Team Alicia Keys came out swinging for the fences Monday night during the live playoffs of “The Voice” and they hit nothing but home runs! A tour-de-force of performances proved Alicia is not to be played with this season. At the end of the two-hour episode three of her artists advanced into the top 12. Coach Blake Shelton’s team also performed Monday night while fellow coaches Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani will put their teams on display Tuesday night.
Before Alicia’s team took the stage it was announced that Jack Cassidy would be her comeback artist. After looking like a solid frontrunner in the early stages, Cassidy hit a bump in the road during the knockouts that nearly took him out of the competition. With six fantastic performances, it was difficult to rank Team Alicia as all of them deserve to advance for different reasons. But none was as captivating and soul-stirring as Chris Blue. He and Vanessa Ferguson had the most public votes, and coach Alicia saved Stephanie Rice. That means the three singers going home are Cassidy, Ashley Levin and Anatalia Villaranda.
How did we rank the performers for Team Blake and which 3 of his singers survived? Here is our analysis of his team on Monday.
Here are my rankings for Monday’s performances on Team Alicia, from best to worst.
1. Chris Blue – “Love on the Brain”
I couldn’t have been more thrilled this Rihanna song was chosen to usher in Chris’ more modern sound. We’ve seen him tackle old-school R&B and this was the perfect way to weave his style into contemporary music. This man is an absolute absurdity of talent. Goose bumps and chills are the only words that come to mind when discussing his voice and his ability to throw everything inside of himself onto the stage. There is no way he won’t be voted through to the next round and for good reason. He’s the most exciting artist this season.
2. Stephanie Rice – “Every Breath You Take”
I’m not sure there is anyone else this season who can express pain through song like Stephanie. This performance was absolutely captivating from beginning to end. The more she takes the stage the more I look forward to seeing her again. From her soft, delicate notes to her guttural, Melissa Etheridge-style screams, she simply nails it every time. I’m not sure this absolutely spellbinding performance even had a chance to resonate with viewers before the voting bloc had ended. While some contestants had nearly an hour to collect votes, Stephanie had about 5 minutes. Luckily Alicia saved her and she will be part of the top 12.
3. Vanessa Ferguson – “Lean On”
The raspy-voiced soulstress never fails to surprise the audience with each performance. She’s simply a natural on stage and her voice oozes passion. She proved tonight that she is equally effective behind the piano and working the stage with just a microphone. I was pleasantly surprised to see her voted into the top 12 because although I knew Alicia understood her talent, I wasn’t sure it translated to viewers at home.
4. Anatalia Villaranda – “Stand By Me”
Anatalia is a force of energy on stage so it was nice to see her finally tackle a ballad. Never missing a note, her performance really took off during the last third of the performance when she took it up an octave and injected her signature attitude into the song. Anatalia has so much personality, I would have loved to see her make it into the top 12 but it wasn’t meant to be.
5. Jack Cassidy – “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”
Alicia made a brilliant song choice for Jack, bringing him back to the adult contemporary music that suits his voice. The Elton John classic allowed his voice to soar, and his genuine likability will no doubt win over many viewers. The problem with this performance was that it felt like he was always a step behind the music. It was a solid performance, but Cassidy was eliminated for the second time this season.
6. Ashley Levin – “I Can’t Stand the Rain”
The country songstress decided to prove her versatility by adding a bit of soul music to her repertoires. While that may have felt like a way to win over her coach, unfortunately it did her no favors. As the sole country singer on Team Alicia, she could have had a monopoly of voters who are country music fans. She abandoned that open fan base and did so without completely nailing this performance. I think this song choice may have cost her spot in the top 12.