As the show chugs along, the contestants are expected to step up their game and that they did on Monday night. I was pleasantly surprised by one singer that I had written off, but another has me a little worried. Most importantly, I think Christina Aguilera used one of my song choices! After a performance from Robin Thicke, the competition got underway. Here’s how the Top 8 did.
James Wolpert sang Queen‘s “Somebody To Love,” a song near and dear to his heart. He entered the stage dressed in a tux, flanked by some good looking, and great sounding, backup singers. This performance really worked for James and you could tell he had worked on his stage presence. I can’t agree with Cee Lo that this was one of the best performances on the show ever, or that he could go join Queen tomorrow and fit right in, wrong Adam, but it was pretty enjoyable. I needed the opening and closing to be stronger, but this should keep him on the show.
Tessanne Chin sang “Underneath It All” by No Doubt. This was a bit of a no-brainer for Tessanne. It gave her a chance to sing something that fit her roots, and show off her accent. He was cool and comfortable onstage, starting the trend of singing in the audience. She kept up her energy during the rap part and gave herself some moments to shine. Christina suggested she doe the reggae version of her hit “What A Girl Wants,” and I hope Adam and Tessanne already have something big planned for that suggestion.
Caroline Pennelle sang “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + The Machine. Caroline was almost knocked out of the competition last week, and iIm pretty sure her duet with Tessanne saved her. So her coach Cee Lo encourages her to get down and gritty for this one, even though we all know she’s still a big sweetheart. She never reached the heights that Florence Welch does on this, but it was a lot less monotone and safe than her previous performances, so might find herself in the Bottom 3 again after this.
The first group performance of the night featured Tessanne, Cole, Ray and Will singing “One Day” by Matisyahu. Everyone stood out here, except Ray, but it was Tessanne who got all the good parts of the song.
Cole Vosbury sang “I Still Believe In You” by Vince Gill. Cole was urged to give an emotional and desperate performance, and there was a bit of emotion there, but it was also kind of boring. He stayed seated the entire time, but his voice was crisp. Blake Shelton might be looking for him to be his Country contestant, but he does so much better with Soul and Rock, and it would be nice to see him be joined by the band for once.
Matthew Schuler sang Imangine Dragons‘ “It’s Time.” So Matthew is now 21 and his coach Christina thought he needed something anthemic to celebrate. His stage set up was great, but I only liked half of this performance. Matthew has a voice made for pop/r&b and it’s nice for him to show off how versatile he is, but this song forced him to sing out of his tone. The verses sounded good, but the chorus was flat, basically. Matthew has enough personality to carry what was an otherwise weak performance. If he ends up with a low score or in the bottom, hopefully he and his coach will reevaluate things.
The second group performance was made up of Matthew, Caroline, Jacquie and James singing “Lego House” by Ed Sheeran. I was wondering if we were going to hear anything by Team Christina’s mentor, and this was a great song for the four of them.
Will Champlin sang “At Last” by Etta James. When I saw this song on the list I thought it was going to Jacquie, but was surprised that Will was tackling this. Usually sung by women, Will made this his own without overdoing it. The opening note was perfectly in key and there wasn’t a pitch issue to be found. He really sang the hell out of this, and turned me into a fan. On another note, doesn’t he look totally different without his glasses on?
Ray Boudreaux sang “Gimme Some Lovin'” by Spencer Davis Group. I go back and forth with Ray, but I actually enjoyed this performance from him. I think he had a little bit of trouble with pacing, maybe focusing too much on connecting with the audience, which he was standing in the middle of. This will definitely secure him a spot in the Top 6.
Jacquie Lee sang “Who’s Lovin’ You” by The Jackson 5. So, 2 weeks ago Christina asked fans on Twitter to suggest songs for her two team members. I suggested this song for Jacquie! Maybe someone else threw this one out there too, but it’s nice to see that she was really paying attention to what fans of the show wanted to hear. Technically, this was good, but Jacquie wasn’t hitting the notes like she should have. You could tell she took Xtina’s advice to “get more angry” as she was scrunching up her little nose with every grunt at the end. She’s not Christina Jr., but she could be.
Two more singers go home on Tuesday. Which performances were your favorites and who do you think is going home? Let us know!