“The Voice: Season Nine” Top 11 take the stage!

 The Top 11 pose for a group photo after a taping of "The Voice." (Photo property of NBC's Trae Patton)

The Top 11 pose for a group photo after a taping of “The Voice.” (Photo property of NBC’s Trae Patton)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

It seems that we are always talking about the coaches instead of the contestants when we reach the live portion of The Voice.

The tabloids keep having a field day as news stories of Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton’s romance, Pharrell’s black eye and the supposed backstage tension between Gwen and The Queen of The Voice (and my favorite coach), Christina Aguilera, on who gets the Season 11 chair, have lit up the Internet.  In my humble opinion, Mark Burnett, Carson Daly and the rest of The Voice Powers-That-Be should have both Gwen and Xtina on the same season with Adam and Blake (Sorry, Pharrell needs a season off). It could also lead to an epic confrontation like The Voice Australia’s Delta Goodrem and Jessie J had during the fourth season of the Australia spin-off.

Anyway, back to the Top 11!

Tonight, the Top 11 took the stage for America’s votes! Who shined? Which artists will have to sing for the Instant Save?  Read on to find out…

Shelby Brown kicked off the festivities with Lady Gaga’s “You and I.” It was a very hard for me to not compare Shelby’s performance with Jess Meuse’s unbelievable cover during American Idol XIII, where she finally won over the judges. While it was sturdy and I liked the fact that she paid homage to her home state, I had problems keeping my eyes on her and her vocals were a little flat near the end. However, I have a feeling that she will be safe this week. B

Team Pharrell’s Evan McKeel tackled one of the most iconic songs of all-time: “Smile.” Music legends such as Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand and the late Michael Jackson have all performed the standard in different parts of their career. I hoped that Evan could deliver with an impressive performance. I have to give Evan props for starting the song a cappella, I wished that he continued on that route because that would have been his show-stopping moment. I really hope that America keeps him around for a while longer…I still think he can score a vocal touchdown. B+

The only downside that I have with Barrett Baber is that he is starting to get cocky. If you start to be cocky, then not only are you going to disappoint your fans…. but also you are going to deliver awful vocals. Barrett may be creative, but it can only go so far. While he brought rock to Tanya Tucker’s “Delta Dawn,” his personality (which could be 1000-percent fake) is really turning me off to him and I would use my stolen America’s Got Talent buzzer on him. C-

Last week, Team Gwen’s Korin Bukowski was saved by America’s votes! Thank goodness that her dad and Gwen Stefani put some fire into her, because Korin knocked “Only Hope” out of the ballpark. I finally got chills from her! Congratulations on delivering an epic performance, young lady! A-

Team Adam’s Amy Vachal brought a unique twist to Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” I will be completely honest with you…Amy’s version is 10,000-times better than the original! Her vocals made me smile and I think that this performance was her breakout moment. A

After Pharrell rocked the stage with “Freedom,” Team Blake’s Zach Seabaugh chose Thompson Square’s “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?” Unfortunately, there were times during the performance that he sounded like Scotty McCreery. We do not need another Scotty McCreery and he was another performer that I would used my stolen AGT buzzer on. Can we please send him home, America?  F

Team Pharrell’s Madi Davis tackled U2’s “Love Is Blindness.” As much as I love Madi, I was a little disappointed with the performance. Her vocals slipped up throughout the song. Did she have pitch issues? Probably! I wished that Pharrell told her not to tackle that monstrous of a song. This performance could come back to haunt her during the Great Purge in the upcoming weeks. C

Can we please send Braiden Sunshine home? “Truth” was a disaster! I am still not connecting with him and I would have buzzed him when he hit that abysmal high note. F

I have covered and reviewed singing competitions for three years and one performance that I will always remember is Jillian Jensen’s cover of Jessie J’s “Who You Are” that she performed during the X Factor USA’s sophomore season.  I sympathized with her as it brought back painful memories of being bullied when I was growing up in school. Hearing her showcase her soul with that song and receiving a hug from her hero and former X Factor USA judge Demi Lovato will always be forever engrained in my head.

When I heard that Jordan Smith was going to cover this song, I was extremely hesitant with this performance. Because, this is the third time that he sang a ballad during the Live Rounds. He needs to do something up-tempo and fast! Back to the performance! Like Jillian, Jordan did face some adversity and was able to overcome these obstacles through music. Jordan delivered a superb vocal performance and gave me chills. Bravo, Jordan! A+

Team Blake’s Emily Ann Roberts tackled “Why Not” for her Top 11 performance. Emily Ann is growing on me and I get a strong case of the goosies when she sings! I loved that she sang a Bluegrass song and I believe that she records a song like this on her debut album, it would soar to the top of the iTunes Country charts. She could be a strong contender to be here in this season’s finale. A-

Team Gwen’s Jeffrey Austin closed out the night with his unique take on Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own.” Before tonight, I was very unfamiliar with the song…but thankfully Jeffrey Austin introduced me to the tune. I have one word to describe this performance: “PERFECTION!” He captured my attention from the get-go and I was totally captivated by his vocals! A+

Tomorrow night, Team Blake advisor Brad Paisley take the stage!

Question: Would you watch a season with Christina and Gwen together as coaches? Or are you Team Christina? Or Team Gwen when it comes to the supposed backstage drama involving the fourth chair?

Video from “The Voice Australia” belongs to 9 Network.

Jillian Jensen’s “X Factor USA” audition and Jess Meuse’s “You and I” are properties of FOX, Syco Entertainment, 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia North America.

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar