‘The Voice’ Top 10 Recap: I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Votes Tonight
Did Caroline Pennell's song choice ruin her chances?
Monday's top 10 episode of "The Voice" offered several extreme examples about what a difference a song choice makes. Some contestants were assigned in-their-wheelhouse tunes by Ray LaMontagne, Emeli Sande, and even Mr. Big, and they excelled. Others got the Outfield, Harry Nilsson, and John Denver…and things didn't go so well.
Here's how everyone did Monday, under very varied circumstances:
Austin Jenckes (Team Blake) – Austin did the Outfield's "Your Love," so I was prepared to fully love Austin, of course. I mean, "Your Love" is only, like, the greatest song ever. But Austin didn't possess the eunuch-high voice of the Outfield's Tony Lewis (by the end of the song, he was practically screaming to keep up) nor the hipster sass of Katy Perry (who awesomely covered the Outfield tune early in her career). So this wasn't exactly the "breakout performance" that Blake Shelton claimed it was. (In fact, this non-country song selection, combined with Austin's death slot, made me wonder if Austin was being semi-secretly bused by Blake.) The coaches were all bursting with their usual praise, however. Blake enjoyed Austin's end-of-song scream, saying Austin had "mastered the art of the slow build." Christina Aguilera said, "I loved the ending. You took it there. You rocked it." CeeLo Green marveled, "I really didn't realize you had so much range!" Only Adam Levine, an avid fan of "Your Love," griped that he "wanted more of the big high notes I love so much." Personally, I think this was a bit of a miss, if not a total mess. Hopefully for Austin's sake, the Outfield line he crooned tonight — "As you're leaving, please would you close the door?" — won't prove prophetic.
Jacquie Lee (Team Xtina) – Here's another song choice that wasn't ideal. Christina wanted to showcase Jacquie's soft and vulnerable side — she even practiced some pre-performance yoga with Jacquie, indicating that a daily dose of downward dogs has been responsible for her more pleasant, chillaxed attitude this season. But Jacquie's stripped-down ballad version of Zedd's EDM hit "Clarity" fell a little flat for me. For the most part, Jacquie pulled this off; it's a VERY difficult song to sing, and though she struggled and strained in the beginning and her confidence noticeably flagged, few other contestants in this season's top 10 could have handled it at all. Still, I missed Angry Jacquie, the little spitfire that spat pure fire on "I Put a Spell On You" and "Love is Blindness." Christina was pleased with this performance, calling it "emotional" and "gorgeous" and saying, "I was really touched." But CeeLo said he could tell that the "nakedness" of the song was "unnerving" for Jacquie, advising her, "Anger really works for you." Said Blake, "I heard those [pitchy] areas where it was like, 'What the heck?' — but by the end of it, we heard the Jacquie we all love." This was a valiant effort, but hopefully the Jacquie that I love, Angry Jacquie, will be back in full, fangs-bared force next week.