Katrina Parker Recaps Last Night's Top 12 Performances On 'The Voice'
Twelve performances in one night - we have a lot of ground to cover, so settle in near a rotating fan (it’s hot out there!). Let’s talk about last night’s episode of The Voice.
Simply Sublime.Judith Hill’s piano/vocal version of “You’ve got a Friend” was intimate and soulful, honoring the original while making it palatable to a new audience. It also qualifies as my favorite performance of the week. A lot was made of Judith accompanying herself on piano, but that ability didn’t surprise me. No, what really stood out to me was how obviously out of place she now is in this competition. I feel like her performance would have been more at home on a VH1 Divas special, alongside already established legends, because that’s where she belongs. When she’s on The Voice stage, surrounded by artists who are still learning and growing, it becomes crystal clear that Judith is already THERE (and I think Adam Levine knows it).
It’s Like a Heatwave. The AC was broken for much of last night’s episode, making for some memorable sweat beads, cranky coaches and minute to minute temperature updates from Carson Daly. It was hot in Southern CA Monday (I felt it!), so I have to give everyone props for holding it together, especially the contestants. Nerves are bad enough, but adding intense heat to the equation? It’s a miracle no one ended up in a dead faint.
Take It Off! One side effect of the heat was Usher shedding a little clothing a few minutes into the show (inspiring cat calls from the studio audience). Women everywhere rejoiced, making me wonder if the broken AC was part of some master plan put in place by hard core Usher fans to get his shirt off. According to the responses I received on twitter, this theory is sound (a lot of people took credit for it!). However, once Carson started to shed clothing, the AC miraculously came back on. Coincidence? Maybe? Or maybe not.
It’s All In The Song Choice. There were some great moments this week where savvy coaches played to their contestants’ obvious strengths.“The Story” fit Sarah Simmons like a glove, showcasing her softer side AND grit to good effect. Sasha Allen’s “Alone” was a riskier proposition. While the arrangement had too many starts and stops for my taste, she once again spread her wings vocally and gave one of the most passionate performances of the night. No one on this show emotes quite like Sasha.
Hide Your Daughters. Josiah Hawley doesn’t have the most agile voice on the show, but he’s so damn pretty it’s easy to forget it. He was well suited to “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved,” an unchallenging song that gave him room to deliver a solid vocal and make the ladies swoon with his model good lucks. Is he one of the best singers in the competition? No, but I have no doubt he’ll make it to the next round (unless all women in the viewing audience are unable to use iTunes or make outgoing phone calls). If the female contingent have fingers and a phone/ internet connection, Josiah will be fine.
The Jacket. What was happening with Shakira’s outfit last night? She looked gorgeous (as usual), but was she on her way to a sparkly bull fight? Someone please explain that jacket to me.
A Fitting Tribute. When The Swon Brothers announced they were taking on “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes,” I was wary. George Jones was an icon and remains one of my favorite country vocalists of all time. I hold his songs to a higher standard than most, but my worry was all for naught. The Swon Brothers delivered a low key, lovely interpretation of the song, giving George a fitting tribute that brought tears to my eyes (yes, I cried, ok? I’m a human being!). Kudos to these guys for showing a different side of themselves and giving this song its due.
Mini Iron Lady. Shakira makes some odd but correct comparisons, and last night was no exception. I’ve talked before about how effortless Danielle Bradbury is onstage, and while I wouldn’t normally draw any parallels between her and Margaret Thatcher (what??), I get where Shakira was going with that statement. Danielle is seemingly unflappable onstage, and that characteristic continued to serve her well during her performance of “Wasted.”
Did We Need a Rock Version of the Backstreet Boys? For me, the answer to this question is no. I think Garrett Gardner is adorable, but I found last night’s song choice puzzling. The linear pop melody of “I Want It That Way” only highlighted Garrett’s weaknesses vocally and felt like a gimmick on the part of Shakira. We all know she (and Garrett) can do better. Let’s hope America gives them the chance to prove it!
Martina McBride Lung Busters. Two contestants chose Martina McBride songs this week – Holly Tucker (“Broken Wings”) and Amber Carrington (“I’m Gonna Love You Through it”). These were vocally challenging affairs (Martina does things that would make some singers bust a lung!), but both girls were fantastic, hitting it out of the park (for the most part) and making Blake Shelton positively giddy.
Who are YOUR picks for the Top 10? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and tune in Monday at 8PM EST as I live-tweet the next episode of The Voice (@katrinapmusic).