The Voice’s four remaining contestants performed for the audience’s votes for the final time this season during last night’s performance show.
To be honest, these are not the four singers I thought would be in the finale this season. I thought that the Final Four would include RaeLynn (Team Blake), Lindsey Pavao (Team Xtina), Tony Lucca (Team Adam), and Jamar Rogers (Team Cee Lo). But it was Jermaine Paul (Team Blake), Chris Mann (Team Xtina) and Juliet Simms (Team Cee Lo) alongside my only correct contestant prediction,Tony Lucca, that took the stage last night.
I thought all four singers had solid performances, but there were some performances that were definitely more interesting than others. I know that the show is called, The Voice, but just like that other show on that other network, song choice is just as important.
I was not surprised in the least when Jermaine Paul’s song choice was revealed to be R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly.” He excels with songs that allow him to show off his range. However with big songs like this, showing vocal restraint is just as important as hitting those huge notes. I know that his coach, Blake Shelton, has made mention that he loves when Jermaine does all the vocal acrobats, but the issue with doing runs and such is that Jermaine loses pitch.
For me, the beginning of the song last night was okay. I was hoping it would build and build to this grand moment. I felt like when the song was getting to its peak moment, Jermaine sent his vocals into overdrive and all of a sudden there were vocal runs and riffs all over the place, instead of nicely drawn out glory notes. And I think that’s because Jermaine is driven by passion when he sings and lets his heart just bleed all over the songs he performs. I do think he gave his all out on the stage last night, but I wish his vocals had just been a bit tighter.
I think the song choice I was the most surprised about was Tony Lucca’s.Taking a page out of the Kris Allen/Dia Frampton playbook, Tony hit the stage with Hugo’s re-worked version of Jay-Z’s “99 Problems.” The song really showcased the singer’s strong bluesy- rock vocals. I liked that there was a lot of intensity and aggression in not only Tony’s vocal performance, but also in the arrangement. I loved the bluegrass-infused melody combined with loud beat of the drums.
What Tony really has got going for him is his incredible stage presence. He can readily translate a song’s emotion and project it out to the audience. I was worried that if he was playing guitar last night that he would be stuck in one spot, so I loved when he stopped playing, because he was able to move around, interact a bit with the crowd, and just own the stage.
I mentioned song choice being important and with an artist like Tony, I think you have to challenge him with different material, so the audience (i.e. those who haven’t followed his career since MMC) can see all the different aspects of his voice. I like and appreciate that Adam Levine has continued to push Tony out of his comfort zone with his song selections throughout the season. His coaching led his contestant to sing something so far out of left field for the finals that it was just crazy enough of an idea to work. And Tony just nailed it.
To quickly address Christina Aguilera’s drama with Tony, first off, I don’t get her issue. The Voice is clearly big enough for both of the former Mouseketeers. Honestly, my thinking is that if she felt like her contestant could really win the competition, she wouldn’t fill the need to keep stirring the pot so much. And as a longtime fan of Christina’s, her behavior towards Tony over the past few weeks, especially last night, has been disappointing.
Now do I think that Adam used the drama to fuel Tony’s performances? Of course. Was “99 Problems” a little pointed? Yes, but I see both sides of the coin. It’s like Adam said, “It’s called a metaphor.” (And a quick sidenote on the Team Xtina shirt: I think Adam more than likely knew Christina would go out of her way to slam Tony, so why not be prepared to shut her up? Just sayin’.) Anyways, I think instead of letting all of the drama and bs get to him, Adam refocused the energy so Tony could utilize it in his performances. If he wins tonight, I think Tony should just turn to Christina and say, “Thanks for making me a fighter.”
Chris Mann had one of the best vocal performances of the night with the most predictable song choice, being Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up.” I have been waiting all season for him to sing this, because it’s the most obvious selection for him to sing. I mean, if he’s going to rock opera music, following in Josh Groban’s footsteps would probably be the ideal for him. And we already know from that slightly awkward rendition of Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida,” he performed a couple weeks ago that contemporary music is definitely not Chris’ forte.
I’m not an opera person, that’s not a genre of music I know a lot about. But I do know talent when I hear it, and Chris is extraordinarily talented. He had an incredibly strong and pitch-perfect vocal performance last night, but I guess I feel like he’s so technical that his stage presence sometimes suffers in the process. Aside from that, I think that Chris was truly on top of his game last night.
I have been rooting for Tony to win all season long, but I would not be mad if Juliet Simms was named The Voice tonight. Hands down, she had the best performance of the night with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird.” Even while battling the flu, Juliet had these absolutely gorgeous drawn out, gritty notes that were just chill-inducing. She took her time and just felt every note of that song, and my goodness, it was just beautiful.
Everything about that performance was on the money. From the band to Juliet’s amazing dress, to the stage lighting and effects, everything just really came together. Juliet has had strong performances throughout the competition, but last night she truly had a shining moment.
Again, I definitely think each of the singers had solid performances last night. They left their emotions for us on that stage. I’m actually quite excited to see what happens with the results tonight. For what it’s worth, Tony Lucca’s “99 Problems” was #4 overall on iTunes when voting closed this morning.
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