The Live Shows are finally here! To me, this is most exciting part of the competition. It’s where things start heating up, and we start seeing contestants rise to the top without the manipulation of editing.
I think the voting system of this episode actually worked quite well. Obviously, it would’ve worked best if it were split over two episodes a week. But with only one show every Sunday, I think this was a good solution to the horrendous team-based voting format last season, that saw 4 contestants going home each week.
Obviously there are some flaws. By having the Voice App as the only way to vote excludes people who don’t have smart phones, or who aren’t particularly tech savvy. It also favours more popular contestants, whose fans will vote for them before they’ve performed.
That notwithstanding, I thought it resulted in two correct contestants fighting for the Instant Save (although I might’ve swapped Claire with Tim, based on tonight’s performances).
Let’s get recapping!
Lucy Sugerman | Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus | Team Seal
Lucy sounded pleasant enough, and she threw in some interesting melodic choices as well. But at the same time, there wasn’t really any pay off. I wish there were some dynamics, because the vocal overall kind of flat-lined. Because she wasn’t able to push her voice to show power, the chorus just sat in an awkward place. I think it came down to the song choice. Seal wanted to give her a ‘big song’, but I don’t think that’s the kind of vocalist she is. What’s the point in making her sing a powerful pop track, only to rework it with a lethargic arrangement that wasn’t flattering at all for Lucy’s voice? Grade: B-
Bojesse Pigram | There’s Nothing Holding Me Back – Shawn Mendes | Team Kelly
First off, Bojesse had some pitch issues in the lower register. And on this uninspired uptempo song choice, there wasn’t really an opportunity for him to shine, or at least show emotion like he did in his last few performances. And with this uptempo pop track, I wish he had embodied the high energy of the song in his stage presence. It probably wasn’t his fault that he was glued to the mic stand for the whole performance, though, but a smile would’ve been nice at the very least. Grade: C+
Hoseah Partsch | Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word – Elton John | Team Boy George
His first performance without playing the piano thus far, Hoseah’s vocal was really pretty. His emotional connection the lyric was really clear, and it’s good to see Boy George coaching him into investing emotion into his performances. I just wish he injected a fraction more soul into his performance – it was pretty, but it was just missing a bit of the gusto of his past performances. I think he also desperately needs a more current song choice next week, so he doesn’t start appearing dated. Grade: B+
Claire Howell | Into You – Ariana Grande | Team Delta
I appreciated that Delta and Claire wanted to do a well-timed tribute for Ariana Grande. And this was a song that I actually included in my song suggestions for Claire yesterday. But something was lost in the translation. Her vocal was extremely messy throughout, with Claire hitting bum notes left, right and centre. She also seemed to struggle with the range and tempo of the track. In hindsight, I think this song was a little too on the nose as well. The highlight of the performance was that octave-scaling run leading into the final chorus. But I don’t think it was enough to salvage the overall performance. Grade: D+
Rennie Adams | Let It Go – James Bay | Team Seal
I appreciated that Rennie brought plenty of emotion and tenderness in this performance. He showed a lot of restraint in holding back in some phrases, and using his falsetto as a nice touch. I think he benefits from stripped back song like this – something Seal should take on board. However, a big issue with his vocal was his pitch – he was singing flat throughout a lot of the performance. He needs to be able to sing in tune whether he’s belting or singing at a whisper. And he can’t improve on this if the Coaches don’t address it. Grade: C
Fasika Ayallew | Young Hearts, Run Free – Candi Station | Team Kelly
Of all dated song choices to give to the contestant with arguably the most pop star potential… I think I had more issue with the parts of the performance outside of Fasika’s control. Aside from the song choice, I think her styling made the performance seem all the more dated. It looked like she was doing a Tina Turner impersonation, right down to the fringe outfit. And I think Fasika desperately needs to show an emotional side of herself. All that notwithstanding, I think Fasika nailed the vocal. She had excellent pitch, exuded lots of energy in her stage presence, showed off some impressive range in her lower register and worked the stage like a boss. Her tone sounded exquisite at the end, and her sumptuous growl make me a happy camper. Grade: A- (if you ignore the horrendous song choice)
Robin Johnson | Red – Daniel Merriweather | Team Boy George
In the coaching session, I was really impressed by the great coaching that Boy George showed, so I was expecting a great performance from Robin. Sadly, I was disappointed. Not be completely negative, Robin’s tone in his lower register sounded as nice, and there were a couple of impressive high notes. But there were some issues with his pitch, and he seemed to struggle to compete with the band in some parts of the performance. His delivery also came off as pageanty, while some exaggerated facial expressions in some moments, and an odd smile in others. Grade: D
Spencer Jones | We Are The Champions – Queen | Team Kelly
Again, this song choice for Spencer was way too on the nose, and wasn’t all that different from anything we’ve seen from him. I think Kelly really needs to start picking better, more flattering and more unexpected song choices for her artists. Spencer in particular, needs a song that can show that he has restraint and a place in today’s music industry. That being said, Spencer sang the song well. His rasp and power worked to great effect, and he committed to the anthemic nature of this Queen track. And not only did he rock the song, he rocked that fringe jacket like it was no one’s business. Grade: B
Tim Conlon | Sign Of The Times – Harry Styles | Team Delta
I think Tim did a pretty solid job. He sounded, for the past part, pretty good. The opening verse was excellent, and his tone sounded really lovely on it. I’ll also commend him for showing a big improvement on his pitch. He ran into a little bit of trouble in the falsetto section, when his falsetto notes kind of disappeared into the ether. Tim also needs to watch the end of his phrases – he has a habit of falling off of the end of some of his lines. But overall, this was his best work thus far. Grade: B-
Sarah Stone | Water Under The Bridge – Adele | Team Boy George
I think Sarah did need an uptempo track to show a bit of variety on her journey. And girlfriend nailed it. She had excellent pitch (more than what we can say for most of the other contestants), and brought lots of power into the mix. She did a great job of keeping up with the tempo of the song, and managed to execute the tricky phrasing well. I think this dark horse is on track to move up to the top of the pack. Grade: A-
Berni Harrison | Diamonds – Rihanna | Team Seal
Berni’s second Rihanna cover of the season, her take on the Sia-penned Diamonds was reasonably enjoyable. My favourite parts of the performance were the verses. Her tone sounded good on them, and she brought a great sense of conviction. I didn’t really enjoy the choruses as much. Her tone became a little strident on “I saw the light inside of your eyes”, and she didn’t support the chorus with any power, so her vocal flatlined a little. Grade: B-
Judah Kelly | Purple Rain – Prince | Team Delta
Is it too early to give Judah the Season 6 crown? Because he wiped the floor with his Purple Rain performance. Starting with a stripped back verse, he was able to show off his beautiful, soulful tone. He threw in just enough little melodic liberties to keep us on our toes. His sense of dynamics was incredible, as he climbed his way up through his range into an incredible climactic final chorus. His powerful belt sent shivers down my spine (in the best way possible), and that soaring falsetto had me on my feet. This was nothing short of a masterpiece. Grade: A+
INSTANT SAVE SING OFF
Robin Johnson | Don’t Let Me Down – The Chainsmokers
This was much better than his disastrous performance earlier tonight. He managed to execute some impressive high notes. He brought a lot of focus to his vocal and delivery. But there was a lot of empty space throughout the performance, which interrupted the flow of his vocal. Grade: B
Tim Conlon | Treat You Better – Shawn Mendes
Some parts of the performance, when the arrangement was stripped back, really showed off his great tone. But he lacked power in his upper register, so was drowned out by the band in the chorus. And there were some notes towards the end that were flatter than a pancake. Grade: D+
Saved: Tim Conlon