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The Voice US 11: Top 12

We are finally here! Unlike previous seasons where I only stop writing about the Battle Rounds and proceed with the Knockouts, I totally ditched them altogether and started with the live shows. Why? Because as much as I tried - there's a Knockout Part 1 post - I couldn't help but be bored with all of it. Sure, there were a couple of great performances, but they weren't enough to push me and write. And don't get me started with the mess that was this year's Live Playoffs.

Season 11 started with a lot of great talent and, of course, two impressive new coaches, and somehow, the show managed to screw it up and we ended with a Top 12 that had no diversity whatsoever. There's just too much of the same thing: country singers, divas, mumblers, and Christian Cuevas. I don't know. I'm still holding my breath for the next coming weeks, but I'm also managing my expectations.

What's working well with the show? Miley Cyrus. She's been a breathe of fresh air on the show. In a see of overdone songs from I Don't Want To Miss A Thing to The Scientist to The Show Must Go On, she somehow managed to find songs from Leonard Cohen (not Hallelujah), The Rolling Stones (not (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction or Paint It, Black), and Father John Misty (who?). Good job, Miley!

On with the show!

12. Courtney Harrell
I Don't Want To Miss A Thing
She should be eliminated on the song choice alone. Hah. Sorry, I just couldn't take this performance seriously. This asteroid song has been covered a million times and I'm not having it. Not to take anything away from Courtney because her vocals were also pretty terrible. She hit a good amount of flat notes and her pitch was uneven through out the performance. I still don't understand why Blake picked her over Jason Warrior. 2

11. Darby Walker
Ruby Tuesday
I've never been a fan of Darby and this didn't change my sentiments on her. I don't think the song choice did her any favors, her vibrato was still pretty distracting, I heard a couple of pitch problems, and I just didn't buy it. Sorry. 4

10. Josh Gallagher
Eh. This was decent, but nothing to write home about. I thought he sounded okay, his vocals were fine, and that's about it. Bland and terribly generic. See, I don't know what else to say. Ha. 4.5

09. Christian Cuevas
The Scientist
It started out good, but then when he started to push his vocals towards the edge of his range, the performance went manic and it just sounded like he was shouting at me. Plus, some of his vocal choices were a bit odd for my taste. I've been wanting to enjoy his performances, but this wasn't it. 5.5

08. Austin Allsup
Do Right Woman, Do Right Man
On paper, re-arranging an Aretha Franklin song would've been a total homerun for Austin, but something about the arrangement that had me feeling absolutely underwhelmed. No, his voice sounded good and I felt like he was doing the best with the material he was given, but the whole thing just didn't work. 6

07. Sa'Rayah
Livin' On A Prayer
Look, Sa'Rayah tackling something more upbeat and with a rock edge was a smart change of pace for her, but it actually exposed her weaknesses as a vocalist. I didn't like her phrasing - parts sounded like she was rushing while there were moments where she was behind the melody - and while the power was there, it had no purpose. The last part, I admit, was pretty robust vocally, but that's not something new from her. 6

06. Brendan Fletcher
Whipping Post
While I genuinely didn't understand half of what he's singing, there's something strangely compelling with Brendan's performance. I thought his grit added dimension to the song and the connection with the material was palpable. Plus, he finally looked comfortable on stage. I'm hoping he'd improve more in the next coming weeks. 6.5

05. Aaron Gibson
Hollywood Forever Cemetary Sings
Can I just say how impressed I am right now with Miley's song choices for her team? I mean, they maybe obscure, but at least, we're not getting I Don't Want To Miss A Thing. Quite frankly, I've never heard of this song before, but he actually sounded good - grit and all. It didn't draw me in like his previous performances, but I digress. 6.5

04. Sundance Head
My Church
This was a good song choice for the former American Idol contestant. The arrangement had enough dynamics to showcase the vast range of his vocal ability and by the time he was just wailing the notes, I was all for it. At this point, Sundance is Blake only chance to win this season, and it's not a long shot. He just needs to keep on being unpredictable with his song choice for him not to fall on the generic side of country. 7.5

03. Billy Gilman
The Show Must Go On
While I had issues with the choppy arrangement and some of his belted notes, one can't deny the sheer power and vocal control Billy showcased with this performance. His massive vocal range was front and center here and his ability to control them was stellar. The verses were a little tentative that he seemed to drop the notes instantly, but that's me nitpicking. 8

02. Wé McDonald
Take Me To Church
Take Me To Church was the perfect song choice for Wé's deep alto voice. The beginning was brilliant as it focused the richness of her tone and the way she navigated that melody was pure perfection and when the band kicked in, her vocals never let up. The band was a tad loud though that I didn't quite hear some of her lower register, but this was a strong first live performance from Wé and a good recover from the mess that was Home from last week. 9

01. Ali Caldwell
Did I Ever Love You
I was having hard time deciding who to put on top this week, but I eventually went with Ali Caldwell's stunning vocal performance of Did I Ever Love You. Again, I didn't expect this song choice for her and yet she managed to pull it altogether and deliver one of the most riveting performances this season. Seriously. The vocal control was outstanding, the phrasing was impeccable, the dynamics was spot on, her vocals were consistent, and it was believable. Good job, Ali and Miley. 9.5

Courtney Harrell

The Voice US 11: Top 12 Reviewed by DAM on 3:15 AM Rating: 5

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