The Voice Live Playoffs Recap: Has Elvis Entered the Building?

Yep, yep, yep, it’s called The Voice, and the voice should be the focus of our attention.

And yet, with 24 singers competing for only 12 slots in the Season 9 finals, shouldn’t a little salty hip action count for a few bonus points in a very close horse race (provided that said moving and grooving doesn’t throw a contestant off pitch)?

That was my thought tonight as Mark Hood, Zach Seabaugh and Nadjah Nicole attempted to do more than bake whole honeyed hams (musically speaking) while standing frozen at the mic stand. None of them gave perfect performances, if I’m being completely honest, but at the same time, I felt like aimed higher than the typical “reality-competition contestant trying to tick off a predetermined set of boxes” and deliver genuine musical entertainment to the audience.

Granted, boogie-oogie-oogie is never going to trump next-level vulnerability – and that’s why Madi Davis ranks No. 1 on my list of Night 2 contestants who absolutely must advance to the finals — but it’s a factor worth considering for an Emmy winner still searching for its first household-name breakout champ. (Maybe it’s folly to hope for NBC’s answer to American Idol to produce a Kelly Clarkson/Carrie Underwood breakout in the iTunes era, but are you really going to be as invested in Seasons 10, 11, 12 and 13 if the stakes are no higher than doubling the price of admission at the winner’s local coffee house?)

Anyhow, while you ponder why Sawyer Fredericks hasn’t yet topped the charts (WHO IS/ISN’T HANDLING HIS P.R., YO!?), allow me to share my personal rankings of Tuesday’s 12 performers:

Team Blake
6. Ivonne Acero, “One of Us” — Ivonne is the kind of girl who’d be a shoo-in to win her high-school talent competition, but her tentative delivery and habit of falling just short of the note — especially on her “what the heck is happening here?” ad libs — means she’s an almost certain elimination during Wednesday’s results telecast. Grade: C

5. Morgan Frazier, “Lips of an Angel” — Blake’s choice of an inarguably groan-inducing Hinder jam pretty much telegraphed Blake’s preference for Emily Ann over is Knockout Rounds steal-back. But Morgan did herself no favors by going flat nearly every time she wasn’t flat-out belting her notes. Grade: C+

4. Emily Ann Roberts, “In The Garden” — Before we talk about Emily Ann’s wobbly sense of pitch on a sure-to-garner-downloads hymn, can we please agree that Carson Daly should not kick off the coaches’ critiques with leading questions like, “Gwen Stefani, how moving was that for you?” I mean, what if Gwen was about to offer some constructive advice to Emily Ann about not starting songs so high in her register that it almost guarantees vocal strain by the time you get to the chous? (That’s what happened on “In the Garden” for sure.) There were pretty moments, though, too, but this isn’t the first time in Season 9 that I’ve wondered if Emily Ann might’ve fared better had she waited another year or two to audition. Grade: B-

3. Barrett Baber, “I Drive Your Truck” — Barrett’s got a muscular voice and the kind of “I didn’t spend too much time lookin’ like this” handsomeness that’ll probably make him a slam-dunk at country radio. I just wish I found him more believable when he’s delivering a lyric. There was so much quaver and amped-up angst from beginning to end that it all began to feel like storytelling artifice rather than a genuine exploration into a man’s grief and loss. (Yes, I know this recap is starting to sound more like a college thesis, so I’ll just try to say it more plainspokenly and tell that I simply wasn’t feelin’ it. Grade: B

2. Nadjah Nicole, “Upside Down” — Sigh. Look, I’m well aware Diana Ross’ rhythmic masterwork is no kind of vocal showcase — oh, Nadjah, why not “No One Gets the Prize” or even “The Boss”? —but on the other hand, does every reality-singing competition “moment” need to center on a big, emotional ballad? Nadjah hit every note of Miss Ross’ post-disco romp, and her riffs over the melody in the song’s final third proved her ability to go beyond mere karaoke. Here’s hoping Blake doubles down on his “special drank” Wednesday night and saves this non-country diva as his Judges’ Choice contestant. Grade: B

1. Zach Seabaugh, “Brand New Girlfriend” — I’ll admit it: I’d written off Zach as mere cannon fodder based on his prior appearances. And while I’m in no way saying he has the strongest pipes in the Season 9 race, his raucous, hip-swaying, I’m-here-for-your-entertainment cover of Steve Holy’s uptempo jam was the most fun anyone’s had on NBC’s reality competition all year. (Nope, I’m not taking the bait and making a ShelFani zinger here.) There were shades of Elvis in his boogying, and hints of Josh Turner in his lower register, and I’m not going to pretend to be a snob and say I wasn’t all about it! Grade: A-

Team Pharrell
6. Riley Biederer, “Should’ve Been Us” — I’ve been feeling all season as though Pharrell somehow seems less invested in his contestants than in his two prior seasons, and his failure to steer Riley away from a song clearly too range-y for her solid — but not gargantuan — voice merely proves my point. Putting it another way, your niece’s pony is a lovely animal, but you wouldn’t put her in a race against Triple Crown champ American Pharoah, would you? And yet as Riley’s voice strained and slipped and devolved into off-key ad-libs, the competition slipped right out of the little pony’s grasp. Grade: C+

5. Celeste Betton, “Something in the Water” — Celeste did her best to transform Carrie Underwood’s religious country ditty into something that could sit at the intersection of Gospel, and while that effort brought out a newfound grit and ferocity in her tone, it also seemed to leave her slightly winded at the ends of phrases, and struggling to keep up with the cadence on the verses. Not a bad effort, but not the showstopper I wanted from Pharrell’s “Coach Comeback” selection. Grade: B-

3. (tie) Darius Scott, “Love Lockdown” —  Dude may have as much (if not more) technical ability as anyone else in the competition, but should he somehow advance to the Top 12, Pharrell needs to make him grab a piece of chalk and write 100 times on the blackboard, “I will not overembellish my vocals with grandstanding runs.” Because at the end of the day, there’s a big difference between “I was impressed by your acrobatics” and “I really enjoyed listening to you sing.” Food for thought should Pharrell choose him as his third artist to advance to the Top 12. Grade: B

3. (tie) Evan McKeel, “Overjoyed” — Evan sounded tremendously passionate and bell-clear every time he opened up and belted a note this week, but he experienced some heretofore unheard breath-control issues at the ends of certain phrases this week. Gwen and Blake’s one-two criticism of the awkward fella’s body language could wind up hurting him with voters, but I’m predicting the blue-eyed soul man will sneak into Pharrell’s Top 3 — either by vote or by coach’s lifeline. Grade: B

2. Mark Hood, “What Do You Mean?” — Mark took a Justin Bieber song and delivered it with so much intensity and frustration that it made me hear the lyrics for the very first time. Sure, his decision to kick things off at the piano, then bust some moves (and a patented spin) at the midpoint made a few notes messier than they needed to be, but Mark is consistently proving more interested in performing like it’s his last time on the Voice stage than he is in playing it safe for a few extra iTunes downloads. I’m hoping that strategy will pay off, but on the off chance it backfires, I hope Pharrell can find a way to keep fostering that derring-do in Mark’s post-show career. Grade: B+

1. Madi Davis, “Songbird by Fleetwood Mac” — Madi’s special skill is her ability to deliver as if it’s going out to a single person, sitting directly in front of her, at uncomfortably close range — while still managing to draw in every other occupant of the room. There’s a womanly maturity to the 16-year-old’s full voice, but also a sweet vulnerability that reminds you she’s at an age when it’s still appropriate to scrawl a crush’s name alongside your algebra notes. (Teens still do this in the Facebook age, right?) Blake was right when he called “Songbird” a breakout moment for Maddie — and while it’s going to be crucial for her to show she can tackle current/uptempo fare, there’s no way she won’t be with us ’til at least Thanksgiving. Grade: A-

OK, your turn. What did you think of Night 2 of the Season 9 Live Playoffs? Whose elimination would crush you? 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. OhMy says:

    Ok, well. They are young. Or something.

  2. Andreas Hone says:

    C+ for Riley? Really?

  3. Florence+TheMachineRules!!! :) #MariahSlays says:

    My favorites were hands down Madi, Celeste, Riley, Ivonne, and Darius!!! To be honest, I was shocked at how high Celeste is charting. If that’s her weakest performance, then imagine her strongest performance. GAME OVER!!! 😃😃😃

    • davmon says:

      I agree about Celeste, Darius , and Madi from Pharrell’s team; they were great and should advance. I also liked Nadjah, Ryan, and Ivonne from Blake’s; but Emily Ann and Barrett will probably edge out Nadjah and Ivonne.

  4. Betsy says:

    Hey Michael, just wondering after the glowing praise for Madi. Why did Madi fall short of an A?

  5. Andres says:

    I’m gonna be honest i was not a fan of Zack performance but he vocals were spot on. For me Maddie stole the show, her voice is so delicate and powerful at the time, and is truly amazing.
    I would pick Evan over Darius based on performances. I also liked Barret.

  6. JM says:

    Zach, Zach, Zach – didn’t know you existed until you thrust yourself onto my screen tonight.

  7. Twrx says:

    Darius may suffer from going first – which would be a shame. Madi, where the heck were you hiding? Enjoyed Zach and Mark’s energy.

  8. zac says:

    Singing Lips of an ANgel on a reality competition never went well for anyone

    • kcostell says:

      It actually worked pretty well for Lee Dewyze on Idol. Not a perfect vocal, but his strategy was to sing contemporary while the frontrunners were mired in the oldies, and it did its job.

  9. Angie_Overrated says:

    Yes on Celeste, Madi, Darius, Evan, and Nadjah.
    Maybe on Ivonne and Morgan.
    Hell to the no on everyone else. I won’t go into every “hell to the no” winner, but Emily Ann’s performance was one of the worst I’ve ever heard. That was an F-minus. It sounded like it was composed by Arnold Schoenberg because there was some serious atonality going on in there. She was flat sometimes by two semitones or more.

    • Florence+TheMachineRules!!! :) #MariahSlays says:

      To be fair I was kinda shocked on how high Celeste was charting, but then I thought, wait a minute people LUVED her from battle and she picked an uplifting carrie underwood song as well. So YAY!!! 😃😃😃

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Celeste was my favorite of the night. it was the first time this season that I got “the feels.” I was very much into that.

        • Florence+TheMachineRules!!! :) #MariahSlays says:

          Exactly. I just hope that if she moves on, I would LUV for her to sing something like stuttering by jasmine Sullivan or no more drama by Mary j bilge or vision of love by mariah Carey

        • danin says:

          Yea..Celeste was A1 tonight&I say that even though Evan McKeel is one of my top favorites. He did alright,and I have a feeling his rehearsal performance was better because he was at a stand up mic and NOT moving around so much which I think took away from his really feeling his he made the comment in rehearsal about not overdoing it.And I think me under did it,or was holding back some. I am in agreement w/your other choices here too. I DO like Jeffrey from last night&look forward to his future performances.

        • angie'sgreat says:

          Angie, I hate you and your usage of “the feels” only makes me want to destroy you even more. I’m not a hater, and Flo+Machine got the order exactly right. Celeste is charting because she’s really good. Angie, go feed your dogs! Preferably with yourself as kibble.

        • Lizzie says:

          I had done the “oh no” chant when no one saved her earlier in the season, and actually yelled at the TV asking them what was wrong with them, etc. So I loved Celeste then, and she and Zach were my favorites from last night. I LOVE the sound of Celeste’s voice, and her whole self is in her performances in the best possible way. And Zach – every note was spot on, his voice is great especially on those low notes, and the crazy entertainment value and stage ownership just rocked the house. I replayed it a few times just to try to hear how loud the girls were screaming – you can’t underestimate how much a great looking guy with a smile and a really good voice, can make their way far into the show. He is believable, in a super fun way. Whereas Barrett isn’t believable, and that plus the lack of enunciation may be what knocks him off the show. Emily Ann – what happened – this was not a good performance AT ALL, and I was super-stressed just waiting for it to be over, before the whole thing imploded on her – it just was not good. Madi – I love this girl and her voice, and the song didn’t really work, no matter how much her mother loves it..

          Nonentities: Riley (something about this girl I just cannot stand), Morgan. Darius (not memorable, maybe from going first), Nadjah (dear as she was in this performance), and did Mark Hood actually knock himself off the show somehow – I will be bummed if he goes. Also worried for Evan, although Pharrell tried to counteract fakey Gwen’s comments about not appearing to be honest in the performance – could there be anything more ironic than Gwen saying this.

          Who I want to stay on: Jordan (duh), Celeste, Madi, Evan, Zach (!!!), Victor, and I would have said Amy, but to me she was really boring and blah this week. I would like for Darius and Mark to stay, but they may not make it.

        • shawnuel says:

          I agree that her performance was fraught with emotion but it wasn’t vocally as strong as I would have wished.

    • JM says:

      My favorite was Madi and was disappointed by the others you mentioned. I felt Darius, Evan and Nadjah weren’t as strong as their past performances (scared of singing live, perhaps?) And Celeste oversang a bit, but I still love her voice. That said, the cheez factor was way up tonight.

    • ann says:

      I agree that Emily Ann performance was awful but I guarantee she will chart the highest. All you have to do is sing a religious hymn to get the Voice voters in a frenzy. I wish they would cool it on those type of songs but it’s not going to happen with Mark Burnett at the helm.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        I almost always agree with you there, except with Koryn Hawthorne last year. Singing spiritual music improved her performances because her soul came through. I guess it’s fine if it’s an artistic expression, but less fine if it’s simply pandering for votes.
        Oh, another positive example I can think of was Craig Wayne Boyd singing Old Rugged Cross. Easily his best performance.

      • Mike says:

        “Those types of songs”….are you kidding me? Prejudice much? If they choose to sing what is consider religious or spiritual songs, it’s their right. Just as it’s anyone else’s right to sing country, R&B, or pop. The fact that you’d generalize anyone singing religious music as pandering to the crowd…it’s just sad. And if you don’t like the fact that the voting crowd might enjoy “those types of songs”, maybe you’re not watching the right show. :(

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          To be fair, sometimes they absolutely are pandering for votes by singing those songs. To think otherwise would be grossly naive. They’re in a competition and are pulling levers to try to win. Look at Emily Ann tonight. HORRENDOUS (all caps) vocal, and she’s the top download-getter from Blake’s team. I guarantee you if she and Shelby switched songs, Emily Ann would not be Blake’s #1 with a Linda Ronstadt tune.

          • Florence+TheMachineRules!!! :) #MariahSlays says:

            Yeah and if shelby sang that song emily sang, it would be butter to me ears. 😊

        • ann says:

          There’s nothing wrong with doing a song with religious themes like Something in the Water or One of Us. I do feel though, when someone picks an actual hymn it starts to feel like pandering and lazy song choice. It doesn’t even require singing well–case in point Emily Ann who was kind of awful yet is leading the itunes chart.

          • Lizzie says:

            There was nothing lazy going on in Celeste’s performance, that was a lot of vocal and emotional energy, and some blazing talent.

      • Lizzie says:

        The hymn she chose was not good, at least not how she sang it. Singing a relative’s favorite song may not be the best way to choose for a live show. The girl is sweet, but her performance was not enough to keep her, unless Blake has a soft spot for her that overrides his judgment of what she can actually do.

    • Caitlyn says:

      Emily Ann looked crushed at the end of her performance. She looked like someone that has done that song perfectly a hundred times and picked now to totally botch one.

      • Lizzie says:

        She did seem to know that she had blown it. I was on the edge of the couch worried for her, she just did not do well at all, and she is likely going home.

    • analythinker says:

      A further disagreement! With Celeste and Nadjah this time. Hahahh. I’d admit I didn’t really pay attention though, so I’ll replay and get back to you later :)

    • Lizzie says:

      Only 3 from each team will advance, so your list isn’t going to work out.

  10. JM says:

    Anybody notice Blake’s slip-of-the-tongue saying when he heard about the bring-back option, he structured the knockouts with that in mind?

  11. AS says:

    Maddie looked lovely and sounded lovely! Seriously disgusted by Gwen Stefani and the sudden change of rules with judges comments. It was just lousy of her to give negative feedback to Evan to ruin his chances. His effort was sincere. Did anyone say how awkward her contestants looked last night after her Hollywood makeovers?? All votes for Evan and Maddie. Blakes’ country people don’t need my help :)

    • JM says:

      I actually wish the judges would give more critique. Right now, I FF through their comments, they’re so snooze-worthy.

      • AS says:

        I agree, but there has to be consistency. Gwen’s little 15 year old was spared all because he’s 15 and they think he’s a cute little boy. Critiquing Evan negatively because he’s competition for your own contestant Jeffrey just stinks. Only 3 go through….tonight is not the night for that.

      • KT5 says:

        I agree and I usually fast forward through their comments. However, are they not considered ‘coaches’ and ‘mentors’ as opposed to judges like on American Idol?

    • Lizzie says:

      Gwen particularly ruined the chances of Korin, with her song choice and whatever that red sack was that she had her wear. The girl is so talented, and she would be lovely in all sorts of attire, but not that. AND her stylists shouldn’t have cut her hair and made it boring.

  12. Trent says:

    A B- for Emily Ann?! What is this madness?!

  13. Kaba says:

    Unpopular opinion I guess.
    I liked Riley. She’s the only one who performs like she wants this and she has so much stage charisma and a lot of it factor. If she can get a hold on her vocals she’ll be great. I think Pharrell should go with Madi, Darius, and Riley.

  14. Davey says:

    Wow, I couldn’t stand Brand New Girlfriend. That is a lousy song and I wouldn’t waste my votes on Zach who will be gone quickly if he’s voted through. I also hated Emily Ann’s performance tonight. She was off key and sounded like a frog and she’s already moving up the iTunes charts. So I guess a lot of Voice viewers are deaf.

    Really, the only one who really fully delivered tonight was Madi Davis. I thought Evan sang well tonight, too. I really like Darius but he was in the death spot. It’s a shame Nadjah’s song was so blah because she showed some invention despite what she was given. And she looked great.

    Riley had problems tonight but I threw her some votes because I know she can be better.

    • joy says:

      I think Zach might surprise you. I know Nashville is going to take a good look at this kid whether he continues on here or not. He’s young has a great voice and the young girls love him, he reminds me of a young George Strait.

    • Lizzie says:

      Brand New Girlfriend – it was AWESOME!!! I watched it 3 times last night (love that DVR) and twice today – what a blast. Super fun, great singing, a real performance, actual entertainment. Zach has a really good voice, and that was a whole lot of screaming for Superman/Elvis.

      Emily Ann – yikes did that ever go wrong. Madi – love her and her voice, but last night was not my favorite performance of hers, I kept wanting something more of what I love from her. Riley, she’s gone.

  15. benissimo says:

    Tonight’s singers were FAR BETTER than Monday night! Pharrell’s team was strongest… unfortunately 3 have to leave.

  16. Trent says:

    Anywho, my predictions are: Barrett, Zach and Emily Ann for team Blake; Madi, Celeste and Mark for Team Gwen (given my drothers, I’d swap Celeste for Darius though)

  17. Jay says:

    B- For Celeste? Are you kidding me? That performance deserved a B+ at the LEAST. Yes, she had a lot of high notes, but you can’t really have a low register in that song. She is charting really high on the charts right now, so yeah. It’s safe to say she’s a lock.

    • Florence+TheMachineRules!!! :) #MariahSlays says:

      I agree with Celeste however I fear that Evan might take her spot, making pharrell a tough decision. I just hope she makes it through along with Shelby, Ellie, Jeffery, Ivonne, and korin!!!

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      I downloaded Celeste’s track. First download of the season. And it’s awesome.

      • Florence+TheMachineRules!!! :) #MariahSlays says:

        I bet it was. Here’s my prediction for the top 12
        1 jordan
        2 Amy
        3 shelby

        1 Jeffery
        2 ellie
        3 either Viktor or korin

        1 Madi
        2 Celeste
        3 Evan

        1 Emily
        2 Barrett
        3 zach/ivonne

        • Tyler says:

          If Blake has Zach, Emily Ann and Barrett on his team–all country singers, I doubt Adam will pick Shelby as his wild card. He probably won’t want to compete against all those country singers. Plus, he seems to like Chance. I think he’ll go with him.

  18. If I had to pick 3 from each team, it’d be: Zach, Nadjah & Barrett and Madi, Mark and Celeste.

  19. Tena says:

    Adam should have Amy sing “The Poetry Man” she would blow it out of the water!

  20. 2Blessed says:

    Tonight was wayyyy better that last night. I’ve had my eye on Madi since the blinds, she was great. I loved both comeback choices too! Celeste SAAAAAAANG that Carrie Underwood song, that’s no small feat. I liked Mark tonight but his arrangement was a little too ambitious for iTunes, if that makes sense. Travesty that Darius went first, he did well also. I didn’t think Ivonne was a C- either, she was a little better in my opinion.

  21. Tony says:

    Congratulations to Everyone of You

  22. Kerry Horrocks says:

    Barrett Baber, hands down a spectacular performance – I am keeping the fingers crossed you’re signed so you can come to Utah and show off here!!

    • joy says:

      I agree! I have heard that song a 100 times but did actually get teary eyed when he sang it. I’ve only done that at a Garth Brooks concert. I hope this guy gets a career out of this.!

  23. Kim Moores says:

    Not watching this season anymore. There’s something sickening about the iTunes listings right now:
    19. Emily Ann Roberts – In the Garden (Team Blake)
    31. Zach Seabaugh – Brand New Girlfriend (Team Blake)
    34. Madi Davis – Songbird (Team Pharrell)
    42. Barrett Baber – I Drive Your Truck (Team Blake)
    63. Celeste Betton – Something in the Water (Team Pharrell)
    72. Evan McKeel – Overjoyed (Team Pharrell)
    125. Ivonne Acero – One of Us (Team Blake)
    127. Morgan Frazier – Lips of an Angel (Team Blake)
    159. Darius Scott – Love Lockdown (Team Pharrell)
    174. Mark Hood – What Do You Mean? (Team Pharrell)
    188. Riley Biederer – Should’ve Been Us (Team Pharrell)
    251. Nadjah Nicole – Upside Down (Team Blake)

    Adios. This is another Blake and Adam show season.

    • Florence+TheMachineRules!!! :) #MariahSlays says:

      At least Celeste and Madi are doing great

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      #19 is most shocking to me.
      #174 is not shocking to me at all. I really did not enjoy that performance at all
      #159 is really bumming me out. He deserves better
      #41 and 31 need to go away. I cannot get into either of them at any level. I don’t think I’ve ever so strongly disliked an entire team as i feel about Blake’s team this season. Ivonne and Morgan are the only two I was ok with, and judging by this list, they’re both goners tomorrow to make way for some really bad singers. Yeesh.

      • Caitlyn says:

        Emily Ann’s live version was a bit of a nerve fest, but the iTunes version is actually very good. I find if refreshing to have singers on the show that don’t feel the need to overwhelm me with vocal gymnastics. Madi and Emily Ann got all my votes tonight.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          It’s not about vocal gymnastics. It’s about being able to sing in tune. Emily Ann wasn’t just a little bit flat. She was so flat that at certain points I couldn’t even tell what key the song was in.

      • analythinker says:

        I wonder if both Darius and Mark aren’t voted through, who will Pharrell pick… or neither?

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          Assuming the two who are voted through are Celeste and Madi based on iTunes, then the three he has to choose from are Evan, Darius and Mark. He’s got a thing for Mark, which I don’t get because I think Darius and Evan are both exponentially more talented than he. And if Celeste isn’t voted through, I think he goes for Celeste.

      • LeeLee says:

        There’s got to be something in the water (no pun intended) because there is no way that Pharrell’s Team should be ranked so low. I downloaded all of Pharrell’s Team Itunes because I thought they all were great.especially Madi, Mark and Celeste. Yes, #19 is shocking for Emily who dragged and sung out of tune one of my favorite hymns. Totally agree with you regarding Blake’s Team. His Team isn’t that good this year. And I disagree with Michael Slezak Pharrell to me appears very invested in his Team. You could see that last night. Maybe, he is not into all of the politics that goes on in the show which I think this Itunes thing is–nothing but politics.. #174 for Mark and #159 for Darius is very shocking to me. On another note I know some people would like the judges to become more critical of the artists. I would too but let it be constructive criticisms to everyone and not at one particular artist. Blake and Gwen teaming up on Evan was not necessary. I agree with Pharrel Evans movements were honest andnot distracting or unreal at all.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          Well, Emily’s song broke the top 10 now. Nothing against country music, but are country music fans tone deaf? Usually that’s a meaningless slam from people who simply don’t like country music fans, but in this case, I mean it quite literally. Her entire vocal was out of tune from the first phrase. I don’t get it.
          Ditto that on Pharrell’s team. I was less enthused with Mark Hood than you were, but Celeste, Madi, Darius and Evan all deserved much better than this.
          If this becomes the country show that I fear it’s going to be, I’m out. The same voters who ruined Idol appear to have moved onto The Voice.

        • Lizzie says:

          I think Pharrel feels absent in some way, and he has several good singers, including Madi, Celeste, Mark, Darius, and Evan. From Blake’s team, the breakout guy just became Zach, and his voice is really good, plus the unleashed entertainment ability, holy smokes.

    • LeeLee says:

      It’s all political. Emily butchers one of the most beautiful hymns and she is charting at #19 while Madi is #34 and Mark and Darius #159 and #174! You’ re right there is something sickening about these rankings. Actually it’s maddening and you’re right it does appear that TPTB are trying to make this the Blake and Adam show again. And I’m sick of it.

    • Lizzie says:

      Emily Ann is at 11 now, and I have no idea why anyone would pay at all for that performance.

  24. Laura says:

    Got a good laugh out of the “Brand New Girlfriend” song choice in light of the Blake/Gwen thing that’s going on

    • Michael H. says:

      Oh my goodness, I didn’t even think of that! That’s absolutely hilarious!

    • danin says:

      I thought of that immediately & wondered if their faces would show us something.I was being silly. They’re too professional& probably sensitive to former partners&kids.

  25. jw says:

    Madi’s performance was pure loveliness.

  26. What the heck? Ivonne and Riley as the worse of their teams, and Zach and Mark among the best? way out of whack grades

  27. NotHardly says:

    Zach was the only artist who performed tonight that actually seemed to be enjoying himself. Just about everyone else was terrified or trying WAY too hard to be an “artiste”. While not perfect, I was glad to see someone just have a little damn fun.

    • Davey says:

      Who cares? The song was awful and gyrating your hips isn’t excellent singing.

      • Ian says:

        Well, it worked for Elvis.

      • NotHardly says:

        Gosh, I’m sorry, I’m afraid I can’t answer you question about who cares — I don’t the coding skills to create a poll in which all the folks on this site could vote on whether or not anyone found his song and performance entertaining.

        I know! perhaps someone like Michael or TVline could do such a thing……oh wait…..

  28. james reifstecl says:

    loved the song brand new girlfriend and would luv to see zach perform shameless by garth brooks

  29. Michelle Perry says:

    Omg I love Zac (Team Blake) he’s amazing, I love the pelvic action!! He was AMAZING!

  30. patdamico says:

    Celeste, Mark, Morgan and Riley were my favorites. All four of those are radio ready voices. I’ll add Zach on just for the fun factor. It was refreshing to see someone sing with personality, and I liked the surprise factor. I mean, nothing in any of his prior performances even hinted at that.

    Madi was a major disappointment for me. “Songbird” by Christine McVie is one of my all time favs. I have a live version of that which still gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it. However, that song’s loveliness works precisely because of its intricate melodies. Madi’s subtle melodic variations simply did not work. They really sounded awkward. Plus, she had a major breath issue at one point. I respect the artistic effort, I love her taste in music, and I’m still a big fan, but, nope. Tonight wasn’t good for her. I think she knew it and that’s why she got teary.

    Emily Ann is clearly Blake’s project this season, but I think Megan is the better singer and performer.

    • Kina says:

      Are you serious!? Madi’s rendition of Songbird was one of the best live performances i’ve ever seen on a reality show! It literally made me cry and here we are weeks later and I still watch it over and over and it still moves me everytime!! Madi was crying because she knew how phenomenal of a performance that was!!

  31. patdamico says:

    I love this call back thing, which is clearly a nod to the fans. But I’m now, and will be for a long time, really upset they didn’t call back Cassandra.

  32. Christy Statton says:

    Show was good but how do u send in request songs? I have a list of songs that some should definitely try, and who should try what. Glad Blake picked up on the Elvis thing!

  33. Peg Hanning says:

    Toughest season yet!!!

  34. Adam says:

    Zach was easily my favorite, and I am not really even a country music fan. I also liked Riley, but she obviously has no chance given her iTunes rating. Evan has a really good voice, but somehow the song didn’t quite do it for me (and yes, I understand it’s Stevie Wonder).

    Side Note: This whole “bring someone back who was eliminated months ago” thing kind of undermines every other round of the show because someone who failed might get to stay over others who got through every round. Celeste was decent, but none of the other “bring backs” were so spectacular that they HAD to come back. It’s a little ridiculous, in my opinion.

  35. patdamico says:

    Christy: It’s a feature on the mobile app. Click on the upper left hand drop down menu.

  36. greenfrogger says:

    I agree Madi was number 1 tonight. I also like Zach but I was more in giggles with the chosen song, “I Have a New Girlfriend.” What an odd choice. LOL. On another note, any thought though about criticism that Gwen provided. If it was Blake’s team it was positive, if it was Pharrell’s it was another story. Just my opinion – granted I DVR it, so I fast forward through most of it.

  37. Amy says:

    I wish the coaches would take notes during the performance like the DWTS judges and actually critiqued the contestants.

  38. Darlene says:

    Emily Ann touched me .I had tear.I felt feeling deeply from her song .

  39. Trent says:


  40. Sarah says:

    Two or so weeks ago, Zack sang at the middle school where I teach. It was just him and a guitar, and his voice sounded beautiful. He also spent time answering questions from the students. After last night’s performance, I think he showed he’s got everything needed to be a legitimate country artist. Zack for the win!

  41. Mary says:

    I love this Zach Seabaugh and I am not a teenager. It was fun to watch. That is hard to do. I could not take my eyes off the performance and it put me in a better mood for having watched it. That spells marketability to me. Could the voice finally have a star who can really make it??

  42. D. Zivkovich says:

    am I the only one who misses the phone-in vote? Redial is so much easier, and doesn’t require any personal info. BTW , how many finalists across all seasons have actually cut records?

  43. Eric says:

    Overall the night was poor compared to Monday night, which wasn’t spectacular either. Hopefully the remaining 12 work out those live show jitters and bring it next week. Now my personal thoughts…

    Team Pharrell-

    I can’t be the only one who thinks his team is fantastically weak this season. It was like putting Gwen’s team against Adam. It wasn’t fair and Blake’s team killed them (relatively) last night.

    Celeste – She was gone for a reason. She murdered a that Carrie Underwood song last night. If I’d want to hear every other note missed, I’d record myself singing it.

    Darius – So-so. Decent vocal, decent energy. Didn’t bring it.

    Evan – 2nd best for Team Pharrell last night. Didn’t do great, we all expect better. But with weak competition, he should pass through with an opportunity to redeem himself.

    Madi – Had such high hopes for her. Still voted for her but was completely disappointed by her last night. She’s so much better than what she did there. Bad song choice.

    Mark – He’s been one of my favorites, but his limits are starting to show. Not very good last night.

    Riley – Best on Team Pharrell last night. Sang for her life. She wasn’t perfect, but outsang everyone else on her team by a fairly apparent margin.

    Team Blake-

    Blake has a strong team again this season. Gwen and Pharrell should probably just send their teams home, because they can’t win. It’s Blake (Barrett) vs. Adam (Jordan) this season, with Jordan taking it.

    Barrett – Strong end to the night. Like everyone else on this sloppy night, he wasn’t perfect, but he left us with a high point last night.

    Emily Ann – Pretty good. The kid has a really sweet voice and she made good use of it last night.

    Ivonne – I like Ivonne, I like her story and I’m rooting for her. She struggled a bit with her song last night, but still managed to sound better than most. I hope she continues.

    Morgan – She did well. Not an easy song to kill, but she came close. Worthy to move on.

    Nadjah – Needed to focus on her delivery, rather than her wardrobe. Utterly forgettable performance, when she has the voice to have killed it. Instead of her singing, everyone focused on her hair extensions. Not the way to win.

    Elvis – I mean Zach. Vocally- the song didn’t demand much of him, and he didn’t destroy it. Vocals on autopilot so he could concentrate on making teenage girls and cougars swoon with his hips. He’s certainly got the performance part down, and was fun to watch. But he’s not the Voice… he’s the Hips.

    • Dave says:

      Blake’s team is actually my least favorite this season. I voted for Barrett and that is it.
      I prefer the singers on the other teams. And I think Shelby is much more interesting a singer than Emily Ann.

      • davmon says:

        I agree with all you said–even as I note that Blake’s Emily Ann, Barrett, and Zach are charting in second, third, and fourth, behind Jordan. And I find Jordan disappointing as well; he has range but lacks nuance and phrasing. Give me Amy and Shelby from Adam. Ellie from Gwen. Darius, Madi,and Celeste from Pharrell. Nadjah from Blake. But we probably won’t see Darius or Celeste or Nadjah advance. It’s gonna turn into the Blake Shelton Show.

  44. Lynn Green says:

    Mark Hood, Zach Seabaugh and Celeste Betton were my favorites. I never heard the lyrics to “What Do You Mean” until Mark sang it! LOL!!! I know he made Justin proud. Also Zach!!!! He was awesome! His stage performance was on point! Celeste – I loved her heartfelt performance. Pharell made a great choice when he bought her back!

  45. LeeLee says:

    Looking at the ITunes chart. Let me see…Emily butcher’s one of the most iconic hymns and she is charting in the Top 10 of the ITunes chart and Regina butchers a song and she is not charting no where on ITunes. This show is becoming a sham! It’s not about the Voice but has gone the way of American Idol and has become a popularity contest and this is probably one of the reason why no one has really made it in the industry after winning the Voice. They need to change the voting system. Why vote online, Facebook or with the App if the ITunes sales are going to determine an artist fate. Just a waste of the viewers time.

    • Caitlyn says:

      I’m not sure why votes cast by people that are actually willing to spend their own money for a song, is considered a bad thing. Emily at least sang the song, flaws at all. Would you have liked it better had she spent half the time doing “runs” to make is sound like she was on key?

      By the way, the iTunes download is really good.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Again, this has nothing to do with “vocal gymnastics” as you call them. People who do runs also have to be in tune, which is even more difficult to do with runs because there are more notes to keep in tune. The issue here was not her lack of runs. The issue was I’m starting to wonder if she’s tone deaf after that performance. Her pitch accuracy was well below 50%. That’s inexcusable. She was even more “off” than Regina Love’s Adele song the night before.

        • Caitlyn says:

          We can agree to not agree. Most artists use runs as a crutch when singing live, because holding long notes on-key is very hard. Was she off on that song? Sure. To me,the accompanying music didn’t help a lot. But what do I know … as you stated earlier, we country music fans are tone deaf. ;-)

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            Where did you hear that holding long notes on key is hard? That’s actually a lot easier than a run. The types of runs that Darius does are close to impossible for even professional-caliber singers, and are far more difficult than holding a sustained note on key.
            The fact that we’re even discussing pitch is ridiculous to me. If someone can’t sing in tune, they don’t have any future in music. It’s really that simple.

      • Lizzie says:

        I listened to the first few measures of it on iTunes, and then I had to shake my head to try to knock the memory of the sound out of it. I don’t care for it at all, and I went to the iTunes version to see if she had done it any better than the live performance, and I guess a little, but still awful.

  46. rantie mame says:

    Agree for the most part… except felt Zach’s hip swivelling was less Elvis and more Erkel. And I think it’s time Madi lost the hat. It might of worked for Sawyer but doesn’t work with sequins.

  47. Dbrillz says:

    I think I dislike Blake’s team thoroughly this year, especially Zach and Emily Anne. They should not be charting so high on iTunes. I wish Pharrell could take 1-2 spots from his team with how his contestants performed. Here’s my personal rankings and predictions for what actually happens (with

    • Dbrillz says:


      Team Blake:
      1. Barrett*
      2. Nadjah
      3. Morgan
      4. Ivonne*
      5. Emily Anne*
      6. Zach

      Team Pharrell
      1. Madi*
      2. Riley
      3. Celeste*
      4. Evan
      5. Darius*
      6. Mark

      I thoroughly enjoyed Madi and Riley the most, but I fear Pharrell would choose Darius over her based on their similarities. Similarly, if Blake wants a more versatile team, I see him picking Ivonne over Nadjah or Morgan. It’s a catastrophe that Emily Anne is charting so high. I think she’s second-rate Danielle Bradbery and that’s no compliment. I wholeheartedly like Morgan as a more interesting, versatile country singer, but unfortunately America doesn’t agree.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Emily Ann is prettier than Morgan, which apparently matters in terms of downloading music. Gag. Totally agree with you. Morgan is far superior. As is Shelby. But Emily Ann is a cutie pie. Oh well.

      • Lizzie says:

        Kind of funny how differently we hear these singers:

        voted through:
        He saves Ivonne or Emily Anne.

        Pharrell – voted through:
        then either Celeste or Evan
        He saves one of those, or Darius or Mark. Riley goes home no matter what, the worst and fakiest on Pharrel’s team.

  48. Caitlyn says:

    I would be disappointed to see Morgan go. I mean, rock songs done as country music is kind of unique.

  49. Don’t really like any of them except Jordan so far the only standout for me and do agree that Madi has a sweet angelic voice,not sure she can go the distance. She’s sort of old fashioned which would be really cool except we live in this pop driven era with overly enhanced, overproduced vocals. Last year loved Sawyer although I never downloaded any of his songs,went to you tube for a refresher.

    • Lizzie says:

      Jordan and Madi are two of the best this year. Zach was awesome last night, so confident, great singing, great entertainment. I like Evan, but he was really nervous last night. Victor isn’t my favorite, but I can see the world-wide appeal of him as a performer. Most of the rest aren’t going to be recording music.

  50. Amy J says:

    I was ready to dismiss Zach for being too pretty. But he was entertaining as heck tonight, which is what want from my TV.

    Though clearly ‘gospel’ is the code for Christian country/pop without actually saying the C word. Which if it’s your thing – totally cool. As a non believer myself, I had a few moments tonight of feeling like I’d acidentally turned on some pastoral channel.