Like any singing competition, a typical episode of The Voice is a mixed bag: some great performances, some forgettable ones, and one or two total stinkers. Monday night's live show (the first this season) was no exception, but you'd never know it from the coaches' commentaries. The four of them were so lenient that when Tessanne Chin closed out the night by blowing everyone else out of the water, she was stuck listening to the same bland pleasantries they'd been delivering all evening. That's why we've ranked the evening's performances from worst to best. Let's take a look.
Song: "Still Into You"
Original Artist: Paramore
Grey aimed for a bit of Chrissie Hyndie edge with this performances, with the goal of reminding viewers that she's more than just a wedding singer. But not only did she come off as a wedding singer--she came off as a wedding singer that can't sing on-key.
Should she stay? No. Grey was so consistently sharp it almost seemed like her in-ear monitor might've been malfunctioning. I'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt, but her "Already Gone" last week wasn't much better.
Performer: Nic Hawk
Song: "Blurred Lines"
Original Artist: Robin Thicke
As Blake pointed out, Nic seemingly attempted to filter every vocal part in "Blurred Lines" through his own musical imagination. But the result was a strange, cartoonish mess, like something out of a David Lynch movie.
Should he stay? Yes. Nic is a rare original on The Voice, and he's proven that he can really sing when he isn't overloading his performances with distracting quirks.
Performer: Cole Vosbury
Song: "Maggie May"
Original Artist: Rod Stewart
Cole is a competent singer, the kind of guy you could see amassing a huge following in a local bar band. His Stewart cover would've been passable at Frank's Bar & Grill, but here it was hard to focus on anything other than Cole's epic beard.
Should he stay? No. You need to be more than just competent to win this show.
Performer: Preston Pohl
Song: "Nothin' On You"
Original Artist: B.o.B.
This was a shaky night for Preston. He sounded tired; it was hard to hear the melody through his heavier-than-usual rasp. The song also had a sing-rap element that suited him well but didn't show off his ability as a performer.
Should he stay? Yes. Preston is a talented and distinctive singer. He just had a bad night.
Performer: Ray Boudreaux
Original Artist: Marc Broussard
Ray is great when he gets to do his John Fogerty blues holler, but he's limited otherwise, losing confidence the moment he steps outside of that particular range and tone. And while the Broussard tune fit him like a pair of old swamp waders, its simplistic melody and incessant refrain didn't do him any favors.
Should he stay? No. Ray's not a bad singer, but he's obviously outranked by a number of his peers.
Performer: Shelbie Z
Original Artist: Reba McEntire
Shelbie offered up her usual brand of country beltin'. The song showed off her tone and power more than her range, which is something we're starting to worry about. Shelbie can definitely sing, but can she sing anything besides, well, country belters?
Should she stay? Yes. Country is a more varied genre than it usually gets credit for, and Shelbie has plenty of time to prove she can run the gamut.
Performer: James Wolpert
Song: "A Case of You"
Original Artist: Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell songs are not easy to sing, but James did a much better job here than he did with "More Than A Feeling" last week. He seemed to channel Mitchell without ripping her off--also not easy with a songwriter this distinctive.
Should he stay? Yes. Wolpert continues to push his voice hard, and tends to aim for high notes that are just this much too high. But he impressed tonight.
Performer: Will Champlin
Original Artist: OneRepublic
Every performance by Will is like a masterclass in all the things a person can do with their voice in a modern R&B context. On Monday he showed off his sheer technical ability without skimping on the emotion, effortlessly nailing what Christina called "the money note."
Should he stay? Yes. Champlin is one of the best singers on the show, and a dark horse pick to win.
Peformer: Austin Jenckes
Song: "She Talks to Angels"
Original Artist: Black Crowes
I wasn't sold on Austin last week, when he turned in a solid but bland take on "I'll Be." But he killed it on Monday, connecting with his material in a way few of his contestants do. Refreshingly, he doesn't seem to subscribe to the show-offy aesthetic that's typically rewarded on shows like this, and he's all the better for it.
Should he stay? Yes. The Voice needs singers like Austin to keep things fresh, and there was a sense here that he's just getting started.
Performer: Tessanne Chin
Song: "Many Rivers to Cross"
Original Artist: Jimmy Cliff
Here it is. The best performance of Monday's episode, and maybe one of the best versions of "Rivers" ever. The producers know how good Tessanne is, scheduling her performance last to keep viewers hooked. She didn't disappoint.
Should she stay? Yes. Tessanne is the frontrunner to win this season, and here she gave her best performance yet.
|Shelbie Z||438 (8.3%)|
|James Wolpert||446 (8.5%)|
|Nic Hawk||157 (3.0%)|
|Ray Boudreaux||66 (1.3%)|
|Austin Jenckes||359 (6.8%)|
|Will Champlin||343 (6.5%)|
|Preston Pohl||52 (1.0%)|
|Cole Vosbury||90 (1.7%)|
|Tessanne Chin||3292 (62.5%)|