Team Blake and Team Pharrell tackle “The Voice” Live Playoffs

Team Blake The Voice Season Eight

Team Blake delivered impeccable performances tonight! (Photo property of NBC)

By: Jacob Elyachar,

This is it!

After weeks of Blind Auditions, Battle Rounds and Knockout Rounds, The Voice: Season Eight goes live for the first time this season!

Tonight, Team Blake and Team Pharrell will take the stage! At stake…a spot on their coach’s Top Three.

Because we have reached the live portion of the show, all artists will receive letter grades from Jake’s Take!

Who wowed the coaches? Which artists need your votes the most? Read on to find out….

Before the talent took to the stage, Maroon 5 kicked off the night with a spectacular performance of “Sugar.” I saw the band perform the song live at the Sprint Center earlier and Adam’s falsetto impressed me. However, I thought that the Voice coach was running out of breath during the performance.

Team Blake’s Sarah Potenza kicked off the night with a cover of “Free Bird.” In my humble opinion, this is a sacred song. Team CeeLo’s Juliet Simms (despite fighting an illness) killed it when she performed the Lynyrd Skynyrd track during the show’s sophomore season, so Sarah had a lot to live up to. While Juliet went on the screaming side, Sarah took a soulful and spiritual approach with her cover. She gave me chills and delivered one of the best performances of the night! A-

I think Caitlin Caporale might be another Ariana Grande! The reason why I say that is that I was disappointed with the way that she acted during the Knockout Rounds. You cannot act like a diva during any stage of the competition. That being said…she disappointed viewers by tackling Beyonce’s “Best Thing I Never Had.” When Queen B sings this song, she sucker punched her listeners with her powerful vocals and I did not feel anything from her. D+

I am glad Blake stole Hannah Kirby back from Pharrell. However, Ms. Kirby had a challenge in front of her: tackling Carole King’s “I Feel The Earth Move.” When Hannah sang the iconic chorus, I instantly got goosies! There is no one like her and it would be a shame to lose a powerhouse for an average country singer. A

In all honesty, Lowell Oakley lost me when he did a nervous chuckle during the Knockout Rounds. If you do that, then you do not have the tenacity to be on The Voice. Lowell’s cover of Team Christina guest adviser Nick Jonas was a train wreck from a top-to-bottom train wreck. I felt very embarrassed for Pharrell and for the rest of his team! F

16-year-old Mia Z continues to blaze a trail to her potential appearance in the Top Four with her cover of Eva Cassidy’s “Ain’t No Sunshine.” I am glad that she took Pharrell’s advice and showcased her softer side as a vocalist. Her cover was beautiful from start to finish and I think she is going to be around for the next coming weeks. A-

Team Pharrell The Voice Season Eight

Several members of Team Pharrell stepped up to the plate in a huge way! (Photo property of NBC)

It is very hard for an artist to follow a potential finalist, so the former Team Christina artist Koryn Hawthorne had a lot to prove. The “Get Lucky” singer saddled his newest team member with gospel hymn: “How Great Thou Art.” This song might be the oddest choice of the night, but Koryn delivered a sturdy cover of the song that would make its re-inventors, Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill, proud. B+

Corey Kent White is the last country artist left standing! While I send my condolences to the White Family, this is a singing competition and I did not factor his grandfather’s death into my grade. Throughout the 2010s, LeRoy Bell (X Factor USA: Season One) and Lea Michele (Glee’s “The Quarterback”) moved me with their interpretation and honestly, their versions are 1,000 times better than Corey’s cover. It was a very pleasant vocal, but it is time for another genre and coach not named Adam or Blake to win The Voice. B-

16-year-old Brooke Adee tackled Team Adam adviser Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do.” While I applaud Blake for taking Brooke out of her comfort zone, she lost her breath control during the first couple of bars of the song and because of that…it went downhill from there. If for some reason that she moves on to the Top 12, the four-time winning Voice coach needs to help Brooke control her falsetto, because of the high notes were ugly! C

Team Blake’s final singer, Meghan Linsey, had to prove haters wrong to earn a spot in the Top 12. Blake drove her to perform One Republic’s “Love Runs Out.” From the word: “Go,” Meghan slayed her vocals and gave a high adrenaline performance that might have earned her a spot in this season’s Top Eight. A

The final singer of the night was Team Pharrell’s Sawyer Fredericks! Like Sarah Potenza before him, he took on a song that played a crucial part of not one BUT TWO crucial moments in Reality TV history. Team Adam’s Tony Lucca gave a superb cover that was a highlight of the show’s sophomore season, while Kelly Osbourne and Louis van Amstel gave the best Viennese Waltz in all of Dancing with the Stars history during the first and final weeks of the ABC dance competition’s ninth season!

I was hesitant that Sawyer picked that song because of the depth of Mr. LaMontagne’s lyrics. But, once he sang, Sawyer proved me wrong. His gritty vocals cut through the Universal Studios Hollywood set like a knife and I re-imagined Kelly and Louis dancing that lovely Viennese Waltz again. During the Knockout Rounds, Christina stated that Sawyer had a natural gift and I strongly believe that he will go all the way to the finale. A+

Tomorrow night, Team Adam and Team Christina face off in the next round of the Live Playoffs!

I do not own the clips that are featured in this article! They belong to FOX Broadcasting Company.



  1. Sarah Potenza has a disadvantage right now…. on Shazam’s “The Voice: The Live Playoffs, Night 1” page right now each of tonight’s competitors is listed with their photo and an itunes link to their version of their chosen song with a second link to the original song. Sarah is the only one who does not have her own song version available to purchase/download, instead there are two links to the same original Lynyrd Skynyrd version of Free Bird.

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar