The Voice Top 11 Performance Recap: So This Season Is Forever (Or Is It Gonna Go Down in Flames?)

I was going to start my recap of The Voice‘s Top 11 performance night by lamenting all of the unfortunate business that played out over its first 90 minutes: The silhouetted ballet dancer shaking out her hair (inside the moon!) and upstaging hapless Evan McKeel. The assassination of Helen Reddy’s “Delta Dawn” in front of 12 million viewers. The ghost of a 1999 Mandy Moore soundtrack cut floating across the stage, haunting Korin Bukowski’s musical future.

After getting to hear Jeffery Austin close the show with an utterly gut-wrenching twist on Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own,” however, all that hoo-hah and whateverness seems as distant a memory as Bobby Jindal’s 2016 presidential run.

It matters not a whit that my favorite contestant to grace the Voice stage in many moons (and possibly ever) is fighting for runner-up status at best. The relentless NBC promotional muscle/Mark Burnett editing tomfoolery/coaches’ conspiracy is foisting Jordan Smith down our collective throats like we’re ducks in a foie-gras farm — and all you can do is grab a toast point. (I know, I know, I just scrambled that culinary metaphor… but at least I didn’t invoke the terrifying image of Meatloaf Baby, right?)

Emily Ann Roberts, it must be said, was pretty stellar tonight, too — floating in on a breeze so bluegrassy that it made the chilly New Jersey night seem as sunshiney as a Lexington, KY, morning in June.

The other nine performances ranged — on the Randy Jackson Scale of Critique, (TM) pending — from “aiight” to “pitchy.” But let me not invoke the Ghosts of Bad Judges Past, but rather cut to my letter grades and reviews for this week’s performances:

Team Adam: Shelby Brown, “You and I” — Grade: B- | Conspiracy theory of the week: Adam spending half his critique of his country contestant lamenting the audience SwayBots’ inability to clap to the rhythm tells me he won’t be all that crushed if Shelby gets axed this week. That’s a shame, really, because by the time Shelby exited the wah-wah bass intro, settled into the tune and really got to belting on the vamp portion of the chorus, she was actually quite thrilling. Oh sure, the final muted line found her winded and uncertain from all her prior exertions — not a great way to signal “vote for me!” — but I still can’t help but feel the teenager’s stumbles are more a product of lackadaisical coaching than a defect in talent/potential.

The Voice - Season 9Team Pharrell: Evan McKeel, “Smile” — Grade: C+ | I appreciated the simplicity of the arrangement here — and the way it put all the focus on Evan’s clean, clear vocals. Alas, though, you could also use those adjectives to describe an excellent glass of tap water, and by the midway point of Evan’s performance — when he failed to dig into the melancholy of the lyrics or offer much in the way of crescendo — that dang ballerina in the backdrop took advantage of the growing charisma vacuum and stole Evan’s thunder.

Team Blake: Barrett Baber, “Delta Dawn” — Grade: D+ | True story: Out to breakfast over the weekend, while gesticulating to my twins to be careful not to spill their chocolate milks, I knocked over my coffee cup and sent the contents all over the table, my pants, the kids’ scooters and their prized saber-tooth tiger stuffed animal. You want to know what was messier, though? Barrett’s vocal on his “rocked out” rendition of the ’70s AM radio staple. As Barrett adopted an oddly strident tone that reminded me of an anchient parrot, he strayed so far off the melody it was hard to tell if he was going for attempting to be avant garde or just proving unable to hit the right notes while running around the stage. “It’s not about the singing,” said Gwen, slyly. And if Barrett somehow winds up in the upper echelon of the iTunes charts, her theory will have been proven.

Team Gwen: Korin Bukowski, “Only Hope” — Grade: C | Dubious song choice aside – c’mon, if you’re going to cover no-longer-charting divas, why not Jojo or Ashanti or Vitamin C? — Korin started off in very pretty fashion, her voice fluttering over the high notes of the verse like a hummingbird in a spring garden. Halfway through, though, last week’s Twitter Save recipient began to noticeably lose confidence — whiffing completely on a glory note and looking as queasy as Blake Shelton if he were to stumble into a Kohls’ fashion segment with Christina Grimmie. She’s simply not ready for this jelly.

The Voice - Season 9Team Adam: Amy Vachal, “Blank Space” — Grade: B- | First, the good news: Amy’s pitch was much improved over last week’s wobbly “Hotline Bling” — even if there were a few times the band swallowed up her gossamer tone. Unfortunately, though, the improved technical scores came at the expense of artistic interpretation. Sure, the scaled-back light-folk arrangement helped differentiate Amy’s version from Taylor Swift’s original — always welcome! — but she also missed the inherent bite and humor of the lyrics in the process. It can’t all just be gauzy-jazzy-etherealness when you’re courting a future-ex-lover with promises to ceremoniously add him to your rejected pile as soon as the inevitable downward spiral begins. Sheesh.

Team Blake: Zach Seabaugh, “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” — Grade: D | There is no greater example of why we can pretty much all fast-forward through all of the coaches’ critiques now than the fact that no one mentioned Zach’s grasp of pitch tonight was as tenuous as a damp dollar-store paper towel attempting to hold up an anvil. Sorry, but no matter how many times Carson introduces the kid as a heatthrob or the teenage girls in the audience scream like they’re auditioning for American Horror Story, it’s not going to magically make this kid a viable artist… not without a few more years of seasoning and intensive practice.

Team Pharrell: Madi Davis, “Love Is Blindness” — Grade: B- | Madi’s vocal — U2 interpreted by Jack Johnson and run through a Bond-theme filter — intrigued me without moving me as much as I’d hoped. No doubt the teenager’s got a gorgeous, buttery tone — and the ability to drop unexpected flourishes into a melody. But “Love Is Blindness” proved a bit too haphazard — like a first draft in which Madi hadn’t fully mapped out what the lyrics meant to her, or at least how to phrase the song to drive said meaning home.

Team Gwen: Braiden Sunshine, “True” — Grade: C- | After last week’s misguided effort to turn Braiden into a rocker, there was really nowhere to go but up in terms of song choice. But while Braiden managed to not get swallowed whole by the band on Spandau Ballet’s buttoned-up ’80s ballad, he brought about as much energy and passion to the stage as you’d expect him to put into his post-rehearsal algebra homework.

Team Adam: Jordan Smith, “Who You Are” — Grade: B | When Jessie J belts “Who You Are,” it’s like she’s going through an entire session with her therapist, but condensing all her angst and self-doubt and “A-ha!” moments into three glorious minutes. That scratchiness in her voice at the top of the chorus is raw and real and a little bit desperate, and I wanted more of that — rawness! realness! desperation! — from Jordan this week. But while he nailed every note with sniper-y precision, this felt more surface level than his greatest hits from Season 9. I’d love to see the kid get a session with Usher or Pharrell or Xtina — a coach who might dig deeper into Jordan’s backstory of self-doubt and insecurity, then teach him how to bring those universal emotions into his performances. With only three weeks of live shows left — and Adam on a bit of cruise control — that might be one Christmas gift I won’t be getting.

The Voice - Season 9Team Blake: Emily Ann Roberts, “Why Not Me” — Grade: A- | I was worried the Judds’ “Hey, fella, settle down —or at least settle!” ditty might be a bit too thin to give Emily Ann a breakout moment. But Blake’s keen-eared arrangement played up the bluegrass, giving Emily Ann the confidence to riff on the melody, reach to the tippy top of her range and best of all breathe new life into a story that might’ve come off as old-fashioned (or a little dreary) if not for the sass and swing of her delivery. The kid is getting good at exactly the right moment – and with the unspoken Blake Multiplier in play — don’t act like that’s not a real thing — she could have the best shot at thwarting Jordan’s predestined coronation.

Team Gwen: Jeffery Austin, “Dancing on My Own” — Grade: A | I’m not going to pretend that I don’t give Jeffery a few bonus points for his exceptional taste in song choice — the way he studiously avoids done-to-death-on-The-Voice anthems and ubiquitous hits, while gravitating to strong melodies that show off his whopping range and varied vocal textures. But more important is the way the former publicist utilizes his throaty growl, his quavering chest voice, and his ethereal falsetto in true storyteller fashion. The way he hit the line “I’m in the corner, watching you kiss him,” it was as if he’d transported us all to a nightclub full of dry ice and booming music and mixed drinks and regrets. That’s a pretty remarkable skill for a fella who hadn’t given a public performance for six years prior to his audition, but if voters do the right thing over the next three weeks, hopefully Jeffery will never suffer such a gap in his musical résumé again.

Will Be Bottom 2: Korin, Evan (Korin going home)
Should Be Bottom 2: Zach, Braiden (Braiden going home — based on weaker body of work overall)

What did you think of the Top 11? Who were your faves? Who’s in trouble? 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. Julie Robson says:

    The producers bought Slezak too? A- for Emily and C for Evan?

    • Tyler says:

      I normally never agree with Slezak’s grades. But this week–I definitely don’t agree with them. If you’re listening, Slezak, I LIKED Shelby, Evan, Barrett, Amy and Zach’s performances. Emily and Jeffery were OK, but I preferred any of the other names I mentioned more. As a matter of fact, I thought this week was a much improved live show. But you would never know that with Slezak’s ridiculous grades. What side of the bed did you wake up this morning?!

      • JoanieBlue says:

        Have to disagree. Snoozeville. Amy was wound too tight. Shelby was wobbly. Zach … zzzzzz. .

        • Tyler says:

          Really?! I found Jeffery and Emily Ann … zzzzzzzzzz. To each his own.

          • JoanieBlue says:

            Emily Ann — the head shake thing while she sings irritates. Re: her voice: Agree. zzzz. There is a purity to her tone but she has bleh charisma. But I’m going to have to fight you over Jeffery who is Stellar. If you cannot hear the power of his voice, there is something off in your ears/heart. (just sayin’….) In the group performance, he outshone all inc. Gwen.

            The whole season has tanked.

  2. Jasper says:

    My top 3 for the night was Jeffrey, Emily Ann, and Madi. I don’t understand why Madi has a B-. I LOVED Love is Blindness. Were you comparing it to Jacquie Lee, Michael?

    • Rowan says:

      Read any recap of The Voice during Jacquie Lee’s season and you will clearly see who Michael was biased towards the entire season (read: he freaking loved Jacquie) – so it’s probably hard for him NOT to compare.

      • Lizzie says:

        Jacquie was such an oversinger, it was painful – Christina pushed the girl’s voice way past the quality max. Christina was going for the mini-me, and it wasn’t good.

    • JM says:

      I agree. Madi should have at least a B+.

      • davmon says:

        I totally agree; she was an A in my book. She was best along with Jeffery. I loved her tackling such a difficult arrangement and haunting emotional delivery–and handling it so nearly perfect. Jeffery probably was perfect–amazing control–but his song was less a challenge. Still, he seems to have four.or five pockets; he works one groove with a rich syrupy tone, then ambles on to another sweet patch. He has really surprised me.

      • Madi was my favorite for so many reasons. Her diction is so pure, I can understand every word and her passion for the song and runs that are delicious make her a front runner for me

    • analythinker says:

      I didn’t like the first half of Love is Blindness, though.

    • Mike says:

      How can you not compare it to Jacqiue Lee? I hate when they give artists songs that previous finalists have nailed. It just leads to unfair comparisons.

      • Don says:

        It didn’t even occur to me to compare the two. Madi’s approach to the song was so radically different than Jacquie Lee’s that I would be hard pressed to even try. All I can say is that I loved both versions. For me, Madi had one of the two top performances of the night, along with Jeffery.

      • JM1 says:

        THIS! I also hate when they sing songs someone nailed in a previous season. It’s equal parts stealing someone’s thunder and riding their coattails. And not Madi’s first time this season, btw. Pick something different!

    • jenni4955 says:

      Right. Madi for me was an A- or B+ if I wanna be harsh. I was never a fan of hers before but last night she turned me into one. Jeffrey knocked my socks off and Emily was great too. It’s too hard to predict this season’s winner because it will all depend on future performances. I can see Jordan fading where he once seemed a shoe-in.

    • Rich says:

      I agree with Jasper on the top 3 performances of the night but probably choose a different order. For me, Madi was my favorite performance of the night followed by Emily Ann, and then Jeffrey. If I add to the top 3 and make it my top 5, I would say, #4 Amy Vachal, and #5 Jordan Smith.

      • Jasper says:

        Jordan definitely had his weakest performance of the competition tonight, but the fact that he’s still in the top 5 shows his talent level. I worry that he’ll buckle under the pressure of being a producer’s favorite and have a Matthew Schuler-esque collapse, but I think he’ll be fine.

    • Menegene says:

      You must be stupid

  3. Ralphthegoat says:

    What do u have against poor Braden. Do u resent his talent at 15 that u would have liked to have had . He obviously sets off a resentment – u must be very jealous

  4. analythinker says:

    You are right, Michael. The dancer captured all of my attention… what was it again the song Evan was singing? …. Oh yeah, Smile. Idk, the a cappella part kind of highlighted Evan’s ordinary voice. I wonder where the magic of that first Overjoy go. (I’m still convinced Pharrell is trying hard to bring back the Motown era.)
    And yes, Jeffery. Can we get him the win now??

    • angie'sgreat says:

      It’s ‘Overjoyed,’ and of course Pharrell would probably prefer the Motown era to today’s music. Jeffery’s good but is not going to win despite what you or Slezak want.

  5. JM says:

    I was pretty impressed with Amy’s, Jordan’s, Madi’s and Emily Ann’s performances. But no one can top Jeffery. Absolute perfection!

    • Emily looked sooo pretty tonight! I’m only sad at they did not show her kewt brother on this episode.

    • davmon says:

      I agree with JM’s lineup. Jeffery may be in a league of his own. But Madi and Amy take big risk with arrangements and phrasing that have invariably paid off. Jordan is raw and ripe with potential, but needs some coaching on delicate phrasing–maybe sleeping with headphones playing Streisand, Sinatra, Al Green, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles…And sweet Emily Ann came back to us–overproducing had buried her talent; but she needs consistently good outings to stick around–unless being Blake’s golden girl is enough.

    • Menegene says:

      You must not know true talent,

  6. TV says:

    While the guys can sing, those last two songs were sleep inducing.

  7. Ginger Snap says:

    Jeffery Austin, “Dancing on My Own” 28.45%
    Amy Vachal, “Blank Space” 18.1%
    Emily Ann Roberts, “Why Not Me” 17.24%
    Jordan Smith, “Who You Are” 12.93%

    Cutting to 5 on December 8th ain’t gonna be difficult . There’s the final four .

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

    My favorites were JEFFERY, Madi, Shelby, Jordan, and Amazingly Emily!!! She really surprised me!!! Her nasally tone was gone and it transformed into a powerful performance!!! 😃

  9. beans says:

    Although I liked Jeffrey Austin’s dancing on my own, Cyrus Villanueva’s version on XFactor AU is probably the best that I’ve heard. Having said so, he is definitely pulling ahead of the others. I want to see him, Madi, Amy, Jordan and Emily (or Evan) battle it out on top 5.

  10. analythinker says:

    12 Amy
    25 Jordan
    34 Emily Ann
    37 Madi
    66 Zach
    72 Barrett
    91 Jeffery
    93 Evan
    126 Korin
    129 Braiden
    194 Shelby

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

      Now that’s just horrific!!! How can Barrett, braiden, zach be above shelby!!! Now that’s just messed up!!! Well, just in case #VoiceSaveShelby

      • Davey says:

        Just Blake’s fans voting blindly.

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

          Unfortunately. I don’t want to jinx anything but if and only if she is in the bottom, I will #VoiceSaveShelby for those last 5 minutes like never before!!!

        • Puzzled says:

          I really do despise Blake’s country mafia at times. I love country music, but I do prefer the before 1995 bro country stuff. This is Blake’s weakest country team ever, and the voting just mystifies me!

          • kevstar says:

            That was Barrett tonight. Seems like something Florida Georgia Line would record. Who knew Helen Reddy was a rocker?

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            Emily Ann is not bad, but the other two on Blake’s team? Jeez Louise! No.

          • davmon says:

            His team has been worst all along. At least Gwen has Jeffery and Pharrell has Madi. I will say that Emily Ann was much better than her recent turns. But Zach is erratic and who knew Barrett could be this bad. Who told him those high long notes were his pocket? Give me oral surgery any day over that!

          • Im not a country fan per say but listened to alot of it growing up(unrelated: my mom did PR for Barbara Mandrell).His season 4 team of singers was crazy good & Amber Carrington on Team adam was crazy good also.Best group of country singers this show has ever had.

        • P-Applecakes says:

          Hardly. You know, just because people have differing opinions does not make them lesser than yours. I agree, Braiden and Zach should not chart above Shelby. But Barrett is consistently talented. Love that guy!

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

            I’m not bringing Barrett down, he’s very talented. But I feel like based on those performances, I felt that shelby both hit her notes and really fought for it

      • Lizzie says:

        Shelby didn’t sound good last night, and she’s presenting as somewhat unlikeable. Her outfit was better than usual. She should have gone with Blake.

    • will says:

      I love Korin. I wish she’d had better songs the last couple times but I still don’t think she’s deserved what she’s gotten thus far. Definitely not bottom two last week by any means, nor bottom three this week! I’m hoping she at least makes it to the big cut so we can hear as much as possible before she goes home.

      • analythinker says:

        It’s just the song choices, kinda hard finding the perfect one for her, but it’s out there. I picture something from Bjork, or Sade’s No Ordinary Love but The Civil Wars’ version. Maybe even Vanessa Carlton’s Ordinary Day. Something like that.

        • Not Bjork…. trying to cover a song by Bjork on a singing competition is practically suicide not only because of how technically difficult her songs are but because she has such a unique voice that it’s hard to try to even cover it.

      • kevstar says:

        This was Korin’s best because she choice the song. I think the coaches pick the songs they like, instead of letting the singers decide.

      • angie'sgreat says:

        Correction: You LOVED Korin, cause she’s gonna be gone.

  11. Davey says:

    I don’t like Emilly Ann at all but this was the first night I thought she sang well. I hope she finds big success when she’s 20. I don’t need to vote for her now.

  12. Lori Evans says:

    I just don’t get the big deal about Amy. She is not special at all. Her voice is small and most karaoke singers can sing rings around her. If she sticks to jazz she is different then the rest –but doing a pop song — I found her so boring. They tell every one to show emotion and connect — but she did not — so why is she excused – because they find her pretty — actually I think Korin with her beautiful eyes is pretty last year’s Adam’s Deanna was gorgeous but that was never even mentioned. Jeffry was hauntingly wonderful — but they have put him in Jordan’s shadow — I sure hope he can stride forward and be a contender.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      Aw, I disagree on Amy. I don’t mind a small voice if the singer is A) actually singing and not with one of those affected tones that drive me insane and is B) bringing something new to a song. I feel like Amy checks both of those boxes. I’m totally cool with her sticking around for awhile.

    • Alybella says:

      Thank you, thank you..I was wondering when someone would point out that Amy is a very mediocre lounge singer, albeit an attractive one. Never commented before but I had to after watching her get praised both on the show and here for several weeks. I know many jazz singers who change up pop songs every night at clubs & do it with style, creativity, and great voices. Amy just isn’t very good.

    • TC says:

      Agree 100% Lori Evans. Amy is nothing special- not nearly as interesting as Madi nor does she comes close to her or some of the other females regarding range. She bores me

  13. Michael H. says:

    Holy Madi, y’all. I don’t know what show Michael was watching, but Madi was my second favorite tonight, right behind Jeffery.

  14. Andre says:

    I do think tonight was a downgrade performance night for all except Emily Ann, Madi, and Jeffery. I did not like Barrett or Zach tonight because they were so off tune it made me cringe. Korin’s take on “Only Hope” (my early Karaoke Jams to when I was a little child) felt a little weak considering she didn’t add much emotional heft and when she hit the high’s she struggled. Ugh, and Evan. I love him but he just didnt deliver it to me, and I tried so hard to like it but I couldn’t. (What was up with the dancer in the moon?) Shelby was also very disappointing considering she was pitchy at the last part and just kept growling at me. And Braiden, aww Braiden.

    The “ehh” awards go to Amy for giving a spin on “Blank Space” we didn’t know we didn’t want, but still kept the rhythm going with her weird dance moves, and Jordan for giving his most mediocre performance yet.

    I know this might be surprising but I think the bottom 2 might be Shelby/Braiden/Zach and Korin/Braiden.

    • danin says:

      Totally agree w/ the downgrade.None of the song choices moved me. Still,Jeffrey & Evan are my favorites. Based on prior work for Evan.And tonight was just mediocre for him. Jeffrey just has an outstanding voice. I just didn’t dig the songs all the way around. And changed channels when I wasn’t able to hang.And that was for at least half of the performances. It’ll be a treat when&if song choices/performances pick up again.

  15. Lori Evans says:

    Also just LOVE LOVE LOVE Madi — she deserves more praise –she is so accomplished beyond her years and her voice was haunting tonight!

  16. paula says:

    Thank you for mentioning Helen Reddy! She sang Delta Dawn first, and sang it beautifully. And Bobby Gentry sang Fancy first (that was a few weeks ago, but it still bothers me, because Bobby Gentry was a brilliant singer).

    • OhMy says:

      Well, no, she did a cover. Tanya Tucker and Bette Midler were first, and I think definitely captured the meaning of the song better than H.R. But surely all agree that she was a million miles ahead of tonight’s rendition.

  17. Karrah says:

    Thanks for the shout out to my hometown of Lexington! Just as a side note, I love Jordan and I’m proud that he is from Kentucky, but Jeffery is my guy this season. He and Emily were my favorites tonight.

  18. Evan says:

    Jeffrey, Jordan, and Amy had my favorite performances of the night by far. Jeffrey is so underrated and really should be a co-frontrunner with Jordan at this point. Jordan continues to impress but I’m waiting for him to lose steam. Amy really impressed me this week, and unlike last week’s “Hotline Bling” reworking, her “Blank Space” cover fit her style perfectly. I also thought Shelby, Evan, Madi and Emily were good tonight. Everyone else (Barrett, Korin, Zach and Braiden) was just okay or bad. I was so excited about Korin in the beginning of the season but now she’s boring. I really don’t get the Braiden hype but I fear he’ll be sticking around a bit longer. Barrett just was a bit off tonight, and Zach needs better song choice that suits the “young Elvis” mold Blake is trying to build – two weeks in a row of mundane country ballads isn’t doing that. Korin is likely going home, but I guess Evan would join her in the bottom two even though others deserve to be there this week.

  19. Marianne says:

    While I have really liked Jeffrey, tonight’s performance was not my favorite of his. In trying to (I guess) up-tempo it a bit, I found it not as nuanced and just didn’t enjoy it. By the look of the earmy itunes numbers, perhaps the viewers agree. Also, I think the viewers prefer more recognizable songs. I, for one, did not know this song.

  20. Wes scott says:

    My top three choices are Madi, Emily Ann and still Braiden. All three are absolutely unique for their age. All have unsurpassed talent.

  21. Angie_Overrated says:

    Thoughts on the night in no particular order
    Korin: she sounds like the 18th choice for Aladdin’s Jasmine behind Lea Salonga. It’s very Disney princess and a uniquely beautiful voice, but she doesn’t know how to use it yet. I think she could be amazing in a year or two with the right voice teacher.
    Barrett: I actually like his voice, but his stage mannerisms make me uncomfortable. The cheese factor is off the charts
    Madi: stay away from those power notes, girl. They’re not working for you.
    Emily Ann: I was very hard on her earlier in the season, but that was pretty good tonight. Credit given where credit is due
    Jeffery: easily the best in show

    • angie'sgreat says:

      I hate the hell out of you, but I totally got Aladdin vibes from the Korin number.
      I hate the crap out of Barrett’s weak imitations and agree about cheese factor.
      Madi’s good but her performance was terribly inconsitent.
      Emily was good but deserved your earlier criticism, as lame as it might have been.

  22. iTunes doesn’t let me download Jeffery’s song!!!!!!!

  23. The only 2 performances that did anything for me at all were Madi’s and Jordan’s. I don’t get the hoopla about Jeffery. He’s fine, but not a great voice. And that was the whiniest, pathetic song. Say what you want about Jordan, he has a perfect voice. It’s the healthiest, rangiest, free-est and most beautiful tone of the bunch. And he’s the most musical as well. Every choice he makes is just right. Madi’s voice is also rich and beautiful and her performance was mesmerizing. The others attempt to do something unique, but they all sound like they’re imitating singers they listen to. Not authentic, not connected. Just putting on a show.

  24. Paige says:

    Ok, people are probably going to be all over me for this, but I just changed the channel and declared my FREEDOM from Pharrell’s horrible song that had a repetitive melody within less than an octave. It was boring, monotonous, banal lyric… I LOVE Pharrell as a human being and coach. He’s gentle and insightful and clearly a good producer. But as a performer, he really needs to stay off the stage. I’m now happily watching a Criminal Minds rerun and don’t care that I’ll miss the 2nd hour. The first hour of the show was painful enough.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      I don’t think that saying Pharrell is the worst when it comes to singing and performing is much of a controversial statement. He’s objectively terrible. But as we see looking at the charts, success isn’t always predicated on talent. And to be 100% fair, he’s got a ton of talent as a producer.

      • Lizzie says:

        Pharrell was the worst performance of the night, and given that there were several poor contestant performances, that’s pretty bad.

    • davmon says:

      If I had to guess, the studio version is probably several notches above…he is not at his best live. His song Happy was also repetitive with a banal lyric, but was deliciously upbeat in mesmerizing satisfying ways. A hundred years from now, it may well be the one song remembered from this decade.

  25. Good Music Appreciated says:

    Whats,with ITunes why is Jeffrey so far down. People can’t you appreciate amazing tskent. And what has Amy already cracked the top 10. There are many small voices that command attention. Not hers . I do not get the Amy love affair this year. I find hr very average and just cure2ctainly nothing to go gaga about. Very average. Tonight I thought she ruined a really fun song. Love to camp up Blank Space. Felt she sang it sans attitude! ! Vote for Jeffrey or get on iTunes. Do not let him go home.

  26. I hope Barett Baber goes home. He’s old and Delta Dawn hurt my ears. I luv Zach and Braiden!!!! #Zach Pack #Braiden Is My Sunshine

  27. NotHardly says:

    I hated Delta Dawn when Tanya Tucker did it, I hated Delta Dawn when Helen Reddy did it. And now I hate the Barrett Barber version. Why in god’s name is this Suckful GAWDAWFUL song a “classic”?

  28. davmon says:

    Wow! Madi and Jeffery are on a different plane, eclipsing the competition: she is an artiste with exquisite styling—and only 16; he just has so many rich tones, multiple pockets, and has excellent control. Next is Amy, who like Madi, is improvising arrangements and phrasing inventively. Jordan is great to a point—so much raw talent, a great voice; he just lacks nuance and tonight was high way too much, which oversold the effect. Emily Ann benefited from going bluegrass; her best turn yet, very good—I had stopped being a fan. I am a Shelby fan, but tonight was a bit too ordinary somehow, lacking oomph.Evan was not as good tonight. Koryn and Zach needed to be better this week—and were…some. Braiden was some better—and should be in the top five at a local karaoke club someday soon. Barrett Baber, uh, well, I sometimes like him ok, but tonight was really hauntingly awful—lots of unlovely long high notes….That was my order of preference.

  29. dan says:

    Is it just me, or is the arrangement on Amy Vachal’s take on Blank Space just awful? I like her, though.

    I’m not much of a music expert but it just seems off.

  30. For me, the night was: #1(by a big margin) Jeffery; #2 Emily; #3 Amy; #4 Madi; #5 Jordan; #6 Evan #7-11 Everyone else.

  31. Dbrillz says:

    Performance Rankings for the Night:
    1. Madi- B-? New definition of A? Just because it’s not Jacquie doesn’t mean it’s not great too
    2. Jeffery- He is so consistently perfect with Madi and they would be my ideal top 2 but producers have other ideas…
    3. Emily Anne- Wow! Breakout moment for her. If she sings like that every week, she will be deserving of a spot in the finale
    4. Amy- It may have been lightweight but it was pitch-perfect and tons of fun
    5. Jordan- Consistently good, overly hyped, too similar week-to-week
    6. Shelby- She was much better than the rest of the contestants tonight
    7. Evan- On pitch, sung strongly, nothing emotionally
    8. Braiden- At least he was more in tune than usual this week
    9. Korin- Why this song? She could’ve done so much more with better music
    10/11 tie. Zach and Barrett- Zach has been awful and out of tune ever since the Elvis impersonation act began, and now Barrett has started singing just like him. However, at least Zach sang a modern song. Barrett butchering HELEN REDDY? Blasphemy! So much awful from both of them. Overall, due to body of work, however, Zach needs to go.

    • Alan Dvorkis says:

      Barrett’s performance tonight was the single most embarrassing moment on any singing competition that I have watched. The combination of ridiculous song choice, absurd interpretation and then singing out of tune gives him not only worst of the night, but worst of all time.

      • davmon says:

        My sentiment, too. I like the guy as a person. But he did not deserve to be Top 12, much less Eleven or further. And he really set out to prove it tonight. His high notes were excruciatingly unremarkable–or was that, remarkably excruciating!

  32. P-Applecakes says:

    I can’t believe you gave Barrett a D. He slayed that song (couldn’t even tell it was Tanya Tucker!) He has a boat load of talent, for sure.

  33. NotHardly says:

    I’m absolutely shocked that I actually liked Braiden Sunshine’s performance tonight. Shocked! Unusually good song choice by Gwen who has been, at best, iffy in her song choices for her team.

  34. NotHardly says:

    Jeffrey for the win. By far……..

  35. Chanell Lauxman says:

    I really love Jordan Smith and I’ve never thought they were cramming him down our throats. Wonder why you dislike him so much. He’s genuine and has an amazing voice.

    • Timmah says:

      Completely agree.

      • Carfield says:

        I still think Jordan will win, but want a bit more emotions from him. I agree with Mike that Christina, Usher, and Shakira will teach him to use that insecurity to his advantage. I still think he can have that true emotional breakout moment with the right song. There are still three weeks.

    • Alan Dvorkis says:

      He is totally not genuine. That is his problem.

    • Don says:

      I also like Jordan’s voice, but I thought tonight he had by far his weakest performance of the season. His tepid watered down version of “Who You Are” left me completely cold. If you are going to do that song, then you’d better bring at least a fraction of the raw angst that Jessie J brings to it. Jordan will be better off if he goes back to doing pop ballads like Halo.

    • Eileen says:

      Totally agree with you. I am a longtime piano teacher and I don’t understand why some on here don’t get it. It seems there are always haters or jealous people who don’t like outstanding singers. Call it “The Adam Lambert Factor.” Jordan is clearly remarkable in his pitch, tone, delivery and – yes – song picks.

  36. NotVirgin Mary says:

    Not sure what was up with Jefferey’s arrangement. The band stayed the same the whole song when Jefferey went someplace else. It kind of took away from the performance for me.
    Would it kill Emily Ann to show some sort of charisma? He vocal was a major improvement (Still nothing special.) but man was it hard to watch her. Same thing with Barrett. It was actually cringeworthy to see him try and work the stage, and with that dreadfully below average vocal… Yikes.
    I personally can’t wait till next week. Time to clean house (Or slaughter house, if you prefer.) Might be nice to trim the fat off this competition. As long as Jefferey is still there I’m going to be okay.

  37. T Young says:

    Braiden Sunshine has beautiful pitch and contol with horrendous song choices! Evan also has great pitch and tone, yet again he picks bad songs. I hated the stripped down version Jeffrey did almost as much as I hate his hair, but he has a great voice. Jordan’s talent is inhuman. Blake’s three country artists are the very best all-around performers. All three of them have awesome stage presence and great voices for their genre. Shelby can belt, but doesn’t perform well. Madi, Korin, and Amy are all three mediocre but have made good song choices for their voices that save them. Mark should have won over Korin last week. Korin should definitely be going home this week.

  38. Mary says:

    I enjoyed all the performances tonight, but Jordon is still my favorite to win. I love his pure voice and passion. He is truly gifted. I believe the men are stronger this year. I can’t imagine a female winning because they are not at the same level as the guys are.

  39. Carfield says:

    I agree with you Michael! When Jeffery started to sing, I was transformed to that club in NYC… When he sang, “I’m in the corner watching you kiss him…” you were immediately transform to that place… to that disappointment… What I really love Jeffery is his brutal honesty. I recalled when Pharell taught Madi to left all her heart in the stage, Jeffery exactly did that.

    Honestly I find it a bit strange that Jeffery’s song is still lingering around in the late 30s. For some reason, it brings back memory of the iTunes “mess-up” at the finale for Josh Kaufmann. Anyway, I think he is definitely safe this week, but you really need that accumulated iTunes sales to ultimately win the title.

    Thanks for another brilliant writeup!

  40. Sarina says:

    While I did really enjoy Jeffrey’s performance, Calum Scott did the same rendition of the song on Britain’s Got Talent earlier this year and completely SLAYED it. Calum’s version is by far my favourite so it’s hard for me to hear the song without comparing it to him.

  41. V says:

    Jeffrey going for the Kings of Leon version was pretty smart of him – it is an amazing cover and he sang it brilliantly.

  42. Critics, criticize, and try to do it in a catchy, interesting way……but ultimately they are just voicing their own opinion, and what does it matter when no one really gives a darn about a critic’s opinion. We like who we like anyway….. But a lot of it has to do with song selection, and boy do some of these singers make bad decisions, for that they should feel deep regret.

  43. I do not know it you heard the version of 2 British incredible artists doing Dancing on my own, Calum Scott and Ben Clark. One having over 20 million views Calum when he performed it last year on British Got Talent and Ben Clark on youtube (he has been on the X factor UK this year.
    Jeffrey took Calum’s version.
    The British are so much more interesting that most American contestants I see on these talent shows. Thy show artistry and originality, taking a song and really making it their own, they are true musicians. And although the US has also great vocal talents I less impressed by their ability to show originality and personality.

  44. Pisces228 says:

    I’m watching this episode on DVR so I haven’t finished it yet, but I just watched Madi and didn’t really like it. To my ear, she has an enunciation problem. Her words get “mushy.” I also felt like the song dragged for a long time. It just didn’t do anything for me. :-/

  45. Roy Lalonde says:

    ll I have to say is hopefully America will show mercy and send Braiden home. It is almost painful listening to him.

  46. ChristianT says:

    iTunes Charts as of 7:40 A.M Central Time
    4. Amy
    9. Jordan
    11. Emily
    15. Madi
    29. Jeffery
    35. Zach
    38. Barrett
    43. Evan
    58. Korin
    64. Braiden
    103. Shelby

  47. Ames says:

    Between Jordan’s “Who You Are” and Jeffery’s “Dancing On My Own,” I feel like someone must’ve gotten a hold of the SMASH soundtrack. The performances these guys gave were nice, but both made me miss the incredible performances Megan Hilty gave of both of those songs.

  48. TinLV says:

    Overall I think this season’s field is pretty weak compared to the last couple of seasons. That said, I voted for Jeffery, Emily Ann and Evan, though I thought “Smile” was way too old-fashioned and not his best performance. Jordan has a good voice, too, so I threw him a few votes. The rest don’t do a thing for me.

  49. Patrick Holmes says:

    Jeffery sucked

  50. majomajor says:

    i dont understand why the voice doesn’t support gwen more to win because she could be the 1st female coach to win the voice but also to have the 1st gay man to win a singing competition. and not only because that but because jeffery deserves to win over others because he knows that its not just about the high note but having a connectional level with the song and with the people.

    • Lizzie says:

      We shouldn’t be concerned about whether a female coach wins, or whether a gay man wins a singing competition. Gwen is my least favorite coach this season with all of her poor advice and input, and Jeffrey is difficult to unpleasant to listen to. He seems to have a big chip on his shoulder, and his performances are nothing to want to hear more than once, sometimes not even the once. Jordan hit a kind of dull song last night, and Evan and Korin seemed to be singing their farewell songs. My guess for bottom 3 is Braiden, Korin, and Evan this week. Although I would rather keep Evan and send Barrett home.