TVLine Tip: Her breathy brand of jazz-pop has sent viewers directly to iTunes, but she still needs to forge a deeper personal connection with her lyrics — and work on her static stage presence — if she wants to take home the whole enchilada.
Request List: Portishead’s “Sour Times (Nobody Loves Me)”; Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus”; Sia’s “Breathe Me”; Louis Armstrong’s “When You’re Smiling”; Kylie Minogue’s “Slow”
JEFFERY AUSTIN (TEAM GWEN)
TVLine Tip: Fair or not, the Voice powers-that-be have declared Jordan Smith the Next Great Blue-Eyed Soul Man — meaning Jeffery needs a performance with insane levels of technical difficulty and drama to remind viewers that, “Nope — this competition is not done yet.” Dude also needs to be careful of looking bored during judges’ critiques, no matter how banal their commentary happens to be.
Request List: A Cappella rendition of Sia’s “Alive”; Jill Scott’s “You Don’t Know”; Beth Hart’s “L.A. Song”; Dolly Parton’s “What a Heartache” (given the pop/R&B treatment of Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You”); Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car”; George Michael’s “Freedom ’90”
MADI DAVIS (TEAM PHARRELL)
TVLine Tip: Her simplest performances – “Case of You” and “Songbird” — have also been her best. Hard not to applaud the ambition of her reggae-fied “Who Will Save Your Soul?” or Bond-theme cover of “Love Is Blindness,” but Madi might be overdue to remind the public of the haunting simplicity of her tone and emotional connectedness.
Request List: Sade’s “Pearls”; Carly Simon’s “(We Have) No Secrets”; Hozier’s “Take Me to Church”; Madonna’s “The Power of Goodbye”; Billie Holiday’s “Good Morning Heartache”; Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside’s “They Told Me”
BARRETT BABER (TEAM BLAKE)
TVLine Tip: It often feels like Barrett is aiming for a single or a double when the abbreviated Voice schedule requires the desire for a home run. What’s more, the married dad’s cheesy face-pulling and basic song choices render him oddly sexless when his good looks and muscular voice should make him an easy contender for Season 9 heartthrob status.
Request List: 38 Special’s “Caught Up in You”; A countrified take on Maxwell’s “Til the Cops Come Knockin”; Carrie Underwood’s “Two Black Cadillacs”; Lee Ann Womack’s “I May Hate Myself in the Morning”
EMILY ANN ROBERTS (TEAM BLAKE)
TVLine Tip: Her vocals keep improving week in and week out — and the bluegrass beauty of her upper register is pure magic. Needs to look less frozen in fear on the intimidating Voice stage — and prove she’s capable of succeeding with an out-of-left-field song choice while she’s at it.
Request List: First-Aid Kit’s “Emmylou”; Hank Williams Sr.’s “Your Cheatin’ Heart”; a bluegrass-infused cover of Beyoncé’s “Irreplaceable”; Pistol Annies’ “Hell on Heels”; Cher’s “Heart of Stone”
JORDAN SMITH (TEAM ADAM)
TVLine Tip: He’s got the biggest, booming-est instrument in recent Voice history, he’s clearly the producers’ Season 9 favorite and he rarely hits a bum note. Still, aside from the hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” Jordan hasn’t seemed fully immersed in a song’s lyric at any point in the competition. Needs to show us who he is, what’s he’s about, and where he wants to go artistically if he wants to be Sawyer Fredericks’ successor (and find post-show success).
Request List: Adam Lambert’s “Whataya Want From Me”; Jojo’s “Leave (Get Out)”; Bon Jovi’s “This Ain’t a Love Song”; Hercules and Love Affair’s “Blind”; Patti LaBelle’s “Somebody Loves You Baby”
KORIN BUKOWSKI (TEAM GWEN)
TVLine Tip: What happened to the edgy alt-chick who covered “Cecilia and the Satellite” and Regina Spektor’s Samson”? The recent choices of “Titanium,” “Adia” and a Mandy Moore musical soufflé have muddied her musical identity — and failed to bring out the best in her voice.
Request List: No Doubt’s “Simple Kind of Life”; Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry”; Garbage’s “I Think I’m Paranoid”; The Killers’ “Somebody Told Me”
ZACH SEABAUGH (TEAM BLAKE)
TVLine Tip: His “Brand New Girlfriend” in the Live Playoffs was a hip-swaying delight, but his subsequent performances have been cacophonous, off-key disasters. Blake and his fellow coaches keep playing up Zach’s heartthrob potential, but voters know that in the end, their marching orders come from the show’s theme song: “This! Is! The! Voice!”
Request List: Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel”; Keith Sweat’s “Make You Sweat”; Wynonna Judd’s “No One Else on Earth”; Jason Aldean’s “Flyover States”
SHELBY BROWN (TEAM ADAM)
TVLine Tip: The ability to prove her dynamic range — and not just belt everything at full blast — might be her biggest challenge, but forging a clear musical identity wouldn’t hurt, either. She’s covered everyone from Carrie Underwood to Lady Gaga thus far — but perhaps a pull toward blues-rock singer/songwriter jams would differentiate her from the easier, breezier sounds of rival Emily Ann.