'The Voice:' Katrina Parker Recaps This Week's Top 10 Performers
We’re down to the last 10 contestants on The Voice. Mix yourself a delicious martini (you’ll need it). Let’s get fancy and chat about my favorite moments from this week’s episode.
Fun and Flirty Wins the Night! “Next to Me” was the perfect direction for Sasha Allen to take this week. We’ve seen her do an amazing job on melodramatic songs, but this was the first time we’ve seen her tackle something upbeat, current and radio friendly and knock it out of the park. Everything about it was fun – the outfit, the staging, the flirty performance. This was a great example of someone stepping out of their comfort zone and making themselves right at home, and I imagine Shakira was pinching herself over her good luck last night.
Just Give Me a Reason. OK, but I don’t need one reason to love Michelle Chamuel, as I have several. 1) She sang a duet as a solo but was so charismatic I didn’t miss the guy with high water pants from Fun. 2) While she started out a little shaky on “Just Give Me a Reason” she eventually bumped it into high gear, once again charming the hell out of America by being utterly herself. 3) Olympic level squats.
When Unicorns Cry. Watching Judith Hill break into tears is like seeing unicorns cry – I’d much rather see them leave trails of glitter or paint rainbows than be sad. Her grief over losing Michael Jackson is clearly genuine, and I hate that anyone’s cynicism about her backstory has shaken her. MJ is a crucial part of her history that she can’t (and shouldn’t) erase, and her tribute to him last night was powerful. Was it her best night on the show? No, but it was liberating to see her get up there and honor MJ on her own terms (like a boss). The fiercely delivered line “Ain’t nobody’s business but mine and my baby’s” felt like an epic response to critics everywhere. Sing it, Judith.
Where’s the Weird, CeeLo?? Seeing CeeLo in his segments with Shakira without a bird on his shoulder, cat on his lap or wig perched atop his head was like seeing a peacock without its feathers. Has he become more subdued during his time off from The Voice? Or is he just keeping a low profile until he re-enters the arena in Season 5, driving a gold chariot with a rapping panda bear?
Overly Ambitious Song Choices. I think Josiah Hawley is lovely to look at and can do a solid job on a specific type of song, but I’m concerned about some of the more ambitious assignments Usher’s giving him. Muse? Coldplay? These are iconic male singers with incredible ranges. “Clocks” is especially challenging, requiring a strong, clear tone and an impressive falsetto to soar over those “Oohs” in the chorus. While Josiah gave it his all, it didn’t hit the right marks and undermined a lot of the good work done last week. Usher – I love you. Now get it together with this pretty boy! The women of America demand it.
Age Appropriate. It was nice to see Danielle Bradbery doing an age appropriate song last night. Her vocals are always flawless, but “Heads Carolina, Tails California” was a much more fitting choice than last week’s very grown-up song about addiction. Let’s not forget she’s 16, y’all!
More Productive Critique. I was thrilled to see the coaches giving more precise, constructive critiques this week (something I’ve asked for in previous blogs). Almost all of them had insightful commentary for the more middling performances, effectively articulating what everyone at home was feeling without being mean. That balance of substance with kindness? It’s what helps keep The Voice head and shoulders above other competitions like Idol (both in karma and in ratings).
A Mighty Wind. Amber Carrington’s performance of “Breakaway” was strong enough without 40 MPH winds coming at her. Was anyone else as distracted by that wind machine as I was? No? That’s cool. I just have a fear of being forced to sing in a windstorm. That’s my problem not yours.
Hymns in Primetime. Doing justice to the classic gospel song “How Great Thou Art,” Holly Tucker opened last night’s show in an unexpected way. I grew up in the Baptist Church and am very familiar with this tune, so it brought back sweet memories of choir solos, potlucks and quiet Sunday nights in a pew.
Mama Knows How to Rock. Sarah Simmons put her rock hat on for “Mama Knows Best,” roaring through the song with more of her signature grit (and less of her signature vulnerability). It was saucy and surprising, inspiring Adam Levine to fan himself like a Southern belle. It also yielded us the disembodied voice of Blake Shelton saying “sexy” over and over again while the other coaches gave feedback. That is something to be celebrated.
What Does It All Mean? Was it me or did Maroon 5’s performance feel a little like a Rorschach test come to life? I was too busy analyzing the blue paint splatters to enjoy the great performance. I’m fairly sure I saw a rhino outlined at some point. What does that say about my psychological state?? Wait! Don’t tell me.