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SPOILER ALERT! Recap and Review: THE VOICE Offers Redemption in Wild Card Round; Full Review!

Leave it to NBC's THE VOICE to change up their format with little to no warning. One could say that it is in an effort to get (or keep) a specific producer-favorite in the competition, or it could just be a shrewd programming decision to make a normally anticlimactic results show just a bit more interesting.

Tonight, the show welcomes back eliminated contestants Sugar Joans, Jessie Pitts, Reagan James, Anita Antoinette, Ryan Sill, Luke Wade, and DaNica Shirey for the super-special, super-secret Wild Card Round. Last night, Carson Daly announced that the results of the voting based on Monday's Semifinals would be announced at the top of the show, leaving time for the eliminated to perform.

Chris Jamison's renditions of "Sugar" and "When I Was Your Man" are, Matt McAndrew's "Make It Rain," and Craig Wayne Boyd's "The Old Rugged Cross" are all in the Top-10; meaning that Chris is a sure thing to advance to next week's finals, and Matt and Craig are pretty safe bets. I would like to say that I am shocked that Damien isn't on this list, but as I said in my review of last night's performances, his shtick has been wearing thin on me recently.

I was interested in the fact that Carson announced that the Semifinal results would be announced before the Wild Card performances, so I reached out to NBC's press reps for clarification, and, despite a vague response, it appears that the two semifinalists eliminated at the start of tonight's episode will be eligible for Wild Card redemption.

NBC's press rep told me, "All previous eliminee's are elgibile (sic) for the final spot in the top 4."

So, assuming my prediction of Damien and Taylor John Williams' eliminations hold true, here are my rankings for whom I think should earn the Wild Card save, although this could all change based on tonight's performances.

1) DaNica Shirey
2) Damien
3) Anita Antoinette
4) Sugar Joans
5) Luke Wade
6) Reagan James
7) Jessie Pitts
8) Taylor John Williams
9) Ryan Sill

After the show concludes tonight, I will add short reviews of each performance. Also, when NBC makes them available, I will post pictures of each contestant as well.


We opened with a nice little recap of last night's songs. I've been tough on THE VOICE this season, as I have been underwhelmed by the season's performances, despite the incredible talent. So, I was extremely pleased with how spectacular the semifinals ended up being!

Advancing to Finals (in order of announcement)
Chris Jamison
Matt McAndrew
Craig Wayne Boyd

Eliminated & Moving on to Wild Card Round
Damien
Taylor John Williams
(called it!- not so humble brag)

Wild Card Format Announcement: I had assumed that the Wild Card winner would be chosen by the Twitter vote normally used for the Instant Save. However, before the Wild Cards performed, Carson announced that voting would be done like a normal competition, just with a shorter window. Then tomorrow morning on THE TODAY SHOW, he will announce the fourth finalist.


Team Blake
Reagan James
Song:
"Put Your Records On" by Corinne Bailey Rae
Six-Word Review: What happened to Non-Flat Reagan James?

Early on I was a big fan of Reagan, but as she worked with Blake and the production teams, it seemed like her individuality was drubbed out of her, and instead, an unique indie artist with a mysteriously smoky voice was replaced with a pre-fab teeny-bopper who could no longer match pitch.


Team Blake
Jessie Pitts
Song:
"Zombie" by The Cranberries
Six-Word Review: Random Song, Pitchy Performance, Bye Felicia!

I've gotta say, I never understood the appeal of Jessie. I didn't find her voice all that special, her stage presence all that captivating, or her artistry all that imaginative. So, imagine my confusion when it was released that she would be performing "Zombie" tonight. That song choice was as ponderous as her Top-12 success on the show.

Fortunately she won't have to worry about these difficult decisions moving forward.


Team Gwen
Ryan Sill
Song:
"Marry Me" by Jason Derulo
Six-Word Review: Robots Should Not Be That Pitchy

Why do the male performers on this show insist on singing songs that require a strong falsetto when their names are not Chris Jamison?

Ryan sounded utterly acceptable, yet still characteristically devoid of emotion, on most of the song, but his attempts to flip into his head were met with shrill sharps and funky flats. As I've said before, he would be a perfect substitute if one of the automatons on the "It's a Small World" ride got sick.


Team Gwen
Anita Antoinette
Song:
"Waiting on the World to Change" by John Mayer
Six-Word Review: Disqualified for Lack of Textual Analysis

Anita, I've been a fan since the Blinds, and this performance was absolutely fantastic, but I am sorry, I can't continue to support you based on your obvious obliviousness to the true meaning of this song. Mayer did not intend to celebrate humanity as Anita implied, instead it was written as a critique of Generation Y's ambivalence towards the world beyond themselves. That being typed, that scatting in the middle was SICK!


Team Gwen
Taylor John Williams
Song:
"Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak
Six-Word Review: What a Painful Song to Sing

Pharrell referred to Taylor John as an artist, but I have a feeling that what he really meant was "diva." Gwen regularly talked about how Taylor John fought for is artistic vision (which invariably failed). While I am all for unique, artistic approaches (Adam Lambert and Jena Irene are two of my favorite AMERICAN IDOL contestants ever), his entire persona appeared to be about not taking coaching from his coach. Well buddy, I hope you've enjoyed your time on the show. And again, if you aren't Chris Jamison, skip the falsetto.


Team Adam
Damien
Song:
"Grenade" by Bruno Mars
Six-Word Review: Talented Dude, but His Time's Done

I like Damien, I really do, but as the season has progressed, I've become immune to his biggest strength (his emotion) and annoyed by one of his only technical flaws (his vocal placement). He very well could have a soul or Christian recording career, but I doubt that he will ever have the widespread appeal that you would hope from a show like this. That being typed, I sincerely believe that he is a truly talented and decent human being.


Team Pharrell
Sugar Joans
Song:
"Back to Black" by Amy Winehouse
Six-Word Review: Told You She Was a Contender

If you go back and look at my reviews from early in the season, Sugar was at the top of my rankings multiple times, and this performance more than justifies my confidence in her. She has always had a phenomenal voice, but her chances got derailed as she chose to venture away from the bluesy, sultry songs she sang early on. This performance showed her incredible tone, range, and musical understanding. I am excited for DaNica coming up, but Sugar is the one to beat now.


Team Pharrell
Luke Wade
Song:
"Have a Little Faith in Me" by John Haitt
Six-Word Review: At Least He Didn't Forget Lyrics

It was interesting that Luke sang a song that repeated the same six words over and over for the first half of the song, because multiple times this year, he simply forgot his lyrics. The coaches were being kind for not calling him out when they said he "lost himself" before being eliminated, but this performance did remind me that he is a talented guy. He might not have the most charisma in the world, but when you realize just how nervous he must have been to go up multiple times, you almost feel badly for him.


Team Pharrell
DaNica Shirey
Song:
"Without You" by Mariah Carey
Six-Word Review: Unfortunately, My Rule Proves Prophetic Again

Two weeks ago, DaNica sang "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston nearly perfectly, completely defying my "No Whitney, Mariah, Christina, or Kelly on Singing Competitions" Rule. However, tonight she tempted fate and went to the well one too many times. While Mariah might not be able to sing it any better nowadays, DaNica's version was overloaded with waaaaaaay too many riffs that didn't seem to fit in the melody whatsoever. As I said above, coming into tonight, DaNica was the contestant that I thought deserved to have a spot in the finals, but after that performance, I don't feel very good about that.


Ranking the Finalists
1) Chris Jamison
2) Craig Wayne Boyd
3) Matt McAndrew

Ranking Wild Card Hopefuls
1) Sugar Joans
2) DaNica Shirey (based on body of work, not tonight's performance)
3) Anita Antoinette
4) Damien
5) Luke Wade
6) Reagan James
7) Jessie Pitts
8) Taylor John Williams
9) Ryan Sill


Wild Card TODAY SHOW Update: On the TODAY SHOW this morning, Carson announced that Damien won the Wild Card, and spent just over 12 hours out of the competition. While I obviously didn't think that he deserved to be saved based on last night's performances, he has been a strong competitor this season, so I guess I can deal with him finishing fourth next week.


What do you think of my rankings? Which eliminated contestant are you hoping gets a second shot in the Wild Card Round? Does my dear Sugar have any shot at returning to the competition? As I do every week, I will be live recapping tonight's show, so feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, or on Twitter @BWWMatt.

Photo Credit: Trae Patton and Tyler Golden | NBC



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