Season 3, The Live Finals, The Voice

Song by song grades for the Top 8 on The Voice

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If you don’t believe the talk about how singers get close to one another on singing shows like The Voice, check out last week’s after-show video, featuring Christina Milian interviewing the eight remaining contestants.

Melanie Martinez and Dez Duron had to choke back tears after watching teammates Brian Keith and Sylvia Yacoub get the boot from the competition.

Melanie said she had a sister-brother relationship with Brian. “He said to win it for him,” she said, between sniffles.

Dez described Sylvia as one of his “best friends. We just connected on the first day.”

“I’m more sad tonight than I was when I didn’t get past chairs (blind auditions) last year,” he added.

Tonight, the final eight compete for a shot in the final six.

I can’t provide hints like last week because Christina didn’t interview contestants about what they’ll be singing.

But I can tell you the excellent reception to last week’s performances didn’t end when the voting did.

Cassadee Pope’s “Over You” — the download version is superb, folks — is still number 34 on the iTunes singles chart.

Melanie Martinez is number 134 with “Seven Nation Army” and Amanda Brown is number 172 with “Stars.”

For this week’s Idol Chatter rankings of the Top 8, head here.

And for a look at which contestants are most popular on Facebook and Twitter, head here.

Now, the singing begins:

Amanda Brown: Interesting to see Amanda go first tonight. She was one of the last four contestants to learn their fate last week. I’m hoping that doesn’t mean she was one of the four lowest vote-getters, because her version of “Stars” deserved better than that. She’s going to sing a rock version of “Someone Like You.” Someone, please turn down the volume on the background music. Amanda has a special voice, and I want to be able to hear it. Adam compared this version of the song to her rendition of “Dream On.” It wasn’t quite that special. But she did a fine job. I’m hoping it’s good enough to survive going first because the last two contestants to do so were eliminated. Amanda belongs in the final four. Grade: B+

Cody Belew: The Team Cee Lo member went full-out bam-bam last week, and his vocal suffered as a result. He and Melanie are the only two contestants to get coaches’ saves who are still standing. Cee Lo has picked Queen’s “Somebody to Love” for Cody, who calls it “a zinger.” We shall see. He begins backed by a full chorus. This should be interesting if nothing else. Shut up, chorus. Let me hear Cody. And now he’s kneeling on the piano. This performance has Cee Lo written all over it. And I’m pretty sure Cody didn’t mind one bit. Oh, and by the way, Cody sounded a lot better than last week That ending was really, really nice. He pretty much matched Amanda note for note, though her rendition was a bit more original. One of his better vocals. Grade: B

“Move Along”: Group performance time with Dez Duron, Melanie Martinez, Terry McDermott and Cassadee Pope singing “Move Along.” Not a big fan of this at all. Melanie pretty much gets lost on these group numbers. And this song isn’t very well suited to Terry either. The few shining moments were provided by Cassadee. Grade: C

Terry McDermott: It was time for Terry to try something different, and he’s going to sing “Over,” a ballad. Hey, if it worked for Cassadee, why not Terry? Oh, and he’s not only going ballad, he’s also going country. Blake says this will be one of “the coolest” moments he’s had on The Voice. Well, Terry’s going to have to overcome a bit of a rough opening. And as he hits the chorus, someone turns on the fog machine. Wow, there are lots of classic rock ballads he could have tried. I’m not sure about this song choice. Prediction: This will not be number one on iTunes tomorrow. At times, Terry seems to be shouting as much as singing. This is the least memorable of the performances so far. But he gets a standing ovation from Blake. Hmm, we’ll see. Grade: C

Melanie Martinez: When I checked Twitter and Facebook numbers this weekend — head here for the results —  I was surprised to find Melanie right behind Cassadee and Dez in the largest number of new followers since the live shows began. I chalk that up to her unique look, unique voice and smart song choices. She’s singing “Too Close” this time around. Melanie looks oh, so cute. More importantly, she sounds really great on this opening. And she has the foot tambourine going again. Wow. I think that was one of the best matches of song vs. Melanie’s voice since she sang “Toxic” back in the blind auditions. Christina does hit on one point: On a night when we might see some “wow” moments, I’m not sure that was a “wow.” Grade: B

Dez Duron: I really thought Dez’s “Feeling Good” was one of the absolute best performances last week. And Dez relates how he thinks his dad was disappointed when he left the eventual security of attending Yale for the insecurity of the music business. But this could spell trouble: Christina wants him to show his versatility. And she’s saddled him with a Justin Bieber song, “You Smile.” This is going to be a hit with the ladies. It’s not going to be one of my favorite Dez performances. His vocal got lost on a couple of occasions in the middle as he danced around the stage. But he did bring it home pretty well at the end, and flashed his showmanship once again. I just wasn’t a big fan of the song choice. Grade: C+

Trevin Hunte: Last week’s attempt at upbeat Usher nearly sank Trevin, a former favorite. In fact, in the after-show conducted by Christina Milian, he admitted he thought he might be going home. Here’s betting it’s back to a power ballad for Trevin. Oh, yeah, he’s being given Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All.” That’s pretty predictable, but Trevin’s certainly capable of pulling this off. Look at this, Trevin is absolutely sparkling tonight. And Cee Lo loves bringing out the choir, doesn’t he? There they are again. OK, this is back in Trevin’s wheelhouse. I wasn’t thrilled with the first half of the song, but as we near the end, he deploys that crazy big voice of his and reminds us all why he was once the favorite. That should buy him another week and another power ballad. Grade: B-

“Any Way You Want It:” Group number by Nicholas David, Cody Belew, Amanda Brown and Trevin Hunte. I just have to smile every time Cody hits the stage, and that’s a good thing, right? And Amanda belts out a line that reminds us of her stupendous voice. And look at that, Amanda just outdid Trevin on a glory note. All in all, I like this sgroup number much better than the one earlier tonight. Grade: B

Nicholas David: His “Lean on Me” performance was one of the most popular on iTunes last week, cracking the top 20. Oh, and speaking of Cee Lo and his love of choirs … Oh, and this week, Nicholas announced that he and his wife are expecting a third child. He’ll sing “What’s Going On.” And he gets a surprise visit by Bill Withers, who wrote “Lean on Me.” Nicholas has more hair styles than Christina Aguilera. OK, no choir this time. Shame, it might have helped, because this is a pretty sleepy performance with Nicholas behind the keys, wearing his dark shades and singing a just-OK version of this song. What’s going on is that I’m just not getting Nicholas. That said, he gets a solid reaction from the audience and the judges. Grade: C

Cassadee Pope: Last week, the number one song on iTunes. And now she gets to close the show. This is a great opportunity for Cassadee to establish herself as the favorite to win this thing. She’ll sing “Are You Happy Now.” Blake calls the song choice “the right next step.” Well, let’s see. I like the opening, with Cassadee walking through a set of curtains, carrying her guitar and launching into a rather spiteful song. She says this is something she’d release as a single. Once again, I find myself wishing the background music wasn’t quite as loud. Cassadee has a great tone to her voice, and it’s a shame when it doesn’t come through clearly because of the audio mix. But another solid rock-pop performance. It probably didn’t match last week’s moment with “Over You,” but I won’t be surprised to see it among the top Voice performances on iTunes again tomorrow. Grade: B

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  1. JJ November 27, 2012 at 1:41 am -  Reply

    You should rank all of the contestants tonight based overall like you do for the other shows

  2. Barbara November 27, 2012 at 3:42 am -  Reply

    What is up with Christina not being able to give Amanda her due? Pope is fine, in a ‘hey Monday’ kind of way. She is no discovery. Amanda and the others have all shown individuality – even Dez before he was dragged down by his boss. Christina, you’re an amazing singer but thank God you’re not a producer.

  3. Mark Franklin November 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm -  Reply


    Not sure what you’re asking, since I rank all the contestants each week before the show, then grade them based on who I like the best.

    But, if I had to rank last night …

    1) Amanda Brown: Bonus points for an original version of the song
    2) Cody Belew: Bam-bam plus a nice vocal this week
    3) Melanie Martinez: Another nice song choice, this one even more suited to her voice.
    4) Cassadee Pope: Hey, she closed the show; I was hoping for another moment.


    5) Trevin Hunte: Predictable song, performed predictably
    6) Nicholas David: Afraid I’m just not a fan.
    7) Dez Duron: Poor song choice that just wasn’t a good fit.
    8) Terry McDermott: If he wanted to go slow, there were tons of great rock ballads he could have chosen.

  4. Steve in NYC November 27, 2012 at 6:06 pm -  Reply

    @Barbara – I hear ya’. She pumps up Dez and dumps on everyone else. Any other reason why Carson didn’t go to her for the last two singers?

    I feel bad for Dez, but I do hope he’s out today. Maybe then, Christina will be positive and objective for some of the other singers.

    My 2¢…

    • sharron November 27, 2012 at 9:25 pm -  Reply

      I totally agree, whats up with Christina? She is so “negative” toward Amanda and Melanie especially….I can’t even watch her anymore, so much negativity toward other performers who well deserve credit for thier performances! They r awesome!!!! She has not a clue! Hopefull Dez will be going home, and if so it’s only due to his Coach…..I feel.Good Luck everyone, can’t wait to watch tonight!!!

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