The Voice Australia: Season 5, Top 12 Performances

Admittedly, I was in a safety huddle for most of last night. I missed the live episode because I was out, and when I got home, I scrolled through Twitter and discovered that Brianna Holm was eliminated. After tweeting about my devastation on the matter, I had to put my phone down because I needed some time to be able to come to terms with this robbery. I actually watched the episode online this time, so that’s why this recap is up later than usual.

On that note, can we let the eliminated contestants at least sing before Sonia Kruger awkwardly shuffles them off the stage? I would have really liked to hear Brianna and Emad sing one more time. Heck, I would have even been excited to hear Lexi sing Rise Up (a song I actually suggested for her) and Elle tackling Shake It Out. That being said, I was glad that the producers decided to scrap the Coaches’ Save, a.k.a. the stupidest idea ever. But even that isn’t saving what started off as an exciting season, which has turned sour with the live shows. Maybe that’s why your ratings are declining. In other words, they really need to hire me as a producer (hint, hint).

Let’s get recapping!

TEAM MADDEN | Lexi Clark eliminated

Andrew Loadsman (James Bay’s Hold Back The River)

So I was happy that Andrew reduced the intensity of his singing-only accent for this performance, which resulted in a big improvement in enunciation (and my comprehension of what he was singing). And the opening half of his performance was actually pretty good, owing to him reining everything in. I just wish he had applied this restraint to the remainder of his James Bay cover, because as soon as he screamed the second chorus, he lost me. Honestly, the combination of his harsh tone and angry/scary facial expressions were verging on terrifying. He’ll probably make it through the Team Madden elimination though.

Lane Sinclair (David Bowie’s Life On Mars)

Comparing her to her Team Madden teammates, she’s easily the strongest contestant. I could easily see her doing her thing at Coachella. A combination of her captivating delivery, theatrical approach to the melody and wonderful tone are just so engaging to watch every performance. It was really nice to hear another stripped back performance from her. I think she needs to be careful with song choice though. Perhaps a more tender song would be good, to shake up the sameness of her dark and heavy performances.

Aaliyah Warren (The Fugees’ Killing Me Softly)

I haven’t been Aaliyah’s biggest fan this season, but I kinda dug this performance. It was really cool and she captured the groove of the song really well. She threw in a handful of nifty runs towards the end of her performance too. I could see her doing this kind of throwback RnB/soul if she wanted to. That’s not to say there weren’t some issues. Her pitch still needs some work and her delivery was also quite dead behind the eyes. Whether or not she will make it through the elimination is the question, though. And I’m not 100% sure she’s safe.

TEAM JESSIE | Brianna Holm eliminated (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Ellen Reed (Demi Lovato’s Stone Cold*)

*Check out this cover from Alisan Porter – the winner of The Voice U.S. Season 10!

Not gonna lie, I was extremely happy to read that Ellen would be singing Stone Cold. I actually suggested this song for her a week or two ago. Ellen didn’t disappoint. Her approach seemed to be a more quiet and hurt one, rather than Demi’s or the aforementioned Alisan Porter’s more angry take on the song. Additionally, her vocal was flawless. She never missed a note, all while tackling the ferocious melody. Her phenomenal range really played a role in making this a great performance as well – especially with that massive climactic note in the song’s final chorus.

Jack Pellow (Twenty One Pilots’ Stressed Out)

This was the first time Jack seemed to be really enjoying the performance; he seemed really comfortable on stage. He delivered a nice vocal and his pitch and tone were really great. Now the negatives. This wasn’t the most dynamic arrangement. In fact, it didn’t really go anywhere, nor gave the opportunity for Jack’s vocal to soar or do anything special. Speaking of which, Jack’s performance also really suffered from the arrangement’s odd instrumental mix. Something about it just seemed a little off to me.

Mikaela Dean (CeCe Peniston’s Finally)

Mikaela’s vocal was really pretty in the beginning. She took her time and included some great runs. Her vocal was also really solid in the uptempo portion of the song and she worked the stage (and those fringed pants) like a boss. However, WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS THIS SONG CHOICE?? One of the most current vocalists in the competition and she’s given an outdated house song from the early 90s. It did no favours for her whatsoever. The momentum she’s been steamrolling from her last few great performances has been impeded and this is probably a song she’d never dream of putting on a record. I hope she gets the chance to perform again next week.

TEAM DELTA | Elle Murphy eliminated

Adam Ladell (Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars)

Adam as always brought his bright tone to this performance. However, there was some issues. Firstly, he seemed to be struggling with pitch in the opening half of the song, especially at the end of his phrases where he went quite flat. And on quite a simple melody, he always stuck to it and rarely took any liberties with it. Finally, when the arrangement ramped up at the end, his vocal didn’t really match this. He kind of flatlined and stayed at the same intensity, while the band was really anthemic. I don’t really blame Adam for this – more so whoever picked and arranged Chasing Cars for him in this way. I think he’ll be making it through to next week though.

Kim Sheehy (Alessia Cara’s Wild Things)

After a showstopping performance last week, this song choice was odd. Nothing about Kim screams straight-up pop. However, by stripping the song back and just playing her guitar, it suited her a bit more. With some daring runs and beautiful extended notes in her upper register, she really took the song up a couple of notches. Her bright, clear tone was front and center and the dynamic shift into the first chorus was also really cool. However, with a good-but-by-no-means-spectacular performance of a middle-of-the-road pop song and her other teammates getting more hype, I’m a little nervous for Kim’s chances of making into next week.

Alfie Arcuri (Sam Smith’s Lay Me Down)

Another stunning performance from Alfie. The near acappella opening really allowed him to show case his buttery tone and ability to convey emotion through the conversational lyric. He threw in some cool runs to spice things up too. His extended belting notes in the chorus were phenomenal – I just wish he had held out the falsetto ones a fraction longer too. Overall, one of the best of the night. That being said, his song choices have been reasonably safe. If he wants to showcase more originality and breadth (and cement his position as a front runner), perhaps a song from a female artist could be an easy way to do this. His cover of Robyn’s Dancing On My Own on his YouTube channel is phenomenal. Tender ballads like Beyonce’s 1+1 or Skylar Grey/Rihanna’s Love The Way You Lie could also prove to be great moments.

TEAM RONAN | Emad Younan eliminated (how did this happen??!!??!!)

Tash Lockhart (Vance Joy’s Riptide)

After her Bowie cover, this probably ranks as my second favourite performance Tash has given, and was a much better song choice than last week’s. Her attack on the melody matched the great intensity in her delivery. She nailed the tempo and dynamic shifts throughout the song, with the downtempo portions allowing her to show off her beautiful tone. To top it off, Tash’s growl really made me a happy camper. Her performance was really engaging, and she should easily sail into next week. That being said, and while the start of this performance gave us a hint of it, I really want another stripped back song from Tash like from the Super Battles.

Georgia Wiggins (Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car)

Predicting last week that Georgia would be eliminated based on her Hide Away cover, I was very nervous about what Georgia would do with Fast Car – a sacred song of mine. How would she splice up the 5 minute song? Would she do the direct guitar-based approach? Or would she use one of the godawful remixes as a template for her performance? Instead, she opted for a slower piano-driven arrangement. This allowed her to hone in on her pitch – a big problem she had last week. Her tone (when she isn’t throwing in an upward inflection at the end of every line or two) is actually really pretty and suited her performance. An improvement over last week, but I would still like her to reduce the hiccup-sounding inflection and continue to hone in on her pitch.

Mitch Gardiner (Jamie Lawson’s Wasn’t Expecting That)

The combination of a perfect song choice for Mitch and the pimp spot should mean he makes it into next week. His performance was delicate and restrained, with the focus placed on the song’s beautiful lyrics. He conveyed pain and emotion through this performance but captured the sense of bittersweet as well, making it feel like a punch in the gut. There are no gimmicks or complications with Mitch’s performances – just giving us a beautiful story. If one of the young contestants MUST win, I’d be happy with Mitch as the Season 5 champion.

TEAM RANKINGS – based on tonight’s performances, overall body of work and my taste!

Team Madden:

  1. Lane Sinclair
  2. Aaliyah Warren
  3. Andrew Loadsman

Team Jessie:

  1. Ellen Reed
  2. Mikaela Dean
  3. Jack Pellow

Team Delta:

  1. Alfie Arcuri
  2. Kim Sheehy
  3. Adam Ladell

Team Ronan:

  1. Tash Lockhart
  2. Mitch Gardiner
  3. Georgia Wiggins

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