This is it! The most brutal week of them all, the Semi-Finals. Eight artists going in, and only four will remain. Each coach still has a “contender” for the finale at this point. It always makes it more interesting when each coach has someone for the final four, but from the start I didn’t think that will happen this time. Blake’s team is just so solid this season.
Surprisingly, Adam is the only one with one artist left. At the beginning, I would have NEVER picked Jesse as Adam’s last artist standing but Jesse’s last two performances have been great. Part of me wants each coach to have an artist that goes into the finale next week, but that would mean TWO of Blake’s go home and that would make me sad!
They are doing something new for the semi-finals. They paired up the remaining 8, and had them sing a duet. The duets will count this week in iTunes. Remember, each iTunes purchase of a Voice song release for that week counts as a vote (during the same window of time as all other methods of voting). If an artist reaches the Top 10, then all of the iTune “votes” are multiplied by 5.
I’m having a really hard time picking out my top three or four performances, because I had something to say about almost all all of them as I was watching! So excuse the slightly different format tonight.
Team Gwen: Hunter Plake Song: “With or Without You” by U2
In the commentary of last week’s recap, I was able to articulate a little better on why Hunter’s singing style irritates me. It is his enunciation! Rita then perfectly described it as “eating the microphone”. Can’t stand it when people talk with their mouth full, and apparently I can’t stand it when people munch on the mic! However, Hunter didn’t do too bad this week. I finally like him, and Adam made a comment that he sang “more straightforward” (or something like that) than any other time. It figures.
DUET: Vanessa Ferguson (Alicia) & Chris Blue (Alicia) Song: If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys
The most gorgeous of the duets tonight. They did their coach proud, and it is absolutely no surprise that their duet was the only duet that made the iTunes Top 10.
Team Blake: TSoul Song: Ain’t No Way by Carolyn Franklin (for her elder sister Aretha)
I know TSoul may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I am fascinated by him. He is one I’d go see perform live in a heartbeat. Alicia also admires his showmanship, and refers to this performance as Otis Redding interpreting Aretha Franklin. I can’t beat that description, so I am not even going to try.
Team Gwen: Brennley Brown Song: Suds in the Bucket by Sara Evans
Gwen, Gwen, Gwen… you keep saying “You are only 15!” Well, so is Aliyah and Blake doesn’t feel the need to keep saying that. They are “changing it up” this week by having her do something different, outside of her safe zone. The timing of it is totally off. She stayed in her safe zone all season and should have done this earlier. Totally cute and fun song, but she didn’t seem relaxed at all. Her voice was fine, although she maybe was using too many vocal tricks.
DUET: Aliyah Moulden (Blake) and Hunter Plake (Gwen) Song: Let it Go by James Bay
Ok, I heard that they were singing Let It Go, and I’m now vastly disappointed that it isn’t the one from Frozen. Hunter’s lack of clarity is more apparent than ever. It was sweet, but not overly inspiring.
Team Blake: Lauren Duski Song: Ghost in this House by Shenandoah
I’ve never heard this song, I don’t think. Her purity of voice really fits the story, and yes, this song is very much a story. She always makes it look easy. The stage setting is perfect. It made me teary. Who hasn’t felt like a ghost before? No? Just me? Nevermind then.
DUET: TSoul (Blake) and Jesse Larson (Adam) Song: I Wish by Stevie Wonder
I love these guys. The “Beard Brothers” as they got called by Carson clearly had fun and do appreciate each other’s talent. But maybe it was just my TV, but the band sounded like it was slightly overwhelming their voices. The horns were really loud. I wish we had more time to enjoy them performing some more funk together. Maybe instead of Stevie Wonder, try the Commodores and “Brick House”.
Team Alicia: Chris Blue Song: Take Me to the King by Tamela Mann
This week, Chris Blue is bringing church to us! THIS MAN NEEDED TO BE SINGING SPIRITUALS MORE! That final vestige of nerves left him in a big way with this one, even though he was putting the pressure on himself. He said before going on that he had to do this for his church back home. I got worried that he was going to be in his own head too much with that, but I didn’t need to be. (Although I got worried when they put him on this big giant cube and raised him up above everyone. I got scared he’d fall off). Both Alicia and I cried afterwards. It was visible on Chris’s face and in his body language that he knew he’d just done his best performance of the entire season.
Team Alicia: Vanessa Ferguson Song: Superstar by Luther Vandross
Luther is a great fit for Vanessa. Technically speaking, she is impeccable as always. Vanessa decided to wear a dress, because her grandfather wanted to see her in one and he was in the audience on Monday. I can’t put my finger on it, but there was something about her performance that made me feel like she wasn’t as confident as she has been or as sure of herself. Was it the dress? Was it nearly going home last week? I don’t know, but there were glimpses of that on her face even after the performance when Alicia was talking to her. Sometimes in competition it isn’t your competitors you have to defeat, but your own brain.
DUET: Lauren Duski (Blake) and Brennley Brown (Gwen) Song: Good Hearted Woman
I LOVE this song, and I was so distracted by Brennley’s bobbing and weaving, along with her little head flips to make her pony tail sway that I had to rewind and listen again. I think there was a brief moment that Lauren even stopped moving and looked at Brennley. Maybe like me she was thinking WTF, girl, you are trying too hard.
Team Adam: Jesse Larson Song: I Was Wrong by Chris Stapleton
Oh, Jesse just found out that he is going to be a dad! Sweet! I’ve never heard this song before, but it fits Jesse’s skill set as a singer and a musician perfectly. There is something about him that reminds me of B.B. King, who I had the good fortune of seeing in concert before he passed away. Maybe it is that he goes back and forth between singing and playing his guitar.
Team Blake: Aliyah Moulden Song: I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me
In the rehearsals, Blake gave Aliyah a bit of a pep talk, after her breakdown into tears last week. He said it was very special that she connected with the song so much in her performance, and everyone loved her for it. He went back home and watched it that night, and cried. I got worried because she still seemed subdued in rehearsals and her interviews. I shouldn’t have worried. Her natural talent and Blake’s coaching made sure it was a beautiful performance. She still has the sparkle in her eye, but it feels that she literally matured in just week. I think Aliyah has grown the most as an artist this season, and perhaps the most of any artist on the Voice that I can think of in recent years. Blake alluded to someday wanting to find an artist that would develop and grow week to week on the show back when he joined the show, and he finally found her. He called her the “model Voice contestant”.
The guest performers on Tuesday are not worth mentioning. Blech. Not my cup of tea.
HOWEVER, even though I knew the results, I HAD to watch and I am so freaking glad I did!
The top three are announced (in no particular order) Chris Blue, Lauren Duski, and Aliyah Moulden. I’m not surprised at all. It is then announced that Vanessa Ferguson and TSoul are done. I love them both, but again, not surprised.
Brennley, Hunter, and Jesse are left to battle each other for the Voice Saves. Sorry, Brennley and Hunter, your nerves showed. Not your best work and there goes Team Gwen from the finale.
Then came Jesse. Cool as a cucumber, he brought his A+ game, with extra credit on top with Tennessee Whiskey. It is freaking incredible that Jesse never really sang before trying out for the Voice, at the encouragement of his wife. He’s always identified more as a musician, and he DOES have some mad skills!
So, who are you predicting will win? Let me know below. Also, if you want to catch up on the gossip for Seasons 13 and 14, come read up on the gossip HERE!