Reality TV

The Voice Season 4 – Top 12 Review & Recap

As we hit night 3 of the Live Playoffs, the Top 12 will be taking to the stage, looking to make it past this week, garnering enough votes to be a part of the Top 10 next week. With all 12 performing this evening, the votes will be done by 10AM tomorrow morning, and the bottom two vote totals will be sent home, no matter what team they are from. Yes, that means one coach could potentially go from 3 artists to 1, should their team not deliver when it counts. As the show opens, host Carson Daly explains the heat was steaming up the West Coast, and the theater lost the air conditioning, but they have hopes it will get turned on shortly. He thanks the studio audience for sticking it out despite the heat, and the judges are prepared to be in it for the long haul on this hot night of performances.

The Voice Season 4 Judges photo the_voice_judges_zpsd9d01b49.jpgLeft to right: Adam Levine, Usher, Blake Shelton and Shakira.

The first up for the night will be VEDO, who will sing “Rock With You” by Michael Jackson. VEDO met with his coach, Usher, and Usher’s choreographer, all to add more finish to the show. In the end, the work paid off, for he sounded quite good, and he was moving well during the song. It was a great mix of song and dance, although I would think it is tough to take on Michael Jackson, who was just so damn talented. Shakira loved it, and always finds him entertaining and leaving his heart on the stage. Blake loved it, and thought it all worked so well. Usher was so very proud, for it showed he not only did the work, it also puts him in prime position to move on. Team Blake is up next, and Holly Tucker will sing “Broken Wing” by Martina McBride. Blake advises her to sing hard, for the message of the song is so important. Here is Martina McBride singing “Broken Wing”.

Holly opens up the song singing strong, and never looks back. It was like she started with the pedal to the floor, and never lifted. Honestly, I didn’t feel a strong connection with the message, but with the volume. The early run wasn’t sounding that great, falling a little limp. I was a bit disappointed. Usher loved it, and hopes she understands she is a real talent. Shakira was thrilled, and thought Holly sounded better than ever. Adam also enjoyed the performance, and thought it was her best of the season to date. Blake was so proud of his student, and thinks Nashville is sitting up and taking notice of her talent. Shakira is up next, and she sends Garrett Gardner to the stage, singing “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. She thinks it will be cool getting a rock version of a 90s boyband hit. This is a very strange song choice, and I just fear Garrett is just too young and inexperienced to really put a strong stamp on the song. Adam was not thrilled with it, and just wanted to be honest with him. Blake understood the song choice, but wasn’t sure he delivered. Usher just wanted him to understand the constructive criticism was only to help make him a better artist, and they all were pulling for him. Shakira wants Garrett to ignore them all, she is so very proud of what he did, and thinks his fans, especially the girls, will take care of him. After the commercial break, we learn the air condition is back on, and it is time for Sarah Simmons to sing “The Story” by Brandi Carlile. Adam wants her to get out of her comfort zone, and deliver a bold performance. But first, let’s check out Brandi singing “The Story”.

I really love this song, and think Brandi Carlile is a gifted songwriter. I liked this performance, although there was an odd flow Sarah’s rendition of the song. It felt like she was trying so very hard to deliver vocal range, and kinda forgot the emotional side of the song, which is really deep. I mean, I did appreciate she had more growl in her voice than I ever thought was there, but it just felt misplaced for me. Blake just loved it, and he loves that song. Shakira thought it was a great song choice, despite not knowing the song. Adam is thrilled with her, as she can deliver the lilting light vocals, as well as the gritty, bluesy kind. He just loves her, and thinks she is one of the best singers that has appeared on the show. After the break, it is time for Blake to coach The Swon Brothers, who will be doing a tribute to the late George Jones, and sing an acoustic version of “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes”. I am really surprised, for they delivered a strong performance, simply and beautifully sung. Their voices blend so damned well together, I thought it was their best performance to date. I loved it. Usher thought it was beautiful, and they did a great job. Adam thought it was a lovely tribute to the man, and they made him forget it was a competition, and allowed him to just enjoy the show. Blake was so very happy, pleased The Swon Brothers honored the late George Jones as well as Country music with that song and performance. He felt it was their break-out moment. Soon it is time for Shakria to being out her next artist. Sasha Allen will be singing “Alone” by Heart. During the rehearsals, Shakira wants her to work on the opening lines, to make it more personal. But before she sings, let’s hear Heart singing “Alone”.

I have to say, I think the advice was really good, and she delivered an awesome version of the song, one that didn’t really sound like Heart. Her voice was so spot on, and so filled with emotion, I was really touched by the performance. Adam thought she was incredible, and proved once again he was wrong for letting her go. Usher thought it was amazing, and she did everything right. Shakira loved it, and thinks Sasha has one of the best voices she has ever heard. After a break, it is time for Josiah Hawley to meet with Usher. Josiah will sing “The Man That Can’t Be Moved” by The Script. He wants to deliver an acoustic performance. He comes out in jeans and a t-shirt, and his acoustic guitar. Here is The Script singing their song.

As Josiah begins the song, he sounds so tuned in, not only to the pitch, but also the lyrics. I have to say, Josiah has impressed me once again. At first I thought he was just a pretty boy who could sing, but he is proving to be far more than that. This was a great performance. Adam thought it was his best so far, and he delivered that in his sweet spot. Blake was also impressed, and thought it was his strongest so far. Usher was thrilled for him, and thought he had this great idea, and pulled it off perfectly. Next up is another strong vocalist from Team Blake, Danielle Bradbery. She will be taking on “Wasted” by Carrie Underwood. Those are tough shoes to fill, for Carrie is an amazing singer. She delivers a strong and beautiful performance. However, I thought it was just a bit karaoke. There were no bad notes, and not a single moment of nerves to be seen. Shakira is just so impressed by her, a 16-year-old that never shows any signs of nerves on the big stage. Adam thought she was amazing, and feels she is the frontrunner at the moment, and his singers have to step up to give her competition. Blake just loves his student, but really loves that she is just a normal girl, not changed a bit by her time on TV. Soon it is time for Judith Hill to meet with coach Adam Levine, who tells us she will be flying solo, playing the piano with no other accompaniment. She will be singing Carole King’s “You’ve Got A Friend”.

She starts off with a soft and simple arrangement, and allows it to build with an amazing feel. This was beautiful, for it stayed away from the karaoke versions of this song we have all heard far too often. There is such power in her voice, and yet she still managed to connect to the lyrics, and deliver the emotion. This is just one more excellent vocal on the night, making it very hard for people to vote. Usher thought it was an amazing display of artistry, and he loved it. Blake just thought it was a perfect performance, every aspect on the money. Adam thought it proved just how special her talent is, and is so proud to have her on his team. After the break, it is time for Michelle Chamuel, who will be singing “Call Your Girlfriend” by Robyn. Michelle loves that, for she wants to be an eclectic electronic artist, blending genres much like Robyn. While I loved the intent of the song, I wasn’t sure that was a great follow-up to her brilliant last performance. I thought her voice was a little light on the song, like the song needed to be dropped a bit to honor her vocal strength. Either that, or she lacked the confidence to really deliver. I really wanted this to be better than it was. Shakira gave Michelle kudos for being able to sing and dance, which is not as easy as it seems. Adam tells her how much he loves her, and the interesting choices she makes. Usher tells her he is so very proud of her, and how he is so pleased he is part of her journey on ‘The Voice’. After a break, we hear Kris Thomas was getting ready to enlist in the Navy, but came to audition instead. He will be singing “I’ll Be There” by the Jackson 5, hoping to let him show his vocal range. Here are Michael and his brothers with the song.

I have to say, I was a bit disappointed here, too. On the chorus, he seemed like he was straining to hit the notes, and he added just a few too many runs, which fell short for me. The song started so high, his move from chest voice to falsetto was not as smooth as it has been previously. Once again, I wish they had adjusted the key down, to really let his voice be the best it could be. Adam gave him credit for being able to hit those notes in a live performance. Usher thought there were a few places that seemed a bit mixed up, like he couldn’t decide if he was singing Michael’s version, or the cover by Mariah Carey. Nice catch, Usher. Shakira is so pleased with her singer, and thinks he sounded great, and proved how much he wants to be in this competition. And as we come near the end of the show, it is time for the final performance of the night. Adam’s Country artist, Amber Carrington, who will be taking on Martina McBride’s “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”. It is a message that touches her deeply, and she dedicates it to her mother, who was taken by cancer. She comes out a little timid, but quickly allows the song to carry the day. She is a talented young lady, and gave a really wonderful performance. I was impressed. Blake loved it, and thought Amber not only did Martina proud, but Nashville and Country music as well. Usher is just plain impressed by the depth and breath of her voice. Shakira thought it was wonderful. Adam is so proud of her, for the song was so close to home, and she kept it together and delivered a fantastic performance. So we are at the end of the night, and all that is left is the voting. 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 VEDO 01, Holly Tucker 02, Garrett Gardner 03, Sasha Allen 04, The Swon Brothers 05, Sarah Simmons 06, Josiah Hawley 07, Danielle Bradbery 08, Judith Hill 09, Michelle Chamuel 10, Kris Thomas 11, and Amber Carrington 12.

Reality TV Adam LevineBlake SheltonCarson DalyShakiraThe VoiceUsher

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