"America, it's time for you to vote." - Adam Levine ... he might've actually been talking about the election though.
Well, here we are. The first week of live shows dubbed "The Playoffs" certainly separated the experts from the novices. All in all, I agreed with the America's votes this week, but I must admit that I'll miss De'borah, Mackenzie Bourg and Julio Castillo. There were certain contestants who came out swinging and others who looked (and sounded like) they had no idea what was going on. But no focusing on the contestants that underwhelmed me, instead I'll highlight my personal favorite from each of the coaches' teams.
Sylvia Yacoub - The One That Got Away
I guess I'm a little late to the party when it comes to Sylvia. It's not that her voice hasn't blown me away in the past, it's just this is the moment I was waiting for. Sitting behind the piano playing this popular Katy Perry song, Sylvia showed that she was willing to take risks that some of the other contestants weren't willing to take. Her rendition almost reminded me of Michelle Branch but with better vocals. Though her performance wasn't without a few vocal hiccups along the way, the emotion and tenderness she sang with made me believe her. Of all of the contestants from last week, I identified with Sylvia's the most. Anytime an artist can take you into his or her vulnerable head space then they've really achieved something.
Cassadee Pope - My Happy Ending
Cassadee is a major contender in this competition. Mark my words, she has a very good chance of winning this whole thing and if she continues performing the way she did this Avril Lavigne classic, then we are in for one hell of a ride. Though Cassadee fell short in hitting the power notes in the chorus, she more than made up for in the bridge. Her voice swelled with ambitious vocal choices and she hit notes I don't believe Avril ever attempted to try. In watching her performance, I didn't feel like I was watching The Voice, instead I felt as though I was at a Cassadee Pope show. And I definitely got my money's worth.
Melanie Martinez - Hit The Road Jack
I am a huge fan of Ray Charles, jazz, and hair bows. So imagine my delight when I heard Melanie would be singing Hit The Road Jack. Her performance was a little Ella, a little Dia Frampton and a lot of sass. So far we've seen cute, haunting Melanie, but this was our first time seeing her as a young woman with a lot of personality and pizzazz. She took an old-fashioned song and put a modern spin on it, seemingly integrating her soft, breathy vocals to a song we're used to Ray hollering on. I can't believe America didn't save this girl.
Team Cee Lo
Trevin Hunte - How Am I Supposed To Live Without You
Another perfect performance from Trevin. He's had a lot of luck in lending his gospel tinged vocals to old school songs. Trevin is one of those vocalists that can sing anything and everything that is thrown his way. I'm concerned, however. The show seems to showcase Trevin as a bit one note. We have yet to hear him sing anything up-tempo nor have we gotten the pleasure of seeing him have fun. In watching Cassadee and Melanie's performances, we're able to hear the types of records these artists will make, see the types of shows they'll put on. I'm not yet sure as to how Trevin can be marketed in a realistic, modern way. I hope this week Cee Lo will give Trevin something from, I don't know, this decade.
Amanda Brown - Dream On
I think I finally get where Amanda is coming from. By owning this Aerosmith song, Amanda came out and shocked everybody by being sensual, mature and crazy confident. From her effortless sliding up the scale to her brilliant falsetto to her very sexy gliding across stage, dragging the mic stand behind her. It was the performance of a star.
Michaela Paige - Everybody Talks
This Neon Trees song is already a fun, little diddy. But Michaela added youth and zeal, making the song even more carefree and punk rock. Sporting her funky mohawk and dressed in her signature tutu she brilliantly held her own, engaging the crowd and running to the center of the stage. I hope Blake keeps her around, she's a lot of fun to watch.
De'Borah's multi colored clothes -- she dresses like a lesbian me. I love it!
Diego's Zoolander smirk...
Mackenzie's interesting takes on songs...
Julio's constant deer in headlights look...
This Past Week...
Every time I get to speak from the heart I count it a privilege. This week I was invited by the state of Indiana to speak to a group of high school students for their HIV prevention week. Indianapolis certainly showed me a great amount of love. I also continued writing several more songs for my upcoming EP, Projector, and prepared for Jennifer Hudson's upcoming House of Blues show where Ludacris and I will be featured.
I'm really curious to see which contestants you think will make it to the finals this year. Tweet me @JSquidward and let me know. I'll let you know if I think you're wrong or not.
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