The Voice recap: The Top 24 try to hang on ahead of the cutthroat eliminations
Get ready for the cut-throat elimination round on The Voice.
After all the saves and steals that were slung around in the cross battles, it might be easy to forget that things are about to get very real this week as the Top 24 are reduced by half this week. As it stands right now, Blake Shelton‘s team boasts the most contestants, with eight, while Kelly Clarkson and John Legend each have a half dozen contenders for the next round. Meanwhile, Adam Levine‘s trailing way behind with just four hopefuls, so it should be interesting to see if the lopsided-ness that emerged in the wake of the cross battles will carry on.
Here’s a look at how each team’s contestants performed during the live round and some thoughts on who might make it through to the next round.
Team Kelly Clarkson
Rod Stokes – “Midnight Rider” by Allman Brothers Band
The scratchy, steely undertones of Rod Stokes are well-matched to this iconic rock and roll number, although he does sound (and look) a bit flustered by being brought onto this stage first tonight. Thankfully, the song’s repetitive enough that he can lean into his built-in wah-wah pedal effect in the chorus, but will it be enough to distinguish him from the rest of the southern rock singers left in this thing?
Matthew Johnson – “Ordinary People” by John Legend
John is merrily bumping along to Matthew’s rendition of his song, and his own coach is especially impressed with the way her contestant is able to slide through the many melodies and tricky notes here. Matthew has some intangible gifts in addition to his vocals, too, with his infectious personality and palpable joy on that stage (hey, these things do matter when it comes to voting).
Rebecca Howell – “Wild One” by Faith Hill
Last round, Rebecca proved she was a formidable country-singing contestant, even with one of the genre’s busier numbers, but this one seems a bit too unwieldy for her to manage. Her voice is very, very reminiscent of Amanda Wilkinson and that comes through especially in the hook, but until then the pacing seems to get away from her a bit. It’d be refreshing to hear something a bit slower from her next round, assuming there is one for her.
Presley Tennant – “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” by Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus
Kelly has propped Presley as her radio-ready contestant, and she comes close to proving that much in this performance. Not only does this song take us through her full range, but she also shows off some personality and grit for this particular genre of music with this electric delivery.
Abby Kasch – “I Got the Boy” by Jana Kramer
Another country singer, another song that seems to run away from her. This one has some pretty emotional lyrics, so it might’ve served Abby well to dial it down even further, but in ordinary tempo, she can’t seem to get in control of her own vocals and is rendered pitchy and frenetic in spots. Like Rebecca before her, it’s still clear that she’s a good fit for the twang thing, but this isn’t her best showcase.
Jej Vinson – “Love Lies” by Khalid and Normani
In the blinds, it looked like Jej had the potential to be a front-runner, and all these weeks later, he still manages to sneak in some surprises with each of his performances. This time, it’s how low to the floor he goes with the notes in this number without sounding strained or awkward upon returning to the upper register.
Team John Legend
Lisa Ramey – “The Weight” by the Band
Kudos to Lisa for not going with the obvious Imagine Dragons single for this round. Not only does this sidestep such expectations for a power-rocker like her — and the mistakes of some similar singers from seasons past — but her command of this classic anthem shows that she’s got some staying power and, better yet, she seems to be having a great time with it which makes her even more compelling.
Jacob Maxwell – “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler
If there’s one thing this song requires of its singers, it’s a mighty range, and while Jacob’s soft, folksy love singer tones work rather nicely in the initial verses, he’s out of his depth in the chorus.
Jimmy Mowery – “Youngblood” by 5 Seconds of Summer
There’s no doubt that Jimmy knows exactly what kind of musician he wants to be by choosing this 5SOS song, and unlike some of the other singers who’ve had to ratchet up the tempo, he has no trouble keeping pace with the piece. Is it a revelation? No. But he could easily slip into the frontman spot of just about any mid-aughts pop-rock band.
Celia Babini – “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac
Coming off of an almost-elimination last week, Celia seems ready to prove that she deserves her spot and has something to offer The Voice fans. Not only does she literally walk into the crowd and keep going, but she’s way more on-point with her song selection here than she was in the cross battles. She’s got a soulful, heavy tone, and she doesn’t need to break the wheel to find good numbers like this one to show that off.
Maelyn Jarmon – “Fallingwater” by Maggie Rogers
Every time Maelyn takes the stage on this show, she elevates the whole thing by at least two levels because she has the voice and knows what to do with it. She can hit any note that’s thrown at her, navigate between a choral power punch and a soft outtro, she’s got perfect pitch, a round, bodied sound that’s both familiar and her own all at once, and best of all, her voice is very, very pretty.
Shawn Sounds – “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder
Tackling a Stevie Wonder favorite is about so much more than reaching those tippy top high notes; there’s an energy and soul in his classic numbers that Shawn is easily tapping into with his joyful, albeit completely on-the-nose rendition of this song.
Team Adam Levine
Kalvin Jarvis – “Mine” by Bazzi
Apart from a couple of early note slips, Kalvin’s slow groove here is solid and vibrant. Team Adam may be small right now, but the team boasts a lot of personality.
Betsy Ade – “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet
Stage theatrics have worked to enhance Betsy’s performances in the past, so this time, she shreds and then tosses her guitar to remind us how rad she is. She doesn’t need to put anything on to show us that, though, because her smoky rock star sound is already solid.
Mari Jones – “Work It Out” by Beyoncé
Another member of Team Adam with a very unique sense of style is Mari, who delivers her now-familiar funk-pop routine with another bubbly number. Like most of her performances, a lot of the appeal is in her showmanship, but this one is a little more choppy than usual.
Domenic Haynes – “Love Is a Losing Game” by Amy Winehouse
To set himself apart from the other soul singers in this competition, Domenic chooses a much more oozy number to dazzle us with. His vocals are strong and sultry at the same time, even if his is not the most memorable showcase of the evening.
Team Blake Shelton
Andrew Sevener – “Boots On” by Randy Houser
After defeating the trio last week, Andrew seems to be riding a bit of a high with this energetic performance of this southern anthem. What he lacks in originality, he makes up for in his full-on country presence because there’s just no doubt that he came to put on a show, and he did just that.
Selkii – “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls
This is actually a great song choice for Selkii, who had some struggles in the cross battles, because it’s withdrawn enough to show off some of those folksy tones before she gets to the belts — which, for her, can be a bit messy even here. She also manages to make the very familiar number feel new and true to her.
Oliv Blu – “The Girl From Ipanema” by Frank Sinatra
Blake Shelton’s team is doing a good job of finding numbers to match their personalities in this round. Oliv’s dreamy vocal aesthetics are well-served by this vintage piece — at first. She does get a little lost in an effort while trying to throw in a few extra power belts, but we still know exactly who Oliv is and what she sounds like after this, so even if it’s not perfect, major points awarded for this song choice.
Gyth Rigdon – “I Wanna Be Loved Like That” by Shenandoah
A heavy favorite on Team Blake, Gyth doesn’t have to work hard to distinguish himself from the other country or folk singers in this competition. His gravelly tones are always perfectly employed in his performances, and this may be his most compelling and well-paced showcase yet. It’s simple, it’s clean, and it’s very effective.
Kendra Checketts – “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish
Things have been hit and miss during Kendra’s time on The Voice, and this particular performance is a mixture of both. On the one hand, there are spots where her strong tenor shines through, especially in the chorus, but in others, it’s a bit messy and forced. There’s enough here to want to hear more from her, and you’ve gotta appreciate how much she’s feeling herself in those foil wrap pants, so we’ll see if this is enough.
Carter Lloyd Horne – “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis
Once again, Carter has found a song that gives his rugged tones plenty of room to come through, even if he seems a bit forced trying to put on the requisite playfulness that comes with performing it.
Kim Cherry – “Waterfalls” by TLC
It’s refreshing to see Kim at the keys leaning into her singing side before she breaks away with her quick-rhyme skills because she can do both — even if she doesn’t exude the same level of spunk when she’s not rapping, she does have a strong tone.
Dexter Roberts – “Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You”
Last but not least is Dexter, who is somewhere in the middle of the crowded field of country contestants right now. His voice isn’t quite as compelling as Gyth, and he’s just behind Andrew in terms of liveliness on the stage, but he’s chosen a song that fits his steely vocals and pacing needs well, which is more that can be said for some of the night’s earlier showings.
As for who might make it into the Top 12 — er 13, if you could the Comeback Stage winner — here are some thoughts:
Definitely: Maelyn Jarmon, Gyth Rigdon
Probably: Jej Vinson, Shawn Sounds, Oliv Blu, Matthew Johnson, Andrew Sevener, Dexter Roberts
Maybe: Presley Tennant, Betsy Ade, Rebecca Howell, Celia Babini, Rod Stokes, Mari Jones
Who do you predict will make it to the next round?
Adam Levine (4): Domenic Haynes, Mari Jones, Kalvin Jarvis, Betsy Ade
Kelly Clarkson (6): Jej Vinson, Rebecca Howell, Abby Kasch, Presley Tennant, Matthew Johnson, Rod Stokes
John Legend (6): Maelyn Jarmon, Jacob Maxwell, Lisa Ramey, Shawn Sounds, Jimmy Mowery, Celia Babini
Blake Shelton (8): Gyth Rigdon, Kim Cherry, Carter Lloyd Horne, Dexter Roberts, Selkii, Andrew Sevener, Oliv Blu, Kendra Checketts
A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.