After weeks of blinds, battles, knockouts and steals, The Voice is live! Team Adam and Team Blake took the stage on night one of the Live Playoffs. The two teams started off with a group performance of “Peace Of Mind” by Boston that go the audience off their feet and excited for the night.
While 10 artists are hitting the stage during the night only three will make it to the final 12; two artists are voted through by fan votes and one is picked by the coach.
Name: Jocelyn Rivera
Singing: “Give Your Heart A Break” by Demi Lovato
Performance: Jocelyn’s biggest problem before hitting the live shows was keeping her nerves in check. It’s a massive make or break moment for her and at 17-years-old, Adam advises her to rock them beyond anything she’s ever done. While her nerves are obvious throughout the entire performance, the judges focus on her stage presence more.
Critique: Blake, Christina and CeeLo all agree right off the bat: this girl’s got massive stage presence! How her tiny body could run through a huge stage like it’s her own makes all four judges completely floored. Though her performance was just a little bit pitchy, Coach Adam assures Jocelyn this is the absolute place she needs to be.
Name: Terry McDermott
Singing: “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey
Performance: Blake picked this rock song for one reason: if anyone can make it cool again, this Irish rocker can. While he’s bit off a lot with the iconic song, Blake feels confident he can give the performance of his life. The biggest hurdle? Not making it sound like a bad karaoke song.
Critique: Blake said it best: “When God was passing out the ability to rock, he gave Terry just a little bit more.” All the coaches agree Terry’s ability to sing effortlessly and with strict precision gives him the edge in the competition. We’re just glad he didn’t butcher an American classic!
Name: Melanie Martinez
Singing: “Hit The Road Jack” by Ray Charles
Performance: Melanie is easily the sassiest singer in the entire competition yet she fears it won’t show in this classic tune. Adam gives her some good advice to compliment her vocal performance and there’s no doubt her sultry voice will make people weak in the knees. The jazz rendition of “Hit The Road Jack” puts Adam into an instant trance, as he closes his eyes and sways to Melanie’s voice. While she has a bit of nerves, the coaches don’t believe it was much to worry about.
Critique: Melanie got the first negative feedback comment of the night. While Blake and Adam were raving about her artistry and the way she can make everything her own, Christina wasn’t nearly impressed. Her first comment was on Melanie’s pitch throughout the song and she immediately followed up that she appreciates the singer’s vision but the original is untouchable.
Name: Liz Davis
Singing: “Independence Day” by Martina McBride
Performance: The powerhouse ballad worries Liz at first; having spent so much time doing more dance-like country jams. Blake assures her that the song will compliment her vocals and to not hold back. She immediately takes the stage with ferocity and power, working every bit of the stage like a country pro.
Critique: Christina and CeeLo agree: the country singer is a perfect fit for Blake. Being the only country act in the competition, Liz has some mighty big shoes to fill. Thankfully, Blake is quick to admit she was the perfect choice to bring into the live rounds.
Name: Cassadee Pope
Singing: “My Happy Ending” by Avril Lavigne
Performance: She doesn’t want it to be predictable, trying to get out of the pop/rock box. While she was having a few issues hitting the right notes in the right way, she stuck with the song adding her own spin. Her performance, while still very pop/rock, had a few moments of uniqueness as Cassadee made her own melody for the parts she couldn’t quite hit. In the end, she finished the performance with some impressive high notes and pitch.
Critique: Christina is still the only coach to give any negative feedback and while all the other coaches praised Cassadee’s performance, Christina was a little unsure about her inability to hit some of the trademark notes of the song. Though, she quickly praised Cassadee for being able to fix her mistakes mid-performance. Coach Blake immediately lifted her spirits, telling her she’s the fan favorite and that form here on out, it’s the fans who pick the lineup. He ends with another positive note, telling her any doubts about being a solo artist should be thrown out the window.
Name: Bryan Keith
Singing: “Iris” Goo Goo Dolls
Performance: As the only guy on Team Adam, Bryan has some big shoes to fill! He takes the stage and starts off flawless. His vocal range shines with a lower register start, moving into higher climax towards the end of the track. The crowd even gets into the song, swaying along to his soulful version of the hit song.
Critique: Coach Adam was baffled at how awesome Bryan’s performance was. The crowd was so loud, it was almost impossible to calm them down. Though some of the lower notes were harder to hit, Adam assures Bryan it doesn’t matter because the spirit and passion was so locked in, no one could notice.
Name: Michaela Paige
Singing: “Everybody Talks” by Neon Trees
Performance: As the youngest singer in the competition, the punk singer has some fierce competition but it won’t stop her. Michaela immediately puts on a high energy performance, effortlessly hitting the runs of the notes all while jumping around on stage. Between her vocal performance and her presence on stage, Michaela could put even the most seasoned performer to shame.
Critique: It was an easy sweep. All coaches could (finally) agree on one thing: this was the best performance of the night! Adam was quite a fanboy over the 16-year-old, telling her the attitude she displayed was perfect for the song! Coach Blake agreed, adding that technically she hit every note, every run and every moment of song she needed to.
Name: Julio Cesar Castillo
Singing: “El Rey” by Jose Alfredo Jimenez
Performance: Julio is the only contestant to perform fully in Spanish and while many people can’t understand what the heck he’s singing about, the emotion in his face as he sings tells its own story. Plus, you don’t have to understand the words to know he hit every note perfectly. The crowd is deafening as Julio finishes the song to a “Julio” chant from the audience.
Critique: Julio gets the first standing ovation of the night and with good reason. Christina loves that he stays true to himself, singing for all the Latinos out there. Blake doesn’t understand a word he’s saying, but he believes the message was loud and clear as the audience hung on every word.
Name: Loren Allred
Singing: “All Around The World” Lisa Stansfield
Performance: Loren surprised everyone by winning the Knockout rounds when even her own coach wasn’t sure she could make it through. Taking the stage to sing this Lisa Stansfield classic, her nerves are a little shotty and her performance starts off kind of slow. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get any better as it goes on until she hits the final note, showing off her massively trained vocals.
Critique: Coach Adam was blown away by Loren’s performance, giving her some positive feedback for her performance but also adding a bit of constructive criticism. He’s really interested in hearing her higher register shown off more. Since she picked her own song, he’s hoping next time, she’ll pick a more intense song.
Name: Amanda Brown
Singing: “Dream On” by Aerosmith
Performance: This background singer chose a surprising song, taking an Aerosmith classic and adding her own soulful flair to it. This is the first time Amanda has shown a more rock side to herself, using the stage and microphone stand as props like a pro. Her voice stayed on target since the first note and easily transitioned from a gritty rock sound to a sweeter ballad without any effort. The crowd and the judges were on their feet proving Amanda easily had the best performance of the entire night.
Critique: The coaches all agree that Amanda blew the top off the place. Christina added a sassy ‘get it, girl’ before Adam chimed in with what everyone was thinking: Amanda had the best performance of the night. Hands down. No doubt about it.
-Jodi Phillips / Kiss 95.1