On Monday’s episode of The Voice (Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/MT on CTV TWO), the first night of the Live Shows included appearances from each contestant, bringing the grand total to a whopping 24 performances. Coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson and Adam Levine were mostly on hand for reaction shots and shoe throwing, with no time left for critiques or witty repartee, i.e., Levine telling Shelton to shut up. We didn’t miss that. Instead, the episode was filled with a lot of nerves and a handful of standout performances.
With 24 singers shooting their shots, it’s easy to get lost in the mix. Voters will decide which three contestants from each team will move on to the next round, but we narrowed the list down even further and picked our top two from each team.
Blake’s team is of course stacked with country and rock singers, but unlike other years, Team Blake boasts a wide range of voices that don’t fit in the standard Western lane. Well, except for Kirk Jay. That guy is country til he dies. Chris Kroeze changed up the key to CCR’s “Have You Seen The Rain,” which allowed him to give a performance that fit his voice and his range, taking a song that everyone knows and staying true to the original while bending the song just enough so that he could perform inside it.
I was so excited to first see Blake save Natasia Greycloud and then to hear Carson Daly announce the powerhouse singer’s song choice of Ariana Grande’s “God Is A Woman.” Natasia finished strong, but the beginning was a bit wobbly, with the singer starting too low and not having anywhere to go. Natasia’s teammate Funsho was in the same boat, with both singers seeming to be affected by the nerves of performing live in front of 60 million viewers. Fair enough. The beginning of Funsho’s performance of Charlie Puth’s “Attention” started a bit rocky, but he found his footing by the midway point and settled into the song, showing off his skills as a seasoned performer. There’s a whole lot of Bruno Mars in Funsho, both in his range and his ability as a performer.
Knock me over with a feather. Kymberli Joye went with the shocking choice of Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” and slayed the musical dragon. We’re pretty sure the winner for this season is on Team J Hud, but if there’s anyone else that can take the crown away it’s Kymberlie Joye. Performance. Of. The. Night.
We thought about giving Zaxai the second spot for Team Kelly, but his song choice of “When I Need You” was painfully safe. On the other hand, Keith Paulso took on Adele (whaaaat?) and reworked “Someone Like You” (whaaaat x 2?). It wasn’t a perfect performance, but what Keith lacked in notes he made up for in bringing an original sound to a beloved song and for swinging for the fences. Keith will never be the strongest singer on this show, so he must set himself apart with song choices, and he did that on Monday night.
DeAndre Nico enters every performance like he’s in a fight for his life and he has the competitive edge necessary to survive a singing competition. It would have been a good idea for DeAndre to keep some of the quiet parts of John Legend’s “Ordinary People” instead of going full throttle throughout. Sure, it showed off his range, but also took away from his overall performance. When he’s going 100 per cent it’s easy to miss how impressive DeAndre’s voice truly sounds.
Radha picking Sia’s “Dusk Till Dawn” was almost a perfect choice. Her voice is strong enough to take on a Sia song, which is saying a lot, but it would have been smarter to go with one of Sia’s bigger hits. Still, Radha’s performance was one of the most consistent of the night. She hasn’t really been considered a frontrunner this season but should be.
Choosing the top two performances from Team J Hud was no easy feat. We’re not looking forward to seeing three singers be sent home tomorrow night, because anyone on this team could sail into the finale. If we have to choose, we’d go with Patrique Fortson…
…and MaKenzie Thomas. But Colton Smith also sang beautifully and earned the hell outta his save. And then there’s SandyRedd, who was amazing. Team J Hud FTW.
Watch The Voice every Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/MT on CTV TWO. Catch up with new episodes online the day after broadcast.