'The Voice' Season 9, Top 11
Barrett Baber performs on “The Voice.”
Down to 11 artists, it is remarkably difficult to tell who the frontrunners really are on “The Voice.”
Because the coaches are so quick to praise and so sparse with their critiques, the playing field appears deceptively level.
Jordan Smith must have given himself the upper hand by bundling all his insecurities into one Jessie J song, but Madi Davis also put herself in a good position and Emily Ann continued her dominance of the show’s country corner.
Then again, Blake was wide-eyed for Jeffery Austin on Monday’s episode, although that may have just been a ploy to stay on Gwen’s good side. The country mogul said he realized that Jeffery could give his newfound girlfriend the opportunity to become the first female coach to win “The Voice.”
Sounds like he’s a master flatterer, but if there was one person Blake could stand losing to, it would be her.
Only one artist will exit after Tuesday’s episode, meaning we’ll soon be down to 10.
Read on to see how the Top 11 performed Monday night.
Shelby Brown — “You and I” by Lady Gaga
It was nice to see Shelby work through something that wasn’t entirely country.
Pharrell said she came out on stage “like a cannon,” and her raspy growl, which hadn’t been on display much before, was a go-to tactic for this performance, although Gwen mentioned that she might want to use it sparingly because of its uniqueness.
Amy Vachal performs on “The Voice.”
Shelby was at her best when she was holding onto the “I” with blistering force, because when she came down to a gentler rhythm, her voice seemed to waver.
Adam was nevertheless impressed, although he did overzealously promise Shelby a giraffe if she delivered with this performance.
She at least deserves a stuffed one.
Evan McKeel — “Smile” by Nat King Cole
After a series of energetic performances ranging from Stevie Wonder to Kenny Loggins, Evan brought it down a notch, taking a seat center stage while strumming gently on his guitar.
His voice was certainly showcased more prominently, which was an important step for Evan, but overall it was a fairly uninspiring performance — not to mention the strange silhouette back up dancer that only served to take attention away from the singer.
Before he went onstage, Evan said the world needed to hear a song with this infectious message. It’s possible that genuine sentiment might be enough to boost him into the Top-10.
Barrett Baber — “Delta Dawn” by Tanya Tucker
Barrett did what he’s done best throughout this competition, creating an aura of machismo with his gritty voice.
(l-r) Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams, and Blake Shelton react on “The Voice.”
He gave a much more upbeat performance that had Blake yelping his emphatic “yeahs” with Adam foolishly imitating them in the background. ‘
His coach said Barrett “took us all to church,” which wasn’t an inaccurate interpretation. That feeling was propped up by a choir of backup singers who were talented in their own rite, but Barrett did enough to let his individual voice shine through.
Korin Bukowski — “Only Hope” by Mandy Moore
It’s never easy to rebound from the stress of being an instant save, but at best an artist can use the failure as motivation.
Korin shook off the nerves from whatever happened last week and was radiant onstage during this soft, tender performance.
Voice notwithstanding, it’s becoming a little eerie how much Korin has come to look more and more like her coach every time she steps onstage. At least we know Gwen is influencing this young artist in some way.
Amy Vachal — “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift
Maybe this version will come out on Spotify.
Credit Adam for finding hit songs that Amy can transform into her own while still preserving the sweetness in her voice.
Korin Bukowski and Carson Daly on “The Voice.”
There wasn’t more than a hint of Taylor Swift to this, which is a testament to how unique Amy’s voice is. It’s hard to see the Brooklyn native going anywhere anytime soon unless more rigid voters tire of hearing their favorite songs picked apart and made into something brand new.
It would be a true shame to see someone so original depart.
Zach Seabaugh — “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” by Thompson Square
Zach’s fate on this show is in the hands of teenage girls populating a dream world with this 17-year-old at the beating heart of it.
His voice wasn’t much to write home about during this performance, but considering how many female squawks were emanating from the crowd afterward, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he moves on.
Gwen noted that it was “almost cheating” for him to sing a song like this, which is something she’s learned a little bit about recently (too soon?).
Madi Davis — “Love is Blindness” by U2
Pharrell leapt from his seat to embrace Madi after her performance, probably because he knows she is his only hope at lasting on this show.
Madi brought out a deeper side to her voice with a hint of Adele to it, which was uncharacteristic but equally as impressive as what she had been doing in the high octaves earlier on.
Zach Seabaugh performs on “The Voice.”
Leaving her family teary-eyed, Madi once again crushed this difficult song and proved why she deserves to be one of the last artists standing onstage when all is said and done.
Braiden Sunshine — “True” by Spandau Ballet
There was one specific note in this number that showed why Braiden has been garnering such a wide following.
He held it for what seemed like an eternity in perfect pitch, and Pharrell made note of how impressive that really was.
This was a tough song for Braiden because it precedes him by generations, but Gwen said she is trying to avoid the stigma that comes along with being a 15-year-old. She hopes people will begin to forget about his age.
She should be careful what she wishes for, because looking past the novelty of seeing such a young kid grace the stage could be the kiss of death. It could expose his shortcomings.
Jordan Smith — “Who You Are” by Jessie J
Belting a song that meant a lot to him, Jordan didn’t falter from the weight of emotion.
He was in tears when the number ended, telling Carson that it “feels so good to say it, that it’s OK to be who you are.”
Evan McKeel performs on “The Voice.”
Jordan doesn’t need to be the artist on this show who teaches us lessons — his voice speaks loudly for itself. But the fact that he can do both so effectively and powerfully is all the more reason why it would be a heinous crime if he were not the last man standing.
Emily Ann Roberts — “Why Not Me” by The Judds
There’s certainly a niche on this show for Emily Ann Roberts, but Blake believes that she’ll outlast her time on “The Voice” no matter what happens.
He said she turned a Judds song into a bluegrass number, which apparently was not an easy task. That may not be evident to everyone watching, but a good portion of America knows exactly what Blake is talking about, and that is the population Emily Ann needs to captivate — if she hasn’t already.
Jeffery Austin — “Dancing on My Own” by Robyn
Range is always what Jeffery offers more than anything, and that was on display during this stripped down performance.
Gwen was predictably emotional and Blake’s praise may have been directed more at his newfound girlfriend than her artist, but hearing Adam confirm the brilliance of this performance proved that Jeffery really could go the distance.
Prediction: Gwen’s statement about helping Braiden become more than just a 15-year-old will backfire. He’ll be the first to go tomorrow.
Check back Tuesday night to see what happens next.