The Voice 9 – Live Blog and Recap – Live Top 10 Performances (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for The Voice 9, “Live Top 11 Performances”! Coaches Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams pit their teams against each other as we continue the race to the Season 9 finals!
Last week, we said goodbye to Evan McKeel, as Team Pharrell lost yet another teammate after America chose to save Korin Bukowski for a second consecutive week! Can Korin bounce back? Or will she find herself in the Bottom 2 sing-off for a third straight week? Will Pharrell be able to keep it all together? He’s basically just down to Madi Davis now: on the one hand, he can dedicate more of his energy and focus on her; on the other hand, she’s all he has left. The stakes are higher than ever!
Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be updating with commentary, results, and videos as soon as they become available!
Let’s get this show on the road!
-Let’s go over tonight’s song spoilers!
(Click on the title to download the song on iTunes)
TEAM ADAM LEVINE
TEAM GWEN STEFANI
TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS
TEAM BLAKE SHELTON
I can’t wait to hear Jeffery’s take on “Jealous”, although if this were a double elimination week, I’d get the feeling Jeffery is likely to be the only guy she has left when the results are read. Even if rocking out is what Braiden wants to do, Gwen desperately needs to stop giving him rock songs. He just doesn’t have it in him to pull it off. It’s like a teddy bear trying to start a riot. And while I think Korin has the potential to sound better on “Same Old Love” than Selena Gomez, that song doesn’t really have much of a melody to hang a vocal on. Part of me wishes the “get rid of five people in one week” bloodbath was this week and not next, because I’m kind of ready to let go of at least half of these artists. Looking forward to Jordan and Amy though. This could be a decent show.
-I love how every time Carson introduces the coaches, it’s like he’s hosting SNL, and he’s introducing people who aren’t there every week. Anyway, I digress…
TEAM GWEN STEFANI: JEFFERY AUSTIN opens the show!
-Jeffery talks about how crazy it is that he was working at a desk just a few months ago, and now he’s on The Voice. He’ll be singing “Jealous” by Labrinth, which is basically my favorite song. Jeffery notes that this is one of the most beautiful songs he’s ever heard, although he misinterprets the lyrics as being about a failed relationship when it’s really about a child who’s been abandoned by his parent. Regardless, it doesn’t affect Jeffery’s interpretation, from the sound of the rehearsal. That said, I’m instantly annoyed that we end up seguing into Gwen talking fashion, and seeming way more into that than the performance itself. I’m sure she’s a wonderful human being, but as a coach, Gwen just goes through me like coffee on an empty stomach.
-I thought this was Jeffery’s most powerful vocal, not so much from an emotional standpoint but from sheer vocal force. That said, while I thought it was great, the arrangement — which turns the piano into a constant, percussive-like element — was actually kind of grating after a while. But I say that as someone who’s listened to the original on repeat relentlessly, so I admit to a certain bias. Ultimately, I can’t argue with what Jeffery did with the vocal. Hopefully, he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, having gone first.
-Adam congratulates Jeffery on once again transporting them to a different place, while Blake says he hasn’t been that wrapped up in a performance as he was just now, calling the song beautiful. Pharrell hadn’t heard the song before (which surprises me), but felt Jeffery’s honesty through the lyrics. He felt this was a chance for people to get to know who Jeffery is. Gwen says she didn’t want it to end, noting that this could easily be a record Jeffery would make.
TEAM BLAKE SHELTON: EMILY ANN ROBERTS is up next!
-Blake has given each member of his team a brand new guitar, and Emily couldn’t be more happy. In fact, her asking Blake to sign it just might be her cutest moment on this show yet. She’ll be singing “She’s Got You” by Patsy Cline, and Blake is impressed by how much Emily already has a grip on her artistry. For her part, Emily is excited to talk about having had a phone conversation with Wynonna Judd following last week’s stellar performance. She even had a chart-topper on iTunes on the country charts! I still think she’s Team Blake’s best chance at winning this thing.
-I swear, every week, Emily delivers a performance that becomes my favorite of hers so far. And this week was no different. She made this sound like a whole new song written especially for her. Her vocal was confident, and she connected with the track’s story in a way that not a lot of other artists do in this competition. I really enjoyed this, and wouldn’t be surprised if she had another country chart-topper with this.
-And now Blake is doing the obnoxious shouting again. Pharrell states that he doesn’t want to sound generic, but he thought that performance was fantastic. He adds that Emily sings with such an old soul for someone so young, and he loves that about her. Adam, for his part, states that he loves how much Emily has grown throughout this competition, going from a good singer when she started this show, to becoming a phenomenal singer. He hates to give Blake credit, but he has to give it up to him for this one. Blake says he hasn’t had a better collaborator on this show in nine seasons, saying that was Emily’s best performance. And I’m inclined to agree with him.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Emily Ann Roberts Sings ‘She’s Got You’ on The Voice 9 (VIDEO)
TEAM GWEN STEFANI: BRAIDEN SUNSHINE is up next!
-Braiden talks about how his hometown is supporting him, with signs and banners on Main Street — most of which have been made by his grandmother, who’s super proud of him. It’s so adorable that I can’t imagine he’ll be going anywhere this week. He’ll be singing “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, for some stupid-ass reason (seriously, dude. You can hit the notes. But you’re not a rocker. Like…at all). To his credit, Braiden keeps it from sounding like the original by insisting that this needs to have strings. He does sound pretty damn great in rehearsal, hitting those big notes clearly. But am I alone in thinking he sounds a bit like Gwen here?
-So Gwen cut Braiden’s hair, under the guise that he’ll feel empowered, although I see this as another brick in the wall of Gwen changing everything people like about an artist going into the live shows. On the plus side, she at least let him keep his glasses on this week. I enjoyed the arrangement here far more than the performance itself. I like Braiden, and yes, I know he’s had a band for a long time. But he’s just not a rocker. At least not at this stage. And I don’t think it’s what anyone wants to see from him either. I just didn’t get this at all, even while I didn’t think there was anything technically wrong with it.
-Adam praises Braiden for having balls, and then spends the rest of his time defending using the word “balls”. Blake is so flustered that he can’t think of anything to say at first, ultimately praising him for tackling current music while also being a bit of a throwback to the 80s. Gwen spends her time praising Braiden’s haircut, as this whole thing goes flying out the window into an unending sky of utter pointlessness.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Braiden Sunshine Sings ‘Radioactive’ on The Voice 9 (VIDEO)
TEAM ADAM LEVINE: SHELBY BROWN is up next!
-Adam actually follows through on his promise to buy Shelby a giraffe…although it’s a stuffed giraffe named Gerard. Still, Shelby’s overjoyed reaction is adorable. Tonight, Shelby will be singing “Go Rest On That High Mountain” by Vince Gill, and she’ll be dedicating it to her grandfather. Adam feels this could be her big moment this season, and I agree, since we can already see in rehearsals how emotionally connected she is to this song. Granted, Braiden’s rehearsals sounded better than his live performance, so I’m hesitant to go all-in on a performance just from what we hear in the VT. But here’s hoping for the best.
-I thought this was Shelby’s best performance. The song choice was on-point, bringing out that gospel tone to Shelby’s voice. She has power and tenderness at the same time, and it really came out here. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the remarkable clarity of Shelby’s voice. A lot of people get drowned out by the band or the background singers, but Shelby is more than capable of holding her own here. My only concern here is that voters will find this boring. But I imagine this will play really well in the Bible Belt. And hey, this was her best vocal, after all.
-Pharrell talks about how beautifully Shelby connected to the intention of the person writing the song, and goes on to declare this to be Shelby’s best performance and moment on the show. Adam agrees, saying that he’s only ever been trying to help Shelby get out of her own way by opening up more. And that’s exactly what happened here, as Shelby opened up, and all of her amazing talent was able to shine through. And with that, we move on, since we’re already in Rush Mode.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Shelby Brown Sings ‘Go Rest On That High Mountain’ on The Voice 9 (VIDEO)
TEAM GWEN STEFANI: KORIN BUKOWSKI is up next!
-Korin will be singing “Same Old Love” by Selena Gomez, as Gwen sees this as an opportunity for Korin to show a sassy side. This involves Gwen showing Korin how to sing the song, and this is kind of how I expected the mentoring session to go, albeit with 50% more fashion talk. I have no idea why Korin is being put in a Florence Welch-esque red pantsuit. To her credit though, she totally pulls it off. This has potential to be pretty good, although I’m wondering if it’ll be enough to keep her out of the Bottom 2 this week.
-Korin does a far better job with this song than I was expecting, considering the song choice itself. She sounds way better than Selena Gomez here, in my opinion. And this is, for me, her most confident live show performance to date, and one of her best performances in the competition overall. While I don’t expect she’ll avoid the Bottom 2, I really hope she does, because she doesn’t deserve to be in the Bottom 2 after this, in my opinion. Really good.
-Pharrell shouts out the band and how they framed Korin’s voice so well. He loves seeing how her confidence has been climbing throughout the season, and felt this was her moment. Adam serves up some praise as well, although he seems decidedly less enthusiastic about it than Pharrell. But hey, praise is praise. For her part, Gwen thinks it was crazy how Korin just tackled the song, and states how proud she is of Korin. I would be too, honestly. Korin acquitted herself quite well just then.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Korin Bukowski Sings ‘Same Old Love’ on The Voice 9 (VIDEO)
TEAM ADAM LEVINE: AMY VACHAL is up next!
-Amy will be singing “Bye Bye Bye” by NSYNC, noting how she used to idolize the group. Her brother used to steal all her NSYNC albums and give her a hard time about her dream of one day being inducted as the sixth member of the group. He can’t believe it when Amy calls him and lets him know she’ll be singing “Bye Bye Bye”. The rehearsal is pretty great, as it starts out sort of bluesy and creepy, but then Adam decides to have the band play it in double time, adding a cool component that makes it sound more current. I love this already, although I’m worried it might come off as campy, depending on how the rest of the arrangement sounds. Don’t pick up the pace too much!
-Amy is probably the only contestant in the history of this show who’s never done anything I didn’t love. And this is no different. The arrangement is positively genius, to such an extent that I wouldn’t be surprised if the original charted on iTunes as well, just from the bump in profile it’ll get from this version. I’m hoping Amy tops iTunes for another straight week, because this was everything a cover on this show should be: original, versatile, and just damn good. This was so smoky and cool that I kind of wish she’d go on tour with Postmodern Jukebox. They would absolutely have a field day with her. I adored this. Amy looked gorgeous, sounded gorgeous, and delivered one of the best moments of the season so far.
-Gwen thinks Amy could have a future playing a theater show in which she takes popular songs and flips them — in essence, she basically describes exactly what Postmodern Jukebox is succeeding at doing. Adam praises Amy for her inventive arrangements, saying they’re infectious, and noting that they also serve as a teaching moment for artists, as it shows all the different ways in which a great song can remain a great song.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Amy Vachal Amazes With ‘Bye Bye Bye’ on The Voice 9 (VIDEO)
TEAM ADAM LEVINE: JORDAN SMITH is up next!
-Jordan will be singing “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, noting that while the title of the song is often a joyful exclamation, there’s also a more emotional meaning behind it. He suggests to Adam that they should have a solo cellist, and I can’t imagine a version of this song on a singing show that didn’t have a full strings section and backing choir. I kind of hate how predictable the song choice is, if only because a singer like Jordan doesn’t need to pander by hitting all the classics of Eventual Talent Show Winners. But I still expect this to be outstanding.
-While I still think his “Halo” was a better vocal, this was one of the strongest performances of the live shows altogether. Jordan is such a complete vocalist, showing his power but also his tenderness, delivering those falsetto notes with tremendous grace. I was really impressed by this, even while I wasn’t exactly surprised by how good it was. Sometimes, a performance just lives up to your expectations. For me, this was one of those performances.
-Blake says it’s boring to talk to Jordan after his performances, since they always say the same thing to him: and this week is no different. Blake says he never thought someone would top Matthew Schuler’s version from a couple seasons ago, but he thinks Jordan just did. Pharrell loves the way Jordan just “skates through the scales,” and congratulates him on another touching performance. Adam recalls showing people a video of a version of this performance, and getting chills upon seeing how it affected people. He thinks Jordan did an outstanding job, and to be honest, when this season started, I thought this was another Team Blake year. But now I’m wondering how Team Adam could realistically lose, between Amy and Jordan. Hope I’m not cursing this, but that was two great back-to-back performances from Team Adam.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Jordan Smith Brings Down the House With ‘Hallelujah’ on The Voice 9 (VIDEO)
-Back from break with a video clip in which Ellie Goulding surprises the coaches by knocking on their respective trailer doors to announce she’ll be performing on the December 7th semifinal show. However, none of the coaches answer the door, leaving Ellie to just shrug her shoulders, make the announcement…and that’s it. What a strange segment.
GWEN STEFANI PERFORMS “USED TO LOVE YOU”
-Gwen performs her new single, “Used To Love You”, and I actually really dig it. I haven’t always loved Gwen’s voice, but it really works with this song, creating something that could have been a haunting, Bonnie Tyler-style 80s ballad. Gwen seems to be getting pretty emotional during the song too. This is great stuff, and probably my favorite coach performance of the season so far (I say “probably” because I can’t even remember the rest of the coach performances from this season. If nothing else, it’s better than Adam and his team’s take on “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” on last week’s results show).
-In a funny moment, Carson corrects a mistake he made earlier, as he’d called Barrett Baber “Barrett BARBER”. So he says “Barrett BABER” multiple times in a goofy-ass “clarification” voice as we head to break. I love it.
TEAM BLAKE SHELTON: ZACH SEABAUGH is up next!
-Zach will be singing “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen, and Blake quickly notices that Zach is familiar with the song. He admits he sang this with his quartet, but was in the baritone section. Blake could tell because Zach was a bit hung up on the harmony. They work it out, with the hopes of giving Zach a moment, although Blake jokes that he’s learned never to tell Zach what to do as an artist. Zach gets a lot of support back home, with his friends tell him to “hurry up and win this thing already”, and Blake tying it all together with a cute phone call in which he tells Zach he loves him. How unexpectedly sweet.
-Zach is a nice guy. He’s talented. And a lot of people find him attractive and appealing. But after this performance, it’s time for the Zach Seabaugh experiment to be over. This was a painfully bland vocal, and a performance that looked kind of uncomfortable. I’ve never really bought Zach as someone who’s entirely comfortable shaking and swinging his hips, but that’s what Blake keeps having him do, rather than just letting him SING. Because, really, the guy has a voice, and could probably impress people if he got to just slow it down and show it off. He has a few really cool vocal moments towards the end, just before the pyro, that gives a peek at just what Zach might be capable of with a better song. However, these high-energy performances are doing him no real favors as a vocalist, although I bet they probably appeal to his demographic.
-Adam jokes how it’s sad that Zach has no confidence, before giving it up for Zach’s performance overall. Blake says it was Zach’s best performance, and then “goes out on a limb” and predicts he’ll see Zach in the finale in two weeks. The finale is only going to be four people, so I REALLY can’t see that happening unless he’s actually Team Blake’s highest vote-getter, which I’m not sure he is. But I guess you never know.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Zach Seabaugh Sings ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ on The Voice 9 (VIDEO)
TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: MADI DAVIS is up next!
-Madi wants to carry the torch for Team Pharrell, as the last member of the team remaining. She’ll be singing “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper, noting that it has a special place in her heart as one of the first songs she ever covered. Madi says this song, in her mind, always lent itself to being interpreted as a sad song. Pharrell loves that Madi is already interpreting the song at this level at her age. Pharrell states that this could be the end of his run in the competition if Madi goes home, but notes that this isn’t about him, it’s about a 16-year-old girl. And, from all appearances, he has faith in Madi.
-This is kind of a strange arrangement. It’s all over the place, from incorporating an elegant string section, to doing this utterly baffling adult contemporary leitmotif with a saxophone (or was it a clarinet?). I loved Madi’s vocal, and thought the classic movie star look suited her quite beautifully. But the arrangement did absolutely nothing for me. I really hope she’s not in trouble this week, because she’s one of my favorite vocalists in the competition, and I think she has a whole lot more left to give in this competition.
-There’s some awkward miscommunication as Carson throws to Adam, assuming that Gwen is crying. But she isn’t, and insists she isn’t. Either way, Adam says he loved what Madi did with the song, while Gwen goes on about how awesome and cool Madi is (and I don’t disagree!). Pharrell gets the crowd to chant “SIXTEEN!”, noting how amazing it is that Madi is sixteen and coming up with arrangements like this. Blake, for his part, is just anxious to buy this on iTunes.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Madi Davis Stuns With ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’ on The Voice 9 (VIDEO)
TEAM BLAKE SHELTON: BARRETT BABER closes the show!
-Barrett will be playing his guitar and “singing from the heart” for a special dedication to his home state of Arkansas: “I’d Just Love To Lay You Down” by Conway Twitty. So you heard it here first, Arkansas. Barrett Baber wants that booty. In all seriousness, Conway Twitter is from Arkansas, and so he’s shouting out his home state by doing a song by one of its native sons. Barrett is stoked to be working with Blake, and he’s humbled to have made the Top 10. Early in the video package, we even see a special moment in which Barrett is visited by one of his former high school students, who is quick to tell the camera that Barrett is one of the greatest men he’s ever met. That was really, really sweet, actually.
-For me, this was Barrett’s best performance of the season. This vocal was absolutely impeccable, and I wish he’d do songs like this more often. The man has such a rich voice, and he delivers just as much passion and showmanship while sitting down as he does running around the stage. I loved this, and I’m almost shocked by how much. This was a really strong way to close out the show, and it made an even stronger case for why Barrett could be Team Blake’s best shot at a win.
-Adam says it was his favorite performance from Barrett so far. Blake agrees, saying it’s the best he’s performed overall. He predicts Barrett will reach the Top 10 on iTunes, and while I don’t think he’s been in the Top 10 on the overall singles chart, I wouldn’t be surprised if this week is the week he cracks the Top 10.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Barrett Baber Sings ‘I’d Just Love To Lay You Down’ on The Voice 9 (VIDEO)
-Aaaaand that’s a wrap on tonight’s show! While I’d want to see Zach in the Bottom 2 after that performance, I doubt he’ll actually land there, so I’m predicting the Bottom 2 will be Shelby Brown and Korin Bukowski, although I wouldn’t rule out a Braiden Sunshine surprise.
You can make your Bottom 2 predictions right now by voting in our official poll!
But what did you think of the Top 10 performances? Sound off in the comments!
Until tomorrow night’s results show, thanks for reading and hanging out!