At the start of pretty much every episode of The Voice, Carson Daly tells us what a big night we have in store. But Monday, it wasn’t exaggeration, it might even have been an understatement. Not only did the Top 8 members of Teams Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, Chance the Rapper and Niall Horan perform, but thanks to real-time voting, the results were announced at the tail end of the show. Did your favorites survive to make it to the Finals? Did they deserve to after their efforts on Monday? Read on, and we’ll discuss.
Ryley Tate Wilson (Team Niall), “Vienna” — Grade: B | On his Billy Joel cover, the 15-year-old not only tinkled the ivories but delivered a vocal that, at least at first, was so strong and nuanced, I would’ve sworn that it had been taped weeks ago, back when the show could still sweeten the odd off note in post-production. As Ryley’s performance went on, there were glitches here and there, but minor ones. The bigger letdown was that he looked scared s—tless — understandably, but still — and his number ultimately hit as hard as a bag of feathers.
Ray Uriel (Team Chance), “Can You Stand the Rain?” — Grade: C | Given that The Voice audience tends to skew older, it seemed smart of Ray to cover New Edition’s 1988 ballad. But I still wasn’t convinced that this performance was going to save him. Ray has a knack for singing like he’s whispering sweet nothings in our ear — a big plus. On top of that, he’s handsome, bright and personable — pluses one and all. He just doesn’t have the stage presence to even outshine the fancypants lighting that the show gave him, and that’s a major minus. Worse, he went a bit off the rails vocally, especially in the last third of the song, when he served up the sonic equivalent of walking into one wall after another.
Holly Brand (Team Kelly), “Rumor Has It” — Grade: A | Covering incoming coach Reba McEntire’s hit, Holly made a beyond-compelling case for why, if she was on Blake’s team or this wasn’t his last season in a swivel chair, she could’ve won. Her voice was nothing short of flawless; her range, stunning to the nth. I’ll admit, when I look at Holly, I think “plastic.” But when she sings, all I hear is flesh and blood, heart and soul. Her vocals were, as they generally have been, genuinely moving. “You’re such a competitor,” Kelly told her, “it brings your A game to another level.”
NOIVAS (Team Blake), “Skyfall” — Grade: B+ | Argh! What I wouldn’t have given to hear NOIVAS tackle a Tom Jones or Shirley Bassey Bond theme! Plus, another ballad Monday? (Yes, yes, it meant a lot to NOIVAS; I just really wanted a fresh showstopper from him.) On stage, there were glimmers of the magnificence we’ve come to expect from the frontrunner. But this was by no means his best performance. It was messy not in an altogether exciting way, just in a messy one. Nevertheless, he delivered more than enough firepower — and monumental long notes — to coast straight on into the Top 5.
Gina Miles (Team Niall), “All I Want” — Grade: A | It was gonna be tough for the 19-year-old to top her rendition of “Wicked Game.” But her Kodaline cover may actually have done it. She sang so hauntingly, I’d have believed that she gargled with ghosts before going on stage. For most of the number, I felt like she was taking my soul by the hand and leading it up to a precipice. She even managed to keep my attention on her while wearing a floral dress on a set decorated with what looked like bouquets from a dozen florists. “Another unbelievable performance,” her coach called it. Only at this point, didn’t we technically not just believe it, anticipate it?
Sorelle (Team Chance), “Fallin’” — Grade: A | Props to the sisters’ coach for suggesting that they start their Alicia Keys cover a-cappella; hella showoffy and a stunt not every act could pull off, much less as beautifully as they did. Top to bottom, the trio was straight-up fire. (Did anyone else think that Alicia Keys was joining them when the first of the background dancers appeared behind them on stage?) Had Girl Named Tom not won so recently — and again, if this wasn’t Blake’s swan song — I could actually have seen this act taking the title. If they were dart players, they’d just be hitting bullseye after bullseye.
D.Smooth (Team Kelly), “Thinking Out Loud” — Grade: A- | There is just something about this guy. One second, you’ll think he’s singing so casually that he’s making it up as he goes along, and the next, you realize, nope, he knew what he was doing every step of the way; he just managed to make it sound fantastically organic. Ed Sheeran’s hit may not be the most electric showcase for D.Smooth, but there was so much cool to his performance, and so much warmth to his voice, yeah, I gotta say it: He outdid NOIVAS Monday. NOIVAS was bigger and louder, but D.Smooth was slicker.
Grace West (Team Blake), “’Til I Can Make It On My Own” — Grade: A | Blake mentioned in rehearsal that Grace herself chose her Tammy Wynette cover. Well done, Grace. She didn’t sound good on it or even great, she sounded… divine. I feel like I’ve gone on a lot about how pitch-perfect Holly is, but really, Grace is no less stunning. (She doesn’t have a whistle note, but since when is that a requirement of our admiration?) Also working in Grace’s favor is the fact that she really seems to connect with her songs. Could she actually pull off an upset and win the season instead of NOIVAS for Team Blake? (Oh, and while we’re here, I apologize for all of the A’s. What can I say, though? Most of the Top 8 were just… really, really good!)
And when the results of viewers’ votes were revealed…
SAVED | Grace West (Team Blake), D.Smooth (Team Kelly), Gina Miles (Team Niall), Sorelle (Team Chance) and NOIVAS (Team Blake)
ELIMINATED | Ryley Tate Wilson (Team Niall), Ray Uriel (Team Chance) and
Holly Brand (Team Kelly)
So, what do you think of the Top 5? Anyone you’re especially sorry to see not make the cut? (Kala Banham for me, especially hearing her again during Chance’s number.)
I think the right five made it. Clearly they need to keep 1 person (or email address in this case) 1 vote around, it’s already delivering better results.
Sorelle to me is on another level with their songs. I think a lot of this year’s finalists are incredibly good at connecting emotionally to their songs and all have vocal chops but there’s something about the choreographed nature of Sorelle’s performances every week that just blows me away. I’d listen to singles of most of these artists but Sorelle’s the one I’d go see live. I hope they bring it home but unlike last year they could call any of the 5 names in the finals and I wouldn’t be mad, they’re all huge talents.
Gina, Holly and Grace were my favorites tonight! Super bummed at loosing Holly though, she was so good this season
ugh this format sucks
I’m confused about the rating for Holly. I just don’t hear it.She’s a bit showy Grace is just on another level as a country artist. I did like Noivas version on a really difficult song. He’s a presence and vocalist to be reckoned with. The best on each team went through. Can’t believe the finals are next week.
Sorelle bugs me. They do not have the soul to pull off that song. Yes, they are talented, but too chipper and bubblegum sounding, like they should be performing at an theme park or on a cruise ship or in Branson, MO. They are not radio material. Gina is the most unique and current. Like if Florence and Jewel had a baby.
Yes! Sorelle is on octane 500 with every vocal they exhale. I love the Gina generatorz you are so right.
The girl who sings alto on Sorelle was sharp most of the song. Ouch to my ears.
Also, NOIVAS is the worst singer this season. I totally don’t get him.
He screams his songs, they all sound the same People need to understand singing a song well means the use of nuance, even on BIG songs.
The only 2 I could even think of hearing on the radio are the 2 C/W girls, and Riley Tate Wilson after a couple of years of growing.
NOIVAS will sink into the water of the forgotten.
did you hear the comment Nial Horan had for one of NOVIAS performances when he had allllllll those backup singers? Said he was cheating sarcastically. sorrelle do deserve to be there, not my cup of tea but Gina…..wow
Did only half the country get to vote. Loved Sorelle on their song. Would like to see Grace win over Novias on team Blake.
Yes. What Michael B. could have done tonight. His soulfulness. His tone. His connection to the lyrics. His masterful way of making you hang on every syllable. Should’ve been around
The first three performers didn’t make the finals. Did order of appearance factor into voting? At any rate, unlike American Idol, everyone in the final 8 is good enough to be in the finals.
It’s so just not really a “live voting show” since by the time the show airs out west, voting is over.
Yep. Still mad over it.
My take was kinda similar:
RYLEY / tm Niall B
RAY / tm Chance C+
HOLLY / tm Kelly B+
NOIVAS / tm Blake A-
GINA / tm Niall A
SORELLE / tm Chance A
D SMOOTH / tm Kelly A+
GRACE / tm Blake B
OK. Team Blake is still in 1 piece. Right, right, right. This is not The Voice y’all. It’s Blake Shelton’s Show.
You got that right! I would have been shocked if the first person going through wasn’t from Team Blake (yup, of course it was), and that the 5th person going through (and only coach with their full team going through) wouldn’t be Team Blake….and yup, of course it was.
The INSTANT SAVE has generally favored Team Blake imo. Because country fans are more-heavily represented in EST & CST than PST, which gets no vote.
= that has often been a problem whenever Blake has an someone in an I.S. competition
= tonight, the whole Semi-Final went I.S., which favored Blake for getting 2 in Finale
= ihe already had 2 moreadvantages with his huge following & the sympathy vote (per departure)
Tonight, I expected NOIVAS, Gina, D Smooth, & Sorelle to advance per talnt; the 5th was a toss-up. But sure enough, it went to Grace on Team Blake; in fact, she was announced first.
I am a West coast viewer and I only saw 5 of the performances. The show started with Sorelle, who aired twice as well as DSmooth and Grace. Did not see the first 3 contestants who were all eliminated.
Seems they were robbed of votes.
Sounds like you only watched the second hour of the show. I’m on the West Coast as well and saw everyone.
Interesting. To me, the first two singers slipped some. And I knew if the others did okay, they were gone.
The main issue from your point was that Holly the 3rd singer (that you missed) was probably more top 5 than Grace, the other country-female. But Blake’s followers & the I.S. voting (w/o West Coast) imo tilted this to Blake again.
I taped the show and was totally confused as 3 contestants did not perform and 3 others were shown twice. Not only is that unfair to us on the west coast but it deprived us of Ray, Holly and Riley’s performance. Like we don’t count, only east coast and Midwest matters enough to vote. Either change this or I won’t bother watching and your ad revenue hopefully reflects this .
Tonight brought some changes in my sorting:
= I expected NOIVAS to be best with Gina & D Smooth. Also Ryley & Sorelle in hunt due good talent & popularity. Maybe Holly too.
= But then I realized the Instant Save voting (with no West Coast) meant Blake’s two would win.
= In actual performances, I was surprised to see NOIVAS slipped a little [A-]; Gina was better [A]; D Smooth was actually best [A+]; and even Sorelle (who I’ve been slow to appreciate) was better [A].
= As for Ryley [B] and Ray [C+], they both faltered tonight and did not deserve to advance.
= So the only story was which country-female singer would advance; but the I.S. vote dictated Blake’s lady Grace [B] over Holly [B+] sadly. .
I gave up on the Voice a long time ago. The show is all about the Coaches not the actual singers. I never hear the winners on the radio.
So…why are you commenting?!
unfortunately for me I guess, the MST airing dbl’d up on 3 performances, showing 3 of the saved performer’s twice while not airing the 3 eliminated at all. Not that non EST/CST votes count, but it was still a horrible screw up by NBC/the Local affiliate to not air 3 of the 8 performances at all.
I totally agree.. I had already resigned myself to the fact that I would never be part of a Twitter Save. But who thought of this new way of voting last night? I feel inivisible.
I expected D Smooth to be among the top 4 singers in talent. But was not sure he’d get voted through, past two good country females –one on his own team. And given the Instant Save voting, he would need to, because both of Blake’s would advance….
What I did not expect was to be voting for D Smooth as best of night rather than Gina or NOIVAS. But I did because he was. I thought Gina was sublime. But DS was transcendent!
Agreed with everyone except for Grace over Holly. Thought she had the better vocal. Or even to take out Noivas. But omg DSmooth is the real deal. And a humble, well mannered gentleman. I want him to win it all. But we all know it will be Blake’s contestant.
Yes, Charlie, I took thought Alicia Keys was coming out :)
Lastly props to Chance for collaborating with his 3 contestants. They sounded so good. Loved the performance.
I think Holly’s backstory hurt her. Let’s face it, she actually has an amazing voice, talent, tone, and can sing a song and make you want more. But her backstory took away votes. No one wants a privilege beauty queen to ALSO win The Voice. DSmooth is my fav, and he’s not going to win either since he’s on Kelly’s team. Blake’s Grace West or Noivas will be the winner. Imma just here for the music anyway!
I kinda thought Holly would be Kelly’s weapon against Blake, but the more I looked at her, I didn’t like what I saw; the recap said it right when they called her “plastic”. And she was always frowning like she thought she shouldn’t have to compete, just win. Now, how did it work out that all 4 coaches have someone in the finale? That is suspect to me. I only hope that Sorelle doesn’t win. It is the Voice, not the Voices. No more groups!
Agree that groups should not be allowed? What’s the limit? Can a full choir compete. Sorrell e makes me think of Alvin and the Chipmunks. D. Smooth and Gina get my vote. Enjoyed Chance and Niall’s enthusiasm and kindness.
The talent this season has been so good. I did not agree with some of the comments here but did figure Blake would be represented in the finals.
My take on the performances:
Novias – A
Gina – A
Sorelle – A
D Smooth – A
Grace West – B
My top favorite is Novias followed by Sorelle.
The biggest surprise for me this season has been Gina. I didn’t really find her memorable at first, but with “Wicked Game” last week and “All I Want” tonight she really became someone to watch. I love her range, tone and expressiveness.
Overall, a solid Top 5, although I wish Holly had been voted in. And can we PLEASE get some upbeat songs in the finale?!
Did anyone else not get to watch all the performers? Our broadcast over YouTube TV only had the five who won the vote, and not the three going home! Seriously, those five sang, and then their performances REPEATED! Weird, but true! Anyone else have this issue?
It’s always been Noivas for me. He has been incredible…. to watch and to listen to. But last night was not his best. I really like Gina. And I love Grace. She has the purest, sweetest country voice. Sad to see Holly leave. And really sad to see Ryley leave. Something about Sorelle that I don’t love. Anyway, all of these guys in the top 5 are extremely talented. All deserve to be there.
I really think Holly’s attitude hurt her the most. She was so unlikeable and gave off the biggest “I shouldn’t have to deal with this” vibe every week; she acted like she didn’t want feedback from coaches like she was better than everyone. Even with having a stellar voice, I had no desire to use my ONE single vote for her.
Also NOVIAS screams every song and he’s been playing a role. He “conveniently” became country after joining Blake’s team, wearing the hat, changing his hair, but never sang a country song. He pulls out the family/emotion card when needed. He’s a decent singer but he had a plan here.
Totally agree on Holly…unlikable.
FFS, do you think you have some kind of a window into Holly’s thought-process? Have you ever sung in a competition in front of both a live audience and an audience of millions? It’s just so terrible that Holly couldn’t make the facial expressions that you deem appropriate. Get off of your high horse and stop judging people when you don’t have a clue as to what they were thinking. It’s just so petty.
Can’t see Novias and Mr. Smooth making it over Holly and the kid. I like them, but the sisters were practically shrieking at times. I think Gina takes this one.