Eight weeks into season 22 of the the soundNBC’s sing-along really came to life – at least as far as it gets The live broadcast began on Monday for the qualifiers. All 16 remaining contestants performed in hopes of earning enough viewer votes to advance or convince Blake Shelton, John Legend, Gwen Stefani and/or Camila Cabello that their coach will bail them out or another coach will steal them during Tuesday’s results show.
Now, before we discuss the pivotal episode, I’d like to apologize in advance for my rating. Like singing, it’s done live, in the moment, so all my reactions are unpredictable. When I read the comments on Tuesday morning that my earwax situation had gotten external control, I’m sure to go back and re-watch some show and say, “I’m an idiot.” Never fail. But if you’re willing to commit and put up with me, let’s recap, shall we?
Omar Jose Cardona, “Living in Prayer” – Grade: C | First impression: This is overdone, like a musical theater singer dealing with Bon Jovi. (also, manOh, did I miss the pre-sweetened votes we got during the taped episodes.) Second impression: no great song selection; He never let Omar Jose’s voice rise in such a way that it really shines. This was less “into the unknown” than “the future is uncertain”.
Kim Cruise, “I’ve Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)” – Score: B+ | John’s “Velvet Power” delivered a lovely bleak rendition of the Aretha Franklin classic… I felt it wouldn’t earn her enough votes to guarantee safe passage to the Top 13 on Tuesday. The musical notes were there, the power was there, but the song choice… again, probably wasn’t the smartest choice.
Sasha Hurtado, “Tiny Dancer” – Score: C+ | After being “thrown like a hot potato” from team to team, Sasha featured a cover of an Elton John hit that started pretty, then hit a rough patch. Then another piece of jagged patch. In the end, I missed the purity and fire that inspired John to steal it. Perhaps Gwen’s first comment to Sasha was, quite obviously, “You look great.” Never a good sign.
Parigita Pastola, “I’ll Never Love Again” – Grade: A | I had high nosebleed expectations from Parijita, aka the most consistently convincing member of Team Legend, and it’s not just he met them, is exceeded they. This kid sang strangely to her lungs At that point, she brought to her performance a strength, vulnerability, and star quality that I totally gawked at. Is it not The The one to beat in Season 22?
As It Was Cake – Grade: B+ | Described as a “diamond in the open” by his coach, the teen tackled a slow, shaky display operation to eventually smash Harry Styles which turned out to be a very good upset. He showed off his range, not hitting any notes that made me cringe and even pulling the rockiest elements out of his shell. I just don’t see “wow” in Kique. (Yes, I hear you: I probably need to get my glasses checked.)
Kevin Hawkins “Skate” – Grade: B+ | On stage, Kevin was a pastel-toned bundle of energy that was perfectly made to show us a good time. At least he managed to show the Nice good time. However, his number didn’t necessarily highlight the pristine beauty of his voice, which is kind of what he’s known for, right? Maybe I’m wrong, and viewers will be excited that he showed a different side of himself. Doubt it, though.
Alyssa Witrado, “Angels Like You” – Score: C | Ah, I love Alyssa. I really. But she had as many pitch problems on her cover of Miley Cyrus as I would if she tried to throw a World Series fastball. Maybe it would have been better if she had gone with another song for her coach. Maybe not. Gwen marveled that her Mini-Me was “so harmonious”. Could it be that he didn’t mean what I always thought he did?
Justin Aaron, “Here and Now” – Grade: A- | On the cover of Luther Vandross, he started the one-chair spin by pouring a sound that was as sweet as caramel drops on more caramel. He seemed to struggle a bit as the song got bigger, but he stopped landing in such a poignant way that I doubt no one will remember any dodgy points. Gwen exclaims that Justin’s rendition “was beyond my dream” of how it turned out.
Morgan Miles, “Let It Fly” – Grade: B+| Behold – clever of Morgan strumming the guitar during her performance after “Holy crap last week, did you have hand cramps?” Moment. This move drastically reduced the gestures and let’s just focus on Patty Griffin’s cover, which was mostly pretty. Blake exclaimed, “Your show was excellent.” Mm, I’d say, like, 85 percent is perfect, but who am I to argue with Blake Shelton?
Eric Ho, “Rumour Has It” – Score: B| After Camila told us that Eric had the same instincts as Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, he showed up on stage and proved it well. If the show gives an award for best body language, it wins. If Eric also had Gaga or Beyoncé’s vocal abilities. He definitely has his moments of awesomeness – and burning gravitas – but at the end of the day, he’s just an above-average singer who’s really fun to watch.
Kate Calvatch, “I’m Still the Only One” – Score: C- | After Kate’s performance, we learned that she wasn’t able to hear herself in her earphone, which really debilitated her. Although it tends to use a lot of vibrations, I’m not sure how helpful it will be; Her vocals sway a lot, and they remind the goats Blake used to troll. I think it’s toast on Tuesday.
DeVix, “Sex on Fire” – Grade: B+ | Aww, from note #1, Devex made me live for his vision of Kings of Leon. His voice was so strong, it sounded like he was hitting the gym eight days a week. As his performance went, he had trouble with his high notes, and the rankings never took us anywhere. But for my money, he’s the most prepared star in Camila’s squad.
Bryce Leatherwood, “I’ll Be Somebody” – Score: C| On his cover of Travis Tritt, Blake’s one and only country boy looked good…but Just Fine. There was nothing about his performance that would make us sit up and take notice. However, it is probably a safe bet to survive the results show as (a) it is the country and (b) it is mainly in the team country.
Rowan Grace, “Hopelessly Devoted to You” – Score: C+| Well, first of all, bonus points for Livvie’s vocals. Secondly… my dear. Rowan needs these bonus points. I love it as much as I can, this performance was a little all over the place, choppy in places, weirdly loud in others. It never came together as a coherent whole, certainly not one that reminds us of just how good the 17-year-old is at her best.
Brayden Lab, “Buying Dirt” – Grade: B | Dubbed “the heart of the season” by Rowan, the singer gave a sweet, understated rendition of Jordan Davis’ song It Begins in Point A and Ends in Point A. It never really went anywhere, but it was totally fun the whole time. No vocal “zowie” there, but it looks like the teen idol factor might score Brayden a ticket to the Top 13.
bodie, “Glimpse of Us” – Score: B+| To wrap up the night, Buddy, who appeared to have earphone issues a la Kate, had unfortunate pitch issues early on in what should have been a solid, intimate top-down performance. He rebounded like crazy, though, and when the song let him loose, he screamed with emotion that, combined with his innate admiration, made him a sure thing to come forward.
So, which singers do you think will definitely be betting on going forward, and which ones do you expect will go home? Vote in the polls below, then the comments section awaits your criticism.
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