Going into Tuesday’s Voice Season 19 Semifinals results show, we were all anticipating a repeat, more or less, of the Live Playoffs results, weren’t we? I know I figured the same four singers that had been previously saved by viewers’ votes would be again.
If Team Gwen’s Ben Allen hadn’t garnered enough country support before to beat wunderkind Carter Rubin, he seemed unlikely to do so now that the youngster has the Muppets on his side. Cami Clune’s painful rendition of Brandi Carlile, as well as DeSz’s roof-raising En Vogue cover, virtually guaranteed that the latter would be Team Kelly’s rep in the finale. A dubious song selection for Team Blake’s Jim Ranger appeared to clinch Ian Flanigan’s advancement. And a fairly dreadful Beatles re-arrangement took Team Legend’s Tamara Jade right out of John Holiday’s way to the Top 5.
At least that was how I expected it to play out. More interesting and suspenseful, I reckoned, would be the Five-Way Wildcard Instant Save face-off. Ben and Team Legend’s Bailey Rae are straight-up country, which would seem to give them the advantage. But Jim is Team Blake, which is like being country-and-a-half. So I figured it was his to lose unless Team Legend’s Tamara Jade took us to church and reeled in the religious crowd en masse.
But enough pre-viewing guesswork. What actually happened when the Top 9 became the Top 5? Before we found out, coach Kelly and Brett Eldridge teamed up for a spirited rendition of “Under the Mistletoe,” and coach John went, as the title of his new single promised he would, “Mild.” Sorry, “Wild.” It was called “Wild,” it was just for the most part kinda a tame song for that name, no? (Maybe I’m just not as excited about convertibles as he is.) And in the moment(s) of truth…
SAVED BY AMERICA’S VOTE (in Chronological Order)
DeSz (Team Kelly)
John Holiday (Team Legend)
Jim Ranger (Team Blake)
Carter Rubin (Team Gwen)
WILDCARD INSTANT SAVE
Ben Allen (Team Gwen), “Prayed for You” — Grade: C+ | Hated to see Ben fighting for his life like this; he was one of my early favorites. Even more, I hated to hear him singing what struck me as such a flatline of a song. But what I hated to hear most of all was one of his weakest performances to date (if not his weakest ever). At this point, I figured the Save was Ian’s to loose.
Cami Clune (Team Kelly), “When the Party’s Over” — Grade: B- | I got what Cami was going for with her muted vocal at the start of her Billie Eilish cover, but she was so muted, we could barely hear her. From there, she turned out a performance that was definitely an improvement over her efforts Monday but, alas, not nearly enough of one to keep her in the contest. Kelly was fighting a losing battle trying to sell the difficulty of the restraint in Cami’s vocal.
Bailey Rae (Team Legend), “Your Cheatin’ Heart” — Grade: A- | Now this was the kinda number that Bailey should be doing. She sounded so at home on it, it might as well have been the range. She even looked more comfortable. And I loved that hint of a yodel that snuck into her vocal now and then. Maybe this wasn’t going to be as much of a slam-dunk as I thought it would be for Ian.
Tamara Jade (Team Legend), “Feeling Good” — Grade: B | Ooo… good song choice. And I dug the casual jazziness that Tamara brought to the number. But oddly, as big as she went with it, it never felt quite big enough. It was like she swung for the fence, and it just wasn’t interesting enough to keep me from checking my cell phone. Perhaps I was just spoiled after DeSz’s massive En Vogue cover Monday.
Ian Flanigan (Team Blake), “Anymore” — Grade: B | For what could be his final performance, Ian played it smartly safe, leaning into his strength as a storyteller kinda singer who always comes off like someone who’s lived every one of his songs. A sit-up-and-take-notice thriller sorta performance this wasn’t, but it was pretty much what you’d want from Ian. I’m sure I’ll take [bleep] for it, but I actually preferred Bailey Tuesday.
SAVED BY AMERICA’S VOTE | Ian Flanigan (Team Blake)
ELIMINATED | Ben Allen (Team Gwen), Cami Clune (Team Kelly), Tamara Jade (Team Legend) and Bailey Rae (Team Legend)