Reality TV

The Voice Season 4 – Recap & Review – Top 5 Performances

Alas, my dears, I was not around last week, as Bryce needed some assistance to celebrate his 5th birthday. That means the last time I recapped, it was the Top 8 performing. During the results show, we learned that Sarah Simmons and Judith Hill were sent home. I was truly surprised by Judith’s dismissal, for I felt she showed true talent during her performances. Last week, the Top 6 performed two songs each, one picked by the coach and the other by the artist, and when all was said and done, it was Holly Tucker who left the show. That means we are down to the final five artists, including the only remaining men, The Swon Brothers, who are also the only group to make it to the semifinals, so each week they are making Voice history. So far, all four coaches are still in the game, with Shakira, Usher, and Adam Levine with one artist, and Blake with two still going for the win. There are three Country artists, and two Pop singers remaining, and it is just a matter of weeks until we learn which the public will prefer this year. Who is your favorite?

The Voice Season 4 photo thevoice4_2_zps9b6b5c64.jpg
Left to right: Adam Levine, Shakira, Blake Shelton, Usher, and Carson Daly

Carson Daly tells us that for the first time ever, the top 5 were sent home to visit their friends and families. And there will only be three performing in the finale next week, so tomorrow night, we will see two acts going home. And even in the best of circumstances, one judge will not be joining the others in the finals. And if Blake has his way, maybe even two. Then Carson introduces Usher, who sings “Twisted”. Here is the official single version, featuring Pharrell.

You can find the song on iTunes and Amazon. Carson introduces are first contestants of the night, The Swon Brothers. They are dedicating their performance to friends back in Oklahoma, and they will sing Bob Seger’s wonderful “Turn The Page”. They are sounding great, and Zach in great voice. It was intense and strong, just what the boys needed. Usher thought they were fantastic, and set the bar high for tonight. Adam loved it, and is so glad they dedicated the song to the musicians back home. Blake is quite proud, and feels they continue to get better and grow as artists. After what feels like a long break, Christina Milian talks to Danielle Bradbery & Amber Carrington. She has a message for Danielle from Tim McGraw, wishing her good luck when she sings his song tonight! Not to be outdone, Adam arranged for another message, when Katy Perry wishes Amber the best of luck singing her personal favorite, “Firework”. Both girls are thrilled and excited. Carson introduces the next artist we see, Sasha Allen, who will be singing “I Will Always Love You”, which she dedicates to her son and daughter. Whitney Houston has always been an inspiration for her, and this song has extra meaning.

She does a lovely and restrained version of the song, a much more intimate and personal feeling. She certainly sings it her own way, not imitating anyone. It is gorgeous, really, and so heart-warming. Adam is impressed by her, knowing the iconic nature of the song. And he loves that she not only sang it her own way, she also sounded amazing doing it. Usher thought it was amazing, and thinks that voice will keep her in the competition. Shakira is so very proud of her, for Sasha gave a wonderful performance. Shakira’s mother has been telling her Sasha should sing Whitney, and this proves she was right. After a break, we visit Amherst, Massachusetts, on her home visit. She sees friends and family and her old job. She has an interview on the radio, and sings ‘God Bless America’ at Fenway Park! For her first song of the night, she sings “Clarity” by Zedd, the German electronic Dance musician/producer. She sounds great, although it wasn’t her strongest so far. Adam just loves her, but feels that is he says that every week – cause it’s true. Blake wishes she would stumble, but she never does. Usher is so proud, for she is so consistently good. He is so glad to be her coach. Danielle comes out next to sing her first of the night. But first, we see her trip home to Houston, Texas. She has a large family greeting, and heads over to her high school. There she learns she will be singing the National Anthem for the Houston Astros game. Tonight, she will be singing “Please Remember Me”, written by the Country songwriters Rodney Crowell and Will Jennings. Here is the most recent version, sung by Tim McGraw.

She does a great job, showing nice vocal control. I felt it lacked a bit of emotional content. I know she is just 16-years-old, but I would just like to feel more on a song like this. Usher calls her performance “amazeballs”, telling her how impressed he is by her poise and grace. Adam agrees, and talks about the performance being so very technically proficient. Blake loves her, and how she never takes a wrong step with her notes. He loves every note she sings. After the break, it is time for Amber, the last to sing her first of the night. She will be singing “Firework” by Katy Perry. She dedicates the song to her best friends back in Texas. The beginning is a bit low, showing a weakness in her range. But once the song picks up, she is bold and strong, and even outstanding at times. It is nice to hear her put a bit of Country in her Pop diva. Blake is impressed, and calls the power of her voice ‘Phenomenal’. But he wants her to sing more Country! Shakira knows that is a tough song, but thinks she did very well. Adam admits it is a tough one, but thinks it is the best he has heard the song sound. And he loves that she can sing Pop, and Country, and embraces the fact she doesn’t fit in just one place, she defines her own. After a break, we see The Swon Brothers returning home to Oklahoma. Colton and his Grandmother were adorable. They visit the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, where they used to work. They are surprised to learn they have been named the Rising Star of 2013, complete with a welcome message by Vince Gill! They have a sold out show in their hometown, truly energizing them for the show. They sing “Danny’s Song” by Kenny Loggins, a true classic from his Loggins & Messina days.

They have such a natural sense of harmony, this is really beautiful. The harmonics of the song seem tailor-made for them. This was simple, beautiful, and breath-taking. I am not sure it will save them, but it certainly showed their strength. Usher thought it was another great performance from the boys, and loves how they made Country music so accessible for him. Adam says this is one of his favorite songs, remembering how he learned to sing to the original Loggins & Messina single. He just loves what the boys do, even if this is one of the few songs he already knew! Blake points out he learned from the Ann Murray version, and Adam is lost again. Blake is so proud of them, and thinks this was a great week for them. Next up, we return home to New York City for Sasha Allen, and how she surprises her daughter after school. She also has a radio interview, and then goes on to sing at the Village Underground, where the artists show up to support one of their own. She then takes on her second diva of the night, for she is singing “Bad Girls” by the late, great Donna Summer. She sounds amazing on this, updating the sound with a new and vital vocal. The audience goes wild, the best response from them so far. Adam loved it, and thinks she was great. Usher, who gave her a standing ovation, loved it, and thought it offered a wonderful tribute to Summer. Shakira is so proud, and mentions that “Bad Girls” was the first record she purchased. After an excessively long preview of the new film starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx, it is time for Danielle Bradbery, who will be singing “Who I Am”, a song recorded by American country music artist Jessica Andrews.

This is a great song for her, allowing for her youth and ups the cute factor. While singing, she goes out to her family, and singes to her parents. There is a sweetness factor that can’t be missed. Usher loved it, and thought she was incredible. Shakira loved it, and thinks she will be able to say “I knew her when…” Blake thinks she is a superstar, and predicts big things for her. After yet another break, it is time for Amber Carrington, who will be singing “Sad”, written by her coach and James Valentine, and performed by their band, Maroon 5. But first, we see her visiting home in Texas, and her sisters are just adorable. She sounded relaxed for the radio interview, and excited to visit the boutique where she used to work. She visits with her late mother’s parents, a touching moment. Then she heads to the Riverfront to give a concert, where there was no standing room to be had! Back to the show, she sings this really beautiful song, and it sits wonderfully in her register. Her emotional connection is wonderful, and it brought a tear to my eye. Blake loved it, and thinks she hasn’t gotten the recognition for her emotional performances, always there. Usher congratulated her for making it this far, and thought her performance was fantastic. Adam is so proud, for he wrote the song with Valentine, recorded it, and he just saw her make it sound so much better than he ever could. He loves her, and couldn’t be any happier. After a break, we come back to hear Michelle Chamuel sings a song written by Tony Award-winner Cyndi Lauper and Rob Hyman, of the great band, The Hooters. She dedicates her performance of “Time After Time” to her coach, Usher. Here is Cyndi’s iconic version.

Michelle, who had a big moment with Cyndi’s “True Colors” in the Top 16 performances, hopes to repeat history tonight. I hate to say it, but this one didn’t work as well for me. I think she is incredible, and I love her, but this one got a bit lost in the process for me. She was always on key, never straying. But something was lacking. Shakira loved it and her, and says she is “in permanent crescendo”. Adam says he loves her once again. Usher is moved she dedicated the song to him, and thinks she is the winner. Carson breaks in, and quickly signs off, as they are running tight on time. Before the show started, I figured The Swon Brothers would be most likely going home, but now I am not so sure. They had a great night, and I think they proved they have something to give to this competition. But no one really made a mistake, although there were a few stumbles. It wasn’t the strongest night for Danielle, nor for Amber. We shall see if it comes down to Country artists, or if Sasha and Michelle will be fighting for your votes to stay for the finals. Speaking of votes, to learn how you can place your vote, visit the official website. In brief, you can vote via a toll-free phone number, online at NBC.com, with the special NBC App, or Facebook. Unlike some shows, The Voice limits the amount of votes people can place per method. You can vote 10 times per phone, or 10 times via Facebook, or 10 times via NBC App between now and 10AM Tuesday morning. The phone number is (877)553-37XX, filling in the ‘XX’ with the artist number. Those numbers would be The Swon Brothers 01, Sasha Allen 02, Michelle Chamuel 03, Danielle Bradbery 04, and Amber Carrington 05. Don’t forget, your iTunes purchase also counts as a vote, if you are so inclined. There is a link to all the songs on the iTunes front page.

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4 comments
IdleTime
IdleTime

I predict Sasha and Amber leaving.  If there's going to be a surprise, it would be Michelle leaving instead of Amber..

jbeee
jbeee

All my analysis at once...

First of all, I believe three artists have found there way, and they are all safe. Sasha, Danielle, and Michelle (and their respective judges) clearly know who these folks are as artists and I think it is suiting them well.

Sasha is the black Diva and she has channeled it well. I was a bit concerted as she started "I will Always Love You" but she brought it together into a nice, original version. It wasn't note for not Whitney (and definitely not Dolly) and the result was it was special. My only complaint is how time restraints cause odd vocal editing, but that is true for many of these songs. I thought "Bad Girls" was a throw away, but it did succeed in showing a different side and I think she can afford that.

Danielle, on the other hand, did two similar songs in sentiment, but they worked for her. "Remember Me" was nice, but she really pulled at the heart strings with "Who I Am". That is the type of song that can make her something. In the past I have been critical of Danielle, but I see her growing into a confident, polished artist. There isn't necessarily a lot of depth there, but she hasn't lived a lot of life yet. Blake is doing a good job of steering her.

And then there is Michelle. Every year some different or quirky artists is there to the end, and this year it is Michelle. In truth "Clarity" seemed more a European style hit, than American but I thought it was very solid. The choice of "Time After Time" is right in her wheelhouse, as who is more quirky than Cyndi Lauper. I thought they were both very solid choices and will appeal to her fan base.

The Swon Brothers puzzle me at time. I liked "Turn the Page" but I don't think the short version did them any favors. "Danny's Song" was a departure. My problem is that neither one was really prone to showing off their harmonies. They might have switched leads for this to make it unique. I think they could be back in the bottom.

But I think the weakest performances on the night were by Amber. Adam said when he picked her he wanted to beat Blake with a country artist. Really, she is country? Could have fooled me. I don't know what he is trying to do with her musically, but I am sick of "Fireworks" and "Sad" really did nothing for me. I think Amber may be on the way out.

burker
burker

Love ya Howard.  Great recap as always.