I’m a tad bit late to The Voice craze. I’ve always known what it was, mostly because my sister is an avid fan, but I didn’t have TV (or even Netflix for that matter) in college so my screen time was extremely limited. But I knew I could be a fan because I usually found myself binge watching YouTube video of highlights and performances. So this season I have joined the club. Up until the “Live Playoffs” I’ve been recording it on my DVR and watching it throughout the rest of the week. Two hours is a little too much time to dedicate to sitting and watching one show.
A few of my early favorites have been cut, but for the most part I can follow the coaches’ train of thought. Lots of great voices come through this show, but there seems to be a specific formula and checklist to be a good fit for this particular environment. Speaking of the coaches, Blake and Adam are both artists that I have been a longtime fan of, and their bromance is just plain hysterical. As for the other two, from what little I’ve seen of past coaches and now of Pharrell and Gwen, I think they’ve got a really strong group. Gwen is the pennant bearer for girl power for all who grew up in the time of No Doubt’s reign. And while Pharrell is an artist that I’ve only become familiar with in the last couple of years, this guy is a master at giving pep talks. Seriously, I kind of wish he could be my life coach.
This week was #TheVoiceTop12 Playoffs where all twelve artists performed live and America chose the Top 10 to move on to next week.
For this post I split the Top 10 down to my Top 5 artists, which was really difficult because I could see myself being a fan of quite a few of them. Now if I was just doing the Top 5 performances, my list might look a little different because that would be heavily influenced by what were already some of my favorite songs. But I chose my Top 5 artists based on their overall appeal, including voice, style and personality, and whether or not I think I would go out and buy their music. This list is not in any particular order.
Disclaimer: I am well aware that 3 out of the 5 are guys with long hair. Despite to my extreme dislike for guys with long hair, they all still made the cut. They should feel honored…
1. Matt McAndrew
So I kind of lied, because I know that Matt’s song choices have definitely influenced his spot on this list. “Yellow” and “Drops of Jupiter” are two of my all-time favorite songs, and I think he did them justice. With that said, I’m oddly fascinated by this guy. I like him now, and I think I could like him in 40 years – even with that ridiculous hair. Then the morning of the playoffs this week I was listening to Hozier’s “Take Me to Church,” (one of my favorite songs of 2014) and thought it would be a great fit for this guy…and what happened? BOOM. I’m a psychic. And while it probably wouldn’t have as much star power with America, I’m dying for him to sing some Mat Kearney…
2. Taylor John Williams
This guy was my early favorites, and no, not just because he’s a fellow Oregonian. Like Matt McAndrew, I’m oddly fascinated by Taylor and his voice. He might not be singing all my favorite songs like Matt is, but each time his performance end, I want to hear more. His blind audition of “Heartless” could have been his own song, “Stuck in the Middle With You” took me back in time and I thought his battle round duet of “Jolene” was endearing. And while I think that he has improved with each week (as they should) my favorite performance of his so far was in the Knockouts with “Mad World.” Guys, the 1:45 mark says it all. Give me this on repeat.
3. Danica Shirey
This girl has some soul pipes. I’d definitely say that this season is male dominated, but homegirl is holding her own. It seems like those who are successful on The Voice are the ones who are really able to sell the big note moments. Danica does that in every performance. Plus it helps that she comes across as extremely down to earth, and even a little shy from too much attention. She makes you want to know what her story is. I’d buy her music AND feel like I could grab a cup of coffee with her. “Creep” and “Help Me” were great performances, but “Saving All My Love for You” was my favorite.
4. Chris Jamison
I like Chris because at first glance he doesn’t seem as unique as Matt and Taylor do, but he quickly makes you forget the pretty boy stereotype you were putting him in and instead creates his own niche. When it comes to his voice think Adam Levine’s sexy falsetto meets Michael Buble’s warm and smooth croons. Just watch Pharrell’s face at 00:45 of his blind audition of “Gravity.” And there’s versatility. He nailed Nick Jonas’ new beat above and threw it back with Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” I wasn’t a big of fan of “Don’t”, but I definitely want to hear more from this kid.
5. Craig Wayne Boyd
I’ll admit I was weary of Craig at first. My taste in music ranges far and wide, but at the core is country music. And well, the definition of “country” has been thrown around like a rag doll lately. Bro country, nashville, outlaw, red dirt…it all has a place, but it is all making my head hurt. But kind of like his journey on the show, where Craig keeps fighting his way through, he won me over. His voice is most comparable to Travis Tritt’s and he’s got the southern vibe like Confederate Railroad, Shenandoah and maybe even Sawyer Brown that sometimes walks the line between country and rock. To me his turning point “statement moment” was his performance of Marshall Tucker Band’s cover above. He also took on “Some Kind of Wonderful” and the King’s “You Look So Good in Love”.
Favorite Team Performance So Far…
I haven’t really enjoyed that many of the team performances, but I did really like Team Gwen’s performance of “Riptide.”
The Artists I’d Like To Bring Back…
Despite my comments about country music above, I really do wish that James David Carter was still on the show. He had my overall favorite blind audition with “Nobody Knows”, I enjoyed his very laid back persona and his voice was just about as pure, stripped down country as they come. His performances of “Two of a Kind Workin’ on a Full House” and “You’ve Got a Friend” were good too.
I was really disappointed that Pharrell didn’t save Taylor Phelan when he had the chance. His blind audition of “Sweater Weather” was my next favorite, and considering I really don’t like that song originally, thats impressive. One of the coaches made the comment during his audition that he reminded them of Ryan Tedder (of OneRepublic) by the way he became apart of the music. I agree. He was someone who I wanted to hear more from. He also performed “Rather Be” and “Cool Kids.”
Other favorite performances
Ryan Sill – “Ordinary World“
Luke Wade – “Rich Girl”
Reagan James – “Try”
Taylor Breshears – “Landslide”
Damien – “How Do I Live”
Ricky Manning – “Lay Me Down”
Troy Ritchie – “Hey Ya!”
Jessie Pitts vs. Ryan Sill – “I Need Your Love”
Troy Ritchie vs. Menlik Zergabachew – “Maneater”
Elyjuh Rene vs. Maiya Sykes – “If I Ain’t Got You”
Griffin vs. Luke Wade – “Maybe I’m Amazed”
Jonathan Wyndham – “Say Something”
Anita Antoinette – “Turn Your Lights Down Low”
Menlik Zergabachew – “Santeria”