'The Voice' Recap: Live Playoffs Part 1 – Matt McAndrew, Craig Wayne Boyd And More Perform Live
Matt McAndrew, Mia Pfirrman and Craig Wayne Boyd gave standout performances in the first episode of the live playoff rounds of The Voice.
To kick off the live rounds, Carson Daly invited Adam Levine and his band, Maroon 5 to perform “Animals” before talking to coaches Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams about their teams going into the ‘live playoffs.’
Team Blake And Team Adam Perform In Live Playoffs
Team Blake’s Taylor Brashears was the first contestant to perform in the live playoffs, and she went full country with “Long Time Gone.” Taylor impressed the judges with her fancy fiddle playing and unshakable confidence, but the song lacked any truly standout vocal moments. Pharrell complimented her on being able to keep things “fresh and interesting,” and Gwen said she sounded “beautiful” and applauded her for her comfort onstage.
Team Adam’s Chris Jamison was up next, and he chose a more popular song: Ed Sheeran’s “Don’t.” In rehearsals, the fast pace of the song gave Chris a bit of troubleThe song gave Chris a chance to work the ‘cute boy’ factor – or “#ChrisIsSoHot” as Adam said – and cultivate a little more swag in his performance. Chris did get a bit breathless towards the end of the second verse, but he covered it nicely by working the stage and he was able to rally to give a grand finish. Both Gwen and Pharrell were impressed with how he navigated through the challenge of the song, and the performance had Adam standing up out of his seat. “It was so amazing, man, and, honest to God, man, you have that intangible quality,” Adam told him.
Team Blake’s Jessie Pitts had a few problems stepping outside of her comfort zones vocally in rehearsals with “Holding Out for a Hero.” Jessie showed off her impressive range, making sure to throw out some high notes now and again. More importantly, she didn’t rely on her wispy rasp. Pharrell was head over heels for the performance, and Gwen, Jessie’s former coach, said she was so happy that Blake saved her and told her that she improved with every performance. Adam agreed, “I really do think this was your best – by far – your best performance.”
Following Pitts was another Team Blake artist: James David Carter, the country/rock/soul guitar player who decided to take on Garth Brooks’ “Two of a Kind Workin’ On A Full House.” James David certainly delivered a country performance, dressed in a red shirt and strumming on his guitar. Gwen told him he “sounded like a record” and commended him on managing to own the stage without actually moving around.
Team Adam’s Matt McAndrew performed “God Only Knows” for his mother, who introduced him to the song and encouraged his love of music. Matt’s mother was in the audience, and appeared near tears as Matt perfectly nailed the iconic Beach Boys song. Matt took advantage of his time onstage, playing to the fans in the audience and shaking hands like a sweetheart. His performance earned a standing ovation from the coaches – “I don’t know who’s swooning more, the coaches or your mom over there,” Carson said after his performance. The coaches agreed that Matt gave a near perfect performance, and Pharrell was so enthralled by Matt that he gave him a chance to tell the viewers where they could find his music online during the break.
Team Blake’s Reagan James put her spin on Colbie Caillat’s “Try.” In rehearsals, Blake encouraged her not to hold back and be a bit more true to her age – she turns 16 on Tuesday. Reagan had a standout moment in last week’s knockouts, and, as the coaches noted, she just keeps getting better. Her performance was mesmerizing, and way beyond her years. Blake applauded proudly at the end of it, telling her, “Reagan, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think you’re one of the most important artists we’ve had on The Voice.”
Up next from Team Adam was Taylor Phelan singing “Cool Kids.” In rehearsals, Adam told him to play it up for the live performance and take more risks than he might when recording an album. Taylor took Adam’s advice and worked the crowd, even getting them to sing along. Gwen told Taylor that she considers him “a peer” and Pharrell said he succeeded in showing the audience why they should buy his music.
Team Adam’s Mia Pfirrman chose to perform Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful,” hoping her challenging song choice will impress audiences and show off a darker side of herself. She certainly succeeded. “You’re so sweet, but that was so haunting,” Carson said as he hugged her after her performance. Mia also impressed the coaches, who complimented her growth. Adam especially was blown away by her performance, telling her how proud he is that she’s been able to develop more control in her voice.
Damien, from Team Adam, stayed in his comfort zone, singing another ballad, “I’m Not the Only One.” Damien’s performance was smooth, and he hit a high note that had the coaches jumping out of their seats. Gwen, in particular, was moved by Damien’s emotional performance, telling him she felt “so blessed” to witness it.
Team Blake’s Craig Wayne Boyd ended the night with his confident country take on “Some Kind of Wonderful.” Craig has bounced around from Team Blake to Team Gwen and then back to Team Blake, and he came out ready to fight for his spot in the live rounds. His charming performance had the crowd going wild and the coaches on their feet. “That was the performance of the night,” Blake said, and the crowd certainly agreed.
Team Gwen and Team Pharrell will perform live on The Voice Tuesday at 8 p.m. on NBC.