Live or die on 'The Voice'

The Voice. (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

The Voice. (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

Jason MacNeil, Special To QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

The live playoffs began on The Voice Monday night, with the dozen remaining hoping to crack next week's Top Ten.

Up first was Bria Kelly from Team Usher who didn't play it safe. Kelly went with a rollicking, raspy rendition of Adele's Rolling In The Deep. However she surprisingly pulled it off. Usher “felt fire” in her voice while Blake Shelton savored the edge.

Delvin Choice bit off more than he could chew when covering The Righteous Brothers' Unchained Melody. While staying true to the tune, Choice didn't hit the mark when needed despite feeling the love from the fans and family. The judges liked the performance with Shakira saying he “didn't disappoint.”

Elsewhere T.J. Wilkins hoped to “kill it” with John Mayer's Waiting On The World To Change. The song's soulful nature wasn't much of a reach for Wilkins who played it quite safe and showed a bit of showmanship. The judges loved it but it essentially didn't have that required oomph.

One of the weaker performances was from Dani Moz. Moz went with Pink's Just Give Me A Reason and didn't quite break out. Shakira described it as “measured” while Levine wanted it to be “more dynamic.” Shelton expected a huge moment but didn't get it.

Fortunately Audra McLaughlin resonated with everyone. Using Juice Newton's country ballad Angel In The Morning, the singer delivered a timeless nugget with relative ease. Usher loved the powerful yet personal tone in her voice, adding if he held notes that long he'd “have to pee.”

The first true memorable moment was courtesy of Christina Grimmie. Grimmie found an amazing, delicate balance during Katy Perry's Dark Horse with some notes leaving her coach Levine looking incredulous as she strutted around. Shelton and Shakira looked just as shocked while Levine said she owned the song.

The second memorable moment immediately followed in Sisaundra Lewis. Clearly the one to beat, Lewis used Elton John's Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me to show another stellar, controlled side of her voice. Her coach Shelton gave her a standing ovation while Usher said she “blows everybody socks off.”

Country singer Kristen Merlin thought Sugarland's ballad Stay would ensure she stayed around. Tragically her microphone died on her near the homestretch but she soldiered on, earning a standing ovation. “You handled it so gracefully it was as if nothing had happened,” Levine said.

Another country singer who should survive this round was Jake Worthington. Worthington went with Travis Tritt's Anymore but sounded nervous. Whether it was the Stetson hat or the pressure, he sounded off from the start and didn't quite find that spark.

Meanwhile rocker Kat Perkins stuck to her strengths with Heart's Magic Man. Sounding similar to Heart's Ann Wilson, Perkins tore through the song before settling in and playing off three different guitarists. Levine loved the tough songs she's covered thus far and covered so well.

Finally Tess Boyer struggled through Bon Jovi's I'll Be There For You and Josh Kaufman strongly worked his way around Sam Smith's Stay With Me. Both used backing vocalists.

Why backing vocalists? It's The Voice isn't it, not The Voices?

 


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