Ta da! The SEMI FINALS. Which basically means NBC has two hours to fill with only five measly singers. However, since America’s being trusted to make a major decision (i.e. selecting the final three), it makes sense that each member of the Top 5 was required to perform twice–a coach’s choice and then their choice for “a hometown dedication” (is that dust in my eye?… shut up, I’m not tearing up)–this week.
Coach Blake Shelton kicked off the whole evening singing “Lonely Tonight” with Ashley Monroe (who, I feel obliged to note for posterity, wore high, high heels and a short, short, shoooort dress). The two bobbed and sang awkwardly (angrily?) at each other instead of the crowd for a noticeable duration. It was weird. Like, really weird.
As for the rest of the coaches, you would assume Pharrell–with no one left in the competition–would be kicking back in PJs in his red chair but it was Coach Adam who went full scruff, bed head and a big bulky warm woollen cardigan (a nod to the crisp 22C weather we had in LA on Monday, I’m sure). I guess the guy doesn’t need to really fret when he’s guaranteed at least one mentee in the Top 3. (It should go without saying but Gwen’s fashion, hair and makeup game was on point.) To the singing!
Damien – “She’s Out of My Life” (Michael Jackson) & “I Don’t Want to Wait” (Paula Cole), The Jackson ballad was a solid B- performance, complete with fog and a circle of candles. Damien’s hometown dedication song induced Dawson’s Creek flashbacks and daydreams of making out with Pacey. Even if he doesn’t make the finals, (real talk: he probably won’t) the mayor gave Damien his own day in his hometown of Monroe. I’d call that a solid consolation prize.
Matt McAndrew – “Make It Rain” (Ed Sheeran) & “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (U2). To quote HIMYM: Matt’s take on the Sheeran track, most recently heard on Sons of Anarchy, was “hauntingly beautiful.” And then OMG, his music students during Matt’s hometown visit were soooo cute. “He’s got the voice of an angel.” (Hand to God, that’s what these three boys said!) But Matt’s U2 cover was just that: just a really good copycat. Slightly disappointing.
Chris Jamison – “Sugar” (Maroon 5) & “When I Was Your Man” (Bruno Mars). Adam claimed that Chris picked the first song and Adam acquiesced even though it’s his band’s, and, “coincidentally,” their next single. The light show behind him was a little distracting, as were the dancing girls in denim diapers grinding with guitars, but he captivated with his killer falsetto. And bless the woman in wardrobe that put Chris in that leather jacket. His hometown trip was mishmash of teary familial declarations, pizza, cheerleaders and Nick Jonas. And Dec, 8 was declared “Chris Jamison Day.” (How easy is it to get a day in the US?! I’m officially on a quest to get my own.) Aaron Tveit’s cover of “When I Was Your Man” will always be my ultimate favourite, but Chris ran a close second with his rendition – he owns that swoony falsetto.
Craig Wayne Boyd – “Workin’ Man Blues” (Merle Haggard) & “The Old Rugged Cross” (a popular hymn by George Bennard). Merle’s rockabilly classic got a soul makeover that included a saxophone/horn section and Craig blending Def Leopard with James Brown, which sounds more than a little absurd, but it was GREAT. Fun, upbeat, totally Top 3 worthy. I cannot discuss anything about Craig’s second performance other than his Rex Manning hairstyle. Seriously, will someone talk about this with me? Please? I died a little.
Taylor John Williams – “Falling Slowly” (The Swell Season) & “Blank Space” (Taylor Swift). Stripped down with his guitar, Taylor’s first song was unsurprising and therefore a little underwhelming. We already know he can do this kind of track. TJW’s hometown one-on-one moments with the camera really showed just how far out of his shell he has come. (Does that make sense? In short: he’s opening up.) If any other artist had picked T-Swizzle’s latest chart-topper, I’d immediately yell “PANDERING!” from the highest rooftop. But once again Taylor’s reinterpretation of a song made the cover totally unique and chart topping in its own right.
My Top 3 Wishlist
America doesn’t always make the best decisions (see: George “Dubya” Bush), so I feel like at the very least I should put my hopes and desires out into the universe, ahem, the Internet, and pick my favourites once and for all. I’m not saying these will be the finalists, but my fingers are crossed for: Chris Jamison, Craig Wayne Boyd and Taylor John Williams (who clearly has Adam Levine really worried).
Who do you want to see make the Top 3? Tell us below.
The Voice continues Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC and CTV Two.
A recently transplanted Canadian in La-la Land, Joan is a pop culture Junkie, punctuation enthusiast and unabashed 1D fan. When she's not mixing up a cocktail and binging old episodes of Roswell or Parenthood on Netflix, you'll find her offering unsolicited TV opinions to anyone on the street. In 2014, she rejoiced at the return of Alex Trebek's moustache on Jeopardy!