The Voice Top 8 Performance Recap: At Last!

The Voice - Season 5The Voice is not the easiest show to recap for a fella like myself, who’s as cozy with snark and bitchery as a Kardashian is with secretly texting her exact whereabouts to the paparazzi. So on what am I supposed to hang my hat now that Season 5 is down to eight vocalists with enough combined talent to fill up an entire major label roster?

Oh sure, I can always find humor in Carson Daly’s attempts to position himself as Coach No. 5 — how I wish I could’ve been in the Sprint Skybox and shouted “Objection! Leading the witness!” as the host snuck in his own bland critiques for several contestants prior to tossing to the panel. Or I can chuckle about the way Xtina poisons the well against certain singers while avoiding a direct mention of their vocals — the better to not be branded as “bitchy” by the general viewing public. (“You utilized a different area of the room, of the stage!” she chirped tonight, while craftily rallying the public against James Wolpert’s failed attempt to paint himself as the next Freddie Mercury.)

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Ultimately, though, from this point forward, The Voice‘s Season 5 players will rise and fall based on song choice — are they playing it too ambitious, too safe, too far outside their wheelhouses? — on the hazy notion of “personality” and on whether or not they’ve built up enough good will since mid-September to keep them afloat during any unexpected squalls in their trajectory.

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With that in mind, let’s jump to letter grades for tonight’s performances:

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James Wolpert (Team Adam): Queen’s “Somebody to Love” — Grade: C | I’m about two-thirds of the way through reading Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, and crazy/inappropriate as it may sound, I couldn’t help but compare the fatal Alaskan trek of Christopher McCandless, the book’s subject, with James’ own hubris in attempting to climb Mt. (Freddie) Mercury. Not only did James struggle to stay on pitch throughout the operatic number, but he lacked the mischievious zest and theatricality that Queen’s late lead singer possessed (even in the midst of nifty staging where he played the role of “Waldo” in a chorus of bespectacled, tuxedo-rocking chorus members). In other words, James was grossly underprepared for the journey on which he embarked. And that only made Adam’s obviously for-the-cameras freakout and claim that James “could sing in Queen” all the more disingenuous. The question remains though, whether or not voters will see through it.

Tessanne Chin (Team Adam): No Doubt’s “Underneath It All” — Grade: A- | Bafflingly, Adam seemed about 20 percent less enthused by Tessanne’s loose, note-perfect upgrade of one of No Doubt’s least exciting jams — damn, how I wish People’s Sexiest Man Alive had chosen “Ex-Girlfriend” or “Simple Kind of Life” or even Gwen Stefani’s “What You Waiting For” — than he did for James’ worst effort in weeks. (Perhaps there’s a footnote in the Bro Code explaning this imbalance?) Whatever the case, Tessanne — despite having been violently mishandled by the show’s stylists via skintight acid wash jeans and a weird yellow jacket — grooved her way through the opening half, then exploded to life on Lady Saw’s reggae-rific interlude. Her interaction with the audience and those soaring “yeah yeah yeah yeahs” that closed out the cover had me whooping and couch-dancing — and made me view the former backup singer as an interesting potential artist, not just a brilliant technician. Xtina was right that the foray into her Jamaican roots paid off — though I wish the Lady Aguilera had stopped short of shamelessly requesting that next week Tess tackle the reggae-fied cover of “What a Girl Wants” she’d done on her Back to Basics tour in 2006.

Caroline Pennell (Team Cee Lo): Florence + The Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over” — Grade: B+ | Caroline looked a little defeated in her intro package, maybe because she can’t even assume her coach will pay for her gelato when they go out for a mentoring session. (I kid! I kid!) Seriously, though, while Cee Lo had the right idea in choosing something unexpected for the angelic-voiced early front-runner, I’m not quite sure that in practice, “Dog Days Are Over” was the track to give Caroline a true “Big Moment.” The song’s relentless rhythmic propulsion and Florence Welch’s fearsome banshee delivery don’t leave a lot of room for creative interpretation — or in reality TV speak, to “make it your own.” Caroline did her best with some tricky rhythmic tweaks, and she nailed every note square on the jaw, but the end result lacked the genuine surprise of her Battle Rounds Bieber cover or even “Anything Could Happen” or “The Way I Am.” In other words, this was quite good, but not quite great — and might put her at risk of another Bottom 3 placement.

Cole Vosbury (Team Blake): Vince Gill’s “I Still Believe in You” — Grade: B | To my ears, Cole’s whiskey-soaked rasp shines brightest when it’s paired with ditties that require a certain amount of soul — like “Adorn” or The Jeffersons theme. Which is why I was a little bummed by Blake sending him toward the fork in the road that led away from Funkytown and toward Countryville this week. Sure, the sparse strings-and-acoustic-guitar arrangement highlighted the desperation in Cole’s delivery — just like Blake wanted — but it also exposed some rough spots in his lower register. Perhaps more distressing, though, I just can’t see myself remembering this performance in six months’ time — which isn’t something I expected from the season’s most eclectic player.

Matthew Schuler (Team Xtina): Imagine Dragons’ “It’s Time” — Grade: D+ | Matthew’s total mess of a performance this week was a shocker — the equivalent of Meryl Streep signing on for her own reality show on E! or Ashley Wagner falling on her keester during a single axel. The pro-tem leader of Season 5 — who’s missed only a handful of notes all season — was under the melody for at least three-quarters of the number, and sounded downright winded on the choruses. Carson, towing the producers’ party line — This! Is! The! Voice!, after all — was equally breathless when Matthew wrapped his number: “Christina, when this young man sings, there’s a sense of urgency that’s potent and palpable!” But no amount of hostly blathering could hide the fact that the usually bespoke-suited emperor had taken the stage without a stitch of clothing. Was it Matthew’s decision to dance mid-performance that caused his voice to abandon him? Could something unfortunate have happened to Matthew’s vocal cords during last week’s 21st b’day celebration? Or was it simple nerves from getting so close to achieving his dream? I suspect (and hope) the kid’s got a big enough fanbase to carry him through one off week, but suddenly, the race for the Season 5 crown seems a lot more wide open, no?

Will Champlin (Team Adam): Etta James’ “At Last” — Grade: A- | Like his teammate James, Will was attempting to scale a lofty summit with “At Last” — a crowd-pleasing standard that’s been tackled by so many greats (see Melinda Doolittle’s astonishing version embedded below) that it’s almost foolish to go near it and open oneself up to comparisons. But Will went there anyway, like a pilot taking off in a jumbo jet that looks too big to take flight, and aimed higher, higher and higher — capping things off with a crazy run of notes that threatened to scrape the moon. Was it a little showboat-y? Yeah, sure. But it was also packed with raw and heady feeling that made the vocal acrobatics seem authentic, rather than contrived. Indeed, along with conveying the joy of a man who’s found his one true love, Will’s performance also had the undercurrent of excitement that comes from chasing your dream for what feels like an eternity, and then suddenly having it in the palm of your hand. At last, indeed!

Ray Boudreaux (Team Blake): Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin'” — Grade: B- | Truth be told, Ray gave one of the night’s cleanest performances: His pitch was so spotless, in fact, it was as if the Scrubbing Bubbles had served as his backup singers. Soul music, however, shouldn’t be created in a sterile, lab-like setting; it requires some dirt and grit and sense of real abandon. And as Ray stiffly danced amidst a quartet of sexy background singers, then later tried to engage the crowd with the kind of banter that’s supposed to say “I’m spontaneous and feelin’ it!,” I found myself wishing he’d lose himself to the music, make me feel some kind of urgency, prove to me that he’s not content with being the eighth-best contestant on Season 5 of The Voice. That moment never arrived, nor did “The Full Blake” when it came time for his coach’s feedback. Mark Burnett might as well have opened a trap door in the stage floor and flushed Ray out of the competition right then and there, no?

Jacquie Lee (Team Xtina): The Miracles/Jackson 5’s “Who’s Lovin’ You” — Grade: A | Oh, Jacquie, you had me at “when.” As in the first, gut-busting word of your haunting, utterly daring a capella intro. “Whe-eh-eh-eh-eh-nnnn…!” And from there on out, your gritty, down-in-the-trenches-of-love delivery had me punching my couch with sheer joy. Even though your pre-performance package had annoyingly mapped out everything that was about to happen on stage — c’mon, Xtina, nobody likes that many spoilers! — the way you punched and parried your way through the song, offering bursts of incredible power, then reeling it all the way back in, was downright masterful. You know you’re doing great work when you’re scoring truly inspired feeback from your rival coaches, and while Blake’s “you parted somebody’s hair down there” was a hilarious way to spotlight the brilliance of your holleration, Cee Lo took home the big prize with this doozy: “It’s like you swallowed an old lady or something.” Hey, whatever it takes to keep trucking along to the finale…

Should go home: James, Ray
Will go home: James, Ray

And with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of Top 8 performance night? Who were your faves? Who surprised you? Who will and should be at risk? Take our poll below, then expand on your thoughts in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. A says:

    Caroline was my favorite from the beginning but she is fading fast. I would love to see her sing something like Gin Wigmore’s “Don’t Stop.”
    I LOVED Jacquie’s performance tonight. Also I really enjoyed Ray. I feel like out of every artist he is closest to the type of artist I would actually buy a full album of. Swamp rock is fun to sing in the car to.
    Between Ray and Matthew the voice has some amazing looking guys on the show. But poor Matthew. I absolutely love him and hope he rocks it next week

  2. MM says:

    Agreed–Ray & James need to go home this week. They are decent singers, but I’m absolutely bored with them.

    Caroline has been my favorite from the start, but her song choices lately have been disappointing. Why is she being pushed into genres outside of her comfort zone/style as an artist!?!? What about country artists from previous seasons….were they discouraged from doing country!?
    Caroline is an indie/folk singer-songwriter and she belongs in the music industry in that genre. There’s nothing wrong with that. She has a gift & it isn’t being hilighted properly.

    I want to see jacquie, tessanne, will, James, matthew, Ray, or cole try to sing Caroline style. They can’t!

    • Kaba says:

      While Caroline would utterly fail attempting those same people.

    • Susan says:

      What you are discussing now is a big part of why Blake has won last 3 years. He is best of the coaches at helping his singers discover the kind of artist THEY want to be, and moving them in THAT direction. He is not the best singer – that’s Christina far and away – but coaching is a different skill set. I think it’s a mistake to force the singers to sing all these different genres. That’s one of the points where AI lost it. The greatest “real life” artists don’t sing every style – they perfect their own style.

      • LimmyLim says:

        So true. like great players who are terrible at coaching their sport. Blake’s best at coaching country artists/singers. Should of saved Shelbie Z? Ray is likely gone and maybe even Caroline.

      • HTGR says:

        Along with the country set votes like mad, and he does that whole have the beer and kick back with thing that seems to work well for voting be it reality tv or politics and he generally has more everydayish singers, nothing pushes anything much out there for the most part, sort of blandly inoffensive so they don’t bother anyone even they don’t excite many either. That sort of steady bland tends to do very well on reality tv (Scotty, Tate, Jermaine, etc. etc. etc.)

  3. Angie_Overrated says:

    Aw, I just noticed the clip of Melinda Doolittle singing Etta. Now THAT is how you sing it! Awesome, just awesome. It’s a great injustice that any of these contestants from tonight are charting on iTunes when Melinda is not at #1. I seriously can’t stop smiling after watching that video.

  4. Jenny says:

    I LOVE Will, but am I the only one who didn’t get why in the world Adam would choose “At Last” for him? Maybe I was too busy being baffled by it, because I didn’t enjoy the performance at all.

    Jacquie killed it as usual..the beginning and end were the strongest part of the song, which she could have been consistent throughout.

    I loved the group performance with Cole, Ray, Tessane, and Will…..sounded amazing!

    I think James and Caroline should go.

    • Mr. Soul says:

      I disagree. Will blew it out of the water tonight with his performance. I didn’t think a male vocalist could sing an Etta James song that well.

      • Ted says:

        Will should’ve reined it in at least a LITTLE. It was way, way, way over the top and totally turned me off.

        • Ginger Snap says:

          This Is The Voice. Reining it in is not de rigueur. Just look at James, Tessanne, and Jacquie,

          • Blank Slate says:

            It’s like that old war horse, STAR SEARCH, from the 80s, where every singer was forced to scream his or her way to a bellowing glory note or the fake audience wouldn’t reward you with applause. Do not encourage this behavior modification, VOICE staff.

    • Sergio says:

      it was not Adam’s choice, it was Will’s choice..

  5. Jeffrey Cook says:

    Matthew set the bar very high for himself, so I can’t really fault anyone giving him a D. He’s done songs that should have challenged his breath control before and nailed them – I think he may have just been focusing too much on trying to hit the right spots in the choreography, instead of relying on his own showmanship and comfort zone. The song is in his range – he just missed.
    Caroline… if she goes home tomorrow, its because of Cee-Lo. She has one of the prettiest voices in the competition, as well as one of the most unique. The problem is that her coach keeps trying to show her range… and she doesn’t have one. When she’s been stellar, its been with songs she’s comfortable with, then made her own – and with only her vocals backed by instrumentals. Every time she’s in a group, or has backup singers, they swallow her. Her coach likes big and showy – and its just not her. She was killing it in Lego house – would have loved to have heard her get that as her solo, and then let Jacqui and James loose on Dog Days, with a little help.
    Ray should be done.
    I loved Jacqui – and while some kind of modern pop cred might help her, I’m loving hearing someone her age really connecting with the Blues. Will also nailed a really tough song choice. Definitely my top 2. Tessanne was where Tessanne always is – she has yet to have a bad performance, but as a result of starting strong and having amazing consistency, also hasn’t appeared to grow as much as some others, and eventually that’s bound to hurt her. She kind of peaked at the beginning, then has remained level – a high level, but still.

  6. Mr. Soul says:

    My top 3:
    1. Tessanne
    2. Will
    3. James

    Bottom 3:
    1. Matthew
    2. Cole
    3. Ray

  7. NotHappeningTonight says:

    Will just slayed it tonight. He’s the dark horse in the competition. I don’t get Michaels gushing for Tessanne. It’s not a bad voice in the sense she hits bad notes, but the second she’s done, she’s forgotten, there isn’t any stage presence. But he was right about Matthew, he was simply complete mess this week, and I didn’t know he was even capable of singing so badly! If it was based on this performance only, frankly he should go home. but fortunately, he’s better than he did this week and can get back on track. Going home should be Tessanne and Ray. But I suspect it will be Ray and Cole.

  8. Clement says:

    Is it just me, or did James sound like he was slurring his words badly?

  9. shawnuel says:

    Matthew has only given 1 performance that I would grade higher than a B. Definitely think he is charismatic. I am NOT very impressed with his singing. Jacquie had a “few” pitch issues, most;y when she forced the volume too much. Otherwise, she handles very difficult transitions better than most. She could stand a little more restraint and increased use of dynamic tension but no one can fire up the crowd like she does, IMO. And I thought Will was the best of the night.

    • Bobby says:

      Agree about Matthew. His voice doesn’t impress me at all, and tonight just solidified that.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      Matthew’s voice is the best of this group, IMO. That being said, he sucked badly tonight. Like, really badly unfortunately. And Jacquie has had more than “a few” pitch issues. And I cannot possibly disagree with you more about her and restraint. Restraint with Jacquie is what led to last week’s meltdown on Clarity. She needs to go full throttle or go home. Those are her two options.

  10. shawnuel says:

    Oh, yeah….I absolutely LOVED the Matisyahu group performance. I thought their harmonies were spot on. Those 4 vocalists blended extremely well. I thought the Shearhan song was absolute tripe and the performance was disjointed. It was really, 4 individual vocalists singing one at a time. Each of those guys has a unique enough voice that I don’t think they would blend that well.

  11. Michael, I agree with you so much about Will and Tessanne’s performances. Will’s vocal, while imperfect, came from a sincere place and was so full of grit and soul that you can’t help but be in awe, even if it was an audacious song choice. Will means business, and he couldn’t have chosen a better song at a better time. Tessanne’s performance however, just had me grooving and dancing along. It was the Tessanne that I have been waiting to see since the Blind Auditions, when she declared her Jamaican heritage. Such a chill song choice. Too bad it’s extremely underrated in iTunes as of right now. Aaaargh. I hope Tessanne is safe, I want to see more of this!

  12. Should Go: James and Ray
    Will Go: Tessanne and Ray

  13. HTGR says:

    Jacquie Lee. Oh hell yeah!

  14. HTGR says:

    And Will and Caroline for honorable mentions.

  15. HTGR says:

    Good night. I do have to give James credit for rocking out and hitting notes this time and pitch and it is tough but I dont know it seemed not like Freddy and sort of weird somehow.
    Caroline that is just what she needed. Vicci Martinez did an awesome job with that way back back when, but this was different enough that comparisons didn’t come up.

  16. HTGR says:

    But damn Jacquie, damn girl. Daayum! And that’s my comments for the night.

  17. DavidSask says:

    Underneath It All was the only song I enjoyed!!!

  18. Clement says:

    10. Will Champlin – At Last (The Voice Performance)
    19. Cole Vosbury – I Still Believe In You (The Voice Performance)
    30. James Wolpert – Somebody To Love (The Voice Performance)
    34. Jacquie Lee – Who’s Lovin’ You Now (The Voice Performance)
    43. Caroline Pennell – Dog Days Are Over (The Voice Performance)
    48. Tessanne Chin – Underneath It All (The Voice Performance)
    79. Ray Boudreaux – Gimme Some Lovin’ (The Voice Performance)
    110. Matthew Schuler – It’s Time (The Voice Performance)

    If Matthew were to fall into the bottom 3, would Michael really save him after tonight’s performance?

    • Annalisa says:

      Uh oh, that makes me really worried for Tessanne. :(

    • SH says:

      Don’t know what Michael would do, but I would save Matthew this time. This was his first bad week, and his great weeks have been REALLY great. I suspect that Matthew and Tessanne won’t both make the bottom 3 though. I think Caroline will be there again with Ray, and I think those are the two who will go this week. I like her but I think she’s done unfortunately.

  19. Jas A says:

    For me, Tessanne’s and Will’s performances were the highlights from a very solid show of them. Michael, I agree with you about Cole inevitably being converted by Blake into a country singer only. It’s so lazy of him. Let Cole’s bluesy, soul side shine. I worry for Carolyn, Matthew and James Tuesday tonight.

  20. spongebob says:

    Tessanne: My favorite performance from her since Stronger.
    Cole: Blake could have a 4-peat with this guy. Dark horse. I feel like he had a Cassadee Pope moment with this song and I think this will reach the top 10 in the charts.
    James: Confession: he is my FAVORITE contestant this season. I love how he performs each time and he puts his own spin with this classic.
    Jacquie: Objectively strong vocals but I want to hear her nail a quiet vocal next time.
    Caroline: Still missing something but getting back there. I feel she should have sung Royals by herself on a performance show.
    Matthew: What happened there? Too shouty and lacking in power.

    Prediction: Ray, James, Will (Will saved) :(

    For those in the US, please vote for James! :(

  21. nan says:

    I think Blake’s song choice for Cole was off….I turned the channel on Mathew’s performance….Will was ok, but it was almost like he was trying too hard….I missed James’ performance, was talking on the phone and maybe that’s a good thing?…..TessA was so so, wasn’t really feelin’ the whole vibe….Caroline did a good job and sounded better than last week….Jacquie was ok, started to fall asleep when she was singing…and I thought Ray did a really good job, he looked great, was spot on with pitch and held his own, better than some of the other performers last night, he needs to let go though, he’s holding back, not sure why, Ray- just let yourself go, feel the music, don’t overthink it.

  22. Ted says:

    I’m ready for Ray to go, for sure. As much as I have loved Caroline, I think she has peaked, and I get the impression that her heart is not in it anymore. The others still have at least one more good performance in them.

  23. Blank slate says:

    Best voice on the show is Caroline. No pyrotechnic screaming or stomping or prefabricated drops to the floor to get the porpoises flapping their swaybot arms. The girl has a gift and she knows how to use it like an instrument. The others? Here today, yawn tomorrow.

  24. Kathy says:

    Another CeeLo contest did Dog Days Are Over way better than Caroline, remember? I feel she will be in bottom 3 again. I feel it will be Caroline, Ray, and Matthew in the bottom three.

  25. Maybe Baby says:

    Matthew gets a D+ and yet he’s not on the list to be leaving the competition?

    • Ginger Snap says:

      Matthew probably gets saved. Leaving Caroline and Ray in danger.

    • HTGR says:

      Because it’s not a one week competition, he has done a lot of good stuff and likely has a huge fanbase so it can make plenty of sense to say he is not going home despite last night.

  26. Roger says:

    Loved Will’s take on At Last – he was terrific. I think all 3 of Adam’s team will make it through, both of Christina’s team will make it through but CeeLo and Blake will each lose 1.

  27. Coryrox78 says:

    I actually really enjoyed Cole’s performance. I was in the kitchen cooking dinner and stopped what I was doing so I could go watch the rest of his song. Matthew has been my favorite so far, but I feel like he peaked with Hallelujah and has been on a downward spiral since. If I never have to hear At Last sung in a competition again it will still be too soon. I found myself distracted by James’ half microphone stand…

  28. Clement says:

    8. Will Champlin – At Last (The Voice Performance)
    13. Cole Vosbury – I Still Believe In You (The Voice Performance)
    16. James Wolpert – Somebody To Love (The Voice Performance)
    21. Jacquie Lee – Who’s Lovin’ You Now (The Voice Performance)
    24. Tessanne Chin – Underneath It All (The Voice Performance)
    26. Caroline Pennell – Dog Days Are Over (The Voice Performance)
    56. Ray Boudreaux – Gimme Some Lovin’ (The Voice Performance)
    85. Matthew Schuler – It’s Time (The Voice Performance)

    It will be a true test of the fanbases tonight.

  29. Adam's K-Mart Collection says:

    In a season where you have been off base alot with your critiques, you couldn’t be more off base with your review of James Wolpert. In fact, all 3 of Adam’s singers were the best 3 of the night.

    • Maymay says:

      I agree, they were all great. I usually wouldn’t go calling Slezaks’ review off base, usually I’d just say I disagree, but he really is swinging in a weird direction with Wolpert, pretty much all season (he didn’t care for Case of you which was amazing and last week he liked him ok when he actually was struggling/straining quite a bit). This week the struggling with pitch comment really seems off base. What the hell? I still didn’t love the song choice for James but I thought he did a darn good job with it, and I’m in no way inclined to like covers of Queen.

    • jazzy says:

      I have never seen Slezak so off base. I agree with you a billion percent. James was fantastic as was the rest of Adam’s team. Everyone else while talented will be long forgotten. Jacquie is very talented but so not ready for prime time.

  30. S. Pittman says:

    Sorry but Jacquie was on the lowest of the list for me! She started great, but then it went downhill from there fast! It was like she spent all week practicing the first few notes of the song and ran out of time to work on the rest! Off pitch totally and just screaming at us after that till I just had to leave the room to do the dishes! She gets my lowest rating; however, I’m sure she will still get voted through again! Will won this week’s round as far as I’m concerned!

    • Ginger Snap says:

      I’m going to pull out a thought from Harry Connick Jr. First you have to learn the melody. Jacquie’s performance suffered because she forgot to learn – and sing – the melody. It was all vocal tricks and hoops and hurdles throughout. It started full blast and had nowhere to go.

      She is a kid and hasn’t learned subtlety. She doesn’t have the vocal control to pull it off. Which is why Will’s performance outshone hers.

      She had the 5th best performance of the night.

      • HTGR says:

        Will is the one who started off full blast. Your comments make zero sense. (not that I minded Will)

      • sd says:

        I actually agree with this because that was the problem I had with Jacquie’s song —where was the melody? I never heard where the song was going

        • Kate2013 says:

          Are kidding me? Since the acapella start, she was in melody. If not I would have been obvious when the band kick in that she forgot the melody. I did think she overdid it a little bit towards the end, but man she just amazing.

          • Lee says:

            If you’d read it correctly, Ginger Snap said that Jacquie started full blast (or in melody) but then had nowhere to go because she hadn’t grasped the whole melody.

          • HTGR says:

            Yeah but the point is she didn’t start full blast and Will did so how you give Will A++++ for going full blast and then give Jaquie a low grade for starting full blast and having nowhere to go when she started radically less full blast and went more different places? (once again I will say I liked both and they were my top two of the night, I did also like Caroline)

    • HTGR says:

      Will came far closer to yelling it all out than she did and he didn’t even have the soft intro part AT ALL. These comments are not making any sense.

      • Ginger Snap says:

        Take a stroll down memory lane – At Last has been covered by:
        Josh Krajec
        Christina Aguilera
        Kelly Clarkson during her audition for AI
        Melinda Doolittle

        And Who’s Loving You?
        Michael Buble
        Matt Gerard
        Thia Megia.
        Josh Levi The X Factor just 2 weeks ago.

        Watch Kelly and Josh then watch Will. He nailed it.
        Watch Christina Aguilera on At Last and you will see that she is teaching Jacquie her tricks but the girl is missing some elements. It’s not all about the shouting and the vocal tricks

      • Lee says:

        @HTGR: But when women scream, it sounds a lot more offensive than when men scream.

        • HTGR says:

          I don’t know. James way up there and loud AND out of control AND off-pitch in severely clashing ways some other weeks, which sounds worse to me than a female being way up and loud but in better control and either in pitch or not off in a strongly clashing way.
          I wonder a bit too if it is people’s speakers, lots of TV set speakers are horrendously tinny and thin and even many speaker speakers have horrendous bass and treble boost and tend to run very shrill and hot, if you listen to some really flat speakers the difference you can be pretty tremendous.

    • Taylor says:

      I totally agree. All Jacquie Lee does is scream and over sing every single line. And when she sang the last couple of lines of her last performance, she really screamed it. It was awful.
      The one and only song that she sang where she couldn’t scream, the song “Clarity”, she didn’t sound very good. So she knows that unless she screams, she can’t pull it off.
      She has a strong voice and can carry a tune, but constantly screaming with no highs or lows is not talent. It is a show and screaming song after song gets old pretty fast.

  31. Chris says:

    I felt that Tessanne (didn’t care for the song though), Jacquie, and Will had the best voices/performances last night. I was shocked that Matthew fell short, but it does happen… He still had great stage presence and well he’s just a 10!

    Blake when choosing a Vince Gill tune for one of your contestants they must have an effortless falsetto, OK? Shame on you…

    Ps. Voice staff, please let Caroline and Matthew duet together! They owned “Lego House” last night (no offense to J & J, but really C & M owned that tune).

  32. Good Lord says:

    Your ears are broken, Slezak. Jacquie was a hollering mess. Once she lost her anchor she was all over the place. James completely killed it and should have ended the show (and I thought he was average at best until now).

  33. Fran says:

    I agreed with a lot of the review, but I would have given James an A- and Jacqui a B-. I feel like my ears are being rudely assaulted whenever Jacqui sings and I love James’ voice and the energy he brings to anything. I loved Will, Tessanne and James, but I also really hope that Caroline isn’t eliminated.

    • HTGR says:

      Once again I don’t get it. Or maybe I do, if guess belt or come remotely close to yelling it’s awesome energy, if a girl does it it’s a an ear assault. right.
      I could understand if someone doesn’t like belting or this or that, but when people blast one person for doing something and then praise others, who did the same thing only to an ever greater degree, the something is not adding up.

      • Maymay says:

        All Fran said is that she likes James’s voice and performance and doesn’t like Jacquies. They both get loud, that’s for sure. It’s largely a matter of taste whether you like what they’re doing, wheter you find it emotional and raw or screechy and like they’re pushing it too hard. Of course they can both overdo it but you know what I mean. The point is that gender is a pretty random explanation imo and not really fair to Fran.

        • HTGR says:

          I may have taken it too far and read too much of what I’ve seen in the past to her comment. Although it was starting to get curious where so many where saying Will and James were so great because they powered those high notes non-stop only to turn around and blast Jacquie for apparently the same (especially since she alone actually even had a delicate start). But OK I will take it back since I did read an awfully lot into a single post from her which is a dangerous thing to do and often foolhardy.

    • Lee says:

      HTGR–when women scream, it sounds very high pitch and shrill. Think of Edith Bunker when she screamed. When men scream, it doesn’t sound like that at all. I guess because men have deeper voices. That’s the difference I see between Will and Jacquie when they hit the upper register. To me, Will doesn’t sound that bad but Jacquie does.

      • HTGR says:

        as I said in the other post I don’t think that is always the case, although I do get your point
        also as I said, if you use nasty speakers, as many do, it is true that they probably hit female voices harder than males though with the way they are tuned, but that is not fair to the female vocalists, hear them live or on truly balanced speakers would be the fair way to judge. I haven’t heard anything Edith like in her and if it is that harsh to you maybe it’s the speakers/headphones are too bright and doing the typical deep bass and upper treble massive boosting, some speakers are very shrill

        • Taylor says:

          @HTGR -It has nothing to do with a person’s gender, whether or not they are male or female.
          It has to do with their singing ability. If a man or a woman constantly screams every line of every song that they sing, that is not singing. It is screaming. You have to have highs and lows throughout the song. You have to have bridges and valleys.
          All Jacquie Lee does is scream constantly throughout the whole song. And then she has no where to go when she comes to a really high point in the song, and so then it is way over the top and not very pretty. She really forces her voice at that point and it sounds awful.
          I think people who have any kind of musical intelligence are very offended by the way she sings. The judges are not going to say anything bad about her singing at this point. They are praising all of them no matter how good or bad they sing in their last few weeks’ performances.

          • Taylor says:

            And HTGR, I have top of the line speakers. They were very expensive and came with my 65″ TV. You can’t blame her constant screaming on bad speakers lol.

          • HTGR says:

            1. if they came with your TV it’s a bit doubtful they are anything remotely close to top of the line (and if they came came with it as in built-in to the set then it’s a guarantee that they are not only not top of the line but pretty poor)
            2. MANY top of the line speakers do not put out a natural frequency balance anyway though and try to artificially brighten things up to make things sound more detailed, such speakers tend to go shrill quickly. So even top of the line doesn’t necessarily say anything.
            Now that said, maybe it’s not that and maybe you’d dislike those notes even were you to hear them live, completely acoustic, but it is true that lots of speakers are pretty shrill and thin, even many expensive speakers and headphones, many don’t try to go for a natural flat response.

          • HTGR says:

            you say completely ignoring that she, as I said, started out the song acapella, unlike the others you mention, AND softer than them. You keep going on about how she screams non-stop when they definitely did not do that from that start last night and yet some that you praised did do that from the start last night, although I wouldn’t actually call 99% of any of it screaming myself.
            And not everyone with musical sense agree that she doesn’t sound pretty when she belts those notes. In fact, I’d say that she usually belts them with a lot more control than James. His voice is the one has sounded strained on some of the belted notes IMO. Jacquie controls those pretty well, even if you don’t like her timbre on some of them (and don’t forget that what you listen on can also affect timbre, especially for notes of female singers, although perhaps you wouldn’t like it even live).

  34. NotHappeningTonight says:

    Jacquie needs to go because she needs to do a lot more maturing. That insane Joker Grin she’s worn throughout every performance was something that bothered everyone in my house and shows that she has no actual comprehension of the words she’s singing. While it’s nice that her coach finally called her on it, if she actually had any connection to her music and lyrics she should have been able to figure that out on her own. There’s nothing wrong with being a kid and the shouty/shrieky thing can be forgiven kids always think that more is better. But let her be a kid. She needs to go back in the oven and baked a while longer. But right now, she’s the least deserving of the Pimp Spot.

    • Taylor says:

      That grinn drives me crazy. I was wondering if it was just me. It’s bad enough that she screams every line of every song, and then that “ohh look at me” constant grinn on top of it is just too much.

  35. Peyton says:

    Mostly agree with everything. Except Jacquie was screechy the whole time, especially at the end.. Had to mute her. Xtina totally messed up with Matthew and that ridiculous choreography. My favorite of the night by far was Will. Was stoked to see he made it into the top 10 on iTunes, and was the only one to do so. Tessanne’s preformance was refreshing to see. Loved seeing her have fun up there.

    I’m thinking the bottom 3 will be Caroline, Ray, and Matthew with Matthew getting saved.

  36. Brittany says:

    So impressed with Will Champlin last night. He’s slowly becoming my favorite. What a journey he’s been on this season. Seems like a really great guy and you can tell he really wants this. His preformance was great last night. Also loved tessanne and james. As much as it pains me to say this, considering I’m team xtina all the way, Adam is killing it right now.

  37. Allison P says:

    Will and Jacquie both made me cry tonight. Damn, they were good.

  38. betsy says:

    I love Cole, but his version of the song last night didn’t even sound like the song, like he forgot the melody, and it was horribly horribly flat. We changed the channel. I couldn’t believe it when I saw Slezak’s and Melinda’s tweets about how great it was.

    • HTGR says:

      yeah i had been loving Cole for a few weeks but he seemed off the last two weeks, i thought he was decent but bland to start, then he started bringing me aboard, but now he seems more like my initial opinion again

  39. Julie says:

    Even though it wasn’t Matthews best performance it still topped Ray and cole. I hope Matthew is safe to next week and I am more than sure he will blow everyone away like he usually does. I think Jacque and will both deserved the great grades you gave them. They were defiantly the standouts of the night. As far as all you james haters go, I thought he was good, just like Matthew it wasn’t his best but he has the most dynamic voices in the competition. I don’t think anyone else would go near that song like James did. I was glad Caroline did something a little different. I really liked her in the beggining but I don’t think she will make it past top 6.i think Tessane is consistently solid, but I don’t think she has a winner.
    Bottom 3 should be: Ray, cole, Caroline go home: Ray and cold

  40. rowan says:

    Tessanne and Will were the standouts to me tonight. Clearly they’re trying to get rid of Caroline and Tessanne because Jackie and Matt are just getting pimped to the max.

  41. jazzy says:

    James a C? Are you serious? I have never so strongly disagreed with Slezak. It will be Ray and Caroline tonight.

  42. Catniss says:

    Will is a good looking guy. I appreciate his sense of style. He is amazing!
    Matthew had a bad night.
    Jacquie had too may runs, just like Xtina would.
    I wish James would go, but he’ll be safe.
    Bottom 3: Ray, Caroline, Tess. One of the ladies will going home.

  43. JO says:

    Best piece of commentary yet on the voice!

  44. sd says:

    All the singers did better this week than last and I even liked the group numbers.
    Both Ray and Cole were my least favorites tonight. If not for Cole doing so well on itunes I’d say he had a good chance of being on the bottom. Matt had an off night due to worrying about choreography and being out of breath. Caroline doesn’t have a big enough voice to do that Florence and the Machine song. I expect to see Ray, Cole, Matt or Caroline on the bottom.

  45. Mika02 says:

    Yeah so my grades
    James: B+
    Tessanne: A
    Caroline: B
    Cole: F
    Matthew: C+
    Will: A+
    Ray: C
    Jacquie: B-

    Jacquie screamed most of the song if she didn’t do that I would have given her an A. Matthew’s performance was the worst performance but not a D at all. Caroline did a great vocal and definetely a better song that last week but it’s still the same boring performance. James was awesome I love that song probably his best vocal I just hated the staging. Ray Ray Ray please exit stage left. Tess and Will were genius tonight.

  46. bouionice says:

    I think you are way off base on James this week. I thought that he did a great job on the song and while nobody is going to be “the next Freddie Mercury” he didn’t struggle for the notes and wasn’t trying to duplicate Freddie. Agree that Ray should and will go but eventhough he’s one of the strongest left Matthew’s performance this week as just not good.

  47. Adam says:

    James deserves a G, as in GTFO. I’ve had enough of his faux-rocket shtick.

  48. Taylor says:

    Jacquie Lee screams constantly and oversings every single line. Screeching and bellowing is not talent. The one song that she did sing where she had to tame it down and not scream, you could see her weaknesses. And she did not sound good at all. Ballads are not supposed to be sung screaming constantly, even the most delicate line. She has a strong voice, can carry a tune, but she does not have a very good sounding voice.

  49. dd says:

    IMO, matthew and jacquie will compete against each other 4 d title. Dey’re both osm btw.

  50. rachy says:

    Tessanne was dressed appropriately. She conjured up the image that was correct/fitting, and that’s all I’ll say on that.