‘The Voice’ Recap: Live Playoffs – Team Blake And Team Pharrell Hit The Stage, Sarah Potenza Takes Flight
Team Blake and Team Pharrell were first up in the Live Playoffs of The Voice, and singers Sarah Potenza, Mia Z, Hannah Kirby and more impressed coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Pharrell Williams and Christina Aguilera.
Sarah Potenza “Free Bird”
Team Blake’s rocker chick took a risk singing “Free Bird,” and al the coaches commented on her song choice. In rehearsals, Sarah had a bit of trouble showing off the dynamics of her voice, but Blake saved the day with a quick re-arrangement of the song.
Sarah performed with her guitar, abandoning it halfway through when the band really came in, elevating the song and allowing her to let her rocker growl loose. Blake was up on his feet at the end, and all the coaches agreed that she could not have chosen a better song. “I want America to know, this was her idea,” Blake said, giving his contestant all the credit she deserves.
Hannah Kirby “I Feel The Earth Move”
Coach Blake picked “I Feel the Earth Move” for Hannah Kirby and encouraged her to embrace her quirky dance moves. In rehearsals, Hannah revealed that she’s never been in love, and was struggling a bit to connect to the underlying feeling in the song.
Hannah’s energetic performance had the coaches up on their feet. “Oh, that was fun,” Carson Daly said, laughing, before going to the coaches. “To me, that is entertainment,” Pharrell said, commenting on how she let her strong vocals “control your body.” And Adam and Christina commented her fearlessness and lack of insecurity on stage.
Cory Kent White “Make You Feel My Love”
Cory, the competition’s only country voice left, came into rehearsals ready to use his emotion – his grandfather who was in the hospital during the Knockouts has died – and to give him a bit of an emotional push, Blake gave him a love song. Blake wanted to see Cory prove he could sing a ballad, and the young female viewers of The Voice thank him for that.
Adam was a bit underwhelmed by his performance, saying it lacked that big punch or climax to really make him sit up and pay attention. Pharrell and Christina disagreed, complimenting Cory’s ability to perform with sincerity. “You just have such a special way of engaging with the audience without having to do very much [vocally] at all…You just have this tenderness to your voice,” Christina told him.
Brooke Adee “Love Me Like You Do”
Blake hoped to show off Brooke Adee’s range with Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do.” In rehearsals, Brooke got a bit pitchy when going from low notes to high, and it was obviously a big challenge for her. Christina said that she managed to sing all the notes accurately, but did say that she could tell Brooke was focusing on hitting the notes and wished she could have loosened up a bit. Pharrell and Adam agreed, saying they felt she was sticking a bit too much to the plan set out in rehearsals.
Meghan Linsey “Love Runs Out”
Blake continued to challenge his team, tasking Meghan Linsey with a more current pop rock song. Meghan has already proven she can sing the hell out of soulful tracks, but she hasn’t really performed any fast-paced songs, at least not like this one. The melody was a bit tough for Meghan, but it also gave her an opportunity to bring out her raspy tone, which Blake loved in rehearsals and loved even more after her performance. Meghan gave everything in her performance that earned a standing ovation from Pharrell and Blake. The crowd loved it too, drowning out Christina’s commentary with their screams of approval.
Caitlin Caporale “Best Thing I Never Had”
Cailtin came in swinging vocally with Beyoncé’s “Best Thing I Never Had,” but in rehearsals Pharrell pointed out that she still needed to work on her stage presence. It doesn’t matter if her vocals are perfect. If she fails to connect with the audience, she’s going home.
The coaches were all impressed with Caitlin’s natural vocal ability, and commended her on her increased confidence on stage. “You’re really starting to show yourself as a threat to us, other coaches…The way you navigate a melody is just so different, but it’s just great. You’re just a great artist,” Blake told her.
Lowell Oakley “Jealous”
Pharrell accurately noted that Lowell’s biggest problem in going forward is himself: he’s too concerned with nailing that run, or perfecting his stage presence, and that shows in his performances. Pharrell pushed Lowell outside of his comfort zone and gave him Nick Jonas’ “Jealous,” and Adam commended him for being able to step outside of his genre. Blake complimented his falsetto, and Christina noted that he did seem uncomfortable in the beginning. All in all, it was an underwhelming performance, and the coaches’ lack of flowery enthusiasm seemed to confirm that.
Mia Z “Ain’t No Sunshine”
Mia Z always tricks me into thinking she’s older than she is. At 16, Mia is one of the youngest in the competition, but she sings with a maturity that is well beyond her years. In rehearsals, Pharrell wanted Mia Z to embrace subtlety and nixed her insane high notes, trying to get her to show off control instead of range. Mia listened to Pharrell, and pulled off a nearly flawless performance. “What I love about you is that you just keep getting better,” Adam said, telling her she has a bright future ahead of her. And Blake called her “the most underrated singer on the show right now.”
Koryn Hawthorne “How Great Thou Art”
Koryn, another young singer at 17-years-old, chose to break out from the pop tracks and sing a hymn. It’s a risky move, but Pharrell knew she could connect emotionally with the song and was impressed by her drive in rehearsals. Koryn was nervous during her performance, where her voice really moved the song forward. But, despite any visible nerves, none of it was heard in her voice, and her strong and passionate performance had her coach Pharrell and her former coach Christina giving her a standing ovation. Adam not only loved her singing, he also told Koryn that he was so proud seeing her fight her nerves on stage and beat them. “I was like watching this battle she was having with nerves. And you just overcame those nerves in front of all of us,” Adam told her.
Sawyer Fredericks “Trouble”
Sawyer stayed true to his bluesy artistic nature this week, allowing him to show off his soulful tone while making his artistic intentions clear. Pharrell loves Sawyer because he knows what he wants to do, and his performance demonstrated that perfectly.
Team Adam and Team Christina will perform live on The Voice Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on NBC.