Tonight, The Voice‘s top 11 are paired with songs of their fans’ choosing, and for the most part, the musical matchings are incredibly on point — at least theoretically.
These song choices mostly give each singer an opportunity to the play to their strengths, and it pays off. While not everyone is perfect, no one absolutely tanks it, which means tomorrow might just be a free-for-all when it comes to who ends up in the bottom two.
Team Miley: Janice Freeman
“Shine” by Collective Soul
It’s Janice Freeman’s fans who’ve decided she should venture back to the early ’90s alternative scene for her next adventure in remaking the wheel, and it’s a refreshingly unabused song to hear on this show, no matter who’s at the mic. “Shine” is one of those songs that was overplayed as heck during its radio lifespan and only crops back up every now and again to remind you how good the rock scene was at the time. As for Janice, well, with her silver spiral ‘do and her spoon-dancing routines with the band members, it’s pretty clear our starting singer is feeling it this week.
As for the performance, well, it’s hit and miss. The beginning features Janice leaning hard into the same rocker persuasion we saw in the blinds, but by the end, we’re back to those unintelligible scream-singing runs that have detracted from some of her performances. We really only need the vowels to be exclaimed so many times in one song.
Team Blake: Red Marlow
“The Dance” by Garth Brooks
This is another solid (albeit obvious) choice by fans this week. Pairing Red Marlow with one of Garth Brooks’ most emotionally evocative songs of all time is sound because (1) it actually does match his vocal style pretty well without being too old school to earn new fans from latecomers to this season, and (2) it’s not Garth’s supreme range that’s a draw with this number but the palpable pain behind the words. Since “storytelling” is Red’s thing with singing, this is more than a suitable selection for him.
As for how he handles it, there’s good news and there’s bad news. Red manages to put together a pretty honest presentation of the long-lived favorite, but he’s also a tad flat where he should be high, and he’s totally unable to hit some of the number’s most signature low notes. Despite that, this is still one of his most convincing performances to date.
Team Jennifer: Shi’Ann Jones
“Listen” by Beyoncé
This isn’t the first time Jennifer Hudson has paired her so-called “mini-me” with a Beyoncé number, and tonight, it’s obvious why: She’s got that same fresh face that makes her easy to root for once she showcases her considerable pipes. At 15, Shi’Ann Jones can already hit any note she wants, but whether she can always control things is a different story.
This time, there are a lot of hollowed-out low notes that make me feel like I’m listening to “Unbreak My Heart” before she scales up to her whimpering wail. Shi’Ann’s diction leaves something to be desired, and there’s so much happening that it’s almost dizzying to behold, but it’s compelling all the same. (Recap continues on page 2)