The first live show of The Voice season two finally arrived this week as Team Blake and Team Christina went head to head before the first live elimination. Not one, not two, but four contestants will be going home tonight. Based on last night’s performances alone, elimination predictions should be a breeze to match. But with this being the first live elimination, it is far too early to know how America has voted, especially with fans being able to vote by phone, NBC.com (and NBC apps), Facebook, and iTunes. What’s difficult about voting by iTunes is that a viewer may not necessarily be a fan of an artist but may absolutely fall in love with their rendition of a song, causing them to buy the track on iTunes. One vote can be the difference between staying in the competition and being voted out. Could those handful of iTunes purchases that you made be the deciding vote, even though you voted ten times (the max) for your actual favorite artist? Last night brought a small handful of great performances and another handful of nerve-stricken ones by artists who before seemed to be front runners. So where do we go from here? Tonight’s eliminations will answer that. Until then, let’s break down the performances.
From Team Blake, coming out with one of the strongest performances of the night was Naia Kete. She took on Adele’s “Turning Tables” and while she did sound like her voice was a little worn out, her performance was spectacular. She was by far the most captivating vocalist of the night. Kete knows how to catch everyone’s attention and hopefully votes. If she’s not one of the last standing from Team Blake, this will be a very sad season. Also hitting the right notes last night and delivering a fantastic performance – a performance that we would not expect any less from was Charlotte Sometimes. It’s not easy to nail Paramore’s “Misery Business” but she made it look effortless. Team Charlotte anyone? Tennessee may already have their Team Raelynn posters hanging, as Blake Shelton shared how the country community is already buzzing about this contestant. It must be nice! The 17 year old dare devil took on Maroon 5′s “Wake Up Call” and gave the most rocking performance of the night! Whether or not you’re a fan of Raelynn, no one can deny how exciting she was to watch on stage. Her presence reminds me of Skylar Laine currently on American Idol, no? As Aguilera said, “You’re a sassy little thing!” With Nashville already behind her as Shelton says, the rest of America just may have a good reason to keep an eye on this one.
While delivering a great performance but not necessarily giving us a reason to run to our phone, Facebook, etc… to vote was Erin Willett. She took on Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City” which did nothing particularly fascinating for her vocals but the performance was great fun. Her safety in this game could go either way. The same can be said for Jordis Unga who performed “Alone” by Heart. Who else can’t hear this song nowadays without thinking of the Glee version? Comparing or not, this performance was boring. Based on last night’s performance alone, an elimination for this contestant would not be surprising at all. Last but not least is the only remaining male artist on Team Blake… Jermaine Paul. Straining when he did not really need to during his performance of “Living on a Prayer,” Paul gave us some concerns, as fellow coach, Christina Aguilera pointed out. The song choice was not the smartest choice because it forced him to reach too much, strain far too much. He could be safe this week but if the song choices continue to beat him up, he won’t have a chance at winning this competition. The battle round may be over but he is clearly fighting with himself… an unnecessary fight if the song choices were picked better.
Getting to Team Christina… Lindsey Pavao has been a favorite vocalist of ours since day one. Sadly, she showed America tonight that she does not have the whole package. Her stage presence is incredibly weak… lacking to the point that she doesn’t have any at all. It was painful watching her move around the stage, singing “Somebody I Used To Know” in her sparkly black dress. Not only that, fellow coach, Adam Levine mentioned the lack of power in the chorus which was her only vocal fault but a fault nonetheless. For some people, the chorus is the best part, most familiar part of a song, so hopefully this did not cost her too many votes. No matter her lack of stage presence, the girl can sing and is short of being a creative mastermind. Lindsey Pavao is going to win Grammys whether she wins The Voice or not. Watching her grow as a performer on The Voice should be fun to watch in the meantime.
Ashley De La Rosa also brought the goods. She has a much better voice than I remember. As Levine pointed out, De La Rosa has grown so much in such a short time on The Voice and this is only the beginning. If her time in the competition is cut short tonight, we can only hope that Aguilera continues to be a coach, a mentor to this one. She clearly follows direction very well and in following Aguilera’s, she could be led down a wonderful path that even she could never have imagined. Of the ladies on Team Christina, Aguilera’s favorite actually gave the most disappointing performance of her team. Sera Hill sang, “Find Your Love” but the choreography and costumes were too much of a distraction to really enjoy the performance and Hill was trying way to hard to appease when we were actually able to focus on her vocals. Simply put, this was a bad song choice for her. Everything about this performance was questionable. Hill can dress the part of a diva in training but that does not automatically give her the whole package. This one needs some work.
And then there were the guys. Chris Mann is not going to win The Voice but he deserves to perform a fun duet with Josh Groban in a future episode. That said, the emotional ties to this song of his may have touched many viewers’s hearts but outside of that, the song and performance were actually quite boring. He’ll most likely be safe this week… but it is only a matter of time until he is eliminated. Can the same be said for Jesse Campbell who also gave a yawn worthy performance? Moses Stone was the only male last night who really engaged the viewers for all of the right reasons.
While he does need some more bass in his voice and the vocals in the beginning were a bit weak, Stone’s performance was so much fun to watch. The background dancing, the lights, the whole sha-bang was well worth the wait to watch. That said… while a fantastic entertainer, Stone can sing about being stronger all he wants but until that voice of his gets stronger, it’s difficult to say whether potential deserves to win. What do you think?
Watch The Voice live episodes Mondays 8-10 p.m. and live eliminations Tuesdays 9-10 p.m. only on NBC.
*Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC