OK, so this isn’t the most suspenseful season of The Voice ever. At this point, for Chloe Kohanski not to win, she wouldn’t just have to hit a bum note, she’d have to smack one of the show’s producers. (And even then, if she cried a glittery, apologetic tear, they might turn the other cheek.) The only real question mark hanging over Season 13 is which contestants will be singing with her in the finals. Some, obviously, won’t make it. (Good as he is, poor Adam Cunningham’s been on borrowed time for going on three weeks.) Others, obviously, will. (Addison Agen is a lock to play Lauren Duski to Chloe’s Chris Blue.) And other others, we can’t be so sure about. (Shi’Ann Jones has a fan base, apparently, that won’t vote for her in TVLine polls or download her music off iTunes, yet has thus far kept her out of the Bottom Two.) Did someone, anyone, emerge from the pack Monday to threaten Chloe with a potential come-from-behind victory? Read on.
Davon Fleming (Team Jennifer), “Hurt” — Grade: A- | Taking this Christina Aguilera ballad to church, Davon gave a performance that was so divine, it had to have converted a few more viewers into fans. His falsetto was on point, and when his vocals started to soar, they did so with a power that didn’t so much knock on the pearly gates as beat them down. Massive, emotional and exactly the kinda showstopper he needed — “Hurt” so good.
Adam Cunningham (Team Adam), “Maybe It Was Memphis” — Grade: A | Putting on his best Rocky IV attitude to find out what it’s like not to end up in the Bottom Two for a change, Adam did two super smart things: 1. He chose to go for some of the Red Marlow vote by going 100 percent country. 2. He picked a Pam Tillis number on which he sounded pretty much perfect. He should’ve been doing this s— from the start. It made him sound like a genuine threat to Red’s dominance in the country lane.
Noah Mac (Team Jennifer), “Ordinary World” — Grade: B- | Once again, Noah’s musical innovation elevated what could have been just another retread of an ’80s classic. Here, he stripped down a Duran Duran ballad, delivering a performance that grew from breathy to impassioned. But, as into it as Noah was, he seemed to be singing in a key that didn’t entirely suit him, resulting in occasionally wobbly vocals. He might also want to be careful not to slip off the fine line between dramatic and melodramatic.
Shi’Ann Jones (Team Jennifer), “Diamonds” — Grade: C- | An interesting song selection for Shi’Ann, as it theoretically didn’t invite that squeak in her voice that she uses so often (maybe as a vocal crutch?). Of course, the teen still managed to include in her Rihanna cover some of her trademark squeaking. She looked more comfortable on stage than I can recall seeing her, but her performance was more cubic zirconia than diamond. And that last shriek was so bad, it eclipsed some of the big notes that she’d actually hit.
Chloe Kohanski (Team Blake), “Call Me” — Grade: A- | After Chloe’s fairly straightforward covers of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and “Time After Time,” I was curious to hear what she’d do with Blondie’s disco-era come-on. Aand… yeah, she did this fairly straightforwardly, too. But it was right in her wheelhouse, allowing her to work the raspiness in her voice, show off some rock-star dynamism and really let loose. What’s more, the show she put on looked like a concert that it would be a blast to attend. (Side note: How creepily wrong did it sound when Carson Daly said he’d be watching this performance again later in the night?)
Keisha Renee (Team Blake), “All By Myself” — Grade: B+ | You know how I keep saying — at least to myself — “Keisha, not every song requires you to sing it at top volume”? This tearjerker, I thought, actually called for the bigger-is-better treatment. And, as an added bonus, since Keisha started off singing softly, she got to show us how prettily she sang before building up to remind us how ginormously she could sing. Not my favorite performance ever — or even of the night — but that ending sure packed a wallop.
Ashland Craft (Team Miley), “I Hate Myself for Loving You” — Grade: C- | On paper, the Joan Jett classic sounded like it should a) suit Ashland’s gravelly voice and b) allow her to show off more personality than nerves. On stage… aw, damn. Ashland made me want to go back to “on paper.” She was pitchy as hell, ultra-Karaoke Night, and a cautionary tale for future contestants. The lesson? Rhinestones are no substitute for actual attitude.
Brooke Simpson (Team Miley), “Amazing Grace” — Grade: A | Sometimes I feel like maybe I’m being too hard on contestants (tonight, Ashland and Shi’Ann in particular). But then a singer will step up to the mic and deliver a performance that’s so strong, so pure, so powerful, that I change my mind and think, “Wait, maybe I wasn’t hard enough on them!” Tonight, that vocalist was Brooke. Singing with breathtaking clarity and heart-bursting emotion, she made “Grace” live up to the “amazing” in its title.
Red Marlow (Team Blake), “That’s What I Love About Sunday” — Grade: A | Well, if anybody was gonna out-country Adam Cunningham, it was gonna be Red. Here, he sang, in a word, beautifully. His vocal was the equivalent of a cold glass of lemonade (or better yet, a beer) on a hot summer day. By the time he was done, I felt like I’d been to a picnic and was even thinking, never mind talking, with a twang. Completely and totally solid.
Addison Agen (Team Adam), “Lucky” — Grade: A+ | Although Addison is about as similar vocally to Britney Spears as I am physically to Channing Tatum, her acoustic rendition of the hit (which is older than she is) was freaking brilliant. Not only was the spare arrangement gorgeous, but her performance was stunning — poignant, pitch-perfect and just… revelatory. Would that all the covers the contestants did on the show were as creatively rendered.
So, did anyone sway you from your favorite? Who did you think gave the best performance of the night? Vote in the poll below, then hit the comments.