The Voice Live Playoffs

On May 6, 2013, in Opinions, Reviews, by Magnolia Guitar

As a guitar player and teacher, you’d think it strange that I LOVE THE VOICE! But I do! I love the concept and how supportive everyone is. Sure there are things that I don’t like (which I discuss at the end of this post), but overall I think it’s one of the best “reality” talent shows.

Team Adam

Caroline Glaser: The cute indie girl with the hipster glasses. She doesn’t have a strong a voice as other singers, but I think she knows the kind of artist she wants to be. You can’t challenge a ‘belter’ but you can beat them through smart song selection.

Judith Hill: Speaking of ‘belters’. Judith is the entire package. She’s tall, beautiful, dynamic and technically proficient. However, her issue is the same as other R&B belters. There are a lot of technically proficient singers with a great range. But that being that technically good at something, sometimes you loose a certain amount of personality of uniqueness. Sometimes the best performers aren’t the best singers. The formula is tougher than that

Sarah Simmons: I think Sarah as a great voice, but I don’t think she has enough to give me a good sense of who she is right away. That doesn’t mean you have to the “country chick” or the “rocker girl” but a good sense of self is what makes you an artist. To be fair, I’m only now starting to understand that about myself. I can’t imaging how hard it is for the contestants to do that while on a nationally televised competition show. Yikes!

Amber Carrington: If I could describe Amber in a word it would be versatile. She sang Stay, I’m With You, Try and Good Girl all with aplomb. But does it make for one unique artist? It makes for session work and you can certainly make a career of that (heck, I’d love it), but is that what she wants? We’ll see what surprises she has coming up.

Team Blake

Danielle Bradbery: At only 16 years old, she has purportedly only really performed on stage when she tried out for the Voice. As of the Live Playoffs, she had performed a total of FOUR TIMES. But you’d never know it! She reveals that her dad’s a singer, but was too shy. And his advice to her was to be bold, unlike him! Well, I guess it worked. She’ll get by because she’s cute as a button, but she has the talent, too. She’s not the most accomplished vocalist, but her seemingly preternatural ease and stage presence demonstrates she’ll be successful if she wins or not.

Holly Tucker: Holly often shows concern that she doesn’t ‘look’ like a superstar, but on a show called “The Voice” she should have more confidence in her talents. It discounts the notable stars like Aretha Franklin and Adele. A superstar doesn’t fit the mold. She BREAKS the mold. However, I noticed that she missed a beat during the results show intro ‘Hall of Fame’. If you watch closely, you can see her frustration. But like a pro, she just keeps on going. And she quickly makes up for it later.

The Swon Brothers: Oklahoma brothers Colton and Zach are tight. They have tight harmonies, perform well together and look like they’re having a blast. I have no doubt that they’d be big on the radio and in stadiums. But they’re the only duo act to have made it this far since Season 1 (I think). And they’ve been called ‘consistent’, which is true… and great for ticket sales, but I fear doesn’t not equal winning The Voice and that’s a shame.

Justin Rivers: I have to say that Justin is a PERFORMER! Watching his Live Playoff song ‘Meet Me in the Middle’ (Diamond Rio) was like watching a veteran. He comes from a Christian music background, which may work towards his benefit or not, but with performances like that, he should cast a wide a net as possible.

Team Shakira

Garrett Gardner: Garrett didn’t get any of the judges to turn around during season 3, but came back and made it all the way to the playoffs in season 4. He’s unique and I’m glad that he’s made it for that reason alone. I think he needs a more dynamic range and better control of his instrument, however.

Kris Thomas: Kris fooled everyone during the Blind Rounds with his falsetto. People thought he was a girl! His vocal style is smooth, but is it so smooth that it’s bland?

Karina Iglesias: Is the music teacher seeking fame for herself, but to also show all her students that anything is possible if you work hard! She has the Spanish swagger and the rock pipes, but I think she and the judges were having a hard time finding her niche.

Shasha Allen: Is the other BIG voice on the show next to Judith Hill. But I think she was given off advice which resulted in a particularly screechy rendition of “Oh! Darling”. She’s shown to be better than that.

Team Usher

Josiah Hawley: He’s the model turned singer with the Jazzy influences. He shown great range and great control, but the slightly Sammy Davis Jr. thing he does sometimes kind of irks me. You didn’t realize what it was did you? That’s it. But when he covered Muse, the affectation fell away and he seemed more real.

Cathia: One of the three Latin female vocalists in this season, she’s performed much better with mainstream pop, in my opinion. But with female vocalists, it’s not enough to sound good and look pretty. There has to be SOMEthing else that draws you in and separates you from tens of thousands of other hopeful singers who are trying desperately to be radio-friendly. Fitting in won’t help you stand out.

Michelle Chamuel: Speaking of standing out. Jeez, Michelle is quite possibly the nerdiest person ever to be on The Voice. I know the judges during the Blind Auditions are ‘blind’, but not the rest of us. She was wearing practically whatever was on top of the dresser that morning. BUT she’s got so much personality and energy. She’s wacky! However, it wasn’t until she let her defenses down and had the courage to be vulnerable singing Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors did you really get a sense that she’s not a gimmick.

Vedo: One of the only R&B men left in the competition, he’s definitely got the swag. His mother died of cancer while he was on the show! How crazy is that? He’s probably compartmentalized it for the most part. He acknowledges it, but I think he’s pushed it down. If he wins or loses, it’ll all come out then.


The concept of the Blind Auditions is what makes the show unique. Choosing singers based on what they do best without letting their ‘look’ influence you. Then if more than one judge wants the singer, then the singer has to choose! I really like the introduction of The Steal, when one person get cut, another judge may scoop them up. It introduces an element of strategy among the judges.

Those are the good things. I think the choice of Guest Coaches are a little weak, through no fault of their own. The show is going for star quality, when they should be going for substance. They should be bringing in actual voice coaches or songwriters or producers. People that will augment the advice they’re getting from their main coach.

Also, during the Battle Rounds where you go against someone in your OWN TEAM. Team Members should be able to call each other out! If not for the entire battle round, then for at least 1 round! Come on!

And once you get to the Live Playoffs, I think that the singers should have SOME say into what they’re performing. After all, it’s that song that may make or break them. I think they should have some input.


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