The Voice: Analysis, Advice and Dream Set Lists for the Season 5 Top 10
Tessanne Chin (Team Adam)
What’s Working: Without a doubt, she has one of the most explosive, controlled instruments in the history of The Voice; she seems like a sweetheart, too.
Possible Achilles’ Heel?: Inexplicably, she’s been overshadowed by vocalists who — at least in terms of technical skill — are not on her level. Needs to steer away from covering artists in her exact vocal wheelhouse (Kelly Clarkson, Emeli Sande) and forge a unique musical identity. Our guess is she’s more of a natural rocker than an R&B chanteuse.
What’s Working: When he’s good — “A Case of You,” “Love Interruption” — he’s got the power and potency of a legitimate rock-geek superstar.
Possible Achilles’ Heel?: Has a tendency to allow his emotions to override his sense of pitch. Plus, when his song choices veer toward obvious rocker-dude-on-a-singing-competition fare (“Mr. Brightside,” “More Than a Feeling”), he fades into the background a bit.
Request List: Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Sacrilege,” David Bowie’s “Heroes,” Carly Simon’s “(We Have) No Secrets,” EMF’s “Unbelievable”
Cole Vosbury (Team Blake)
What’s Working: Intriguing song choices — everything from Passenger to Miguel to the theme from The Jeffersons have made him Season 5’s least predictable contestant.
Possible Achilles’ Heel?: Bearded guitarist has a low-key stage presence and personality; aiming for something more explosive in the next couple weeks could put him on the radar of voters who equate subtle with sleepy.
Request List: Sam Palladio & Clare Bowen’s “If I Didn’t Know Better” (from Nashville), Justin Timberlake’s “What Comes Around Goes Around,” George Michael’s “Freedom ’90,” Aly & AJ’s “Potential Breakup Song”
Kat Robichaud (Team Cee Lo)
What’s Working: Her Top 12 performance of AWOLNATION’s “Sail” was revelatory — a sublimely raucous effort in which not even crowd-surfing or stomping could cause her to miss a note.
Possible Achilles’ Heel?: Kat wild-woman energy and ability to stay on pitch have a tendency to go astray when she’s not full-on belting or tackling a quieter, more subtle song (i.e. Mary Lambert’s “She Keeps Me Warm”). Plus, some viewers have not warmed to her occasionally murderous on-stage facial expressions.
Request List: INXS’ “Devil Inside,” The Breeders’ “Cannonball,” Beyoncé’s “Suga Mama,” Yaz’s “Situation,” Cowboy Junkies’ version of Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane,” Hot Bodies in Motion’s “Old Habits”
Matthew Schuler (Team Xtina)
What’s Working: Along with Tessanne, he’s got the most breathtaking power and control of any contestant this season. Plus, he’s exhibiting just the right balance of crazy risks (that Florence + the Machine cover) with tender, heartfelt crowd-pleasers (“Hallelujah”).
Possible Achilles’ Heel?: There’s always a danger of peaking too early on a reality singing competition. Matthew needs to continue to give off the vibe that he’s “growing” as an artist — which isn’t easy to do when you’re at A/A+ levels from the get-go.
What’s Working: Guitar-strumming fella is a very consistent vocalist — and his appealing earnestness makes it easy for him to convey the emotions of the songs he’s singing. Plus, Blake seems to be positioning him as the sole remaining act with country cred.
Possible Achilles’ Heel?: In a field where several guys appeal to a rock-folk audience, Austin is arguably the least exciting. Without a more creative approach to song selection, it’s hard to imagine him surviving much longer.
Request List: The Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy,” Adele’s “Someone Like You,” Bonnie Raitt’s “Love Letter,” Jason Aldean’s “Flyover States”
Caroline Pennell (Team Cee Lo)
What’s Working: The delicacy and sweetness of her very unique tone will never be confused with any other artist. Her sense of pitch and spritely personality are pretty flawless, too.
Possible Achilles’ Heel?: Cee Lo’s tendency to push Caroline toward charming, borderline twee fare such as “We’re Going to Be Friends” and “Wake Me Up” might give viewers the unfortunate idea that Caroline is emotionally one-note, or worse, boring.
Request List: Zero 7’s “In the Waiting Line,” The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey,” Everything But the Girl’s “Missing,” Aimee Mann’s “Wise Up,” Björk’s “Human Behaviour,” First Aid Kit’s “Emmylou”
Will Champlin (Team Adam)
What’s Working: His best performances (“Radioactive,” “When I Was Your Man”) have showcased an eye-popping range, remarkable clarity and palpable emotion.
Possible Achilles’ Heel?: His non-performance demeanor sometimes makes him look dour and defeated. Plus, there have been fleeting moments in several performances where his grasp on pitch got away from him. Confidence and consistency will be the keys to his longevity on the show.
Request List: Supertramp’s “The Logical Song,” Whitney Houston’s “Heartbreak Hotel,” Eurythmics’ “Love Is a Stranger,” Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You” (stripped down at the piano)
Jacquie Lee (Team Xtina)
What’s Working: Adorably perky 16-year-old transforms into a jaw-dropping soul singer with a deep well of emotions every time she sets foot on the stage. Her one-two punch of “I Put a Spell on You” and “Love Is Blindness” catapulted her right into front-runner status.
Possible Achilles’ Heel?: Some Voice fans aren’t enamored of Jacquie’s occasionally squeaky upper register. (“Hmph!” I say.) Probably due for a softer, more reflective moment after several explosive outings.
Request List: Gin Wigmore’s “Oh My,” Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain,” Dolly Parton’s “What a Heartache,” Lorraine Ellison/Bette Midler’s “Stay With Me,” Sade’s “Pearls,” Cole Porter’s “Night and Day,” Sallie Fod & The Sound Outside’s “They Told Me”
Ray Boudreaux (Team Blake)
What’s Working: His swampy blues sound, pop-star good looks and adorable daughter are a winning combination.
Possible Achilles’ Heel?: Top 12 Week cover of John Legend’s “All of Me” was his first moment of true vulnerability — but his admission that the performance made him a little skittish makes us wonder if he’d rather keep the audience at arm’s length.
Request List: Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady,” Keith Sweat’s “Make U Sweat,” Aretha Franklin/En Vogue’s “Giving [Her] Something [S]he Can Feel,” Wynonna Judd’s “No One Else on Earth”