The Voice

Song by song grades for the Top 10 on The Voice

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Blake Shelton already handicapped the field for us last week.

He pinpointed Christina Grimmie as the contestant to beat on Team Adam, Kristen Merlin as the biggest threat on Team Shakira and Josh Kaufman as a potential winner from Team Usher.

The Top 10 are all smiles after last week's results show on The Voice. (NBC Photo)

The Top 10 are all smiles after last week’s results show on The Voice. (NBC Photo)

As for his own team … well, you’d have to throw Jake Worthington and Sisaundra Lewis into the mix.

For the latest rankings of the Top 10, head here.

Meanwhile, it’s time for some song by song grades.

Kat PerkinsKat Perkins (Team Adam) of Minneapolis, Minn., rocked out to Heart’s “Magic Man” last week. The song hit number one on iTunes rock chart and number 101 on the other chart, fifth best among the Top 12. Kat is going to sing “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac (Stevie Nicks) tonight. Not so sure she should be slowing it down, but we’ll see how it goes. Sounds like she’s going to a pretty straight cover, Stevie grit and all. Not sure that’s wise either, considering how familiar fans are with the original. Up until the last 15 seconds, Kat has delivered a very nice, straight-up cover of the Stevie tune. She earned herself another half of a grade with that fabulous ending, including that great prolonged high note. And Kat is in tears at the end of her performance. Usher calls it “pleasant and beautiful.” Shakira calls it a “great performance.” Adam calls her a “blissfully perfect singer.” Grade: B+

Tess BoyerTess Boyer (Team Shakira) of St. Louis has now been saved three times on the show, including last-week’s instant save. She sang “I’ll be There with You” by Bon Jovi and cracked the iTunes Top 200, but nine other contestants did better on that chart. Uh-oh, Tess is singing second. That’s not a great spot for someone trying to bounce back from a save. She’s going current, looking for a song with pop and soul by tackling “Ain’t it Fun” by Paramore. Not thrilled with the way Tess opened the song; she was being drowned out by the background music. But from the “don’t go crying” line on, she found her stride, took charge on stage, looked like she was having fun and demonstrated a very strong voice. In other words, a very nice job for two-thirds of the song. I even heard a little growl at one point. Adam says she “should be very happy with that.” Blake calls her performance “dead-on pitch perfect.” Shakira says she thinks she killed it. I still fear Tess will get lost in the shuffle of wonderful singers tonight. Grade: B–

Audra McLaughlinAudra McLaughlin (Team Blake) of Philadelphia sang “Angel of the Morning” on Top 12 week. The song ranked seventh among 12 on iTunes from week one of the finals. She’ll sing “You Lie” by Reba McEntire. Blake is hoping this song proves to America what a wonderful singer Audra is. Well, mission accomplished in terms of showing off the power in Audra’s voice. She hit glory note after glory note during that performance. Usher says she proved she can “move a room without moving.” Shakira is convinced by the power and emotion and predicts she’ll be in the top five this week. Adam calls it her best performance by far. He calls it a “world-class vocal performance.” Blake says he thinks she had a moment. I honestly thought it was a bit over-baked. But I’ll gladly defer to voters if they loved it because I’m rooting for the gal from Philly to hang around a while. Grade: B

Josh KaufmanJosh Kaufman (Team Usher) of Indianapolis, Ind., got to close last week’s show and made the most of the opportunity. He earned bonus points for cracking the Top 10 on iTunes overall chart, the only artist to do that in week one. He’ll tackle “This is It” by Kenny Loggins. He isn’t closing the show this week. Let’s see what kind of impression he can make. I’m not a fan of the original, but perhaps Josh can make me reconsider. Nope, I’m not reconsidering. This is easily my least favorite Josh performance. It seemed a bit disjointed from the word go, and Josh never seemed to find his stride. I chalk that mess up to a bad song choice. Shakira is complimentary nevertheless. Adam says he still regrets letting Usher steal Josh. Blake says it would have taken him a week to record the song the way Josh sang it. And Usher says he was blown away. Let’s see if America was. I wasn’t. Grade: C

Christina GrimmieChristina Grimmie (Team Adam) of Marelton, N.J., sang Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” and cracked the Top 50 on iTunes single chart, making hers the fourth most popular song from the show. She is going to perform “Hold On, We’re Going Home” by Drake, a rap song. She starts at the piano. If we’re supposed to see her eyes, Voice, you might want to turn up the lights. Hey, Christina showed off all the shades of her voice on that performance didn’t she? She sang soft. She sang high. She sang big. And her vocals were crystal clear and spot on throughout. On a song she made her own. Blake said the performance took Christina from a singer to an artist. Shakira calls it her best performance by far and labels it “unbelievable.” Usher is already putting her in the finals. Adam says she was 100 percent responsible for that performance; that it wasn’t his idea. Grade: A

Jake Worthington Jake Worthington (Team Blake) of LaPorte, Texas, sang “Anymore” a week ago and wound up with the third best performance on iTunes — number 40 overall and number eight on the country chart. He’s going to sing “Run” by George Strait, one of his Idols. He says that means he has big boots to fill. And while he loved how he did on iTunes last week, he complains that he doesn’t like his photo on his single covers. OK, I don’t get it. Jake sings. The crowd roars. But, truth be told, there was nothing special about that vocal. Certainly not by The Voice standards. The opening was weak. The big note didn’t soar. The words were mumbled in many spots. Usher compliments him on his great spirit. Shakira says he’s steadily becoming a real contender. Everyone’s complimentary, but no one’s really talking about that vocal. Oh, hold it, Blake calls it “great.” Which is wasn’t. But he might be connecting with fans anyway and, if so, congrats to Jake. Grade: C–

Bria KellyBria Kelly (Team Usher) of Smithfield, Va., opened last week’s show with her twist on Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” The reaction was lukewarm. Her song finished ninth on iTunes among last week’s 12 performances. She’s going to sing “I’m With You” by Avril Lavigne. The goal: to show Bria’s vulnerability. I wasn’t thrilled with the opening of her performance. But once Bria cut loose with that big voice of her — full scream and full growl — she did very well. Adam says he didn’t feel she was totally connected with the song. Blake says it was a completely different Bria, but he didn’t hear anything bad. Usher says she’s growing. Bria is crying. Wow, lots of tears on The Voice tonight. We’ll find out tomorrow how that went over with fans at home. Not sure it was the game-changer Bria and Usher were striving for, but I’ve seen at least two clearly weaker performances tonight (see Josh and Jake above). Grade: B–

Delvin ChoiceDelvin Choice (Team Adam) of Greenville, S.C., sang “Unchained Melody” and cracked the Top 10 on iTunes R&B chart last week. The song ranked eighth most popular from Top 12 week. He”ll perform “Bright Lights” by Gary Clark Jr. and says this is the type of song he’d record. Dang, Delvin Choice. Now that was a moment! That was the most fun performance of the night. Who would have thought Delvin would rock The Voice stage like that? Loved the way Delvin waded through the crowd while belting out that tune. And that ending — wow, fabulous. My favorite of the night. Usher called it a step outside what he normally does and compliments Delvin for bringing out the gospel in the song. Adam calls it one of the most electric endings of any song on The Voice. Grade: A+

Kristen MerlinKristen Merlin (Team Shakira) of Hanson, Mass., earned a huge amount of respect for keeping her cool when her mic cut out last week. Her cover song, Sugarland’s “Stay,” wound up doing second best on iTunes and hit number four on the site’s country chart. She’ll perform “Let Her Go” by Passenger. Well, we didn’t miss a note of that performance, did we? And good thing. If there was ever any doubt of Kristen’s vocal ability, she just quelled it. That was a really, really solid vocal from first note to last. Full of emotion, too. Blake says it might not have been country, but that was still his favorite performance from her and that she’s looking more and more comfortable on stage. Shakira says she loved what she just saw and heard. And she has reason to be proud. Hey, it was my favorite Kristen performance, too. Grade: A–

Sisaundra LewisSisaundra Lewis (Team Blake) of Orlando, Fla., sang “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” last week. Her cover hit number four on the R&B chart and was the show’s sixth most popular. Blake and Sisaundra are trying to shock by having her perform an ’80s rock song, “Oh Sherrie” by Journey. Hmm, this will be interesting. Blake says America is going to see a mom rock out on The Voice. She starts out a cappella. And she’s oversinging to my ears. No doubt, Sisaundra has a big voice. And that was a huge glory note at the end. Usher calls it an incredible performance that will benefit her. Adam says she sang the roof off and calls it “out of this atmosphere.” Blake calls it “unbelievable.” Hmm, not sure I loved it as much as they did. I mean, sure, she got to show off her big voice. But it I had to choose between watching that again or Delvin’s performance, I’d pick Delvin’s. And Christina’s. Still, Sisaundra isn’t going anywhere but on to the Top 8. Grade: B+

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