7:10pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
‘The Voice’: Team Jennifer and Team Blake Compete for Top 12
Season 13 of NBC's The Voice shook things up this season by pre-taping the Playoffs round. Blake Shelton and Jennifer Hudson’s six remaining artists performed Monday night, and each coach picked three artists to advance to the live portion of the season. Both coaches also announced their comeback artists for the season.
First up was Team Jennifer’s Davon Fleming. Hudson had him sing “I’m Changing” from Dreamgirls, which she sung herself in her award-winning performance. Fleming gave a stellar rendition, making it his own and showcasing his range and strong musical instincts. His falsetto sounded particularly strong. Miley Cyrus said he was headed for the lives. It was a great start to the night. Next up was Team Jennifer’s Hannah Mrozak, whom Hudson stole from Team Adam, singing “Learn to Let It Go” by Kesha. Hudson compared her to Demi Lovato and pushed her to open up emotionally in her singing. Mrozak gave a deep and present performance. Hudson was clearly a better coach for her than Levine. “I feel like a star was born onstage tonight,” Hudson said.
Hudson announced that her comeback artist was Lucas Holliday, which was a great choice. She had him sing “The Beautiful Ones” by Prince. It was a bold song choice, but Holliday handled it well. He gave a theatrical performance, and it worked. He proved that he was worthy of being brought back to the competition. Shelton was blown away by the performance. Team Jennifer’s Shi’ann Jones followed with a performance of “Tattooed Heart” by Ariana Grande. At only 15 years old, Jones is one of the younger artists in the competition, but she proved to be experienced and confident in her singing. She sounded particularly strong on the low notes. Shelton said she is his favorite artist who isn’t on his own team. Chris Weaver was up next, and Hudson picked “California Soul” for him to sing. It wasn’t the best song choice for him, but Weaver delivered a soulful and charismatic performance.
Adam Levine suggested that Weaver should stay in the competition, and the other coaches were impressed, too. Team Jennifer’s last artist of the night was Noah Mac, who sang “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins. Hudson stole Mac from Team Blake. He proved to have great stage presence and delivered a strong vocal, too. Shelton expressed regret over letting him go. Then it was time for Hudson to select which artists to advance to the next round. She chose Fleming, Mac and Jones to move on to the lives. Holliday, Weaver and Mrozak went home.
Team Blake took the stage next with a performance from Red Marlow of “Chiseled in Stone” by Vern Gosdin. The song choice fit Marlow’s throwback country sound. But Marlow just fails to stand out on Team Blake. His performance was too by-the-numbers, and it’s doubtful that he could ever surprise. Hudson praised his presence, and Shelton seemed overall pleased with the performance.
Chloe Kohanski was up next, and she sang “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper. Shelton helped her in rehearsal, but Kohanski really took the reins on the arrangement. She gave the song just the right amount of darkness, accentuating her natural rasp. She is one of the more original artists on Team Blake. Shelton let Natalie Stovall know that she was his comeback artist choice, and she followed through with a performance of “Callin’ Baton Rouge” by Garth Brooks. Her performance had momentum, and she worked the stage very well. She accompanied herself on the fiddle and put on a high-energy country show.
Up next was former NFL player Esera Tuaolo singing “How Do I Live?” by Leann Rimes. He said that he connects to the lyrics of the song through his own experience with coming out as gay. In his performance, Tuaolo showcased his impressive range and soothing vibe. He did have some pitch problems, but he’s an endearing artist with potential. Mitchell Lee followed with a performance of “Heaven” by Bryan Adams. Lee had a strong emotional connection to the lyrics, and it showed.
The performance did not necessarily stand out on this busy night of performances, but it felt authentic. The coaches all had positive but not super-enthusiastic feedback, so the odds did not look great for Lee. The final performance of the night came from Keisha Renee, who sang “Love Can Build a Bridge” by The Judds. It was a perfect song choice that highlighted all of her strengths. Renee delivered on both the vocal and performance fronts, singing powerfully and working the stage. It was a great final performance for the evening.
Shelton then had to choose which three artists to advance to the next round. He advanced Renee, Marlow and Kohanski. Lee, Tuaolo and Stovall went home. Team Miley will perform Tuesday night, and Team Adam will perform on Wednesday night. What did you think of tonight’s performances and results?