16 Best (and Worst) Moments From ‘The Voice’ Live Shows Week 1 (Guest Blog)

A Season 2 alum, I weigh in on the NBC competition weekly

Two nights and 20 performances – there’s a lot of NBC's “The Voice” to cover this week, so let’s cut the chitchat and get to my favorite (and least favorite) moments from the live playoffs!

1. “The Voice Matrix.”
“The Voice” is eating itself, you guys. Amber Nicole covered “Wasting All These Tears” from Season 3 winner Cassadee Pope, and Josh Logan performed “Crazy” directly in front of the song's originator coach Cee Lo Green. The show is referencing itself so hard that “The Voice Matrix” is slowly coming apart at the seams. Be afraid.

2. The real winners this week.
Great Big World has won “The Voice,” and they weren't even competing! I loved this song and coach Christina Aguilera’s understated performance on it.

Also read: 11 Standout Moments From ‘The Voice’ Knockout Rounds (Guest Blog)

3. We're going to be friends.
There were few perfect moments this week, but Caroline Pennell and the above song were IT. This magical pairing of the right song with the right artist yielded my favorite female performance and the sweetest moment of the week – Cee Lo telling Caroline that this song was about their friendship (wait, what’s in my eye??).

4. You can do it!
After James Wolpert's tough time in knockout rounds, it was refreshing to see him bounce back with the moving “A Case of You,” giving what I think was the best male performance this week. See, James? I knew you could do it! All you needed was a little Joni Mitchell.

5. Fan question fail.
Fans – you have a chance to ask whatever you want, and you ask this? What great mystery did you really think Christina was keeping in her notebook? Diagrams to build a nuclear substation?? Also, I think it should be obvious that Blake Shelton requires the longest prep time for his outrageous ensembles.

Also read: 10 Best Moments From ‘The Voice’ Final Battle Rounds (Guest Blog)

6. The patron saint of Jamaica.
Tessanne Chin has become the patron saint of Jamaica since coming on “The Voice.” She's also the patron saint of MY HEART, because she was amazing this week. She managed to give a performance of “Many Rivers to Cross” that was both intimate and larger than life (a tough balance to achieve). I’m a big fan.

7. FREE HUGS!
Kat Robichaud's minimal cover of “She Keeps Me Warm” yielded one of the biggest surprises of the week – a spontaneous hug with an audience member… Aw, hugs all around! No, seriously though, don't touch me. Go hug someone else.

8. BE the wrecking ball.
Matthew Schuler is on a roll with this week's “Wrecking Ball.” While it wasn't my favorite song for Matthew, he still attacked it with the passionate fervor that's become his trademark. Also? All the twerking parodies in the world can’t obscure the fact that this is a pretty fantastic song.

Also read: CeeLo Green's Biz Partner Speaks About ‘The Voice’ Coach's Legal Troubles

9. Carson Killjoy.
One of funniest parts of the live shows is watching Carson Daly attempt to wrangle the coaches into meeting time limits. It's like watching a pre-school teacher take a group of unruly toddlers to the bathroom (IE: it only ends in tears).

10. A man and his Rhodes.
How you handle your Rhodes is a true test of a man, and Will Champlin passed that test with flying colors. His performance of “Secrets” was one of the best this week, and his skillful back and forth between the Rhodes and the top of the stage without missing a beat was no small feat.

11. Witchcraft.
Jacquie Lee put a spell on Cee Lo with her “I Put a Spell on You,” making him incapable of speech and an “unusually vicious competitor” per Adam. While I felt she was a little young for this song choice, I’m absolutely enamored by Jacquie's fire.

Also read: 11 Highlights From ‘The Voice’ Blind Auditions Final Week (Guest Blog)

12. Truth.
After Tamara Chauniece's solid take on “I Will Survive” – an iconic selection so ubiquitous at karaoke it's become a cliché wrapped in a song – Blake admitted that the coaches were being easy on contestants since they weren't yet in direct competition. Word, Blake. I definitely noticed the avoidance of constructive criticism this week in favor of an awkward “good job!” or “you do you!” I guess the claws come out next week?

13. Swamp what?
Ray Boudreaux introduced us all to the phrase “Swamp Pop” with this week's performance of “Home.” I will proceed to incorporate it into my daily life. Thanks for that, Ray.

14. Night of the poor song choices.
Now I'm not saying Monday was perfect, but Tuesday yielded some particularly ill-fitting song choices like Johnny Gray covering The Verve and Olivia Henken doing Katy Perry's “Roar.” Coaches – you've got wonderful raw talent there. Stop squandering it with clumsy song choices!

Also read: 11 Highlights From ‘The Voice’ Blind Auditions Week 2 (Guest Blog)

15. Fancy was my name.
Any contestant that does Reba McEntire is a friend of mine, so Shelbie Z.? You're a GOOD friend for taking on “Fancy,” the song that forever reminds me of seeing Reba and her 10 costume changes live in concert. I'm lucky if I change clothes daily, so kudos Reba.

16. Speaking of fancy…
Cee Lo's sequined hoodie is everyone's sequined hoodie. I think we all wear one, right? This guy is truly a man of the people when it comes to style.

Next week: Who do you think will make the cut from 20 to 12? Tell me in the comments, and I’ll see you next week!

Don’t forget to check out my new album “In & Out of the Dark,” which is available on iTunes NOW: https://itun.es/us/2BjbP. For more updates, follow me on Twitter: @katrinapmusic and visit my website, www.katrinaparker.com.

  • David Perkins

    Another wonderful recap. I had a 38 year career as a writer, and it is a joy to read your stuff. Cheers. It's fairly easy to get a handle on most of the Top 12. But, clearly, there may be some hard choices for the coaches on Thursday. On Team Adam, James and Tessanne are locked in. The third spot will go to either Will or Preston, and it's likely Adam will have to make that call. On Team Christina, Matthew and Jacquie are solid. The third spot could go to just about anyone else. Team Blake is something of a hot mess. Cole, Austin and Ray could be considered the frontrunners. But, if he has the chance, would Blake eliminate Shelbie — his only bona fide country artist? Yikes. And, Team Cee Lo will have Caroline and a couple of others. (Enough said.) Speaking of Team Caroline (ha!), she's all over the iTunes Top 200 Songs chart again today — with last night's in the Top 10, and several in the Top 100. Right now, and in no particular order, Caroline, Matthew, Tessanne, Jacquie and James are easily the Top Five. Of course, I've been wrong before. I just don't remember when.

  • DrPeppie

    Hilarious and smart post.

  • Drew Bosack

    Awesome post! My Top 5 are as follows, in this order: James, Tessanne, Jacquie, Stephanie, and Matthew. Excited to see what else happens!

  • xheyheyo

    “Carson Killjoy.

    One of funniest parts of the live shows is watching Carson Daly attempt
    to wrangle the coaches into meeting time limits. It’s like watching a
    pre-school teacher take a group of unruly toddlers to the bathroom (IE:
    it only ends in tears).”

    Haha! So true. Time constraints? The show is two freakin’ hours, 10 performances. How is it possible that they are short on time? Annoying.

    My top 12? In no particular order

    Cole
    Ray
    Austin
    Matthew
    Jacquie
    Tessanne
    Preston
    James
    Jonny
    Josh

    Oh wait, that's only 10. No filler, no commercials. I bring this post in on time!! lol

    I know Caroline will be there, but I can't call her a favorite. I'm a little burnt out on the young girl with the quirky sound.

  • Jeanne Clarke

    In no particular order, I would love to see Will, Tessanne, Caroline, and Kat – but that will probably be in my dreams – except maybe the middle two. Will just may be the dark horse, though – let's see!

  • CeCe1

    My favs are Ray and Josh…absolutely genuine and true to their core. Tessane is amazing but can't see a place for her in the marketplace. And Cat….I just don't get it. She tries too hard and isn't that great a singer.

  • David Perkins

    Now that the results are in, it's hard to find any surprises among the Top 12. Without exception, the Top 12 is comprised of artists on each team who performed the best on the iTunes charts. Sadly, Team Adam had a wealth of contestants who made the charts. In fact, Preston had outperformed Jonny, Josh and Kat on the charts. But, because this elimination was ‘team’ based, we've already lost one of the best performers.