Tough choices for Blake and Christina on The Voice

The first night of live competition is over, but what to make of it?

The vocals seemed turned down in the mix all night, and that really hurt the singers with louder songs. Those big notes didn’t seem quite so big, and that could skew the selection on Tuesday.

Team Christina

Jesse Campbell, Chris Mann and Lindsey Pavao were my favorites. I think it would be nearly impossible for Christina to leave Jesse and Chris out. They’re on a different level than the rest of the ream.

Lindsey’s odd vocal stylings remind me a bit of Dia from season one. Lindsey knows her range and is easy to like when she sticks to her strengths. Ashley and Sera were breathing down her neck though.

Ashley’s song choice was horrid. She showed great improvement, but at times she seemed to mimic Alanis Morrisette rather than add something new. At this point, being “improved” isn’t enough. Ashley needs more time to cook before she’s thrown into the pop star cooking pot.

Sera’s song choice was also underwhelming. She delivered it well, but I don’t think it was particularly memorable. As a power singer she’ll have a hard time stacking up against Erin and Kim. She also can’t compete with the soul of multiple others.

Moses worked the stage like a champ, but he can’t stack up against the others vocally. That doesn’t mean he’s going home, but I find it hard to justify sending him through above the others.

He’s in a strange place. On one hand, he has to do covers to keep things familiar for the audience. On the other hand, rappers really should write their own lyrics. He has a future, but I don’t think it will be through this contest.

I’d expect Lindsey, Jesse and Chris to make it to the next round.

Team Blake

Blake has the toughest job. Erin is easily the best singer, so she should get through. Unfortunately, the other five singers did pretty great as well.

Jermaine’s choices are what make him stand out every week. Avril Lavigne in week one, and now Bon Jovi? I don’t think his destiny is to remain a back-up singer, but I don’t think his voice really worked as well as he had hoped.  When you listen to the iTunes version you can really hear how out-of-place he sounds. I just don’t think he’s quite found his rock identity.

Jordis gave a solid performance, but she may be the toughest casualty of the vocal mix. Her biggest notes were buried in the music.  She also oversang Heart’s classic. Jordis is a strong singer, but a power ballad seemed a little safe when so many other singers were pushing their boundaries.

Naia and RaeLynn really aren’t the greatest singers, but they have unique styles which is something that Blake values over vocal pyrotechnics. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or both join Erin in the next round.

I wasn’t a huge fan of RaeLynn’s battle round performance, but she brought a ton of youthful attitude this week. I think she over-exaggerates her twang, and that is a put off. Yet I like the rawness that drives her. I’m sick of over-produced country pop. Maybe RaeLynn can bring fire to the genre.

Naia is a mixed bag. The tenderness in her performance worked, but I’m not sure she wants to be a pop star with reggae roots as much as a regular reggae star. The crowd’s response to her performance was genuine though. She could walk that line far in this competition.

I really expected Jordis and Jermaine to make it, but Naia and RaeLynn made excellent arguments on their own behalf. This may be too close to call.

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