On Tuesday night’s finale of the Season 12 live playoffs on “The Voice,” the six artists of Team Adam Levine joined the six artists of Team Gwen Stefani for their first audience-voted performances of the season. Following their songs, three artists from each team — two advancing based on a live public vote and one selected by the coach — are moving on to next week’s Top 12, joining the six artists from the teams of Blake Shelton and Alicia Keys that advanced Monday.
In last week’s knockout rounds, five of Adam’s artists won a head-to-head knockout to make it to this week’s Top 20 show. The sixth artist performing for Team Adam tonight was Johnny Hayes, chosen by Adam as his comeback artist to return after being eliminated before. Of all four teams, Adam’s struggled the most with finding their groove on the live stage with only Jesse Larson giving a complete performance. It’s no surprise then that Jesse will compete next week in the Top 12 after being voted through by the audience. He’s joined by Lilli Passero, also voted through by the audience, and Mark Isaiah, saved by Adam. That means Hanna Eyre, Hayes and Josh West are going home for the season.
Here are my rankings for Tuesday’s performances on Team Adam, from best to worst. And here are our rankings from Monday for Team Alicia Keys and Team Blake Shelton, plus Tuesday’s rankings for Team Gwen Stefani.
1. Jesse Larson – “Sir Duke”
I love that Jesse took on Stevie Wonder this week because it gave him the opportunity to not only showcase the wide range of this voice, but also allowed him to show personality with something upbeat and bouncier than what he’s done in the past. Adam called it the best vocal of the night, and though I disagree with that, it is certainly the best of an underwhelming Team Adam. Jesse is clearly the frontrunner on the team.
2. Lilli Passero – “It’s Too Late”
Carole King is a gorgeous choice for Lilli in this round because it matches her contemporary voice with a classic pop artist that a lot of the audience will easily recognize. Though her performance style is a little bit lacking in the entertainment factor, Lilli’s voice is smooth and textured in a way that reminds me of one of my favorite artists, Jessie Ware. I’m actually shocked that Lilli managed enough votes to beat out the rest of her team, but she’s deserving of a spot and I think has the potential to do something great next time.
3. Mark Isaiah – “All Time Low”
Of all the artists on the show, Mark is probably one of the most current sounding, so it’s nice to see him tackle a something a little less known than the Justin Bieber and Zayn songs he’s done in the past few rounds. So instead of performing in the shadow of his contemporaries, Mark finally had the opportunity to build his own persona separate from them and I think he really hit it out of the park. Mark is coming into his own and it’s clear that he knows what kind of artist he can be and given the growth he’s already shown I’m excited to see what he’ll bring to the table in the Top 12.
4. Johnny Hayes – “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”
It was a shock to see Johnny eliminated in the knockouts, so to see him return as Adam’s comeback artist isn’t a surprise. I don’t think there are many artists this season that have the confidence and mastery over the stage to comfortably perform The Rolling Stones in their first live performance on national television. But as true as that may be, this was an odd song choice for Johnny — while it has the high energy he excels at, it lacks the personal connection and emotional resonance that he needed to break out.
5. Josh West – “More Than a Feeling”
Adam’s preface for Josh’s performance is that the Boston song is one that not even established artists have the guts to attempt, but that he thinks Josh is capable of taking on. For an artist that started the competition as a 17-year old, it’s true that him even being able to attempt it is an achievement and for the most part he succeeded. Where the performance failed was in his ability to keep pace with the song given the amount of movement he was doing on stage and in the audience.
6. Hanna Eyre – “Skyscraper”
Hanna’s asset is the power bank she has to draw from and because of it only she could even attempt this huge Demi Lovato track. The criticism Adam gave her in rehearsal was to flush out the more delicate moments of the song so that they matched the effectiveness of the larger chorus. I don’t think she managed to do that; instead she seemed too in her head, thinking about each note rather than moving through the song with the effortlessness that she showed in previous shows.