The Voice Top 12 Performance Recap: Waiting on the Set List to Change [Updated]
12. Team Shakira: Kristen Merlin
Has had less screen time than any of her rivals (thanks to getting double-montaged in the Battles), and while her Playoffs cover of “Two Black Cadillacs” was solid, it wasn’t spectacular enough to erase the deficit.
11. Team Usher: Bria Kelly
Her “Steamroller Blues” audition was one of the season’s best, so it’s not hard to understand Usher’s affection. Still, subsequent outings have shown an iffy grasp on pitch when she’s not full-on belting — and a tone that veers into tortured when she overbakes the growl.
10. Team Usher: T.J. Wilkins
His underrated “Tell Me Something Good” was a true highlight of the Season 6 playoffs — funky, risky and flawlessly sung. Was that a one-week burst of brilliance, or a sign that the somewhat sleepy R&B crooner is improving under Urrrsher’s tutelage?
9. Team Adam: Kat Perkins
“Open Arms” was rock (n’ roll) solid, but still didn’t live up to her deeply felt “Gold Dust Woman” from the Blind Auditions. With Adam choosing her last among his Playoffs victors, will he be invested enough to help her achieve a viewer-approved “growth arc”?
8. Team Blake: Audra McLaughlin
Country songbird has enviable power and her intonation is hard to fault, too. Blake will need to coax more personality/uniqueness from her performances if she’s going to be a true contender, but raw talent alone could easily carry her a few weeks.
7. Team Shakira: Dani Moz
Burst into serious contention with an emotional, stripped-down Lady Gaga cover that showcased big pipes and solid musicianship. Alas, though, the musical whims of her sometimes wacky coach may ultimately decide if she’s got a real chance at the Season 6 crown.
6. Team Adam: Delvin Choice
Bumped off the ultra-impressive Josh Kaufman in the Battles with a killer take on “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” that marked him as a major threat to Tessanne Chin’s title. Playoffs cover of “Let’s Stay Together,” however, came off as a bit dated and sleepy. Time to shift gears into the modern era — or risk becoming a shock boot.
5. Team Adam: Christina Grimmie
Has more hype — and a bigger Twitter following — than any other Top 12 contestant. (Actually, she has a bigger Twitter following than a lot of established artists.) And while I found her Playoffs rendition of “I Won’t Give Up” to be aggressive bordering on strident, solid iTunes sales paint me as part of a passionate minority, I suppose.
4. Team Shakira: Tess Boyer
Veteran of three different coaches’ teams (after just four rounds) has really come into her own — culminating with a riveting take on Christina Perri’s “Human” in the Playoffs. Shaki promised to take her deep into the competition when she stole her in Round 2 of the Battles, so let’s hope there’s no thrash metal or novelty songs planned for her in the next couple weeks.
3. Team Blake: Jake Worthington
Country charmer has a distinctive, twangy tone, and what he lacks in pitch perfection, he makes up with folksy charm and a self-deprecating attitude. Combined with Blake’s coaching style (and fan base), Jake’s probably the likeliest post-Voice chart-topper, if not its Season 6 lock for the finals.
2. Team Blake: Sisaundra Lewis
Possesses an otherworldly talent that’s shaken the rafters on everything from Lady Gaga to Billy Joel to James Brown, but the cloud that looms over her Season 6 prospects comes in the form of this question: Is she simply too good for the average fan to get excited about? (OK, maybe the second question is: Will her outré performance style prove too polarizing in the end?)
1. Team Usher: Josh Kaufman
Sure, he lost to Delvin in the final Battles, but that may have been a blessing, as Usher looks on paper like a better fit for the diminutive college tutor. “Happy” proved her can be current, “One More Try” proved he can be cool, and “It Will Rain” proved he can be emotionally devastating. Not many weaknesses in his armor.