires; Mariah Carey’s original version is filled with thrilling runs and spans the entire sum of her considerable range. It’s impressive that Shi’Ann is even able to attempt to replicate any part of what she’s done.

The good news is that it does prove all those runs she does are intentional and she’s not just shooting from the hip of ungroomed talent. But Shi’Ann might want to go subtle next time to have a standout moment, à la Alisan Porter and “Let Him Fly.” (Recap continues on page 2)

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