The Voice Joe Maye

The Voice Live Playoffs (Pt. 1) Recap: We Want Them to Stay-ay-ay (Well, a Few of 'Em, Anyhow)

Shhhhhhh. Be very, very quiet. If you listen closely enough, you’ll hear the subtle shade dripping from the tongues of The Voice‘s shiny, happy coaching panel.

“You’re still in the process of really improving a lot,” Adam said cheerily to Team Xtina’s Nick Hagelin, which, translated into Real Talk, would go something like, “Dude, you’ve got a long way to go.”

“That was super solid, Mary,” countered Xtina, describing Team Blake’s Mary Sarah with the most damning adjective she’ll allow herself to say on live television. “[There were] some nice notes toward the end there, too!” Ouch! I felt that punch like it was hitting me — and not the country hopeful wearing a repurposed costume from the Tonya Harding Collection — in the kidneys.

In the midst of the silent assassinations, though, there were some genuine and well-earned moments of “Woo-hoo!” and “A-ha!” — though not quite as many of them as I’d anticipated, forgetting how nerves always cloud the tone and accuracy of vocals in the Live Playoffs (aka the first week the public gets to vote).

With that said, let me jump straight into letter grades for Team Xtina and Team Blake’s singers — Teams Adam and Pharrell take the stage Tuesday:.

TEAM BLAKE (Ranked Worst to Best)
Mary Sarah – Lynn Anderson’s “(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden” — Grade: C- | The minute Mary ran out of air on the opening verse, it was clear her front-runner’s ship was already too close to the iceberg to slow down and course-correct. And despite a huge boost from the background singers that no other contestant received, there was no hiding the vocal meltdown playing out on the stage: Mary swallowed her notes, let her final glory note slip away, and sang with the distractedness of a woman who was thinking about how to salvage her technique and forgetting her connection to the lyrics in the process.

Justin Whisnant – Travis Tritt’ “Here’s a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)” — Grade: C+ | Justin’s a sweet fella who clearly loves to sing, but his performance was as nondescript as the white space in between this paragraph and the next one about Paxton Ingram. If Blake’s taking a country male hopeful to the Top 12, it’s going to be Adam 100 times out of 100 — and that does not bode well for Justin, assuming he’ll need Blake’s sole save to round out the team’s Top 3.

Paxton Ingram – Calvin Harris’ “How Deep Is Your Love” — Grade: B- | Nothing says “you’re cannon fodder” quite like getting assigned an electronic dance jam — without the slightest interesting twist in arrangement. Paxton was mostly in tune, but it didn’t take long for the performance to feel as labored and fleeting as Blake’s attempt at the “Whip/Nae Nae.”

Katie Basden – Trisha Yearwood’s “Georgia Rain” — Grade: B- | I loved Katie’s Knockout Round performance so much, I was willing to overlook the flat note that crept into the last line of the opening verse. Unfortunately, that stumble was one of eight or ten questionable notes throughout the performance. Girlfriend might’ve saved herself with a potent glory note at the end, but Pharrell’s bizarre critique — “You should be actively pursuing this right now!” — made it sound as though this was the last time he’d be seeing her. Ummm… I didn’t get the memo that Katie was about to be escorted off the stage to pack her personal belongings in a box, did you?

Joe Maye – The Doobie Brothers’ “Long Train Runnin” — Grade: B+ | Joe entered the Live Playoffs as a bit of an underdog, and of all the night’s performances, his possessed the gutsy, gutty energy of a man well aware that this might be his final time on The Voice stage. His fiery growl on the verses – combined with a smoother approach to the choruses — wasn’t entirely without flaw, but the fact that he doubled down on hip-swaying, boogying, stage-working energy helped set Joe apart from his competitors. If he’s not a Top 2 vote-getter on his team, here’s hoping Blake rewards Joe’s efforts by handing him his sole coach’s save.

Adam Wakefield – Ray Charles and Willie Nelson’s “Seven Spanish Angels” — Grade: B+ | I still think Adam’s a legit threat to make the finale with his gruff, soulful tone and consistent ability to breathe life into a lyric. And while those qualities were in effect during “Seven Spanish Angels,” his enunciation – an issue Blake warned about in rehearsal — and the sleepy nature of the track in question made this his weakest effort of Season 10 thus far.

TEAM XTINA (Ranked Worst to Best)
Kata Hay – Aretha Franklin’s “You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” — Grade: D | Like a hyena tearing into a wounded impala, there was brute force behind Kata’s cover, and the end result was similar, too: Bloody, primal and a little hard to watch. I’m sure Kata is a hoot and a holler when she’s hosting karaoke nights in Nashville, but her lack of nuance and restraint make her an almost certain casualty during Wednesday’s results.

Tamar Davis – Andra Day’s “Rise Up” — Grade: D+ | Tamar’s Battle and Knockout Rounds were among Season 10’s finest, so it pained me to witness her using an industrial sprayer when she should’ve opted for delicate brushstrokes to color in Andra Day’s breathtaking hit. It didn’t help that the arrangement added a frantic quality that runs in direct opposition to the lyric, but Tamar only has herself to blame for overshooting the note almost every time she went in for a showstopping run. Oh, they stopped the show all right – like a Subway train slamming on the brakes. Here’s hoping Xtina doesn’t forget Tamar’s promise, however, and gives her the coach’s save over her cute-boy steals Nick and Ryan.

Nick Hagelin – Rihanna’s “Stay” — Grade: C+ | I’d equate Nick’s performance to one of those fancy bags of gourmet jellybeans. There were definitely some sweet moments in his head voice, but there were also far too many notes that played like “buttered popcorn” or “chili mango,” resulting in a loss of appetite for the hunky former dancer’s future performances.

Ryan Quinn – Sam Smith’s “I’m Not the Only One” — Grade: B | Ryan’s got a soothing, pretty tone, but some of his late-in-the-game riffs on the melody were wobblier than a tray of martinis carried by a 10-year-old. Plus, I didn’t really feel the depth of longing and heartache he claimed he’d be bringing to the lyrics. So how come dude got a four-coach Standing O?

Bryan Bautista – Zayn’s “Pillowtalk” — Grade: A- | It’s pretty clear exec producer Mark Burnett & Co. are going all in for a Team Xtina/”Break the Girl Curse” victory, but Bryan’s grown and sexy rendition of “Pillowtalk” (which started just a tad shaky but ended with an explosive falsetto run and an undeniable superstar swag) means that Ms. Aguilera could easily wind up finishing first and second in this cycle. I liked Bryan’s Knockout Rounds cover of “Sorry” a little better, but this week underscored just how big a threat he could be to a presumed Alisan victory march.

Alisan Porter – Janis Joplin’s “Cry Baby” — Grade: A- | First and foremost, there’s no denying Alisan’s vocal was the biggest, most accurate and peacock impressive of the episode. Yes, I did throw a Gospel hand when girlfriend threw back her head on the “cry cry cry” ad-lib section. The former Curly Sue star is a beast in her prime — and there’s no way she’s not going to be with us all the way through May. “Cry Baby,” however, played out more like a Broadway rendition of a new Janis Joplin musical than it did a banshee howl from the bottom of a conflicted woman’s soul. That’s not an innate criticism, but I do wonder if Alisan might want to avoid the classic rock lane going forward. When you sings-speak the line, “All you ever gotta do is be a good man, one time, to one woman!” it should border on religious testimony, not just pretty recitation. Oh, sure, I’m quibbling, but since the judges have probably completed the constructive criticism phase with the Chosen One, I figure I might as well pick up the slack.

What did you think of Night 1 of The Voice Season 10 Live Playoffs? Take our poll below, then expand on your thoughts in the comments!

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

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151 Comments
  1. Kim Moores says:

    We really gonna act like Kata ain’t just sang that?
    You just don’t like the girl, I’m convinced. She was heaps better than Tamar and Nick and I didn’t even peep the Blake team outside of Joe, but I’m absolutely certain she outslayed them too.

    Nick’s performance kept my face stuck in a wincing form.
    Tamar…I’m more offended by your unnecessarily monochromatic, blossom from PPG, outfit than this rude ass vocal…nvm I finished the performance. Rude ass vocal got it tied
    Wtf… Kata please stick to soul or soul rock. Yass bitch
    (Only contestant that matters below)
    Bryan: *eyes roll to back of head, begins seizing, foams at mouth, conveniently falls over into doggie position*
    (The only contestant that matters^)
    Ryan…boy yes. Stay in this lane
    I liked Joe and thought he was incredibly cheesy too
    Alisan’s stage presence is too contrived and she’s gotta loosen up for me.

    • Mike says:

      It’s also clear he knows nothing about country music. That song from Justin deserved a far better grade as did Katie’s. Mary Sarah’s was different, no doubt. But a C-? Really? B- at worst.

      • kevstar says:

        Justin is at the bottom of reader’s favorites and Kata is third from last.

      • joy says:

        I know country music and I think a C was generous for Mary Sarah. She was flat then sharp then flat. That performance gave country music a bad name. I am upset that Blake didn’t tell her while she was in rehearsal how off she was because you could hear it in that clip as well.

        • Puzzled says:

          I love classic and outlaw country, but Mary Sarah is so contrived, nasally and honestly looked like she was performing in the talent portion of a beauty contest at the beginning. I hope Lynn Anderson isn’t rolling, rolling, rolling in her grave.

          • Keith says:

            Mary Sarah released an album of duets a few years ago and she sang Rose Garden with Lynn Anderson

          • Puzzled says:

            To Keith, yes I have listened to it, and that duet is lovely. However, MS’s verion last night was horrible!!!

        • Joyce Van Engen says:

          Who says Blake didn’t say anything. All you admittedly saw was a clip.

    • Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

      I agree. While I LUVED Alisan and am rooting for her to win, cause she is also slaying on iTunes as well, I agree on stage presence. She was more comfortable in the battles, maybe first live jitters. But their will be much better performances from her!

      • joy says:

        I’m going to be considered the bad guy here and that’s okay with me. I hope Alisan doesn’t win. Alisan has enough contacts in show business to get some help breaking into the music business. Most of the other contestants will never have a chance and will never have those contacts. Plus, Alisan has already made more money as a child actor than most of these people will ever see in their lifetime. I don’t think it’s fair and truly hope that someone else wins.

        • Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

          I just wish ALISAN the best in her career. No matter what happens, even she admits that she would not be mad at all if anyone beat her, she’s that kind.

        • Derby says:

          LOL. I wasn’t aware that fairness was a judging criterion of the show. I’m sure they all get participation trophies too.

        • JM1 says:

          Joy – a lil’ harsh! If you don’t like one of these singers b/c you don’t like their voice, then fine.

          Just b/c Alisan was in some lame movie 25 years ago (do you even know anyone who ever saw it?) does not mean she has MUSIC contacts, or is rich. It mostly means she probably got really messed up in the head as a child, and has spent years in therapy. If these singers are on the Voice, it means their careers haven’t been working out so well. Period. So they ALL need help.

          • I can clearly see that your heart is in the right place.Your facts needs some critiquing is all & Im not going to be a jerk about it I hope.#1-Everyone saw Curly Sue 2#-She is wealthy-3#-She did have a bout with drugs & alchohol but was still a Broadway performer at that time.Her life is not hard.She put out an album last year.

          • JM1 says:

            Now I’m mad I’m the only one who didn’t see Curly Sue! :-p I will guess that nobody bought Alisan’s album, though, since I’d never heard of her or it before the Voice. It seems she has been kicking around trying to gain career traction for years.

            I think The Voice has 2 kinds of viewers. The kind who just root for the best singer, period (that’s me). And the kind that want an American Idol style rags-to-riches story, and don’t like anyone who’s already too good. Fair enough either way.

          • Venee says:

            I also care not about backstories, and arcs. I think people are VERY misled that Kelly Clarkson and Carrie (for example) were home twiddling thumbs, one day realized they could sing, and up and tried out for American Idol. BOTH were actively pursuing record contracts before Idol and had tons of experience performing. Alisan has more than most, but I just don’t care. I don’t think a true “amateur” has a disadvantage on these shows. They will be thrown out into the real music world when it’s all said it done, should they win or gain a contract from a recording label, if they can go toe to toe with the “professionals” on these shows and prevail, that can only help in the “real world”. Frankly if they are complaining now about going against people with experience, how will they deal with Adele, Rhianna, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift… list goes on and on

        • Joy, that’s how I feel too, about Allison. Shes already too perfect in her vocals and I like to see the growth of the contestant on the show, or the unknown person to win.

          • Keith says:

            To most people Alisan is unknown

          • I didn’t know Allison’s name. I saw and disliked the movie Curly Sue many years ago (no fault of the cute child actor whose name I never bothered to learn) and that’s it.

            I understand the need for a rags to riches story (or “middle-class farmer and restauranteur to state senator”) on American Idol because that’s the premise. The Voice has a different premise. And tbh I’m not enamored of the need for a “Growth arc”, because that penalizes people who are already excellent. That makes sense in elementary school – give out a gold star for effort.

          • Well tonight I absolutely loved Shaylia, Just blew my socks off.

        • Gailer says:

          Does anyone think they dumbed down the talent this season for her to win? I dont think America will vote for her necessarily. She’s not young either

    • Melanie says:

      I really felt bad for Tamar because she’s performed better than tonight, but as the song went on it didn’t get much better and some of her high notes struggled. Ryan performed solidly and did better emotionally. I feel like Bryan’s started off shaky but got better towards the end. Mary Sarah was one of the most shocking. I though she would handle the performance better, but I don’t think that particular song was best for her. Alisan showed the most confidence out of all. I know who my favorites are, but it will be interesting to see if the ones with a better track record or the ones with better performances move on.

      • JM1 says:

        Mary Sarah relies a bit too much on being cutesy. Tamar sang a beast of a song, she doesn’t need to hit that level of difficulty this early on. Kata really missed the nuance of her song, huh? No one got me super excited tonight.

        Someone turned off the air in the studio tonight. Lots of sweaty faces.

        • kevstar says:

          Yes, Mary Sarah was worse than Tamar. While Tamar might not have hit those high notes perfectly but at least she hit them. Mary Sarah’s performance was more beauty pageant than top- rated reality singing competition.

    • Jess says:

      Kata, she was better then those you mentioned, but she still isn’t that good. She has no nuance and nothing special in her singing. You could go to a local bar in a small city and hear the same.

  2. Sara says:

    It’s all about Bryan and Alisan. Bryan just oozes sex appeal and his VOICE. I think he could be a legitimate threat, really. And Alisan is just on another planet.

    • Puzzled says:

      I think Alisan is going to have an age problem. Also, I think she needs to get back to pop. I love rock and roll, and it may sell on Itunes for vocal competitions somewhat. However, I don’t think Joplin like original music will sell today.

      • Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

        She’s at 29 and has been consistently been the top seller. Although I do agree with u on more song choices. Would love if she sang some Florence and the machine or this song called “the power of love” by Frankie goes to Hollywood

    • Leah says:

      Why are people pretending Alison wasn’t the shrieking mess that she was?? That was terrible.

      • Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

        Because their were people who were BEYOND worst

      • Sara says:

        Because I didn’t think she was? To each their own!

      • Venee says:

        Most don’t have to pretend, because they loved it ! Those of us that looked her up after seeing her on the show, saw that youtube vid in her package of this song, and definitely wanted to see her perform it at some point. No shrieking there. Just insane chest voice range with sustained vibrato. That ability is rare. Clearly you didn’t like it, but I certainly did, and according to itunes others did too.

      • Kelly says:

        I like her a lot, but wasn’t crazy about this one. It could, however, be because when it comes to singing competitions, Allison Iraheta owns that song for me.

        • Linda says:

          YES about Allison Irheta! I just listened to that performance last week.

        • tvlover44 says:

          word. also, am i the only one who thought alisan was squeaky in a cartoon character kind of way on the initial verses? and i missed the grit that allison iraheta brought to the song.

      • Barbara says:

        I agree – her shrieking wreaked havoc on my ear drums. There are those singers that ‘holla’ good) and those that ‘holler’ (bad). Alisan ‘hollers’. Not much of a soulful performance – more of a frantic/manic one.

      • Pammy says:

        Alisan’s voice is definitely not my cup of tea. Every time she sings, it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard to me and I actually find it painful to listen to her. I give her a chance each time, but I always have to mute her.

      • Carl says:

        Thank you, Leah! I cannot tolerate the voice of Alisan-the-anointed-one. She has that child star salty quality to her voice. And seems to think she has to belt every note. Ok. She can sing. In tune and loudly. Sorry to be a bah bumbug, but her voice makes my ears bleed.

      • Emmy says:

        Totally agree! Her performance was my least favorite of the night. Didn’t like it at all. Too shrieky for me.

    • OhMy says:

      Didn’t think Bryan was really on tonight. Of course, the song choice was awful, and that was a lot of the problem (to me).

    • Ani says:

      Yep– sex plus voice equals major contender. Bryan might just be the best!

    • BRRRR… YYYYAAAAANNNNN! *%$#@??? Ohhhhhhh! Yes, that was good. Sexy, his voice and everything else. LOL

  3. Andres says:

    I thought Tamar did good until that on big note then it went down hill which is a shame cause she is really good. I thought kata did really good and did not deserve a D. Nick was OK. And Ryan was a little better than ok. Alisan was fantastic but I give the number on spot to Bryan l. He did something with that song that made it magic.
    Adam and Joe deserve to move on although I think Joe was graded low and should have been and A- and Katie needs to move on but I’m sure it’s gonna be Mary. I’ll be happy if Paxton goes.
    Over a good start to the lives

    • davmon says:

      Xtina’s team is the best. And any 3 or the 5 could make it!… I expected Bryan, Tamar, Alisan, & Ryan to be a battle, while Kata was 2nd tier but has a big following….Now, I think Bryan did fine, but the rest is a tossup! Tamar & Ryan were good, despite a couple of off notes. Kata was much better tonight but again overcooked, while Alisan’s Cry Baby was a lotta note-missing, wailing, thin gruel for an iconic Joplin song; yet both have robust followings…and if those vote faithfully, maybe Bryan is not even safe! In that case, Xtina would save Bryan. If it is Bryan & Alisan, then she would have a tough choice between Tamar & Ryan…But Kata’s improvement along with her fan base might make that a smart 3rd choice even….I feel certain I don’t know!

      • Russ says:

        And you left Nick out, all he is doing is running second place for team Xtina on Itunes. Her team very well could be Alisan, Nick and Bryan.

    • Kitteh says:

      Alisan slayed it but i fear that she sang a song not known by many. Ryan and Bryan did it for me all the way.

  4. DianeR says:

    What happened to Paxton? I thought he’d be great but, not good dude

    • safado says:

      For some unfathomable reason, they gave him a song without a melody. He was doomed.

    • davmon says:

      Honestly, EVERYBODY WAS OFF TONIGHT!…Bryan & Katie were best of the bunch; but I did not like their song choices!…The rest were missing notes right and left.

  5. Evan says:

    For me tonight, there was Alisan, then Ryan…and then everyone else. I was a bit underwhelmed by a few contestants who I thought would likely get through this week, but are in serious trouble now. As long as Alisan and Ryan get through, I’ll be happy.

  6. NotVirgin Mary says:

    God… I hope Taymar gets that coach save. I don’t understand what happened to her.
    Kata wasn’t that bad though, let’s be real.

    • Russ says:

      That will be tough, right now Alisan and Nick are Xtina’s top 2 on itunes. If that holds up would you blame Xtina for going with Bryan? Lets say Alisan and Bryan are the top two. Xtina has Nick, Kata, and Ryan all charting better than Tamar. Not saying she will not advance but man she has to be an extreme long shot though. Definitely not a front runner.

    • JM1 says:

      Kata . . . well she hit the notes, that wasn’t the problem. But boy, she just mauled any tenderness out of that poor song. And dial the “sassy” down about 100 notches. When even Pharrell struggles to make a kind critique, it’s bad.

  7. Billie says:

    Can someone explain to me what happens next? 3 go forward off of each team, yes? Are all 3 selected by the popular public vote? Or do the coaches get to make some choices too?

  8. Jules says:

    Haven’t watched it yet here on the West Coast but I’m so sad about Tamar. That song is one of my favorites and have been waiting for someone to do it. On paper, those 2 are the perfect combo but it doesn’t sound like it worked. Darn!

  9. Mike says:

    What’s with the show letting the judges make the rules? Christina should have picked someone on her own team. If I’m any of the cut artists from her team I’d be pissed. It backfired too. That was ok at best.

    • kevstar says:

      No, Carson said she could pick anyone, even someone not on her team. Nick was much better on Stay than on Lost Without You, which is all falsetto.

  10. Polarvortex says:

    You gave Ryan a B????He got a standing ovation from the judges and the audience and I don’t think he hit a bad note and you gave him a B??? H e was much better than shreiky Alisan who sang with all the subtlelty of a sledgehammer and all he got was a b!

    • Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

      But ALISAN had emotion and actually felt what she was saying. Also she has more potential to make it far.m

    • Melanie says:

      I agree Ryan did extremely well (if only for the fact that he was actually on pitch for his whole song). I think he’s improved so much on emoting the lyrics, and I think he did better than Bryan (not a fan of the song and he started out really weak).

      • Puzzled says:

        I think he was wonderful too…hope he makes it and continues to grow. He needs nurturing which amazingly Christina seemed to give him.

    • Kim Moores says:

      When does Cry Baby deserve subtlety?

      • Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

        Exactly, minus the wordy verses, it’s pretty much a bombastic song. And everyone cannot sing that song without “screaming” it. Even Janis was a raw performer, never flawless in vocals, always in emotion

    • Venee says:

      Have you heard “Crybaby” before? You may be surprised when I tell you that what Alisan did WAS toned down from the original…..

      • Florence*TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

        exactly, what alisan did was much more reserved than what ms janis joplin did.

  11. eidi says:

    It is curious that before the comeback twist the top 20 was divided into 8 men and 12 women. With the 4 comeback male, it is 12×12. A strange coincidence?

  12. Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

    MY GOODNESS!!! ALISAN FREAKEN PORTER!!! What u just did gave me an exorcism! That was INSANE!!! Not her best vocally, but on a night were many fell flat, she did not. Very proud of her! Bought her song immediately and she is so close in hitting the top 10 on iTunes!!! Well done, along with Bryan, Ryan, Katie, and Joe

  13. JM says:

    Before this night, I kept hoping that Christina would bring back Daniel. But I knew that her team was already filled with outstanding singers, so I thought, ‘I wish he could be picked by another team where he’d have a better chance.’ Low and behold, the judges can now pick their comebacks from other teams!! Fingers crossed that means he comes back to Adam’s or Pharrell’s teams.

  14. safado says:

    For some unfathomable reason, they gave him a song without a melody. He was doomed.

  15. AS says:

    Michael, Wasn’t feeling “Cry Baby” at all…she was loud, but she had no grit. Give it up for your girl Allison I. and American Idol…..can’t believe I’m sayin’ that.

    • Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

      I thought she was FIRE!!! I’m kinda tired of singers who don’t let go and try to give it their best, you have to take chances, but I do get maybe loud. To be fair, anyone who sang this song has to be powerful and raw to convey it.

      • AS says:

        I like Curly Sue a lot….just don’t think Janis is in her wheelhouse…she may have been “raw” but where was the grit???

        • Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

          True, but she still was one of the better singers of the night. Would love if she sang some country or some florence and the machine

          • AS says:

            As someone said below….was underwhelmed tonight. Curly Sue is the obvious producer pick, but she’d better find her voice and it is not Janis Joplin. She’s not a whiskey drinking singer….she’s finished her rehab and she’s a mom…..

    • Nyx says:

      I’ve never gotten the Alisan hype. She is a technically great singer but she lacks emotion – she can howl all she wants but I’m not buying what she’s selling.

  16. daynamonet says:

    What is his deal with Kata????!!!! Like she killed it and I didn’t even think Kata was a contender until tonight. I loved Alisan, gave her only 2 votes though because I think she’ll be fine, she’s TCO. However, I gave most of my votes to Joe who shut it down and had me dancing and grooving and Bryan 😍😍😍😍😍, need I say more. That’s all.

    • fiberlicious says:

      She killed it, all right – with a nail-studded sledge hammer. She looked and sounded like a ODing crackhead.I have liked her work, but she just totally screwed up that song.

  17. JM says:

    Mary and Tamar bombed so bad it was embarrassing. Especially Tamar–I really expected her to shine and move on. Paxton and Justin were forgettable. Everyone else did pretty well, I thought, so Michael’s grades seem harsh to me. If LivePopBars is any indication of who is moving on, the order is:
    Blake’s Team
    1. Adam
    2. Katie
    3. Joe
    Christina’s Team
    1. Alison
    2. Nick
    3. Bryan

    • Jules says:

      Nick???!! No.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      Tamara did crash and burn, but none of it was her fault. It was the wrong song, wrong key, and Christina kept telling her to do higher riffs. It was a disaster at every level and I’m hoping she gets the third slot.
      Nick? Oof. No. lol

      • danin says:

        Why Angie? As I said in my post before I wasn’t a fan of Nick and datum if I didn’t think he was the best front to end tonight!

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          I think Nick is an attractive guy who needs to work on his voice more if he’s serious about singing. I just don’t hear it with Nick. :( If I had to put into words my very negative feelings on Nick, I’d say he lacks any and all finesse with what he’s doing. Ryan may not be my favorite, but Ryan knows how to make smooth vocal transitions and shape the music, whereas it feels like Nick is artlessly faking his way through it. Simply put, I think he needs more experience.

          • analythinker says:

            I just simply don’t understand WHY he’s the comeback contestant. Maybe Christina felt sympathy for his kid.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            I didn’t understand why he was brought back either. What about Daniel? Or several others? He was really bad.

      • NotVirgin Mary says:

        Let us not forget that she was also in an outfit that was all kinds of wrong as well. Who thought that looked good on her!? Lord have mercy on her soul, come results night.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          Right? the colors were so bad. And the fit was all wrong. Everything about that performance was wrong from beginning to end. I hope Christina gives lots of handicap points as I think Tamar rightly earned the third spot on body of work.

    • Don says:

      I was okay with your list until I got to Nick. I thought that was the weakest cover of Stay we’ve ever had on this show. I would put through Kata or Ryan over Nick.

  18. The Beach says:

    I truly cannot stand listening to Kata but I could listen to Adam all night.

  19. davmon says:

    Well, I was a bit underwhelmed tonight….Previous rounds, IMO, several singers were near perfect in at least 1 of the 3 rounds: 4 on Xtina’s team—Bryan (2x) , Tamar (2x), Alisan (2x), Ryan; 3 on Adam’s—Owen (2x), Shalyah, Laith–plus Mike if he comes back; 3 on Pharrell—Hannah (2x), Caity, & Moushumi; 2 on Blake–Katy (2x) & Mary Sarah….The Lives seem to have caused some jitters. I did not hear one artist tonight, who sang flawlessly or beautifully throughout….The closest were Bryan & Katy, who sang great but had lackluster songs….Mostly great were Tamar (one off note), Ryan (2 flat notes), & Kata (much better tonight, but overcooked the ending)…. Fairly good efforts by Nick & Joe (but both had some off notes)…. Most disappointing were Mary Sarah (ran outta gas 2x after warned by Blake + one off note), Adam (lost pitch 3x going high), & Alisan (bravely but unwisely attempted Joplin: too vanilla—her caterwauling was too thin & badly missed some notes)….Sigh!…The whole night was an off note!

  20. Rebecca Bellomy says:

    Still can’t understand the lyrics…7 Spanish Angels. Sorry…but beautiful & unintelligible.

  21. Bridge says:

    Georgia Rain is such a deceptive song – Trisha has one of the great voices (country or otherwise) and is always flawless, so really hard act to follow. Katie seemed to really struggle esp in the beginning when she couldn’t use her power to stay on pitch.

  22. Alan Dvorkis says:

    Do people just assume because a person is deemed the front runner that everything they sing is the do all, end all. Alyson’s take on Joplin was all over the place, occasionally out of tune, occasionally screechy and yes at times brilliant. That in no way deserves an A. People are allowed to have bias enter the fray. Critics should not. Sorry Michael, you have had allowed your love of certain singers to influence grades. That is fine, except when it is becomes bizarre. An A for that performance. Wow. Surprising is the nicest word I can come up with.

    • davmon says:

      Well said! Alisan is a roller coaster….I really liked her Blue Bayou….Next, on California Dreaming, she was too shrill & I felt Lacy deserved to win….Then, River was exquisite!… Now, Cry Baby drove me outside to howl at the moon!…Was that her Trumpian 5th Avenue moment?

      • Kbella says:

        LOL’ing at “Trumpian 5th Avenue moment!” That wasn’t my favorite Alisan performance but I love listening to her sing.

    • Timmah says:

      I think if we’re grading on a curve Alisan gets an A just because everyone else was so bad. I actually kind of liked it, and I’m not really an Alisan fan.

  23. Temperance says:

    I like Mary Sara and think she’ll be successful, but I hate that song so much, I can’t even be a fair judge. There was away, way way too much mediocre tonight, especially in a week following Trent and LaPortia.

  24. Temperance says:

    Oh, and what was up with Nick’s serial killer haircut? Did he come in from prison? Ugh, ugh, ugh.

  25. danin says:

    I was not digging Nick before but I thought he gave the best performance front to end. I thought he sang that song beautifully. Peyton-terrible song. Alison not enough heft in her voice to sing Cry Baby. Ryan did some nice work. Joe worked it out though he ran out of breath here & there. Bryan caught the last almost half of his song to perfection. Turned the channel on Mary& Adam. Tamar was in and out. Katie was slipping throughout. Justin who I DID like before, I also turned the channel on him.Kata should have sang the Joplin, she was a trainwreck on her Natural Woman.

  26. kevstar says:

    And THAT’S HOW YOU CLOSE OUT A SHOW! Alisan @ #1.

  27. TexasBrigade says:

    Mary Sarah has been a favorite of mine but her song choice tonight did her no favors
    Kata was much better then a D

  28. Jessica says:

    I’m not a fan of Allison this is my opinion her voice irritates me with her screeching and I also agree she already had her fame I hope she doesn’t win and there is better singers than her on the show that will reach a even bigger demographic

  29. patdamico says:

    Bryan and Xtina’s and the band’s toned down and delicate version of Zayn’s song almost made the juvenile lyrics superfluous. That was about as close to a perfect stylization of a song as I’ve heard on one of these shows. His vocal may not have been immaculate, but his choices were. Go back and listen to how finely he renders those fading echoes and his false was lovely. Pharrell made a good point about the well chosen (and fitted) suit, too. Bryan looked like a total star up there tonight, and he gave a live performance better than most established stars.

    Alisan’s version of “Cry, Baby” was practically straight up karaoke in comparison.

    Katie had quite a few bum notes. I was surprised at that.

    Ryan’s nerves are getting to him.

    Nick really did show a lot of growth and deserved the recognition for it.

    If only Joe had maintained that slowed down intro throughout the whole song…

    Tamar is trying too hard. Girl needs to lighten up and have faith in her talent.

    Michael, I understand your irrational affinity for American Idol, but looking back at the consistently high grades you gave many of this past season’s awful contestants, and then reading these suddenly tough critiques, kinda’ sorta’ undermines any credibility. The Voice wasn’t particularly stellar tonight, but those grades are (mostly) redic.

    • davmon says:

      Fair point. I was not an Idol fan. But I dutifully tuned in the last 2 weeks because I was led to believe I would be culturally clueless otherwise….I was astonished by the pitiful vocals of the final four: LaPorsha was by far the best–a good voice and dynamic range, but poor breathing technique. Did Trent even have a pocket? nowhere in his dynamic range was there a sweet spot. Dalton? maybe winner of a bad Rod Stewart karaoke contest? I forget the 4th guy…. The judges were nice but tired. The house band was pedestrian. The set was early 60s variety show….The Voice clearly has higher vocal, musical, & production standards. What I do not like are its pat formulas: the sob stories, the montages, the sophomoric banter, Carson Daly saying the same 6 or 8 things over & over every show (Is he real or a robot version?), the hyping of certain artists, that coaches almost never give a meaningful critique during a show….That, by end of every season, I realize again that it is not about the artists or making great music; it is about making money for the coaches, producers, network, & shareholders….And I sigh again. .

      • patdamico says:

        The lack of on-screen critiquing after the preliminary knockouts seems to be a chronic complaint on this board. I disagree, though, and actually see it as one of the several things The Voice gets right. You’ll notice that the all positive feedback begins once voting is opened to America. I think it’s a definitive attempt to keep any perceived judging manipulations of the votes at a bare minimum. I’m sure the critiquing continues backstage and during rehearsals (where it belongs). They simply don’t want it causing any influence on the audience, and I heartily approve.

        I wasn’t a big Carson Daly fan before this show, but I really like him now. The host of one of these shows should be like a really good referee in sports: effective but almost invisible. I especially like (and pay attention to) his interaction with the contestant’s support units off stage during the blinds, It’s undeniably spirited and genuine. He also handles the vote-offs expertly. They are almost never awkward or maudlin… something Seacrest and A.I. never really learned how to do well.

    • MC says:

      This was a rough night, but not nearly as bad as some of the AI shows during the last three years. I just voted for my personal preferences in tone, emotion, style and authenticity. I voted for Alisan, Katie and Ryan. This is one of those seasons where I’m voting for the best available choices, rather than someone that blows me away (because that person does not exist). The last time anyone blew me away was two seasons ago when there were several outstanding divas in the mix (Kimberly Nichole, Koryn Hawthorne, India Carney, Mia Z, etc.)

  30. Ingrid J. Ward says:

    Boricua, you are super talented! I see you as the next Voice champion and 1St Puerto Rican/Dominican to win. Keep reaching the stars!!!! Which part of PR are you from?

  31. Drew says:

    Where is the last reality check!?! There has to be a finale right?

  32. Elisa Roja says:

    RIGHT ON with Alison, she SO does NOT have the grit or soul for that song, hence her Itunes should be much much higher and aren’t – not her thing at all (and i’m still NO fan of anyone who has so much industry insider pull being on the show). But wrong on Nick, why? Because he did an honest, straight forward vulnerable performance – brilliant song choice. I’d rather watch him than 15 or so others still in, so ,… and itunes is confirming that.

  33. Lisa says:

    Do you guys grade on a curve?

  34. Dee Runaas says:

    It’s pretty clear that THIS season song selection will be critical – what a bunch of muck last night. A couple of singers seem to have only one gear – scream! Do the coaches teach dynamics?

    • davmon says:

      Really!…I am hearing Nat King Cole singing a new lyric: So…for-gettable!…that’s…what that was…. so…mediocre…it gives us pause!….[Now that was a voice!]…Anyway, the songs were pitiful, except Joe’s Doobie Brothers tune–nice revival & mostly well done! But even a good song cannot make up for bad singing. 7 Spanish Angels is a delicate lyric; and Adam, if you badly lose pitch every time on the way to your high notes, it is like injecting acid rock screams into Amazing Grace. And heavens, Alisan, a Whitney version of a Janis Joplin classic–try something that works, next time!

  35. I actually liked Nick and he would be more current to today’s music and I believe Christina should keep him because I think he is one who can grow on the show and become better and better, he deserves that chance!

  36. Kitteh says:

    This point in the show is what i find is the biggest weakness in The Voice. I’d put Team Xtina all the way through. Yet i find it awful that we’ll have a massacre on Wednesday getting rid of brilliant singers who clearly have a great chance.
    Christina better make good choices come Wednesday.

    Let’s see how the iTunes charts look like.

  37. Kbella says:

    FWIW, here are my top 6 from last night (3 from each team):

    Alisan, Ryan and Bryan from Team Christina

    Adam, Joe and Mary Sarah from Team Blake

    But I do adore Paxton and wish he had been given a better, more melodic song to sing.

    • Kbella says:

      One clarification: I’m not choosing Mary Sarah because of last night’s performance but overall, she’s been pretty darn good.

  38. ShawnTe says:

    I actually liked Tamar’s performance. I think I might have a different perspective because I never heard the original version of the song. I know for me, when I really like a song and someone else tries to sing it, I have a preconceived notion about how that song should be handled. If the person covering it doesn’t meet my expectations , I hate it. So I think this is where Tamar is going to be on shaky ground.

  39. BigDaddyLove says:

    Kata rocked it. If you didn’t feel it, you must be an emotionless bot.

  40. Jess says:

    really agree with all that you have said in your recap Michael! I was put off by how much praise some of the contestants got (Georgia Rain, lame song, Tamar was not good this time, the guys called back – ugh) but you point out some veiled criticism that I missed. Allison with that crystal clear voice made a weird choice in song but she really is so very good, and Byran please to the finals, please!

  41. Jasmine says:

    Does anyone else think that Bryan looks like a hot version of Drake? Gets me everytime I see him haha he was definitely my fave of the the night followed by Alisan.

  42. katedfw says:

    I have never wished this on any contestant but I hope Kata goes home tonight and is never heard from again. Like nails on a chalkboard. Awful.

  43. Joyce says:

    Michael – be careful of who dub “the chosen one” – LaPorsha ring a bell??

  44. nedsdag says:

    You thought Katie was good? This was a meh performance TBTH.

  45. Gailer says:

    Ha Michael, the jelly bean comparison

  46. Meg says:

    Michael, Listen to Katie Basden’s music on itunes. I just bought several of her songs. There are some really good lyrics, music, and of course her great voice. Going to be so sad if she goes home Wednesday.

  47. JVee says:

    Alison. Brian. Joe Maye. Love.

  48. dj says:

    I think the iTunes singles chart says it all. People aren’t buying these singles and pushing the artists into the top 10. Either the Voice is slipping, or pope just don’t like these particular performances. Remember when Sawyer and Jordan’s songs were number 1 or number 2 every week on their seasons? Not happening now.