The Voice recap: The Top 13 perform for your votes
Tonight on The Voice, we have the Top 13 — the eight saved by America, the four saved by the coaches, and the one saved by The Comeback Stage — vying for a chance at the Top 11. Let’s take a look at how all the singers did in tonight’s live performance round.
Team Blake: Chris Kroeze
“Let it Be” by the Beatles
Dedicated to: his hometown of Barron, OH
Have we talked about the fact that Chris Kroeze sounds like Richard Marx yet? Because he does. So much. His voice is a mixture of sweetness and gravel, which has obviously inspired some interest in audiences who voted him through last week. Tonight, Chris is venturing outside of the country zone again for this soul-pleaser. It’s a good choice in theory, but I wish he’d have saved this number for a later week when he might have enough time to keep its original pace and not speed it up so much. Unless that was an intentional rearrangement, in which case … [Imagine the “Not great, Bob!” GIF here].
Team Adam: Tyke James
“(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” by Bryan Adams
Dedicated to: his mother Mel
This guy. In the rehearsals footage, this seems like a disaster waiting to happen because he sounds all wrong for this song, but coach Adam Levine gave him some very good guidance to play this one with some simple Hawaiian style, and yeah, it’s basically amazing. It’s a little like the way Iz Kamakawiwo’ole managed to finally revolutionize “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” after so many people went literal with it by dialing it back to just him, a ukulele, and a merry disposition. Tyke, too, has all of those elements on tap tonight and delivers a take-notice performance. This is exactly the kind of rendition that will court the iTunes downloads he needs because who doesn’t want to hear such an original, thoughtful version of a song like this. So well played. I want to hear it again and again. He better not be on the chopping block again tomorrow or else [waves fist feistily].
Team Adam: DeAndre Nico
“I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe
Dedicated to: his girlfriend Crystal
DeAndre Nico kind of sneaks up on you doesn’t he? It’s no knock on his talents to say that I didn’t foresee him being in the Top 13, but now that he is, it makes a lot of sense. He’s got a lot of heart and an earnest style of delivery that makes it easy to overlook any flaws that might exist in his execution. He takes this modern church ballad and dedicates it to his girlfriend as she grieves the loss of their unborn child, and whew. Yeah. Feels abound. He does seem to struggle with the ceiling of his voice, which is something he should work on in later rounds.
Team Kelly: Kymberli Joye
“Diamonds” by Rihanna
Dedicated to: her sister
Kimberli Joye has already shown us time and time again that she can belt out those power notes like nobody’s business, but since she was in danger of being sent home last week, she’s trying something new on for size this time. Instead of going full blast with her inestimable vocal strength, she’s dialing it back a bit to let us hear something softer from her first. It’s certainly effective to start small and build to her usual boom, although I do wish this arrangement had been just a touch slower.
Team Jennifer: Kennedy Holmes
“Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler
Dedicated to: her parents
Okay, this song is not even fair because it’s such a heart-wrencher that if someone delivers even a half-passable version of it, they’ll sail on through. So, when Kennedy Holmes sings it this beautifully, oh boy. I like that she plays it so safe and concentrates on delivering clean notes at first, but the power of the lyrics sinks in, she starts getting more into it, and by the time the power notes kick in, she’s really selling it. Hoo boy, now I gotta go rewatch Beaches again.
Team Jennifer: Sandyredd
“It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” by Boyz II Men
Dedicated to: her late mother
At this point, you either like Sandyredd or you don’t. She is very consistent from week to week with who she is and what she’ll sound like. Tonight, she’s especially emotional because this song reminds her of her late mother, but it’s not terribly different than anything we’ve heard before from her. Her low, moaning notes are still just as incredible, and her scream-singing is there raising the roof again. She’s clearly given us everything she’s got every single week, so if the fanfare for her hasn’t developed yet, I’m not sure this will change anyone’s minds.
Team Kelly: Chevel Shepherd
“Little White Church” by Little Big Town
Dedicated to: her dad
There’s something about Chevel Shepherd’s vocal quality and onstage personality that makes her so easy to like. While talking, she’s got a tiny little trill sound, but when she hits the stage, there’s a hint of a husk and an almost dramatized drawl going on. More importantly, she seems to genuinely have fun with her performances and doesn’t overdo it with too many runs or power notes. After so many sentimental songs, this peppy beat is a welcome change of pace.
Team Jennifer: MaKenzie Thomas
“I Am Changing” by Jennifer Hudson
Dedicated to: Jennifer Hudson
Man, MaKenzie Thomas has a lot of different sounds going on, doesn’t she? One week, I’m hearing all Whitney Houston, then she pulls out the pop starlet sound, and now she’s back on the ballad business with whispers of Adele in her full voice. One thing that never seems to change is her ability to pop out with some power notes.
Team Kelly: Sarah Grace
“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John
Dedicated to: her schoolmates
Sarah Grace’s voice might not be the most unique thing on the show, but her wise-beyond-her-years moxie is intriguing. Her take on the song is a bit of a contrast from when Emily Keener did it in her season 10 blind audition, since she doesn’t play around with it too much until the end, but this is still a solid set.
Team Blake: Dave Fenley
“Hard to Love” by Lee Brice
Dedicated to: his wife
It was a little surprising to see Dave Fenley needing to be saved by his coach after he owned so many of the other rounds, but he’s trying to make up that ground tonight by tapping into something more personal. He connects with the lyrics of this song in a very real way. Unfortunately, we aren’t hearing as much of his kinetic power tonight as we have in the past — that easy rasp that’s made him such a star before is a little muted, rendering the whole thing a little dry — but he’s still one of the most naturally gifted singers in this thing through and through.
Team Kelly: Lynnea Moore
“Wolves” by Selena Gomez
We haven’t gotten to spend much time with Lynnea Moore, which may turn out to be a benefit for her because she still has the ability to surprise us, as with tonight. Her rich, sweet voice is so much clearer and more precise tonight than last week.
Team Blake: Kirk Jay
“I’m Already There” by Lonestar
Dedicated to: his mother
Made by anyone else, this song choice might be a groan-worthy moment, but after hearing what Kirk Jay did with his other cheesetastic country ballad, this makes a lot of sense for him. And while it takes him a second to find his pitch in the intro verse, he’s still just so compelling. Maybe it’s the determination in his eyes or the very authentic connection he has to the music, or, as JHud points out, the fact that he seems to be tasting the words he’s spitting out, there’s something so very honest about his performances. It’s hard not to root for him.
Team Adam: Reagan Strange
“You Say” by Lauren Daigle
Dedicated to: her grandparents
There’s no doubt Reagan Strange is a pint-sized force on this show, but this song doesn’t serve her as well as some of her prior choices. Ordinarily, she’s able to pull together the best parts of both Sarah Grace and Chevel Shepherd’s sounds into one charming package, but this time, she spends way too much time trying to belt. With the heightened instrumentals behind her, it’s hard to hear those notes, and what we do hear sounds a little nasal and chirpy. She’s still very good. But this just wasn’t her best performance.
Since two people do have to go home tomorrow, I’m going to venture a guess that Sandyredd might not get the votes to go through automatically. She’s got a lot of passion, no doubt about that, but her zero-to-sixty-style energy might be a bit too much for some people.
As for the second? Lynnea Moore has done a nice enough job tonight, but she probably hasn’t courted the same kind of fan favor as her peers here just yet. I’m also worried about Dave Fenley because if voters weren’t convinced before about his skills, tonight’s show might not have helped as much as he’d hoped. He really needs to just get back to the basics of those bustling country ballads that suit his tone so well.
Adam Levine – DeAndre Nico, Reagan Strange, Tyke James.
Blake Shelton – Kirk Jay, Chris Kroeze, Dave Fenley.
Kelly Clarkson – Chevel Shepherd, Sarah Grace, Kymberli Joye, Lynnea Moore.
Jennifer Hudson – MaKenzie Thomas, Kennedy Holmes, Sandyredd.
A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.