Fun fact: The Bachelor: After the Final Rose is airing as I write this sentence. But as a reality TV recapper, I’m “here for the right reasons.” And that means I am obligated to ignore the fameosexual horror show/absurdist comedy unfolding over on ABC, and instead report on Episode 5 of The Voice‘s sixth season.
OK, yes, maybe the water cooler convo tomorrow will focus on how that one pretty blonde wanted a marriage proposal from Juan Pablo while his jacket was still damp with tears from that other pretty blonde. But I’m taking the long view. In six weeks’ time, you won’t care about the participants of The Battle to Win a Neil Lane Diamond and/or a Spot on the Possible Revival of Bachelor Pad (™ pending) .
But there’s a very real chance that one of the eight artists who advanced to the Battle Rounds on tonight’s installment of The Voice will continue to be part of the soundtrack of your life — or at least a pleasant surprise in the midst of some iTunes shuffle action in the months and years to come.
So let’s get to it, yes?
I’m gonna rank tonight’s eight Battle Rounds-bound contestants (shown in more than snippets) from least-to-most promising — along with giving performance reviews for each and every one of ‘em — and then ask you to rank ‘em, too.
8. Paula Deanda: “The Way” (Team Blake) | Girlfriend’s grasp on pitch was as iffy as her genie pants and cropped top combo. How she got two chairs to turn and why she chose Blake over Shakira are bigger mysteries than how she lost her major-label contract back in the day.
7. Jake Barker: “When I Was Your Man” (Team Usher) | Yikes! This 28-year-old YouTube favorite — who’d never performed in front of a live audience — had more unnecessary runs in his Bruno Mars cover than a dog chasing his tail. (Sorry, that was a stretch.) Maybe Usher can tame his runaway trills, but I remain skeptical.
6. Alaska & Madi: “Barton Hollow” (Team Blake) | To my ear, the Oklahoma teens wandered from sweet harmonies to odd synchronization and back without much rhyme or reason. And while their song choice was cool and their tones were clear and pretty, I don’t think they conveyed much of the enigmatic darkness hinted at in the lyrics.
5. Cierra Mickens: “Crazy” (Team Shakira) | Preacher’s daughter from Alaska executed several high-difficulty adlibs in her Gnarls Barkley cover, but by the end, her vocal excess felt more distracting than moving. Not without talent, though, and she could easily exceed this low ranking come Battle Rounds.
4. Ria Eaton: “Cups (When I’m Gone)” (Team Blake) | She definitely finished stronger than she started, but Ria’s alternatingly croak-y/lilting tone was intriguing, and I dug her song choice, too. Plus, her backstory about her family’s financial struggles seemed 50% less annoying than most — maybe because she didn’t complain too much about her job piercing ears at the mall?
3. Josh Kaufman: “One More Try” (Team Adam) | Father of three may not be the most practical fella — I mean, if you want to be a working musician, doesn’t scoring a backup Master’s in philosophy represent the doubling of one’s risk? — but he brought a Billy Vera vibe to George Michael’s classic ballad, taking big swings at the melody and connecting pretty much every time. Let’s just hope that dude’s age (38) doesn’t get held against him on a show that’s appeared to have a mythical “Under 30″ cutoff in recent Battles and Knockouts.
2. Ddendyl: “Stand by Me” (Team Shakira) | Shakira was right that Ddendyl’s gorgeous voice gave off shades of Norah Jones, but her frosted-glass tone (if that makes any sense) was unique enough to avoid any copycat complaints. I liked how Ddendyl took her time with the melody and didn’t fall off pitch when it looked like no coaches would turn. Which leads me to the night’s biggest burning question: How come this was a one-chair special instead of a four-chair turn? Have these coaches lost their damn minds — or at least the use of their ears?
1. Kat Perkins: “Gold Dust Woman” (Team Adam) | Rocker-turned-nanny, who’s seeking re-entry into the music world, showed exquisite taste with her song choice, then added flawless intonation and daring glory notes to the cocktail. I’m drunk in love — and hoping Adam doesn’t go and (in the words of RuPaul) f*** it up!
With that, let me turn things over to you.
What did you think of Night 5 of The Voice‘s Season 6? Who were your favorite wannabes? Did you disagree with any of the coaches’ or contestants’ decisions? Take our poll below, then expand on your thoughts in the comments! And for all my reality TV-related news, interviews and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV