The Live Performances are finally here. With three performances under their belts and a stretch of time at home with their peeps to build up their confidence, these 20 artists, plus four boomerang singers brought back by coaches, are raring to go and it shows in each of these 24 performances.
These live performances have a way of extruding the pure essence of each artist and laying it out there on the stage. We literally get to see what they are made of. It's sink or swim time, baby. By the end of the playoffs their stamina, prowess and perseverance are unequivocally revealed. Those three things, plus great contacts, are what determine true success in life post-The Voice.
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#10 Johnny Gates
Song: "Hands To Myself" by Selena Gomez
This kid had the absolute best time performing in the Live Playoffs. His glee alone should get him some points, but not enough to make it to the next round, apparently. Johnny's pure enjoyment while sharing his gift is infectious. Who knows if he ever feels any fear out there all alone on that stage, but he makes it look like it's the best time he's ever had in his life. Which it probably is!
#9 Jesse Larson
Song: "Sir Duke" by Stevie Wonder
Pure visual entertainment. Jesse squeezes out his phrases, riffs and growls while his fingers smoke up the frets of his guitar. A pleasure to witness. Fortunately, America isn't finished seeing -- and listening to -- Jesse Larson on The Voice.
Song: "Love On The Brain" by Rihanna
Chris gave an electric performance in the Live Playoffs. He effortlessly manages any fear he may have of the crowds or the competition. He eviscerates himself on the stage for our entertainment and has a hell of a time doing it.
#7 Troy Ramey
Song: "A Case of You" by Joni Mitchell
I love how Troy takes every song and makes it his own. His rendition of "Chandelier" in the Knockouts was unique and moving. The same goes for this performance. What's next? I'm hoping for something more upbeat.
#6 Stephanie Rice
Song: "Every Breath You Take" by The Police
Stephanie threw some curveballs during her soulful performance of "Every Breath You Take." Emotional as usual, she injected several forceful vocal explosions which never became screechy and remained lyrical and unoffensive to the ear. Even more than during her previous performances, Stephanie channels Bonnie Raitt's raspiness meets Indigo Girls.
#5 Hunter Plake
Song: "Elastic Heart" by Sia
Hunter gave a technically perfect and emotionally powerful performance of this Sia ballad. He is a fan favorite, having already put two The Voice recordings in the Top 30 on iTunes.
#4 Lauren Duski
Song: "Someone Else's Star" by Bryan White
Everything about Lauren is beautiful in every way. She's the whole package. She has tremendous vocal control and a warm chocolate milk sound. There is no way she wouldn't have made it to the Top 12.
#3 Brennley Brown
Song: "Fly" by Maddie & Tae
Wow. Just, wow. Brennley herself called the performance surreal. Well, it was surreal for the audience as well, baby girl. How she can hold those notes steady and confidently is beyond me. As I was unfamiliar with the slowly unfolding lyrics, I had a hard time understanding what the song was about until I turned on closed captioning. She's done two long, slow numbers. In the Top 12 (provided others enjoyed her as much as I did) she needs something completely different. Regardless, she could take this whole competition ... if she can wrangle it from Vanessa, that is.
#2 Aliyah Moulden
Song: "Mercy" by Duffy
Aliyah kicked some serious butt with her performance of "Mercy," blowing the competition on her team out of the water with her technical perfection, her artistry and her contagious energy.
#1 Vanessa Fergusen
Song: "Lean On" by Major Lazer & DJ Snake (feat. M0)
I tell you, I would buy an entire album by this little woman. She's a suitcase bomb of swagger wrapped in a tight dark chocolate shell and topped with a stylish fedora. She releases her sound in very controlled and artistic expulsions of perfection.
Going forward, the competition is only going to get tougher as the artists hone their talent with additional guidance by their coaches and none other than megastar performer and champion of the female experience,
Ms. Shania Twain
. Earlier in season 12 we had Celine Dion. Now Shania. How will The Voice
top this season without resurrecting Prince, Michael Jackson or Johnny Cash? What outrageously successful performing artist would you like to see as an advisor on The Voice
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)