Season 5, The Voice

Song by song grades for the Top 3 on The Voice

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Last week, we got just one performance from the Top 5 contestants on The Voice during a shortened one-hour show.

This week, we’ll get three apiece during a two-hour treat.

The final three on The Voice, Jacquie Lee, Will Champlin and Tessanne Chin. (NBC Photo)

The final three on The Voice, Jacquie Lee, Will Champlin and Tessanne Chin. (NBC Photo)

If you haven’t heard, each contestant will sing their audition song again.

That means we’ll hear “Try” from Tessanne Chin, “Back to Black” from Jacquie Lee and “Not Over You” from Will Champlin.

As has become a Voice tradition, each artist will take the stage during the finale for a duet with their coach.

And each artist will sing one new song solo.

Wow, I’ve seen the spoiler list and must say, I just wish those new songs were more original selections.

No big surprises coming. If you’ve watched singing shows for long, you’re familiar with these tunes.

Here’s a look at each contestant by the numbers. The number behind each song is where the performance landed on iTunes at the time voting closed the next morning.

Tessanne Chin (NBC Photo)

Tessanne Chin (NBC Photo)

Tessanne Chin (Team Adam): By the numbers:
134,072 Twitter followers, up 14,954 from last week
422,793 Facebook fans, up 36,136 from last week
iTunes finishes:
Many Rivers to Cross — 27
My Kind of Love — 57
If I Were Your Woman — 33
Underneath It All — 25
Unconditionally — 33
Redemption Song — 15
Bridge Over Troubled Water — 1

Tessanne gets to kick off the night singing Pink’s “Try.” In my mind, this reprise of audition songs favors the singer from Jamaica. Remember, she had four judges turn around the first time she sang this song compared to three for Will and two for Jacquie when they auditioned. Tessanne starts her performance among the audience, which is a change of pace. This is a softer opening than we heard for her blind audition. Love this song, by the way. This version was less full-on dynamo than we heard during her audition, when the judges turned around in a heartbeat. But Tessanne got around to displaying that big voice of hers in the last 30 seconds or so, delivering an excellent ending. But was it me, or did her voice sound just a little strained each time she sang the chorus? Not Tessanne’s best, but a nice way to open the night. Grade: B+

Will Champlin (NBC Photo)

Will Champlin (NBC Photo)

Will Champlin (Team Adam): Will, by the numbers —
59,326 Twitter followers, up 9,060 from last week;
15,962 Facebook fans, up 2,680 from last week.
iTunes finishes:
Secrets — 34
Demons — 36
Love Me Again — 42
At Last — 8
Change is Gonna Come — 25
Hey Brother — 27
Carry On — 10

Will is the only one of the finalists to land in the Top 10 on iTunes twice, but he still figures to be the contestant most in need of an incredible string of performances tonight to pull this off. Entering the show, I see it as a two-girl race between Tessanne and Jacquie Lee. That said, Will has done an incredible job to make it this far, persevering with the help of three saves. Now, Gavin DeGraw’s “Not Over You.” Not sure the decision to repeat the audition songs worked out well for Will, because he’s been more impressive than that vocally in recent weeks with other covers. His pitch seemed to stray a couple of times in that high-energy performance. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t Will’s finest. And it’s followed by lots of discussion of Will’s work ethic, not that performance. Grade: B–

Jacquie Lee (NBC Photo)

Jacquie Lee (NBC Photo)

Jacquie Lee (Team Christina): By the numbers
91,556 Twitter followers, up 11,492 from last week
26,701 Facebook fans, up 5,465 from last week.
iTunes finishes:
I Put a Spell on You — 20
Love is Blindness — 16
Clarity — 51
Who’s Loving You Now — 21
The Voice Within — 48
Cry Baby — 20
Angel — 7

Jacquie Lee gets to sing Amy Winehouse’s “Back in Black” again. I watched this audition again over the weekend and was most impressed at how the 16-year-old kept her composure and kept belting even though the coaches were oh, so slow to turn. Hand round one to Jacquie Lee. Holy cow. Love the tone of her voice. Absolutely love what she did with the end of that song, letting it die down, then cutting loose a second time. Before that, she scored the biggest, most impressive glory note of round one. And not a hint of nerves from a 16-year-old asked to take the stage following two more experienced singers on the biggest night of her life. Grade: A–

Tessanne Chin and Adam Levine (Team Adam): They’re going to sing “Let It Be” by The Beatles. Like I said earlier, not a lot of imagination in the song choices tonight. Adam sounded great on this and turned in a nice guitar solo. In a tip of a hat to Tessanne’s background, we had a brief reggae interlude in there. It’ll be interesting to see how that is received. Not sure it was the best duet song choice to show off Tessanne’s big voice. Grade: B–

Jacquie Lee and Christina Aguilera (Team Christina): They’ll sing “We Remain,” one of Christina’s songs, from “The Hunger Games.” This is my favorite of the duet songs because it’s at least current. Now, if Christina can just let her contestant shine, rather than hogging the limelight. Well, that was pretty good. Would have preferred more Jacquie Lee and less Christina. Jacquie and Christina didn’t seem in sync during the first run through on that chorus, but it certainly offered more of an opportunity for vocal fireworks than “Let it Be.” A bit reminiscent of Christina’s duet with Chris Mann a couple years back where she just couldn’t help trying to out-sing her contestant. Grade: B–

Will Champlin and Adam Levine (Team Adam): Another safe song choice. Adam has them singing Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” which unless I’m really, really fooled is not going to deliver the type of moment Will needs tonight. OK, honestly, I didn’t like that performance or Will’s handling of the song. Let’s just say the duet round tonight on The Voice turned out to be underwhelming. And that was the least overwhelming of the three songs. Grade: C+

Now, since the theme of the night is songs we’d rather not hear again, the final three will sing “I’ll Be There.” Tessanne gets to end the song and was the most impressive of the three finalists on it, but I won’t be grading that performance.

Tessanne Chin

Tessanne Chin

Tessanne Chin: Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” is Tessanne’s final song. Yep, it’s been done way too often on these shows. But that puts Tessanne in good company with the two songs that will follow. From the first line, Tessanne sounds better on this than she did on her opening number. If “Let It Be” didn’t give Tessanne a chance to show off that big voice and big range, this song certainly will. Tessanne is delivering a very nice vocal. My enthusiasm is tempered by the fact that this has been done so often on these shows. Very, very nice ending. I don’t know what world Adam lives in if he thinks everyone avoids this song. He apparently has never watched a singing show other than his. But interestingly, Adam also just said he thinks Tessanne is the winner of this show just before his other artist takes the stage. Grade: A–

Will Champlin

Will Champlin

Will Champlin (Team Adam): His mission isn’t very difficult, right? He just has to follow Tessanne to the stage and sing Bryan Adams’ “I Do It for You.” Over those three minutes, I think it became clear that Will is doomed to a third place finish on The Voice. I blame the song choice more than I blame Will, who was really good last week singing “Carry On.” The best part of that performance was the near a cappella bit near the end. Nice touch to see Will approach his wife and baby as he closes that song. That might have scored more points than the vocal. Now Adam is backtracking, saying he doesn’t care about the outcome, that Will already scored a victory by making the finale. Grade: B–

Jacquie Lee

Jacquie Lee

Jacquie Lee (Team Christina): So, did you think Tessanne’s song has been done too often on these shows? Here comes Jacquie Lee with “And I Am Telling You” from Dreamgirls. That said, the teen is being given the chance to deliver the very last performance that counts on Season 5. What does that tell you about the show’s faith in her to deliver? Jacquie says she’ll be doing the Jennifer Hudson version and the song says everything she wants to say. Once again, Jacquie’s voice cuts through, loud and clear from the first note. However, she seemed to go a tad bit sharp on that second verse. And Jacquie drops to her knees during an impassioned version of the song. And holds a couple of notes forever as fireworks go off behind her. A phenomenal performance for a 16-year-old. I wish she hadn’t made the Jennifer Hudson comparison, because it wasn’t quite that good. Grade: B

Well, I went into the night thinking Tessanne deserved to win The Voice and nothing happened tonight to make me change my mind.

Her rendition of “I Have Nothing” was the best vocal of the night.

That said, would I be disappointed to see Jacquie Lee win? Hardly. What the 16-year-old accomplished in Season 5 at such a young age was incredible.

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