Monday night (April 21, 2014) saw the first of the live performances by the Top 12 of “The Voice” and it featured the ups, downs, and technical difficulties that you sometimes get on live television. Here is a breakdown of how the different singers did.
Jake Worthington performed “Anymore” by Travis Tritt. He had some issues and likely, understandably, was nervous. After a shaky start he found his stride and did much better later in the song. Audra McLaughlin took on Juice Newton’s “Angel in the Morning” and like Jake she started a little slow, but as the song picked up she seemed to find her stride and ended on a high note. Sisaundra Lewis did the Elton John classic “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” She hit some seriously big notes and brought the power, infusing the song with a bit of a gospel flare. To me it was more of a showcase of her power and range as opposed to making a real connection with the song, but it was still very good.
Kristen Merlin performed Sugarland’s “Stay” and she was in the middle of a heartfelt, solid performance when the microphone went out and the sound went dead. She handled it like a pro and was able to finish when another mic was brought on stage. Tess Boyer’s take on the Bon Jovi’s “I’ll Be There for You” missed the mark. It’s a rock ballad, but her version lack the grit of the original or anything that really set it apart. She might be in trouble. Dani Moz took on Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason” and while her voice was technically good, it left me feeling a little, dare I say, bored. The song is a little desperate and Dani seemed a little happy, but maybe it was just me.
Delvin Choice took on the classic Righteous Brother’s song “Unchained Melody.” It felt pretty theatrical and a little off until towards the end when he hit some of the bigger notes and showed what he is really capable of. Christina Grimmie’s version of Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” was pure pop goodness. She looked like a star (I know the show isn’t supposed to be about looks, but she looked like a pop star on that stage) and her take on the song was right on point. She was one of highlights of the night. Kat Perkins performed Heart’s “Magic Man” and she did a good job. At a few points the song swallowed her up, but overall it was a fun performance.
T.J. Wilkins decided to do John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change.” At first I thought it might have been a bad choice for him, but he gave it a smooth Motown feel and turned in a solid performance. Josh Kaufman chose “Stay with Me” by Sam Smith. Although he had a technical glitch at the start of the song he still killed it. Josh has soul and passion in spades. Bria Kelly decided to tackle Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” It is a big order to fill and she did a decent job. She has that rasp in her voice that makes her very interesting and it gave the song a gritty vibe. She had a few issues, including what looked like some problems pulling a guitar pick off the mic stand, but overall it was good.
The fate of the Top 12 is now in the hands of those who vote, tweet, and download. Personally I think Audra and Tess are likely in the most danger of being sent home, but you never know who the voters are going to embrace. As of the writing of this article, Josh Kaufman was the only singer in the Top 20 on the iTunes charts with everyone else that did chart in the lower half. Tune in Tuesday night April 22, 2014 on NBC for the first "The Voice" live results show of this season and find out who gets sent home.