Who ever heard of The Voice starting a new gimmick mid-week? But yet here we are. In what may be their first nod to not being an Idol sized hit, our last gimmick has also been switched up. Instead of going six hours in one week back to back to back, the playoffs are now running along the same schedule as everything else. An hour tonight for one team, and then the usual three-hour schedule for the other three teams.
But that does mean something was lost in the process–namely, us viewers. These PlayOffs, when they were live, were live because we at home were voting. We were voting and we were buying tracks on iTunes. Through that, we at home got to pick eight of the top twelve to go through to the Idol-like final rounds (two from each team.) That left one slot for each coach to put through their favorite, lest we choose poorly.
That’s all gone now. With the retooling to make the PlayOffs fit the schedule instead of adjusting the schedule to fit the PlayOffs, we won’t get any say in who makes the Top 12. The coaches will make all the decisions for us. You might argue that Idol does the same. Yes–but then we still have ten weeks of voting. The Voice, because they fear boring us, sends home two at a time each week. Taking away the PlayOffs means we only have five weeks of voting. By the time you’ve involved the audience, the show is practically over.
Let’s see how this goes.
Tonight we are watching Team Blake cut from five to three.
Audra McLaughlin “Broken Wing” Martina McBride This is the last gimmick before we go live, and as I noted above, once we go live, the show is practically over. So if I can’t remember who you are without my notes at this point–that’s a bad sign. I mean, Audra’s got a nice country sound and all, but she’s not memorable, and there’s nothing about her that stands out. Still, Blake likes generic country, and usually staffs his team with at least one.
Ryan Maloney “Second Chance” Shinedown I had written this guy off as fodder with an unintentionally amusing family, but this song choice made me think twice. This is exactly the kind of rocker he should be aiming at being. He still reminds me of a Family Guy character come to life, with the large size body and small tenor voice, but this was the smartest choice he could have made. If the audience at home were voting, he might have a chance to go through. Oh, right–not happening. Back into the fodder category you go.
Madilyn Paige “Clarity” Zedd feat. Foxes Our gimlet eyed country teen is singing what? Look, I know she’s here on reassignment, and that’s always a strike and a half against a contestant. But Blake likes the country pixies, and I genuinely thought he might be planning to hold on to her. The rehearsal footage suggests not so much, and the performance seals it, with the huge eyes that can’t hide their fear properly, and an inability to deliver the enormous vocals this song requires. She’d have been better off singing something by Taylor Swift. Blake might have at least thought twice before dismissing her.
Jake Worthington “Anywhere With You” Barefoot Blue Jean Night Someone should tell the producers just because a “returnee” won Idol last season doesn’t mean they need to have one. That’s why Jake is here, and it’s why he’s made it through every gimmick despite being subpar. He’s still subpar in his doublewide dull country hack number. But, as I said before, Blake likes his country kids generic, and for some reason the show really wants to pump a returnee making the Top 12. Perhaps they shouldn’t have chosen one that had no chance of getting anywhere once he got there.
Sisaundra Lewis “New York State of Mind” Billy Joel BeastMaster Sisaundra is daring to be different. Someone should warn her different can be the kiss of death on this show. But then again, big voiced contestants like her usually stall out partway through the voting rounds–Tessanne was the first time the trend was broken–so perhaps a bit of diversity won’t hurt here. This performance was the real reason to tune in tonight. Sisaundra is on a completely different level than the rest of Team Blake. It’s almost embarrassing how much better she is that the other four.
And now it’s time for the cuts. Blake hems, haws and makes noises about how hard this is, but int he end, the fodder is exactly who we thought they were: Madilyn and Ryan are out. Heading into the Top 12, Team Blake will consist of: Sisaundra, Jake and Audra.
Next week: More Non-Live PlayOffs.