The Voice Recap Billy Gilman

The Voice Top 12 Performance Recap: I Do Want to Miss Some Things

Like a skeletal hand clawing its way up from the grave in a zombie-apocalypse thriller, Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” (aka The Asteroid Song) (aka The Most Done-to-Death Ditty in Reality Singing Competition History) broke through the serne surface of The Voice‘s Top 12 performance night, terrorizing everyone within earshot.

But it’s not a blockbuster without a rugged hero wielding a bow and arrow or a katana or, better still, both. So let’s all put our hands together for freshman coach Miley Cyrus, who armed her trio of artists with tunes by Father John Misty, Leonard Cohen (not “Hallelujah,” thank goodness) and The Rolling Stones (not “Satisfaction,” amen).

Like Taco Bell, the Coach Formerly Known as Tongue-Wag McTwerkybutt is thinking outside of the bun — and, to my surprise, I’m all about it.

Because whether or not one of her protégés is destined to win the whole gordita — let’s be honest, that’s probably up to exec producer Mark Burnett and how he chooses to spin the various Season 11 storylines — at least Miley seems to understand there’s a hunger for fresh ingredients among the Voice faithful, even if it might be cheaper and easier to serve us whatever theadbare tunes have been sitting under a heat lamp since the days when Simon Cowell seemed egdy.

While I try to make sense of my unforseen appreciation of the subtlety of the chick who came in like a wrecking ball, please dive into my reviews of the week’s performances.

Team Blake: Sundance Head, “My Church” — Grade: B- | The soulful undercurrents of Sundance’s southern-rock tone crashed like a wave — to sweet effect — on this bluesy-country jam. I would’ve liked to see and hear a little more freespiritedness — and pitch control – from the American Idol alum, but Sundance sometimes seemed dragged down by the collective weight of his ten-gallon hat, extreme beard and heavy leather vest. Styling treachery aside, though, dude’s a lock to stick around for at least a couple more weeks.

Team Miley: Darby Walker, “Ruby Tuesday” — Grade: C | When Darby’s voice shredded on the full-tilt choruses, I was finally reminded why Miley got obsessed with the overly theatrical teenager in the first place. The kid does have a genuine talent beneath the layers of “who, me?” bashfulness and coached-since-diapers staginess and breathy affectations. Yet while Darby was hardly the worst of the night — from a technical standpoint — I suspect her early-in-the-episode position and failure to advance by public vote last week make her a strong bet to be singing for a Twitter save come Tuesday.

Team Alicia: Christian Cuevas, “The Scientist” — Grade: B | Christian’s always had big vocal range and emotional sincerity in his arsenal, but the complex R&B twist he put on Coldplay’s haunting rock ballad hinted his holster might contain present-day musical relevance, too. Sure, the last few bars sounded a bit wobbly, but Christian’s lilting upper-register flourish on “eeea-say,” his fearless melodic twists and his explosive upper-register approach to the chorus were the first signs I’ve seen that he could be more than a mid-pack player.

Team Alicia: Sa’Rayah, “Livin on a Prayer” — Grade: B- | The sparkly jumpsuit, vocal bombast and horrific sound mix all read very American Idol Season 3 — not that I have a problem with that. But while Sa’Rayah delivered some impressive syncopation on the bridge and a few devastating glory notes, she never seemed fully in control of what was happening on the stage — especially when she slipped out of sync with the band and descended into pure caterwauling on the final refrain. I’m not sure what Alicia meant when she told her diva contestant that she always “finds your way back to your yes,” but here’s hoping America doesn’t send her into the dreaded valley of “no” on Tuesday. She deserves one more shot — on the basis of her ridiculous ambitions alone.

Team Adam: Billy Gilman, “The Show Must Go On” — Grade: B+ | There’s no denying the technical merit of what Billy does on stage — dude’s range stretches perhaps even further than Adam Levine’s healthy ego — but his Freddie Mercury cover lacked the excruciating beauty of the original. The crisp cleanliness of Billy’s performance scrubbed away the haunting desperation from lyrics like “Inside my heart is breaking/ My makeup may be flaking/ But my smile still stays on” — leaving me more impressed than actually moved by the end product. Not to say that “impressive!” is the worst thing you can shout at a guy’s performance.

Team Blake: Austin Allsup, “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” — Grade: C+ | Props to Austin for at least eschewing karaoke with his southern rock spin on an Aretha Franklin classic. But the way the arrangement left Austin screaming at the top of his register on the final third of the tune had me scanning the stage for evidence that dude might’ve passed a kidney stone during his turn on the stage.

Team Alicia: Wé McDonald, “Take Me to Church” — Grade: A- | Let’s put aside for a second the ickiness of hearing a babyfaced teenager tackle a song whose lyrics seem to be an extended metaphor for sexual climax. (Seriously, Google the words and then tell me in the comments if I’m wrong!) But the way Wé shifted from ship’s horn rumble to hummingbird delicacy just in the opening verse convinced me that — given the right material — she could be pop music’s next great hope. Even the families of Wé’s competitors — who found themselves as her backdrop when she finished up wailing out in the audience — looked blissed-out to be part of the experience.

Team Miley: Aaron Gibson, “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” — Grade: B- | Aaron’s gruff, Phillip Phillips-y tone is easy on the ears, but you know what’s not? Straining from start to finish to understand what the dude is mumbling into his mic. One can only get so far in the voting without the slightest concern for enunciation — not that any of the coaches bothered to call the issue out in their critiques. Then again, maybe that’s what Blake was hinting at when he noted Aaron’s performance reminded him of Godzilla singing?

Team Blake: Courtney Harrell, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” — Grade: D | I remember one time my sister made an incredible soufflé at Thanksgiving — every ingredient was painstakingly selected to maximize good taste and eye appeal. But then she set the Pyrex dish on a hot stovetop, and after a few minutes, the whole thing exploded — spewing broken glass and gooey cheese over a five-foot radius. We had no choice but to sweep up the mess and ponder what might’ve been. Similarly, the previously solid Courtney’s competitive fortunes went “Boom!” as she lost control of the tricky Steven Tyler vocal line and ended the performance with a series of sharp, wince-inducing screams that had me wishing for an asteroid to drop on my living room couch and end the agony. If she’s not Bottom 2 on Tuesday, then Blake’s sway over the audience is even more potent than ever in Season 11.

Team Adam: Josh Gallagher Jason Aldean’s “Why” — Grade: D+ | Luckily for Courtney, Josh made a serious attempt at snatching her unwanted award for Most Botched Notes Per Minute on Monday night. As he opened his number on a stool out in the middle of the swaybot pit, I thought, “Those are some… interesting melodic choices.” But as the band kicked in behind him and threatened to swallow him whole, Josh began tossing in unneccessary runs — most of which went badly awry. Was it the emotion of the song that left a tear in Josh’s eye during his critique, or a sense of dread about having fumbled his dark-horse chances?

Check back early Tuesday for updated critiques of Ali and Brendan!

Team Miley: Ali Caldwell, “Did I Ever Love You” — Grade: A | Ali’s rehearsal package found Miley and Top 12 mentor Garth Brooks boosting the likable diva’s confidence in an unfamiliar song that left her feeling less than confident. She needn’t have stressed for a second. Clad in a red sequined gown that Jessica Rabbit would’ve loved, Ali not only brought perfect intonation and exquisite phrasing to the late Leonard Cohen’s rhythmically twisty ditty, but also the kind of emotional connectedness that’s the mark of a genuine talent. She may not be the producers’ Chosen One, but if she continues to perform at this level, and Miley keeps steering her away from predictable Whitney and Celine-type ballads, Ali could wind up disrupting the system?

Team Adam: Brendan Fletcher, “Whipping Post” — Grade: B | Admittedly, I haven’t been Brendan’s biggest fan this season, but his “Whipping Post” was undeniably solid. Putting some genuine stank and sting in his delivery, the guy proved he’s more than just a sandpapery tone and a blank expression. Still, as Brendan tore through the noisy arrangement, I found myself wanting more nuance and shading to his delivery. With a four-coach standing ovation, though, I’m not sure Brendan’s got any reason to question his approach at this point.

Who do you think ruled The Voice Top 12 performance night? Vote for your faves in 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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  1. Amanda says:

    Ruby Tuesday is a Rolling Stones song

    • Michael Slezak says:

      Of course! Thanks for the kick in the pants!

    • The Beatles did write Ruby Baby.

    • bobsaccamanna says:

      Ruby Tuesday is a Rolling Stones song but Darby actually sang it very close to the version covered by Melanie on her first record. Miley is a big fan and friend to Melanie so I’m sure she pushed Darby in that direction. I have not been a fan of Darby but thought she did a credible job on the cover, I could see Miley giving her more songs with that Melanie type of vibe if she manages to stick around.

      • shawnuel says:

        Yes, and Darby already did Melanie’s “Brand New Pair of Rollerskates” (or whatever the title is) in the battle round

  2. Florence+TheMachineRules!!! #TeamMariah says:

    OMG ALI and Wé OWNED the night!!!! Hands down!!! 😍😍😍👏🏽

    • davmon says:

      Well, they were best of night. And have probably been the best all season. Ali is more consistent. But after them, this season is barren. No one else is great or all that consistent.

  3. James says:

    Ali slayed everyone tonight by such a wide margin, she’s definitely going to the finals with Wè!

    • Russ says:

      If I was you I would be knocking on wood right now. Does the name Kimberly Nichole ring a bell. If it does not I am sure Michael will remind us of her a few times before this season is over. Before anyone gets upset, I am not saying she does not deserve the finals. Just showing history that says the word definitely could be wrong.

  4. danin says:

    What Beatle song did Miley choose tonight? I watched the show and did not hear a Beatles song..or are you talking about another week?

  5. Andres says:

    It was a meh night for me and with some “interesting” song choices. Wé and Ali stole the night. If I had to pick, Courtney and Josh should be singing for the instant save tommorw.

  6. Melaniem says:

    I thought Ali and Brendan were the best of the night, also enjoyed Austin, We, and Christian. The rest ranged from pretty mediocre to trainwrecks named Darby and Courtney

  7. Neil says:

    Ali and We’ were great. Billy, Brendan, and Christian were good. The rest… uhmmm. :(

  8. Mge says:

    Ali and Wé definitely were the two performances of the night. Darby and Austin were my two losers of the night. Darby still bugs me to no end, and Austin was really flat during a lot of his song. I’ll be VERY shocked if Darby isn’t in the bottom two tomorrow.

    • Lee says:

      There’s just something very pretentious about the way Darby sings. It doesn’t sound authentic at all. Either that or it sounds like she tries too hard. That’s probably why Brendan and Aaron are my favorites this season.

  9. Trent says:

    Ali and Billy are really pulling away from the pack at this stage. Wé, Sundance, Christian, Brendan and Sa’Rayah are hot on their heels, though.

    • Neil says:

      I still think We’ is right there with Ali and Billy at the top. She redeemed herself tonight from the debacle of last week. Blake’s fans will bring Sundance far for sure so he might round out the Top 4 finale. I wouldn’t complain if these are the artists in the finale. One artist per coach once again! :)

      • Trent says:

        Yep, should’ve included We with Billy and Ali. I definitely think a WGWG will make it to the finale with them. Between Austin, Brendan, Sundance, Josh, Aaron and sort of Christian, I think I prefer Brendan. Sundance is rock solid every week though and wouldn’t mind if it was him making it to the top 4

  10. Smokey says:

    So how many are supposed to be eliminated tomorrow night?… IMO ,, ,,,Wé, Ali ,, Brendan ,, Aaron ,, Christian .. were the top 5 of the night.

  11. Justin says:

    I thought Aaron and Brendan owned the night.

    • Smokey says:

      Aaron and Brendan and We’ … all have very distinctive voices. . Christian has a great range without having to go into much hollerating and screaming falsetto.

    • Music In My Bones says:

      I usually like Aaron’s singing, but tonight I couldn’t make out the words.

    • The Beach says:

      I have been liking Miley’s song choices. They have indeed been a breath of fresh air but I don’t think she did Aaron any favors with the FJM song. It was too obscure, too low key and his enunciation was really bad. Too bad because I really like his voice.

  12. Kimmy Moores says:

    Tonight on the Voice was sponsored by to wonderful helpings of #BlackGirlMagic
    Which saved the night cause everything else pretty much sucked.

    • MamaLis says:

      #BlackGirlMagic? Really? Cause 50% of that grouping pretty much blew it. As I listened to Sa’Rayah (amazing voice) and then Courtney (amazing voice), I kept asking myself, “Really ladies? You’re singing for your life & THIS is what you chose? R u kidding me?” Not only that, but when these women are choosing Aerosmith & BonJovi to tell the world, “THIS is who I am world,” it made me think, “You might have zero musical instincts.”

      That’s a problem. That’s a real problem.

      So, I have to respectfully disagree.

      • Kimmy Moores says:

        Yeah, stop while you’re ahead. I had a typo in my first post and it should say:

        “Tonight on the Voice was sponsored by TWO wonderful helpings of #BlackGirlMagic
        Which saved the night cause everything else pretty much sucked.”

        So shall we skip to the part where you understand you agree with me? Cause otherwise I didn’t read the rest of what you said.

      • scott says:

        There’s no way the artists chose these particular songs. Especially Courtney. I think it’s plain to see who the show wants to have success based on song assignment. Example, I knew We’ was going to get a song not too old and was successful to begin with. This will ensure downloads, which is the best path to advancing.

      • H.naledi says:

        Have no idea why these women continue to pick these 30 yr old arena rock ballads and it rarely if ever pays off.

        • scott says:

          You are right. There are a few 30 yr old songs that they could pull off but it’s about picking the right ones and nailing them. The last contestant I remember nailing 30+ yr old songs with regularity was Kat Perkins.

  13. Michael H. says:

    Ali stole the show for me tonight. I was in tears. Wé was good as well, but she needs to up her game if she wants to compete with what Ali threw down. Sa’Rayah’s performance was interesting and different, if a bit flawed in execution. I still don’t really get all the Billy hype. He’s got a great voice, I just don’t feel any of the emotional connection that they’re trying to get me to see.

    • Smokey says:

      So who were the final “saves” by the coaches last week? Doesn’t that include Courtney and Darby, and ??

      • Michael H. says:

        The final saves from last week’s live playoffs were Courtney for Team Blake, Darby for Team Miley, Sa’Rayah for Team Alicia, and Brendan for Team Adam.

        • Smokey says:

          Thanks, guess I was checking back at the same time you posted… usually the saves don’t get as far in the live shows, but Brendan might get a new shot at it to compete.

      • Smokey says:

        Now I checked back, Courtney, Darby, Sa’Rayah and Brendan were coaches saves to get into the top 12. Now we’ll see what the voters think going forward.

    • LovelyLaVie says:

      I have to agree with the original poster. I do not get all the Billy hype at all. He looked so lost on the Queen cover. I didn’t feel a connection, and overall I find his tone grating. I do understand (objectively) that he has vocal ability, I just dont understand all the popularity. There are far better singers, performers and more interesting tones in this competition. IMO-It would be a shame to have two former child stars win the show two years in a row.

  14. kevstar69 says:

    Ali’s performance will be talked about for a LONG time. Thank God for Miley bringing along a Leonard Cohen song that was not Hallelujah, the only Leonard Cohen song I know. ( At least I’m willing to admit it.)

  15. TONY THE TANK says:

    Totally disagree with you. Love Take Me To Church but We was screaming at the end. Billy performance was by far the best and I loved Brendan and enjoyed Austin. Middle of the pack was Aaron, Christian, Darby and Sundance. My bottom 3 were Josh, We and the worst tonight was Sa,Rayah. Why is she doing a Bon Jovi song?! Not feeling it at all.

    • analythinker says:

      I’d have to agree with you on We. It’s almost as if she broke out of her character the minute she left the keyboard, but not necessarily in a good way.

  16. Ronnie says:

    At this point, it will come down to Ali, We’ and Billy with Sundance and Brendan fighting for the fourth finale spot. We’ is leading on iTunes right now tonight with Billy and Alison not too far behind. Everything on this show truly comes down to song choice. As long as those top 3 make great decisions that showcase their talents, then there will be a great finale! And this crop of talent this year should really do a tour. People would definitely go. And I still miss Reality Check. Would love to hear Melinda and Michael’s commentary on this season!! The word “Heffa” would have been used repeatedly!

  17. Kate says:

    Sa’Rayah sang the wrong song, hands down. But at least I could tell she could sing. Josh, on the other hand, sounded absolutely terrible. Ali was my top pick.

  18. Davey says:

    Agree about Ali triumphing tonight. I wasn’t crazy about We tonight. I don’t know what kind of music she will wind up singing if she has a career.

    • kcostell says:

      The opening of We’s performance was stunning. Drew me in and captivated me. Then the band kicked in, and the magic went away.

  19. Annie says:

    Darby really sucks. I did not like her arrangement of Ruby Tuesday at all. My three favorites were Ali, Aaron & Brendan but I also liked Christian and We. Austin, Billy & Josh were meh and the rest were pretty unforgettable.

  20. Smokey says:

    I Tunes around midnite — Billy #30 — Ali #34 — Josh #44 — Brendan #71 — Christian # 81
    Austin #82 — Darby #100 — Courtney #132 ( remember Rae Lynn? She has 2 songs in the top 200)

  21. Juniper says:

    Pretty funny headline, but I thought your girl Sa’rayah’s Living on a Prayer was much much much worse.

  22. Music In My Bones says:

    Brendan Fletcher is by far the best vocalist! I felt his pain. (I’m sure that song hits many people where they live.)

    • scott says:

      I agree with you about Brendan. I would like to hear him sing a current song… ‘My Name is Human’, Highly Suspect….very trendy on alt-rock radio right now. Especially now that I know he has dabbled in Hard Rock an Metal in the past.

  23. skrable2a says:

    Thought it was a mediocre night. Enunciation was rampant. To me there was just one star performance … Ali

  24. Jeselnik Fan says:

    I’m shocked that Michael took another shot at Adam for no reason at all 🙄 Your pettiness really is your calling card huh?

  25. LJ says:

    Can we just retire comments or critiques on how a a 15-17 year old girl/boy singing about sex could be deplorable? These teens can draw from anything in a song and interpret it the way they like it and most of them are sexually active anyway and for me there is nothing wrong about exploring sexuality as long as one is equipped with the right knowledge about it.

  26. Smokey says:

    The Voice I-Tunes / wee hours of the morning — W’e 17 — Ali 24 — Biliy 28 — Josh 39 — Sundance 40 — Brendan 61 — Christian 73 — Austin 76 — Darby 93 — Courtney 108 — Aaron 172 ……………….

  27. Mean gurl says:

    I know I’m gonna get slaughtered for this but I can’t handle hearing We’ talk or look at her … she might be a great singer but only on the radio … and never ever wanna hear her speak. 🙈🙉🙊

  28. JMark (formerly JM) says:

    We, Ali and Billy slayed tonight. Now some observations.

    1. Anybody notice the looks on Alicia and Miley’s faces when Adam stood up and demanded the audiance stand as well? Then he remained seated for We and reluctantly stood up for Ali.

    2. I don’t agree with Michael’s grade for Austin. Except for the final few notes, I thought he sang very well. I applaud him for picking a different song and for shaving the ‘stache. Looks ten times better.

    3. The band seemed to drown out the earlier voices before they got their act together, which is unfair to those singers.

    4. Did anyone else notice that at one point in Brendan’s song, he either lost his words or his breath, because he just sortof grunted and paused for a few moments?

    • Tina says:

      Just FYI I don’t think anyone else stood up for We….because she wasn’t brilliant. Great song choice though to make her seem amazing.

    • Judith says:

      “Did anyone else notice that at one point in Brendan’s song, he either lost his words or his breath, because he just sortof grunted and paused for a few moments?”

      Yes and apparently I’m the only one who noticed Billy was COMPLETELY off center of the music track and forgot his lyrics multiple times.

  29. Barry says:

    Not a great night really, Ali and Wé were the only ones who I enjoyed, everybody else, meh…
    What the heck was Alicia thinking when she gave Sa’rayah that song, is she trying to sabotage her? If that’s the case, it worked… there’s no way she survives this week without the tweeter save, which is really sad because that girl can sing her tail off, she just needs the right song, probably gonna come down to her and Courtney for the save. Courtney crashed and burned, I’ll defenitly send her home after that, and that song choice, why?; was not feeling either Sundance and Christian, I’m rooting for them but they need to be more than just ‘solid’ If they want a chance at winning this; Darby improved from last week, good for her but I’ll still send her home as soon as possible; I refuse to accept that Billy will win, I never felt so emotionally disconected with a front-runner, not even with Jordan Smith, the guy can sing for real but I don’t see him connecting with nothing, and I don’t hear it in his vocals either.

    • scott says:

      Yes Barry, when coaches give head-scratcher songs to their artists, they are definitely trying to derail them. And it’s really unfair

  30. Unbelievable says:

    I know a lot of people will disagree with me but I think Darby down right stinks. I cannot figure why in the world Miley has kept her this long. Cute as a button but her singing hurts my ears.

  31. H.naledi says:

    Couple notes:
    First paragraph “broke through the serne surface” I believe you meant “serene”
    And fourth: “Simon Cowell seemed egdy”

    Also, Billy Gilman does not have any kind of a range whatsoever. Yet he’ll still win. Sigh.

  32. Colleen says:

    B- for Sarayah?! That was one of the worst train wreck singing performances that I have seen, but this isn’t the first and definitely won’t be the last time that I strongly disagree with Michael’s performance reviews. Once again, a lot of the more talented contestants went home in the 20-to-12 cut last week, and all of the judges saves had me going WTF.

  33. I THINK billy gillman has a super strong voice not only that he sings from the heart of life experences he is real and needs this spot in the spot light like once before. he he a novice others are still learning the ropes. with all my respect I hope billy gets it.

  34. LovelyLaVie says:

    For the folks out there complaining about song choice and sabotage just a quick note, in a bunch of the openings before the songs a couple artist said they ‘”chose this song because …” which leads me to believe at least some, if not all, chose the songs themselves.

  35. Nick says:

    Courtney was terrible, out of tune the entire song, how did she get through.

  36. Nick says:

    When Darby sings I put the TV on mute. Not good

  37. dbsuma says:

    Ali Caldwell was, hands-down, the winner on Tuesday night. My favorite performance of this season.

  38. Lisa Hanna says:

    Billy Gilman is suited to Broadway. He needs to notice Broadway, and Broadway needs to notice him.