The Voice recap: 'The Live Playoffs, Night 3'
America and the coaches pick their Top 12
Wowie, oh wow. How about those votes.
Tonight, the remaining 10 contenders from Team Kelly and Team Adam take the stage to state their case — to America and to their coaches — why they deserve to be advanced to the next round of The Voice‘s lives. Some pleas are more convincing than others, of course, but the results are still a bit surprising all the same.
Let’s walk through tonight’s performances and the results.
Kaleb Lee – “Die a Happy Man” by Thomas Rhett
For the most part, Kaleb Lee’s soft, grainy voice is good for some easy listening that nicely contrasts some of his more over-the-top colleagues on the show. He also has a pretty smart tendency to octave hop when he chances being too bland. Tonight, though, he’s a little more mellow than usual, and if it weren’t for Kelly Clarkson’s impassioned plea for voters to pick him (calling him the “best country singer on the show” even), he might’ve faded into oblivion as soon as his set was done.
Alexa Capelli – “Stop and Stare” by OneRepublic
This song is a little better of a choice than last time, since we can hear more of what she can do with those brassy, urgent vocals. There’s a melancholy to her tone that makes her probably the most intriguing singer on her team, other than Brynn Cartelli. The problem is, she has trouble sticking the landing with many of her notes, even the big ones, so it’s far from perfect.
D.R. King – “All On My Mind” by Anderson East
Always on the edge of being compelling, D.R. King starts out this number on a breathy note, but then he picks up speed and chooses to throw in something sultry and powerful in the middle of this jam. It’s still only so so, but it does feel more like a tease than a display of everything he’s capable of.
Dylan Hartigan – “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Some songs are pretty sacrosanct, so it is best to just go with the original arrangement, and that’s exactly what Dylan Hartigan does…for the most part, at least. Other than a few groan-worthy “baby baby” improvisations (never again, ever), it’s pretty by the book, and his tones are clean and on-point. The hip-wiggles and crowd play are a little much, but in an hour full of very meh performances, this is among the better showcases tonight.
Tish Haynes Keys – “At Last” by Etta James
This is one of those songs that’s so well-known and overdone that people really shouldn’t even try it in a competition setting like this unless they’ve got every single note down to a Ph.D-level science or at least have an exciting arrangement to call their own. Tish Haynes Keys has neither of those things to offer tonight. Her performance is all over the place, which might be fine if there was some immense passion behind her directionless delivery, but her rendition is also surprisingly lifeless. This is a shower-time performance at best. Just because you know the lyrics to something doesn’t mean it’s the right song to bring to the stage on a night a like this.
Reid Umstattd – “Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)” by The Hollies
This is a surprisingly swell song choice. It’s not one you hear often in a setting like this, and yet it’s amazingly appropriate for him and this competition in general. It shows off his ability to keep a tempo, stretch to some high notes and drop down to the mid- and low-range on a dime. It may not be so familiar for everyone in the crowd, but for those whose parents kept the oldies station on full blast during family road trips, this is a fun one.
Jackie Verna – “Once” by Maren Morris
I’m not sure how to feel about this. On the one hand, Jackie Verna has a very decadent voice that definitely has a place in the country sphere. Her sharp texture is somehow pleasing, where it might be annoying on others. However, this song is a terrible match for her because it keeps her at full decibel reach for most of the song, which is not where she tends to excel. She’s better in a soft range song, period, and yet, Adam Levine is still obsessed with her skills, calling her “one in a billion.”
Drew Cole – “Wild Horses” by The Rolling Stones
After trying to play around with his song choices earlier in the week, this one is more in his wheelhouse. Somehow, though, he’s just not been able to recapture the convincing edge that made him such a standout for Team Adam in the blinds. It’s pretty clear he’s losing his teacher’s pet position, even though I do think he’s playing for an audience of one (Adam, obvi) tonight.
Mia Boostrom – “Either Way” by Chris Stapleton
Look, there are some singers who are just naturally powerful, and there are others who try so hard that they seem to force it. For me, Mia Boostrom tends to fit into the latter category. Sure, she’s got a deep reach on the low notes and her throwback tone can be very pleasant in spots, but tonight especially it seems like she’s about to burst a capillary in her eye while she’s singing. It’s mostly good, but it’s clear she’s struggling a lot.
Rayshun LaMarr – “I’m Going Down” by Rose Royce
He needed to come out with something special to stand out from his teammates and his closest competition — namely, Gary Edwards — and this is about as good a choice as Rayshun LaMarr could possibly make. In a night full of snoozers, he brings the energy of “Rayshun Nation” to the stage to close the show out in a big way. To say this was well played is an understatement. As Adam Levine puts it, “You just destroyed the evening. You just won the week. That’s it.” Yep.
This is a weird week, ya’ll.
America saves: Pryor Baird
Blake saves: Spensha Baker
PRYOR BAIRD. I did not see this coming. His ’80s-tastic stage appeal must be hitting home so much more than I anticipated because for me, his performance this week was the same as last week and the week before that and so on to the beginning of this competition. It’s not terrible, but with Kaleb Lee and Wilkes, we already have plenty of scratchy male voices — and ones with so much more dynamism at that. Weird call here, America. As for Spensha Baker, she’s definitely got some loose ends that need to be tied, but her appeal is unique. I don’t blame Blake Shelton for choosing her to stay around and see if she can finish what Keisha Renee started last season.
America saves: Kaleb Lee
Kelly saves: D.R. King
As if Pryor wasn’t enough to satisfy America’s need for country-ish singers with gravelly-textured voices, Kaleb also gets a pass. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ As for Kelly’s decision, well, it makes sense that she might not save Alexa or Tish after ho-hum performances, but it is a little surprising that she goes for D.R. over, say, Dylan, who’s a lone boy-bander-type left here. D.R. is fine, but he’s hardly been great in recent weeks. We’ll have to see if he can step up a bit more going forward.
America saves: Jackie Foster
Alicia saves: Christiana Danielle
Check and check. Nothing surprising here with either decision.
America saves: Rayshun LaMarr
Adam saves: Jackie Verna
Again, nothing too surprising. Rayshun might’ve had an off-moment on Monday, but tonight’s delivery was the business, and he earned that vote-ahead, no question. And Jackie, well, she’s been a heavy favorite of Adam’s for a while now, so it’s not surprising to see her get chosen over, say, Drew Cole, who might’ve been high on Adam’s favorites list before.
Annnnd here we have our Top 12. Team Adam and Team Alicia seem to have the breadth of talent here, but Team Kelly does have Brynn Cartelli, so we’ll have to see how this plays out from here.
Team Adam: Sharane Calister, Rayshun LaMarr, Jackie Verna
Team Alicia: Britton Buchanan, Jackie Foster, Christiana Danielle
Team Kelly: Brynn Cartelli, Kaleb Lee, D.R. King
Team Blake: Kyla Jade, Pryor Baird, Spensha Baker