One last team for “The Voice” Season 6 playoffs, Team Usher. Then we’ll have our Top 12 and finally the live shows will start.
1. T.J. Wilkins, “Tell Me Something Good,” Chaka Khan and Rufus
Interesting song choice. It’s a great song, but I’m concerned it’s a little too mellow and not showy enough. However, since it’s Usher choosing and not the voting public, he should be alright. When T.J. starts singing, he sounds nice but he’s not blowing me away. It picks up a little at the end, especially with some legit falsetto he shows off, but will it be enough? The singers who have gone through on other teams have really blown the roof off the joint and T.J. might be shown up by the singers who come after him.
2. Melissa Jimenez, “Halo,” Beyonce
Big voice to take on, I’m not sure Melissa’s voice is big enough for Beyonce, but maybe. She starts off sounding very pretty, love the low stuff. Rich, warm tone on the verse, but the money notes are the chorus — and she does a nice job. MJ switches back and forth between her chest voice and head voice effortlessly, and that is not easy to do, then she absolutely kills the jazzy little scat section. Nicely done. It wasn’t perfect — that one big, long note she held was a little shaky. But overall, solid.
Adam Levine praises the risk she took and that’s true. She made a bold choice with this song. Blake Shelton also criticizes the big note and he’s not wrong. That could have been better. But I prefer what she did to what T.J. did, so I think she’s in the running to advance.
3. Stevie Jo, “The Thrill is Gone,” B.B. King
This guy is such a juxtaposition because he doesn’t look like that voice should be coming out of that person, you know? But he rocks it. He actually has more soul and swag than T.J. had on “Tell Me Something Good,” while also injecting just a touch of rock growl in there. The flat-ironed, shampoo-commercial hair is maybe not the best choice — it reminds me of the time the stylists on “Idol” did that to Bo Bice, remember that? (Why yes, I am old, why do you ask?)
Anyway, which soul singer will Usher keep? I’d give it to Stevie Jo.
4. Bria Kelly, “Wild Horses,” The Rolling Stones
Excellent, excellent song choice. Easily the best tonight so far in terms of song selection. And then Bria pretty much nails it. Great build to the chorus, terrific emotion, love the image of her with an electric guitar. The only thing I don’t like is how she pronounces “horse-ayyyyys” at times. It’s a touch too nasal. But overall, strong job.
5. Josh Kaufman, “It Will Rain,” Bruno Mars
Love this song choice as well. Definitely the best performance of the night. I was hanging on every note from the get-go, I barely typed a word while he sang. Honestly, I was feeling like Usher has the weakest team before we got to Josh. I’m still not convinced he has that strong of a team, but Josh really went a long way for Team Usher.
For me, the live show spots should go to Josh, Bria and … gosh. It’s really a crap-shoot between Melissa and Stevie, in my opinion, but maybe Usher really likes T.J. The third spot could go to any of them, though I would take Melissa if it were me. Do you think he takes two guys and a girl to help even things out? There are only two men in the Top 12 so far.
Usher winds up choosing Bria Kelly, Josh Kaufman and T.J. Wilkins. Bummer for Melissa Jimenez and Stevie Jo, that’s a shame and not who I would have picked. But I’m pretty satisfied with the Top 12.
How do you feel about the live show choices, “Voice” viewers?