Returning from a hearty American Thanksgiving–or as Canadians call it: the last few days of November, which now includes a Black Friday without the day off work–The Voice announced a major milestone (20,000,000 singles sold!) before the Top 8 combined their powers to summon Captain Planet sing Sheppard’s “Geronimo.” The solo moments really emphasized each artist’s individual singing style and highlighted who should be shown the door this week (ahem, Ryan…) and who totally deserved a spot on stage (what up last lady standing, DaNica!).
All in all, a peppy multi-coloured light show with good looking people singing a couple syllables a piece; a slightly disjointed but not the worst start to an episode of reality TV.
Ryan Sill – “Open Arms” (Journey) – Desperate to “break out of the bottom three,” Ryan leaned heavily on voters with the 1980s power ballad covered endlessly before him (most famously by Mariah Carey) begging America to love him. Gwen even brought in a choreographer in hopes of getting her pretty boy into the semi-finals. Based on Ryan’s crooning, Gwen’s time might have been better spent on Twitter getting a jump on tomorrow’s Instant Save.
Taylor John Williams – “Royals (Lorde) – Ugh, Gwen enough with the choreographer-slash-stage-producer. To make this tune his own, Taylor John was aiming for a more angry, less pop-y version of Lorde’s hit, while incorporating last week’s quirky performance energy. He did all of those things and more. It was original, catchy, powerful, genuine … spectacular all around. Go download this one now.
Craig Wayne Boyd – “Take It Easy” (The Eagles) – Don’t count Team Blake out yet: Craig may be his only pony in the race, but he is a major contender. This week, he took front and centre surrounded by the band in a set-up that was reminiscent of a Rascal Flatts CMA Awards gig, and he looked good doing it. Dynamic, engaging, comfortable … regardless of the season’s outcome, Craig should have no problem securing an opening gig for one of country’s major artists or bands and propelling his own career into the spotlight in 2015.
DaNica Shirey – “These Dreams” (Heart) – DaNica started out worried about her coach’s song choice for her this weekend, but the power of Pharrell was/is great, especially when he’s citing Whitney Houston as a motivation. (Seriously, what did we do before Pharrell was on our TVs weekly!?) Her vocals rose above the original Heart version, while the GIANT staircase to nowhere (or to Meatloaf’s “I Would Do Anything For Love” music video) and uber dramatic dress with train bested the first ‘80s power ballad of the night and made the genre proud. Regardless, I worried that this won’t be a song people will rush to iTunes to purchase…
Luke Wade – “Holding Back the Years” (Simply Red) – I wasn’t feeling it. It was boring. Major snooze fest. Pharrell failed him on the song choice front and both contestant and coach may pay the price Tuesday night when the bottom three are revealed.
Damien – “Someone Like You” (Adele) – And I’m back on the Damien bandwagon. Then again, I feel like if you’re talented, an Adele cover is a slam dunk just based on the popularity of the original artist. Whatever. He killed it with a performance that had soft nuanced moments and big, bold, hiiiiiiigh notes. Standing ovation from all four coaches. (Full disclosure: I first wrote “four couches,” so I’m pretty sure two hours is too long once we get under 10 contestants.)
Chris Jamison – “Sexual Healing” (Marvin Gaye) – Capitalizing on the “Chris Jamison fever” sweeping the States, Adam dispensed wisdom to his young protégé: “Clearly the girls are obsessed with you so, we’ve got to work on the serious stuff. ‘Cause there are more things than just being super hot.” To his credit, Chris actually seemed a little bashful about the assessment. And to Adam’s credit, his song choice for Chris was guaranteed to set the girls’ hearts (and erogenous zones) a-flutter. As for the performance, to quote the song in question: it was good for me.
Matt McAndrew – “The Blower’s Daughter” (Damien Rice) – A solid B+ performance but I came to realize a few things: A) I’m tired of Matt having the show’s “BIG FINISH!” spot in the line-up. B) I will never buy an original album by Matt McAndrew because C) I’m not his target fan base in terms of music stylings. So … do with that what you will.
A Fever Dream of OMGs and Emojis
Coach Gwen debuted her new single “Spark the Fire” with the assistance of Pharrell (in a leather Addidas onesie?). There were dancers with cutouts of both coaches faces, text-y speech bubbles on a screen and a lot of cartoon clouds and uhh…things. This one is not getting airtime on my commute. Harrumph. Now get off my lawn! Youths!
Nick Jonas has re-branded and is decidedly the Hottttt Jonas. (Fact.) This shouldn’t be news to you, but it merited reiteratation. The youngest of the former Disney brother trio appeared at the end of the first hour to sing his new hit single “Jealous” with the Top 8 singing backup and clapping alongside a gospel choir. If I’m being honest, I’d have preferred solo Nick and the sexy dance beat of the original version. (He returned later in the evening to answer Twitter questions with Carson and cause great bewilderment about his height in real life. Adam, scoot over. I think Nick also needs to perch atop a chair to get the world’s attention.)
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC and CTV Two.