Everything should be calming down on “The Voice” for the Top 12 live show airing on Monday, April 23. This fact is comforting after a trainwreck of 24 performances last Monday and then 20 more on Tuesday and Wednesday. The results was 12 of the 24 artists being eliminated in quick fashion. Read our live summary recaps of those episodes as they were happening on Monday, April 16, Tuesday, April 17 and Wednesday, April 18.
For this week’s second round of live playoffs, the Top 12 remaining singers will perform on Monday. Only one of them will be eliminated on Tuesday, taking us to a Top 11 episode next Monday, April 30. Here are the competitors still trying to win the Season 14 championship:
Team Adam Levine — Sharane Calister, Rayshun LaMarr, Jackie Verna
Team Alicia Keys — Britton Buchanan, Christiana Danielle, Jackie Foster
Team Kelly Clarkson — Brynn Cartelli, D.R. King, Kaleb Lee
Team Blake Shelton — Pryor Baird, Spensha Baker, Kyla Jade
All 12 of these contenders will perform on Monday’s two-hour showcase for NBC. Tuesday night’s episode will reveal which 10 are safe. The bottom two contestants will sing and hope for the most votes from the instant save from Twitter votes. One will join the Top 11 on April 30 while the other is eliminated.
Live updating recap and analysis below for Monday, April 23:
7:55 p.m. – It was an absolute bloodbath in last week’s Top 24 shows resulting in a number of shocking eliminations. Personally, I could have formed a perfect top 12 using all six of Alicia’s artists and then two each from the other three teams, but that’s not the way the show goes. With half of Alicia’s strong team out of the way, now is the perfect time for any artist to make a statement that will pronounce them as the new frontrunner of a wide open season!
8:02 p.m. – Tonight the artists were asked to choose songs that have special meaning to them or tell “the stories of their lives.” The first up is Rayshun with “When Love Takes Over” by David Guetta and Kelly Rowland. To his coach, Adam, this song is the perfect embodiment of Rayshun because it has energy and is pure love. For Rayshun, it describes how he feels when he takes the stage and reflects the support of his loving partner.
8:05 p.m. – In terms of performance quality, Rayshun has confidence and uses the stage well, but tonight something was off, almost like he was so focused on hitting marks that it stripped everything organic from his movements. Perhaps it was nerves, but the disengaged stage presence affected his vocals which I found to be pitchy and not as electric as Carson and the coaches seemed to think. Adam says that Rayshun’s ability to continue to “amp up” his performances is a key to not only being a great artist, but also to life in general.
8:10 p.m. – Kelly’s first artist of the night is Kaleb singing “Amazed” by Lonestar which he’s dedicated to his wife. What Kelly loves most about Kaleb is that he’s not a musician just singing about the country lifestyle, but he actually lives it as well.
8:13 p.m. – Kaleb’s performance is fairly scaled back, especially at the beginning. For the most part the band has a muted presence, allowing for his vocals to out front and that’s a good thing because he sounded great. But his energy was pretty low and if you were hoping to hear anything dynamic in his voice you’re probably underwhelmed. Kelly is highly complimentary of his song choice and the texture in his voice, but none of the coaches seemed particularly ecstatic about the performance.
8:22 p.m. – Jackie’s plan tonight is to put a rock spin on the Britney Spears hit “Toxic” as a dedication to her band that performed it once. Alicia compares Jackie to Pink and No Doubt, describing her as powerful and edgy.
8:24 p.m. – “Toxic” is hugely popular so I think it’s a great song choice for Jackie, but it’s also a song that’s been remixed in countless ways by a variety of artists so I’m curious to see if her version is as popular as most remixed pop songs can be on the show. It’s definitely an edgy performance that shows how rock Jackie can get, but it certainly didn’t show off her voice as well as “Alone” did for her last week.
8:32 p.m. – Blake’s save from last week went to Spensha who tonight is singing “Down on My Knees” by one of her favorite country artists, Trisha Yearwood. When Blake asked Spensha “why country music?” she says it’s because she grew up with it and when she was young she heard a country song that made her cry and knew that’s what she had to do.
8:35 p.m. – Wow. Spensha is the first artist of the night that brought the entire package! Her voice came through pure and rich here, but she also performed with an authenticity the conveyed the emotion of the song in all its textures. Imagine taking the song of a country music legend and making it sound like your own… that’s exactly what Spensha achieved tonight.
8:43 p.m. – Christiana received her second save in the competition at the hands of her coach Alicia. This week she’s tackling her fears by taking on “Say Something,” a song that gave her strength during the end of a past relationship.
8:45 p.m. – From stage production to her voice, Christiana’s performance tonight was absolutely gorgeous. Like Spensha before her, Christiana really cut deep into the emotion of the song and delivered every lyric with truth. Although there was a never a big moment in the performance, the entire thing was majestic and Kelly compared the lows in her voice to those of Toni Braxton.
8:54 p.m. – D.R.’s choice this week is Dido‘s “White Flag,” a song that Kelly sees as perfect for him because it’s soulfully unique and that is exactly what D.R. is, too. For him, the song is about coming from a bad place in your life and letting music save you.
8:56 p.m. – I really admire the ambition Kelly and D.R. showed this week by changing the arrangement of the song so much that it became something unrecognizable from the original and for the most part that gamble worked. But there were stretches of the song, specifically when the music dropped and he was singing a cappella, that didn’t work as well as others so overall the performance was really uneven. I just can’t see a performance like that drawing in any new fans. He could be in a danger this week, sadly.
9:00 p.m. – Sharane had a big week in the top 24, going from being one of Adam’s steals to being voted through first by the audience. Tonight she’s following that up with “In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes. For her, the song is about having the strength to overcome obstacles in life even if you have to do it on your own.
9:02 p.m. – This is a great song for Sharane because it gave her a huge chorus to erupt into that really showed her power. It was also a really smart choice to have her alone on stage without a band because she commanded it like she’s already a pop star. She sounded a lot like American Idol winner Jordin Sparks here so I think she’s on the right path in the competition.
9:11 p.m. – Blake’s next performer is Pryor who has decided to sing “Pickin’ Wildflowers” because it speaks to where he came from and reminds him of his wife. Blake refers to Pryor has the first blues-country-rock singer from California he’s ever had on his team.
9:13 p.m. – Pryor is an exciting artist in the competition because I think there’s a lot of different directions he can take a song so each one feels fresh week to week. Tonight he’s on the blues path and it works really well! His guitar riff in the middle of the song bled into a big chorus that was gritty and cool. I’m really into his vibe this week and I think he’s not only secured himself a spot in the top 11, but probably even deeper than that.
9:22 p.m. – Brynn is Kelly’s artist that was first to be voted through by the audience in the Top 24. Her choice this week is “Up to the Mountain,” a song that is dedicated to her mom and everyone in her life that has supported her journey on the show. It’s also a song that her mom showed to her years ago after Kelly herself had covered it and one Brynn never thought she could accomplish. Tonight she’s gonna try!
9:24 p.m. – The maturity with which Brynn sings is incredible and that was on full display tonight. Kelly said she loves Brynn’s deep notes and gosh so do I! She remained in that register for most of the song and in those parts played it. Admittedly when she went high she got pitchy, but overall this was a really strong night for Brynn and she should sail easily into the next week.
9:32 p.m. – Last week Adam said that he heard a song on the radio and immediately thought that Jackie should sing it. So this week he’s asked her to sing Avril Lavigne‘s “I’m With You” despite the fact that she’s a country artist. It’s a song that Jackie loved herself when she was young and felt just as alone as the song describes, finding music as her way of escaping.
9:34 p.m. – In order to stick to her genre, they’ve rearranged the pop rock song to have a country feel and though I thin lyrically the song does work as country I’m not so sure that Jackie’s performance of it felt authentic. To be honest, Jackie sounded really good in the verses, but when the big chorus hit she got pitchy and ultimately sounded like she was screaming rather than singing. I think she does have a good voice, but she might have bit off more than she could chew this week with such an ambitious song choice.
9:44 p.m. – Britton is taking on “Small Town” by John Mellencamp, the first time it’s ever been performed on the show. For Britton the song takes him back to last summer when he heard the song live with his friend. He’s a young artist with a lot of energy and Alicia thinks he has what it takes to go all the way.
9:46 p.m. – Considering it’s such a classic and he’s so young, Britton performed the heck out this song and completely owned it. There are a lot of similarities between his performance and the one Pryor gave (even down to the staging), but in terms of charisma I’d give the edge to Britton. He has a confident on stage persona that matches the maturity of his voice and that makes him an incredibly engaging performer. You can tell the in-studio audience loves him and you can even feel that through the screen. Alicia is right… Britton is a major threat to win the whole thing.
9:54 p.m. – Kyla gets the finale spot this week and she’s delivering Jennifer Hudson‘s “One Night Only,” a song she sang background on for Jennifer three years ago. During rehearsals she even got a call from Jennifer wishing her luck!
9:56 p.m. – Well, if Kyla wasn’t one of the frontrunners before tonight (she did get through on the popular vote last week) then she should be firmly in everyone’s top four now. There is just no one else in the competition this year that has a voice as big as Kyla’s and so she has a path carved out for her that no one else can step on. I love the raw emotion and drama she brings to every performance.
10:00 p.m. – Overall, I’d say it’s a pretty strong night of performances, but true frontrunner status is still up for grabs. My favorites were Kyla, Brynn, Pryor and Britton, but honestly this is one of the most wide open seasons in a long time. I’m excited to see how it continues! Who do you think was the best of the night and which artist do you predict will be eliminated? Let me know in the comments!
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