The Voice Recap: Eight Expectations

Gwen Stefani might still be using adjectives as adverbs — it’s “somebody like you that sings so incredibly,” not “sings so incredible,” girlfriend! — but everything else went “kablooey” on the Top 8 performance episode of The Voice.

My three favorite contestants going into the evening — Craig Wayne Boyd, Luke Wade and DaNica Shirey — delivered varying degrees of “eh,” “huh?” and “hrmm,” and in the process, made me take a second look at boarding the bandwagons of Taylor John Williams, Damien and Matt McAndrew.

Fret not, Ryan Sill is still the cheese, standing alone at the bottom of my weekly rankings, asking me to love him. But with everybody else up and down like planes experiencing turbulence in a thunderstorm, the race for the Season 7 crown remains wide open.

Yeah, you can probably guess my performance grades based on my intro, but let’s run through ’em anyhow.

Ryan Sill (Team Gwen) — Journey’s “Open Arms” — Grade: D+ | Ryan sang mostly in tune this week, but so what? His utter lack of emotional believability makes him the musical equivalent of a morning-news anchor giving “concern face” seconds before transitioning to a cooking segment about pineapple upside-down cake. I’m still not sure what Gwen meant by asking Ryan to “anti-perform,” but if her intent was for him to get upstaged by a variety of disparate “autumnal trees/cherry blossoms” set pieces, then mission accomplished!

Craig Wayne Boyd (Team Blake) — The Eagles’ “Take It Easy” — Grade: B- | Over the last two months, Craig has exhibited a strong, muscular tone that holds up nicely against the sometimes overwhelming Voice band. Tonight, though, while following Blake’s blunt instructions to bring something new to an Eagles jam he’s performed hundreds of times before, the country rocker swallowed at least a good half dozen notes like a toddler choking down a plate of broccoli and seemed more reliant on eyebrow raises than a true connection to the lyrics. Sure, dude didn’t truly botch any notes and he got the arhythmic audience to clap in time to the music — no small accomplishment — but his burners all seemed to be turned down to simmer at the exact moment he needed to power-boil.

DaNica Shirey (Team Pharrell) — Heart’s “These Dreams” — Grade: B- | First, I’ve got to note DaNica was the only member of the Top 8 who didn’t contribute to the Orient Express-style murder of “Say Geronimo,” and she was one of the standouts of Joe Jonas’ very enjoyable “Jealous” rendition. That said, I’m struggling to understand Pharrell’s strategy for the season’s sole remaining female: The arrangement he concocted for Heart’s ’80s power ballad — filled with plinky piano and complicated strings — was almost as fussy as the Disney Princess staircase that served as DaNica’s backdrop. The odd cadence of the music felt intermittently detached from DaNica’s booming vocals — and I’d hazard a guess it contributed to a final run of notes that put the “gory” in “glory.” If she somehow manages to survive into the Semifinals, here’s hoping DaNica is allowed to sing something uptempo and current — and from her preferred pop-soul genre, to boot.

Damien (Team Adam) — Adele’s “Someone Like You” — Grade: A- | Damien’s rehearsal footage had me bracing for a tidal wave of melisma with an undertone of false theatricality, but Adele’s masterpiece of heartbreak turned out to be the perfect vehicle for the former TSA agent’s style of R&B bombast. Whereas most of Damien’s performances have kept me at emotional arm’s length — as if he’s hitting a series of notes without letting me into his actual experience — his intimate, almost conversational phrasing on the verses and the quaver of his vibrato made me feel like I was hearing the song’s lyrics for the first time. That’s a huge accomplishment when you’re covering a recent and very ubiquitous hit — and it might just be enough to carry Damien right into the semifinals.

Chris Jamison (Team Adam) — Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” — Grade: B | If The Voice is going to produce a major pop star this season, Chris is probably the best remaining hope. He’s got a smooth falsetto, a broken-down grittiness to his lower register and an especially-good-looking-guy-next-door charm that made his recitation of lyrics like “I’m hot just like an oven/ I need some lovin'” feel more “mmm-hmmm” than “nuh-uh.” Still, I wish Adam had pushed the come-from-behind kid to take some liberties with the melody and arrangement: There’s still a skeptical voice in my head wondering if Chris has the chops to color outside the lines of a song and still make it work – and it’s awfully late in the season for that kind of question to linger.

Luke Wade (Team Pharrell) — Simply Red’s “Holding Back the Years” — Grade: C+ | Something about Luke’s performance made me wonder if he’d missed a cue or forgotten his lyrics or been hit over the head with a frying pan right before taking the stage. Why else would he be holding out his mic and demanding the teenyboppers in the front row of the audience sing along to a gorgeous 1985 ballad that he freely admitted would be unfamiliar to the under-30 set? Then again, maybe the dude was just struggling to find his way through a horns-heavy arrangement that robbed him of almost every chance to open up and belt that ear-wormy chorus. Even more troubling, the one time he finally did, the glory note was almost as ugly as your Thanksgiving turkey carcass as it rots in your local landfill. Could Team Pharrell be out of the race by Tuesday night? It’s not inconceivable!

Taylor John Williams (Team Gwen) — Lorde’s “Royals” — Grade: A | As one of The Behatted Troubador’s biggest detractors this season, I’ll confess I rolled my eyes a bit when Taylor declared his intent to “strip away the pop elements” of Lorde’s inescapable chart-topper in order to convey a darker message about homelessness in America. Yet while Lorde’s slinky musical candy definitely goes down easier than Taylor’s haunting, minor-key twist, the kid’s commitment to the cause — complete with a spares bass-and-strings arrangement — was pretty exciting on its own merits. I’m not sure if this is a one-week dalliance or the beginning of a beautiful musical affair for me, but I have to be honest: This was the performance of the night.

Matt McAndrew (Team Adam) — Damien Rice’s “The Blower’s Daughter” — Grade: B+ | I’m not sure any coach in Voice history has guided a contestant through the tricky process of song selection as well as Adam has for Matt. I’m in Blake Shelton’s corner — never before having heard this sweeping, sentimental ditty, which meant Matt had the pleasure of introducing it to what I’m guessing is at least three-quarters of the show’s audience. And the opening two-thirds was heartfelt and perfectly in tune. I wasn’t quite as enamoured of Matt’s switch to falsetto in the latter part of the song — to me, it’s simply not the sweet spot of his tone — but there’s no way this doesn’t carry the guy through to next week, and possibly directly into the finale.

Should Go Home (based on overall body of work this year): Ryan, Luke, Damien
Will Go Home: Ryan, DaNica, Chris

What did you think of this week’s Voice installment? Who were your faves? Who deserves to get the boot? Take our poll below, then sound off 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. analythinker says:

    – Again, WHY is Gwen insisting on giving Ryan classic rock songs? I’ve heard the Mariah Carey version, so to me that was quite bland.
    – CWB is consistently good that I’m afraid he’s turning into a male Danielle.
    – With all due respect, Pharrell, another old song outside her genre, and grand arrangement will not help DaNica, no matter how great she sings it (hopefully I’ll jinx it).
    – Was unsure about Damien’s song, but he sang well.
    – Ha, who was it saying “at least it wasn’t Sexual Healing for Luke”? On a good note, I can imagine clearly what kind of album Chris is gonna make.
    – Less is more keeps popping up in mind throughout the show = I like this arrangement for Luke but probably would like it better without the brass section.
    – Didn’t hate TJW’s performance, but I still don’t care.
    – Finally, a Damien Rice song! Thanks, Adam!

    • Floetica says:

      Slezak, you still don’t get it on Matt McAndrew, do you?
      If that song doesn’t go #1 in iTunes something is wrong with the world.

      • kevin says:

        I’ve haven’t heard Matt yet, but if Damien ain’t there… You know what.

      • Adake says:

        Floetica, no worries. Matt is at #3 on iTunes. Michael has his favorites although he did say he sees who is emerging as frontrunners. The viewers get it this season. But won’t it be strange if Ryan somehow beats out DaNica and Luke and Pharrell has no contestants until the wildcard coming up.

      • Tyriq says:

        Taylor Swift may have a lot to say about that. lol

      • oganali says:

        I think it was good but I fear it is a one-hit-wonder as his other stuff has not been up to par.

    • JM1 says:

      Soooo bummed about Luke tonight. I grew up when that song was popular – hated it then, hate it now. And that arrangement was beyond bad. Luke has the very most distinctive voice in the whole competition, and he’s crashing and burning fast. A month ago, I would never have predicted he wouldn’t go all the way. Pharrell needs to stop messing with him!

      • Dee says:

        Luke has a great voice but horrible timing and Pharrell’s song choices for him should be illegal.

        • JM1 says:

          Pharrell really needs to let his singers choose their own songs.

          • Kiki says:

            I think Pharrell is trying too hard to live up to his reputation as a producer and arranger. It’s overkill. But that’s a first-timer’s mistake.

        • GuitarBlue says:

          Exactly true — Luke has a great voice but has been given some really bad song choices sometimes. When he does a song that can highlight his unique voice qualities and range, he shines.

          • Alex says:

            Simply Red should’ve been a home run for him. His tone is perfect for that song. It’s like he gets so nervous and can’t remember the lyrics or just can’t understand the timing of a song. So odd.

      • Sara says:

        100% agree. I have really liked Luke, but I am wondering if I am putting too much emphasis on his potential. Pharrell has done him absolutely NO favors with his song choices and elevator jazz arrangements. It pains me to say this, but I think I am ready for Luke to go home, just so that I can see what he does with his own personal music choices from here on out after the show. I fully plan on following his career and supporting it, but I can’t help but feel he isn’t doing himself justice on the show anymore.

      • Gus says:

        Totally agree with you! In my opinion Luke is the best contestant. Pharrell, stop messing with that kid! Better song choices please! He has a great potential, his voice is so distinctive, the other contestants have great voices too but nothing that we haven’t heard before! Luke deserves this!

      • oganali says:

        Yes. I agree with you. Luke is awesome but the song and arrangement sucked canal water. Please Pharell!!!! You can do better than that!

      • Shevey says:

        I think that Luke would have been better served by the Angie Stone version of Holding Back the Years; much more opportunity for his voice to crescendo and shine

    • I agree about Gwen’s choices for Ryan. He has to go in pop direction. Chris was in same spot at beginning of season, not sure of himself. However Adam has picked great songs and gotten him going in one direction that viewers then connect with. Gwen has had Ryan going in too many directions. He probably would have done better with Blake.

      • Alex says:

        Ryan sucks so bad he wouldn’t have done well with anyone. Seriously, the guy needs to go straight to a successful broadway career.

        • analythinker says:

          I hope you aren’t saying those who have successful Broadway career suck.

        • JM1 says:

          He can definitely sing well. He’s just trying to transition from a boy-band type singer to a “real” singer right in front of our eyes. I haven’t voted for him, but I’m not mad at him, either. ;-)

        • He doesn’t have a powerful enough voice for Broadway lol He needs to do fluffy pop with music that covers his weaknesses like so many people on the radio now.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          Oh please. Broadway? 95% of the folks on Broadway are leaps and bounds below Ryan in terms of vocal ability. For every Kristin Chenoweth there are 19 non-Kristin Chenoweths. Have you seen a Broadway show lately? I know people rag on him, but Ryan’s not as bad as the hate on this board would suggest.

    • oganali says:

      Because Ryan cannot sing anything else.

  2. Jobless says:

    Matt could be so good if he didn’t feel the need to over-sing every time. The first part of his performance was stunning, he has such a pleasant voice when he’s not overdoing it.

  3. JM says:

    What happened to Luke? Is he sick or something? He just crashed and burned.

    Damien was overly emotional.

    Ryan just isn’t Perry, but I can’t say he was as bad as Luke, Damien and

    Taylor – what was that? Just bad.

    Danica was good until the end when she went off on her runs. Still gave her votes though because she was better than 4 others.

    Craig, Chris and Matt were all stellar.

    • oganali says:

      I think Luke was sick. He looked and walked like he didn’t feel well at all and he wasn’t up to his normal performance at all.
      I agree with you about Craig. He is always on and always a natural star.

  4. Ana Andrade says:

    This is why I keep an open mind every week. Some people just surprise you. I not really a fan of Taylor and Damien but they were terrific tonight. They definitely proved the naysayers wrong. :)

    • JM1 says:

      Anyone else besides me ticked off with how quickly they are kicking off the contestants? Three in one fell swoop is brutal. I’d happily listen to (almost) any of these singers perform again in the weeks to come.

    • Tyler says:

      Agree. Felt Taylor did a good job on an idiosyncratic song. Still don’t care for Damien that much. It just seems like he tries too much so it comes out sounding insincere. Wish Luke, Craig, Ryan and Danica would sing a recent song. I agree that Pharrell is doing no favors for Luke and Danica. I’m tired of hearing Craig singing golden oldies by Johnny Cash and the Eagles. Why doesn’t Blake give him something by Kenny Chesney? And Ryan just seems like he’s all over the map. Adam’s team is the one to beat this season.

  5. Laura says:

    Pharrell did his contestants in with those song choices. I’d love DaNica to survive just so there is a female presence in the Top 5 but seems unlikely. Think she has a better chance than her teammate Luke, though. That arrangement = yikes!

    Damien and Matt were AWESOME and Chris was pretty entertaining. I don’t get the TJW love… probably just me though. Craig’s selection was safe and kinda blah but he’ll be fine.

    Ryan is the only for sure elimination. It’s easy to tell the producers want him out as he’s been at the front of the show since the live rounds began.

    • Adake says:

      I completely agree with your review Laura. Think DaNica and Luke might join Ryan though so far Matt, Taylor and Luke not charting.

    • Scout says:

      Luke and Danica are going home. There is no way they are gonna beat Ryans 43K Twitter followers. I am not even sure they should at this point… That is my prediction.

      • Dee says:

        I’ll say it again…I just don’t get Ryan’s appeal. Mediocre voice, wooden stage presence, and bad song choices. (Although, I’m not sure any song is good for him)

        • Adake says:

          Also, Ryan’s constant stare at Gwen is down right creepy and wrong.

          • Lee Alexander says:

            Haha. So, I’m not the only one who thought that! Yep … his creepy stare was back … again! Each week, in fact, and Gwen’s uncomfortable, smiling nod of approval in lah-lah land makes me wonder … ‘what IS UP there?!!’ lol

          • Alex says:

            Hahaha. Totally agree. Her weird Elektra complex with this guy is uncomfortable. She looks like a 13yr old girl in lust at times and he looks like a puppy trying to please his owner.

      • scott says:

        Chris has 51k followers…

    • analythinker says:

      I never get the TJW love, ever.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      Not getting the TJW love is not just you. I don’t get it one bit. At least the kid can kinda sing. The true clowns of this season were Jessie and Reagan. With those two gone, I’m more ok with someone like TJW sticking around. I’d be having a rage stroke if those 2 girls were still here though.

      • Michael says:

        Really Angie? I really adored the arrangement tonight. I thought it was funky and groovy, so he could just move along with it, which is really what my main problem has been with him in the past. I don’t really care if his tone isn’t distinctive, as long as he sings it well, the song has a good arrangement (take note Pharrel), and it’s a good song for where he wants to go, I actually think that TJW has a decent chance at winning if Craig falls victim to the three person elimination.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          I alluded to this a few weeks back, but I’m not sure how much credit we can give these folks for cool arrangements. All I have to judge really is the vocal since they’re singing covers. If this was a contest that included original songs, then I agree we can take that originality into consideration. All I see/hear is a not-terrible voice with a yawn-inducing stage presence.

          • JM1 says:

            Like a few others, I never, ever understand the TJW appeal. His voice is so very meh to me. And as much as I love “Royals”, it has a very small vocal range. Compared to the others tonight, I’m not impressed.

          • Michael says:

            True… But I still liked it more than probably all of the other contestants tonight, TBH

          • Tom22 says:

            Hmm.. well I have to disagree with you on take but I might agree with you if I thought a “great voice” meant anything close to a “great singer”.. I separate the two … like a guy can hit great notes on a trumpet but only a personal style and elan with phrasing and inventive self defining licks makes someone who can play a trumpet a great trumpet player.
            The way I see it, for the band to create a special arrangement for someone.. the performer/artist must have a persona 1) -l force of will- to stamp any rearrangement with their own feel, 2) they must have a -musical aptitude- beyond “a voice” that quickly understands chord changes and reworking of resolves and can verbalize or demonstrate impromptu in that regar, and 3).. they need a “persona” or “style of their own” for which others might have a vision of “what fits” so when they fight and adjust it will fit and because it fits the product will be better. And what is a great performer whether actor, visual artists, composer etc without a style that they consistently implant on something?
            A strong voice is a small element of a great singer or a great artist….well that’s my take…. AND I wouldn’t say we’ve seen anything great out of Taylor necessarily but I do think that the skills it takes to adopt a song to a style that they have speaks strongly of any potential they’ll have later to possibly give us something fresh to listen to in the future.
            PS (this will be my only post) I’m refreshed that MS liked Damien.. i’e seen earnestness all the weeks as I feel like I know who he is and he’s not a simple guy… he’s a proud person inside that has huge empathy for others who are stuck in places they don’t want to be… I’m sort of sentimental and self believing at the same time so I relate to what I feel….. but I agree this week was best yet. Glad Michael liked T too.

        • PoopyPants says:

          ZZZZ it got pretty sleepy in the middle. I don’t get the appeal of this guy

    • I am pretty much on the same page as you. I could care less about smirking TJW. I love Damien’s voice if I just did not have to see his play acting. I like Matt but he is a little dramatic too. Chris gets up there and sings and does his thing. Do not think DaNica ever stays on tune.I like Luke okay but not as much as I did at first. I think that CWB always goes out on stage as a performer and entertainer and is ready for his fame. I wish Gwen would go ahead and take Ryan home with her so no one needs to listen to him but her.

    • JM1 says:

      On a side note, why was Ryan’s hair dark brown tonight?? And why was Danica the Little Mermaid?

  6. Kaba says:

    I could write a 20 page essay on how disappointed I am in Pharrell’s coaching abilities.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      Yup, dude sucks at this show. He’s impressively bad at this.

      • Kaba says:

        It’s a shame to think that weeks ago I would have killed to be on his team if I were a contestant.
        Nonetheless, how’d you enjoy tonight’s show?

        • JM says:

          You’re right, Kaba. I thought he was the dream coach.

          • melissae says:

            Agreeing with all above re: Pharrell….his comments have been great earlier in the show. Yet, his song choices have been really wacky and not at all playing to the strength of the singers. With his producer talents, it’s been a bummer….

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          I enjoyed that we are one day closer to the kick off of Season 8. Though still not as embarrassing as last year’s Idol, this is bad, dude.

          • Kaba says:

            We need Usher back pronto.
            Pharrell is a bigger joke than Shakira and I’d be willing to give Gwen my blessing if she’d come to her senses and realize having a crush on her team member doesn’t justify why they need to still be on the show.
            I’m just gonna watch older season performances.

          • Sharon says:

            I was editing something for a client, so I kept stepping away and not making it back because the performances couldn’t compete with, um, work. And this is a show that I have been willing to plan my Monday nights around in the past. I just played back performances only and I’m sure drinking whatever Blake has that makes him keep saying this is the best season ever would make it all seem so much better.

          • GuitarBlue says:

            I think once they got down to the top 5 of Idol last season, they finally had people who could sing. Before that, it took some time to weed-out the “Judges” saves to get into the top 13 that America did not vote into the mix. There were a couple contestants on that show that actually could not sing well enough to ever get a singing job beyond the local Bar scene. I haven’t heard much about the winner since, how is he doing in the music buss.?

          • Guitar Blue Hi You asked how the winner is doing? Caleb has been visiting childrens hospitals and visiting some very sick children which I think is great! On his facebook there are pictures. He has been doing sold out shows in his State of North Carolina! But I am kind of disappointed in his album, but I think AI had control to make it too cheesy instead of the hard rock that he wanted to do! So I am waiting for his next album to possibly be better without AI controlling it. I got “meet and greet” when the idols when they came here to Portland and they were actually ALL very sweet and friendly. CJ Harris was sooooo fricken nice, what a gentlemen. MK Nobilette was a totally funny girl! Oh and Calebs band “Elijah Hooker” played at the “Panthers” North Carolna Game! I just dont think these shows are producing any big stars anymore.

    • analythinker says:

      Me too! UGH.

    • Eileen McCarville says:

      Amen!!! So disappointed in what he didn’t do for Luke.

    • JM1 says:

      Who else spent Danica’s whole performance (which she sang great) worrying that she’d topple off that staircase?? It’s like she was put in a straightjacket, confined up there in that dress with no comfortable way down.

      • Kaba says:

        That was an attempted murder. Had she made one wrong move, with all those long flowy objects at floor length, she would be dead o.o

      • AlyB says:

        I think it was an attempt to create a vertical illusion that lengthened her. While I think they succeeded in making her appear taller/thinner, she also appeared to be glued to that step. I alternated between wanting her to move and worrying shed break her neck if she tried. None of it mattered in the end though since the tail end of her song veered so drastically off pitch.

    • Ash says:

      I myself am feeling hella smug because I predicted that Pharrell would suck as a coach I knew it when he let so many amazing team members slip through his hands. I kept yelling during the blinds at all the good people picking him also his song choices are like…really bad like really really bad

    • Alex says:

      I think he’s ok. It’s his first time. Always takes a minute to figure stuff out. Now Gwen, she’s horrible. Worse than Christina & Shakira combined.

  7. Adam says:

    I think we mostly agree, except on Damien, who seemed to me like a ball of cheese tonight who tried to do way too much with that song. As someone who usually can’t stand Ryan Sill or Taylor John Williams, both were at their personal best tonight. For Ryan, that didn’t necessarily place him above any others, but I thought that TJW was the best of the night. Who woulda thunk it?

    My Performance Rankings (based on tonight):

    1. Taylor John Williams
    2. Chris Jamison
    3. Craig Wayne Boyd
    4. DaNica Shirey
    5. Matt McAndrew
    6. Luke Wade
    7. Damien
    8. Ryan Sill

    The Verdict: I’m thinking we’ll see TJW in the iTunes Top 10 by tomorrow morning. As for eliminations, we’re really sending three people home tomorrow? And then wasting time on a wildcard week to randomly send an eliminated singer to the finale? This show’s format was already rough enough sending home two a week, but this season’s overhaul is kind of ridiculous. I feel like Damien and Ryan should definitely be going home, though who knows with Ryan’s crazy Twitter following who he will outlast? The other two spots in the Bottom Four will likely be occupied by some combination of Chris (because he was a Top 12 Coach’s Save), DaNica (because she never does anything upbeat), or Luke (because he chose an unimpressive song), or even Matt (for the same reason as Luke). I’d send home Luke, Ryan, and Damien, so I’ll stick with those three as the predicted eliminees, though Chris or DaNica would not be surprising in place of Luke or Ryan. Or, heck, even Damien if I’m crazy and everyone else thought he was amazing.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      Normally I too would be upset with sending 3 home in a week, but in a season like this one, I’m all for getting this over sooner rather than later.

      • Scout says:

        LOL. Me too. I couldn’t bring myself to watch tonight. It’s so meh. So 3 are going home, huh? Maybe Ryan will go after all.

    • JM says:

      Thank you, Adam! It seems we are the minority when it comes to Damien’s performance tonight. Although we differ on TJW-I just don’t get his appeal. So he stripped it down AGAIN. Big deal-that’s all he ever does.
      Completely agree about the show’s lousy format. Lose 3 and bring back 1??? Makes absolutely no sense.

  8. Kaba says:

    Wonder if this will post.

  9. JM says:

    Okay, I just read Michael’s grades and seriously, A’s for Damien and TJW??????

  10. m'lady says:

    Hats off for FINALLY giving Damien and Taylor A’s… although I’d say Damien was just as good- if not better – than TJW. Damien, Taylor John, and Matt were spot on, in that order. I think those 3 will stay in along with Craig Wayne Boyd. The 5th person is a mystery… either DaNica or Chris? I think Luke might be a goner.

  11. Rowan says:

    My massive issue is mostly with Luke. He’s got a naturally great voice, unique tone, but absolutely so sense of melodic timing. He makes awkward gaps and chooses to take liberties with the melody that he definitely shouldn’t be taking. My rankings are.

    1. TJW
    2. Matt
    3. Chris
    4. Damien
    5. Craig
    6. DaNiCa
    7. Ryan
    8. Luke

    I never thought I would put Ryan before Luke, but the way Luke chooses to sing? It irritates me.

  12. sally says:

    This is the worst season of The Voice ever. Maybe they are having a harder time finding good singers since they are limiting the singers to anyone that has a sad background, has been sick or some other problem. Have the judges been told to say everyone is great, best they’ve ever heard, great job…judges comments are worth anything this season – the entire season is terrible. Love Gwen and Pharrell but horrible season all around.

    • MC says:

      It would be tolerable if Jean Kelley, Sugar Joans and Toia were still around. They are definitely among the top eight talents this season, at least in my book. I would still be watching the show, but I only watch the video replays at this point. Looking at future seasons, I think female singers should not choose Adam’s team. He seems to bond much more easily with male singers.

  13. Kim Moores says:

    Didn’t like Damien…at all. Despised his phrasing, the vocal melodrama, and the excess falsetto.
    Hearing DaNica crack to high hell made me lose my balance.
    Luke was utterly ruined with that awful song.
    Mark my words: Luke, DaNica, Ryan depart tomorrow.

  14. Matt says:

    I’m actually stunned that you gave such a good grade to Damien. But it was definitely deserved.

    My thoughts:
    Ryan: Underwhelming. Will be bottom 3 and I highly doubt the others will sink below his level this time.
    Craig: Decent but not as good as his other performances. Might be in danger of being in the bottom 3 considering where he went.
    Danica: Had her moments but song choice was questionable. Probably gonna be in the bottom 3.
    Damien: That. Was. Awesome.
    Chris: That. Was. Awesome.
    Luke: After Ryan his was the worst of the bunch. Should be in the bottom 3 but I’d be surprised if it happens.
    Taylor: I’m not a fan of his at all but I really liked the arrangement.
    Matt: That. Was. Awesome.

    OK, yeah it reeks of Team Adam bias but I think he has far and away the strongest team (although if Craig survives I think he’s winning).

    • Dee says:

      I definitely don’t get the Ryan following. His voice is mediocre and he seems like he is trying too hard to get people to like him.

  15. analythinker says:

    iTunes ranking so far:
    #9 Matt McAndrew
    #17 Damien Lawson
    #25 Taylor John Williams
    #29 Craig Wayne Boyd
    #34 Chris Jamison
    #83 DaNica Shirey
    #100 Ryan Sill
    #139 Luke Wade

    Pharrell, do you NOT notice this trend??

  16. Christian says:

    After that performance TJW may easily be my favorite in a season like this, and with my personal favorites having already been eliminated.

  17. Greg says:

    My favorites were Matt, DaNica, Craig and Damien. Actually everyone was quite good! Even Ryan wasn’t all that bad (not deserving of that D+!) I predict the Bottom 4 will be Ryan, Luke, Chris and either Taylor or DaNica, with DaNica/Taylor getting the Twitter save.

  18. Somebody hold me. Taylor’s version of Royals was spectacular.

  19. Sarah says:

    Agree with the grades. TJW impressed me tonight for the first time in many weeks. I’m hoping you’re wrong about Chris going home.

    Also.. for me, Nick Jonas was the best part of the night. What a pleasant surprise.

  20. Adake says:

    That was an interesting night. You can see how Blake’s and Adam’s experience on this show is really helping their contestants with solid song choices. Some surprises both good and bad. Really liked Matt, Chris, and Craig. Thought Ryan and Damien were solid although Ryan’s stares at Gwen are creepy. Not as crazy about Taylor’s, DaNica’s and Luke’s song choices even though I really have liked them. My guess for the bottom three: Ryan, Luke and Taylor with DaNica a possibility.

  21. Davey says:

    Michael surprised me tonight by liking Taylor John Williams and Royals. I did, too, but I thought he would give him a thrashing.
    I liked Danica tonight more than Michael but I don’t know if that song will help her. Damien gave one of his better performances tonight but I still find him a bit corny. Luke Wade may be eliminated tomorrow which is too bad–that song didn’t help him. I love The Blower’s Daughter so it’s hard for Matt McAndrew to top Damien Rice but he did a good, if not great, job.

    My votes tonight went to Luke and Danica to help save them and to Matt and Taylor.

    I don’t think we have to worry about Craig. He is going to be in the top 3 no matter what.

  22. Michael says:

    Wait, what is this? I like Damien and Matt? And I adored Taylor John Williams? I must be sick! That was a really cool arrangement on Royals for TJW, and, for the first time this competition, Damien backed up his vocal with some emotion! Good Job tonight you two! I just really like Matt tonight. I can’t really pinpoint what I liked, but I liked it. Same thing with Chris. I was really not okay with Craig having an iffy night, especially tonight, as this is the worst night to have an iffy night. I just need Ryan to go home now, please and thank you. What was up with Danica’s arrangement AGAIN? Pharrel, please stop and go to directly to jail for that arrangement. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars. I’m almost done with Luke, but I’m holding out hope on the basis of Rich Girl, Maybe I’m Amazed, and Let’s Get it On, because he’s having some rough performances in the live rounds, that aren’t what he’s capable of. Ugh, if it weren’t for Damien and TJW tonight, I would’ve said that this would be one of the rougher live shows… This has just been an underwhelming season, but someone new keeps popping up every week to surprised me, so I don’t know what to think. If TJW can back this up for a few weeks, him and his fanbase will win, if he chokes next week, it’s either Craig’s win or Toia. My bad, i meant Troy. Whoops! I meant to say Amanda. Seriously though, who else could win? I don’t think Damien has been performing well enough before this week, and Luke can’t win now. I don’t think Danica could pull this off. I mean, she has the people getting on her for Pharrel constantly choosing old, dated songs for her and ruining the arrangement. It’s like the production is after her as well! I wish the best for whoever wins, but this season’s winner won’t be successful…

  23. sd says:

    I don’t get what Michael and the other commenters have against Damien. He’s consistently good every week. But no matter, Damien is already #16 on itunes and is sure to go top ten.

    In the meantime, Matt is already #8 on itunes. This song and the Take Me to Church song both reached top 10 so he’s got the edge now and maybe should stick with more songs by Irishmen.

    I think Pharrell is ruining his singers by his tendency to over produce. I don’t think Danica knew how that song was supposed to sound as she was off the tune the whole time.

    If we’re using the voice save then Ryan will probably get saved again so whoever else gets in the bottom will be in trouble. Based on itunes it’s going to be Luke, Ryan, Danica and Chris

  24. kevin says:

    What the hell was that opening song. Say Geronimo? It reminded me of the Brady Bunch mixed with Up with People and an Idol Ford commercial.

  25. Davey says:

    I find Chris exactly what he says he is, performing like a college student who is trying to cool. I am so sick of Adam calling him a ladies’ man. Ugh.

    • Sharon says:

      Terrible song choice for him, and why was he in that weird red tunnel-light arrangement? It had some Freudian connection to a relevant female body part, maybe?

      • JM1 says:

        It’s true that he hit all his notes and sang it well. (Although TBH, the song doesn’t have a huge range aside from the falsetto parts he handled well.) But honestly, is there anything really unique about his voice that would stand out on the radio? He’s a nice kid but not “The Voice.”

      • A Revelant female body part! hahahahahahahahah Yes

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      But he is a ladies’ man, Davey. I can’t even look in his direction without sitting down with a glass of ice water. That man redefines “sexy” and there needs to be an award for the sexiness that is Chris.
      Yeah, I have a crush. So what? Yeah, I said it.

      • Janie says:

        Seriously? I don’t find him very sexy He’s a good-looking wholesome kid with a nice voice. But sexy, not so much. And I’m sorry, but he had no clue what the song “Sexual Healing” is about.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          That makes one of us. I turn into one of those crazy girls from the 60’s screaming and fainting when they saw the Beatles every time Chris is on my screen. He could be singing a North Korean propaganda song about killing Americans and I’d still find it unstoppably sexy.

          • analythinker says:

            I actually doubt this, lol. North Korean propaganda song is definitely a turn-off! :D

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            As I don’t speak Korean, I will imagine those lyrics would be a love song written specifically for me. Please don’t burst my bubble of delusion here. :)

    • Greg says:

      He’s the second worst singer there behind Ryan. And I don’t get the “ladies man” label since he looks like the unholy mongoloid offspring of Channing Tatum and Wentworth Miller.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Or the lovechild of Apollo and Venus sent from Heaven above.

      • Chris has been lucky to have Adam as coach and getting smart song choices. Without that he would be in bottom 3 alot like Ryan.

        • Greg says:

          He’s even luckier to have been given choice singing positions, which is likely Adam using his seniority to get what he wants. Chris got to sing in the pimp spot, second to last and then tonight still in the second half in all the live shows, which is an advantage. That is the only reason he’s still there. I hope he gets sent home tomorrow and Adam gets to keep Matt and Damien.

          • Meri says:

            Adam is going to cut Chris’s throat soon enough. Matt is looking to be his best chance to win and he always starts to focus on his best chance at this point in the competition. He usual tactic is to favour his best chance and let the others fall by the wayside at the right time.

  26. Davey says:

    I thought Damien gave his best performance tonight. I didn’t vote for him, though, based on his overall performance on the show. I thought he should have been gone two weeks ago.

  27. Sorry guys but I don’t just get the Matt love. He just leaves me empty. Thought Ryan did far better than most of you give him credit for. Still love Luke but tonight’s performance was awful. Taylor was amazing, true artistry!

  28. AlyB says:

    Matt was my hands down favorite tonight. I just loved it live & the studio version is incredibly beautiful too. It’s shooting up the iTunes chart already.
    TJW did a great job tonight. It took me a minute to get used to how much he changed it up but I really liked it. His vocal was spot on.
    Chris was definitely in his groove tonight. I don’t see him going anywhere.
    CWB had a solid performance but didn’t bowl anyone over tonight.
    Damien sounded great but his performance tends to be so overwrought that he puts he off.
    Ryan managed to hold his own on Open Arms but with three going this week, I think he’s through.
    Danica started out sounding fantastic but the end of the song, was an off key mess.
    Luke might as well have phoned it in. It was forgetable filler.

  29. Angie_Overrated says:

    Trying to determine the worst of the night is a tough one. DaNica was an honorable mention, but it’s a tough call between Luke and Ryan. I’d have to say Luke wins for the bottom spot. First, the song was terrible because it just sits there rhythmically with no energy or momentum. Is it just me, or did he screw up an entrance again? And that top note was tragic. Poor guy.
    Ryan is so close to being good! I know that’s an unpopular opinion, but he ALMOST has those top notes. He just needs more space in his mouth and more lower body support. So close!!! But alas, yet so far. With the right teacher, he can probably fix that in a month or two.

    • Sharon says:

      Ryan was taking on a big song made famous by a spectacular voice, and he kind of held his own. There is actually something very nice about his tone. He’s almost certainly going home tomorrow, but there are others I’d part with first, including DaNica and Luke.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        I’d venture to say those 3 will be our eliminated contestants tomorrow. Their time has unfortunately come. I never though I’d be saying TJW over DaNica and Luke, but here we are.

    • Ana Andrade says:

      First time I ever agree with you Angie :) Ryan can sing but he just need to work on it. I thought he was doing fine until the chorus.

    • Kaba says:

      Is it right for us to ignore DaNica’s crack from hell?

    • sheba says:

      Luke was definitely the most disappointing for me, though I’m not sure it was actually the worst performance of the top 8. With a better singer without Luke’s limitations (inability to fully connect emotionally, more ability to let go, difficulty sustaining notes, failure to fill in more of the melody, poor ability to flip into falsetto), that song with that arrangement could have been a moment. Imagine Mick Hucknall singing that version of his own song, and it would have killed.

      I agree with you about Ryan being most improved, but every time I see him, all I can think is that he is some kind of singing robot or puppet brought to life. He’s so close to being a real live boy, but as I have yet to see a flicker of a personality or emotion coming out of him, even in interviews, I am never fooled into thinking he could be more than a living karaoke machine. His failure to appear to feel anything or to make me feel anything still makes him the worst imo.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Your post literally made me LOL. That’s funny. If I knew that song from Pinocchio about being a real boy, I’d be singing it right now.

      • Tyler says:

        IMO Ryan is no different than Jackie Lee. Both are young and novices. And both were molded by their coaches. So why do so many people hate Ryan and so many people loved Jackie?!

    • I feel so bad for Ryan. The main problem is that he hasn’t had enough experience, doesn’t feel confident in what type of singer he wants to be. The others get the votes because viewers can believe the genre they are singing. Then Gwen gets him going into rock! I don’t think he has sung that bad. I feel Chris was in the same boat at the beginning of season but Adam has given him the same genre and made him believable. I think that could have happened for Ryan. I know Adam didn’t turn for Ryan but i think Blake would have done better for Ryan than Gwen. however Blake might not have saved him into top 3 team like Gwen did. No doubt he will leave totally confused on what genre he should work in!

      • Tyler says:

        Ryan should stick to R&B. He doesn’t have the angst for rock.

        • janie says:

          You know how on XF they manufacture boy and girl groups with contestants who they kind of like but don’t think are good enough as solo performers? IMO, that’s what Ryan needs — to be in a boy group where there isn’t pressure on him to stand out.

    • analythinker says:

      I always feel like he has trouble with his lyrics. Even last week felt like there were some gaps that weren’t supposed to be there. And I thought years of performing had honed his skills and instincts on things like these.

  30. Davey says:

    For those who liked TJW’s Royals tonight, the iTunes recording is even better. Very nice arrangement and his vocal is very good. I can see why Pharrell thinks he’ll make a good recording artist.

  31. Kim Moores says:

    I’m sure baby Apollo will be glad to know that his favorite footy pajamas were taken by his mother and put to use as her outfit for her God awful performance.

  32. George says:

    My favs going in were Chris, Matt and Craig. I wasn’t as much of a fan of Taylor John before tonight , but he was impressive!.

    I’d have to say that Ryan, DaNica, Luke, and Damien will be in the bottom 4, with Damien getting the save. If Chris ends up in the bottom 4, I think he will get the save.

    Ryan is so GONE! Finally!

    DaNica is GONE! Questionable arrangements of not so great song choices!

    Luke is GONE! Nerves got the best of my man Luke. The song choices were off the charts horrendous.

    I agree with Michael, that it’s any ones game right now!

    My Top 5 Rankings
    1. Matt
    2. Craig Wayne
    3, Taylor John
    4. Chris
    5. Damien

    • MC says:

      I wonder how many teens and tweens judge an old song by the quality of the covers on talent shows. I know Pharrell has been uniformly criticized, but “These Dreams” and
      “I Say A Little Prayer” will always be great songs in my book. It’s unfortunate that Blessing Offer murdered “Do I Do” earlier in this season. The original version is a brilliant opus and arguably one of Stevie Wonder’s ten best tracks, but it is rarely heard on these talent shows. I wouldn’t be surprised if Blessing’s uninspired cover gave young people a negative opinion of “Do I Do.” Those who checked out the original version were probably pleasantly surprised.

  33. Morms says:

    I am also struggling with suddenly liking a few who were not on my vote for list. For example Taylor Chris and Damien. A few faves were disappointing as you mentioned. Some really old songs tonight too – Sexual Healing!?! Based on tonight only: should go – Ryan Craig and Danica. Will go – Ryan Danica and Luke. (I’m a Danica fan but tonight was not great. Wrong night for misstep)

  34. Dee says:

    I know its The Voice but I have a teen daughter and a 21 year old daughter and since they make up the majority of votes and itunes sales I think the top 4 will be:
    Chris (Side note: Has anyone else noticed how much Chris looks like a younger, skinnier version of Channing Tatum?)
    CWB (because Mom’s get a vote too)
    Danica and Damien get too dramatic and over the top. Luke’s timing is horrible and he bottoms out.
    I think Ryan may have worn out his welcome at this point because both of my girls left the room when he started his robotic performance.

    • Actually, Chris looks a lot more like a younger James Taylor.

      • kt5 says:

        Eerily, his looks’ remind me of Christopher Lloyd when he played in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’.
        And thank you to Adam for introducing me to a truly lovely song.

    • AlyB says:

      We are definitely on the same page this season. Those would be my picks for top 4. Damien seems to have a considerable following though and might challenge Chris or Taylor for a spot. He does have a great voice. I’m just not into him at all. I do think Matt & Craig are shoe-ins.

  35. MA Martin says:

    would love to hear TJW sing Terence Trent D’Arby’s Wishing Well…..magical

  36. A says:

    I thought Damien was all over the board with his interpretation of Adele’s song…his weakest performance of the season and should put him in the bottom 3.

    Ryan – gone – he doesn’t have a strong enough voice – which really came through tonight – he could not sustain.

    Luke’s song choice was very awkward considering his talent…it’s not always clear who chooses the song (producers vs. talent) but they didn’t do him any favors unless they are setting him up to come back as a save in the finale.

    Danica – She did a great job until the end when she free-lanced too much and got off key.

    Matt and TJW – successful execution

    Craig – not impressed with the song choice but he made the best of it (love the Eagles but not enough variation in that song for this type of show).

    Chris – he has shown much more talent than I first gave him credit for but I don’t think it’s enough to carry him through to the end.

  37. Janie says:

    Matt is already at #3 on iTunes. Damien and Taylor John are at #12 and #13, with Craig Wayne at #18 and Chris at #22. So it’s possible that there will be 5 songs in the Top 10 on iTunes before the voting window closes tomorrow morning.

    If that happens it will be a lot harder to figure out who will be the 4th member of the bottom 4

  38. Evan says:

    How is Ryan still here? Better yet, why is he still getting classic rock? If he was singing light pop, he might make more sense, but singing rock songs, he just sounds so out of his element. Craig was good tonight, but much better in the past. I don’t think that will hurt him though. I actually really enjoyed DaNica tonight, and while I didn’t love the song choice, I thought it was a very vocally strong performance. I might be rooting for her just because she’s the only female left. Damien…oh good Lord, Damien…his performance of “Someone Like You” was equivalent to a stranger showing up on your front doorstep, taking something you love very, very dearly, and dragging it through a sea of nails and broken glass. I haven’t liked this guy all season, and tonight was the kiss of death for me. PLEASE, by an act of God, do not let him through this next round (even though it looks like he will). Chris was good, but not great, tonight. It looks like he still may make it through, and that’s okay with me. Luke’s performance was very boring, which is upsetting because it looks like it might get him eliminated. He doesn’t deserve it, but he also really has not stepped it up like I’ve been expecting for a while. Taylor John, who I haven’t liked all season, delivered a KILLER performance tonight. The arrangement, his sultry vocal…I was all in. I preferred it over Matt’s performance, which was another song that really worked for me after being questionable about him all season. Matt’s killing it on iTunes too. Has any performance from “The Voice” hit #1 on iTunes since Cassadee Pope’s “Over You”? I can’t remember. My rankings from tonight:

    1) Taylor John
    2) Matt
    3) DaNica
    4) Chris
    5) Craig
    6) Luke
    7) Damien
    8) Ryan

    Who should go home: Ryan, Damien, and after that, no preference
    Who will go home: Ryan, Luke, and DaNica :(

    • I agree that Ryan should be singing light pop. Even though he has 43k twitter followers he’s not getting votes because nobody believes his genre is rock! What is Gwen thinking? That kid is going to be so confused about what direction to go in after this. He needs to talk with Adam.

      • Jennifer J says:

        Josh Kaufman may have made it to #1 with “I can’t make you love me” but it may have gotten to #2. Still a great accomplishment. But for this season, I don’t know if they can compete with the mystery that is Taylor Swift.

    • Jules says:

      I think Matthew Schuler did last season with “Hallelujah”. Not positive but pretty sure.

    • Meri says:

      Tessanne hit #1 with “I have nothing”.

  39. Timmah says:

    I’ve been singing Taylor 3 Names’ praises from the beginning, so I’m pleased to see others on here starting to appreciate him. He’s the only one with star quality iyam. If I could combine Damien’s passion with Danica’s technical ability, then I might have a second favorite, but neither one impresses me individually. Craig continues to ruin classic songs for me. Take that warmed-over honky-tonk crap to Hee-Haw, please. Unfortunately, I think he’ll win.

  40. NotSo says:

    As michael said, the top three dogs really lagged tonight. Not terrible, but definitely meh. CWB was just OK and totally skated this week. I have to say I was uncomfortable watching DaNica clutch the railing of those stairs, I really thought she was going to take a tumble any moment. And frankly nothing made me forget Nancy Wilson. But I have to say, wow, Damian for the very first time made me actually believe in him — That was a lovely performance (and why I am not surprised it wasn’t a choice by Adam.) And Taylor was a raging surprise as well because, frankly, I haven’t liked him at all this year. But in fairness, I have to say that was a great performance.

  41. Marie says:

    Just listened to Damian Rice’s version it was so beautiful and haunting, sorry Matt. My favorite is Taylor John he is truly an artist and has a great voice and great instincts.

    • GuitarBlue says:

      appears that Ryan, Luke and DaNika may be the bottom three. At this point, song choices and genre popularity and contestant popularity are more important than who can sing any certain song the best. Also, if you sing first with 8 left, you have to set a high bar for the others to beat – even if you do well, it’s tough to hold-on to support as the night wears-on.

  42. Tacey says:

    Taylor John, said the,wrong thing, “some people have to much” who is he to judge what people have. And what us he trying to do ? Be poor because he is trying to make it big on the Voice, I would be,surprised if he made it past tonight just because of that judgemental comment.

    • And Taylor doesnt know what he is talking about! Im from portland and we have one of the worst economies, one of the bottom 3 states.” Some people have too much?” is what he said. Portland is not the Hamptons. lol He should not make comments like that on live TV. He may have ticked some Oregonians off! lol

      • Just a comment to throw in! We are very proud here in Oregon of the picture that has gone viral of police officer and little African American boy! Beautiful! We all needed to see that. Devonte Hart and Officer Barnum!

  43. Steve says:

    After tonight its easily Taylor John Williams, Matt is good , but the performance boring after watching Taylor. I like Damien alot but he needs more vocal range and let’s face it the only person on the show that can be classified as an artist is Taylor. he’s comfortable on stage. Gave the song Royals a completely new twist. He just blew everyone out tonight. And the girls love this guy.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      Not all girls endorse this statement.

    • Sara says:

      I’m one of those “I love the artists on the Voice” type defenders, but Taylor is a fake artist who can’t sing. I have massive disrespect for people who copy other artists’ innovative covers and try to pass it off as their own, which Taylor John Williams (and consequently the producers) has done at least 3 times this season thus far. Not only that, but his insistence on trying to make everything “depressing” to prove his artistry is disingenuous at best.

    • BrazenSongBird says:


  44. potus says:

    I asked my roommate who he thought should go home, and he said, “well, There was no body who was really completely wretched tonight…well, except for Gwen.”

  45. mel says:

    I really think that Damien is the best n should be this voices winner, he has it all the voice, expression, style, and he can sing any song, but this contest people sometimes vote because they think the guys are cute but what a waste, let’s go damien, lol

    • zac says:

      i agree with everything you said but it’s the connection. I really dont feel it from him.

      • jennvozik says:

        Voice preferences are just that, preferences. None are the “best”-just who you like more. For me the question is who’s music or shows would I pay for down the road. Because personally I get very attached to the singers I like and follow their careers. Jamar, Michelle, Will, Josh-I’ve seen them all live and buy the music they put out. I wouldn’t with Damien or most of the contestants this season, to be honest. However I am curious to see where Matt & Taylor go with their music. I’m the kind of person that likes the stripped down stuff, though. Doesn’t mean I LOVE them like the contestants I named before but I think they could make places for themselves in the industry and do well. Meh, it’s just my opinion.

  46. analythinker says:

    I’m starting to suspect that as a producer, Pharrell is the kind that has TOO much control over his artists and the arrangement of music they’re gonna make. Not sure I want him to produce my album if that’s the case.

  47. Lemon Tree says:

    Matt McAndrew is our new “Simon and Garfunkel” instilled in one voice—“the Voice.”

  48. The Duke says:

    Gwen, Pharrell, Ryan and Danica in the bottom.

  49. zac says:

    It’s Nick not Joe

  50. koolkatz says:

    TJW and Matt were the best tonight. I bought both, though I don’t think either needs my support on itunes.
    I had really high hopes for Pharrell as a coach, but I gotta agree, bring back Usher. Use Pharrell for consultant instead.
    I had to fast forward through Gwen’s whatever it was.