We are getting down to “crunch time” on NBC’s The Voice, where the pressure is on each contestant to separate themselves from the pack. Last night’s show featured not one but two opportunities rise above the competition. The pressure cooker yielded some transcendent performances and some not-so-great ones. We rank how each artist did, from best to last:
Amanda Brown: 15/20
Coach Adam Levine chose Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again for Amanda to sing. She did a decent job, but had some issues transitioning between her body voice and her head voice. We give her a 6/10. Where Amanda was able to really shine, however, was on her choice of Aretha Franklin’s Natural Woman. Clearly, Amanda feels a personal connection with that song, and was able to mix her voices seemlessly for a flawless performance that earned 9/10.
Trevin Hunte: 14/20
Trevin chose Jennifer Hudson’s And I’m Telling You, which proved to be a nice fit for his “voice beyond his years.” While the arrangement was somewhat overwrought, Trevin put his expansive talents on full display and let his emotion come out. He even ripped off his jacket towards the end. The performance gained the strongest reaction of the night from the audience. From us it gets a full 9/10. Coach CeeLo’s risky choice of Katrina and the Waves’ Walking On Sunshine was a little awkward, much like Trevin’s performance of Usher a few episodes back. He just seems out of his element on up-tempo songs. We gave him 5/10.
Nicholas David: 14/20
“Minnesota Nick” opened with September by Earth Wind and Fire. While it was an entertaining performance, both CeeLo and Adam pointed out his reluctance to open up on the high notes throughout the chorus. That earns deductions in our book too: 6/10. He made up for it on his performance of Somewhere Over the Rainbow (which stands at #4 on iTunes as of this writing), throwing some funk into the middle portion of the song before finishing plaintively to earn 8/10.
Terry McDermott: 13/20
Terry’s rendition of I Want to Know What Love Is, originally by Foreigner, shot to #2 on the iTunes chart. We didn’t see too much that distinguished that middle-of-the-road performance from the pack, so we gave it 6/10. Stay With Me, a classic rock song by The Faces was a better choice for his vocal range, earning him 7/10. We just can’t shake the opinion that, even though the judges say they love how much Terry can “rock,” his performances always seem watered down.
Cassadee Pope: 12/20
We have sung Cassadee’s praises in earlier rounds, but we think Coach Blake Shelton harmed her chances with the milquetoast Stand by Rascal Flatts. There was nothing wrong with Cassadee’s performance, but nothing to write home about either. In the Top 6, we are looking for more, so she gets 5/10. Cassadee’s choice of Avril Lavigne’s I’m With You was a better song for her because you could tell she felt an emotional connection, and she nailed the money notes. That earns her 7/10.
Melanie Martinez: 11/20
Coach Adam had Melanie sing The Show by Lenka, which seemed like an excellent fit for her personality and vocal range. However, it still sounded weak, and the judges were lukewarm at best. We only went as high as 6/10. Her song choice, Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy, a risky choice to be sure with CeeLo, the song’s writer, sitting immediately in front of her. CeeLo was gracious in his post-performance comments, but her own coach pointed out her “pitch issues,” which was enough to earn a 5/10 from us.