“The Voice” contestants performed well and spread Christmas cheer

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Before the current crop of contestants on “The Voice” was whittled down to four, they performed in pairs as well as alone, and managed to spread Christmas cheer.

“The Voice” and the process of elimination

Knowing what we now know of who remains on the show, it seems a bit sad to review how diligently some contestants worked to get into the finale. But, because the good performances were notable, they are worth the retrospection. If for nothing else, they serve to remind viewers what contestants are up against when a winner is chosen on Tuesday.

Noah Mac and Chloe Kohanski “Wicked Game”

Maybe the pairing of these two was not so unusual. But, turning Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” into a duet was a twist. The effort found Mac sounding arguably better than he has in some other performances. He was able to match Isaak’s rich alt-country voice, complete with nuances.

For her part, Kohanski sounded as reliably good as ever. In this version of “Wicked Game,” she keeps her voice low and raspy, sounding much like Bonnie Tyler. If a person looked away, it was as though Tyler and Isaak were singing a duet. Overall, it was an interesting performance. Viewers had to wonder though, if the performance came too late for Mac.

Red Marlow, “Rest High on the Mountain”

The country singer who has become as well known for his jokes with other contestants as he is for his seasoned country singing. Thus, his performance of “Rest High on the Mountain.” When his voice climbed without a catch to the near-stratospheric notes of the chorus, it was a phenomenon to witness, regardless of a viewer’s opinion of country music.

Red Marlow and Adam Cunningham, “Can’t You See”

The studio crowd seemed most excited for Marlow and Cunningham’s “Can’t You See.” The music veterans took the Southern rock song in a country direction that was charming and true to the original. Their voices blended in harmonies reminiscent of the Allman Brothers’ style.

Chloe Kohanski, “I Want to Know What Love Is”

“The Voice” (front-runner, perhaps), Kohanski turned in an awe-inspiring performance of the Foreigner classic. Her smoky voice managed to pull off enough agility to sound authentic. There was no gospel choir or vamping backing vocals, but the performance sounded anything but stripped down.

Addison Agen and Keisha Renee, “Strong Enough”

The singers sat to perform their duet version of Sheryl Crow’s signature tune. The young women managed to sing with well-controlled voices. Belted out notes and softer tones showed up at all the right times. The overall effect was sweet and unexpected.

Agen and Keisha also performed in a Target commercial, as did Marlow and Cunningham. The commercials featured Christmas music. For Agen and Keisha, the Beatles’ classic “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time,” and “Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Surprisingly, the two songs did not compete with each other in the soundscape. For the short span of the commercial, there seemed to be an actual feeling of Christmas. The singers sounded genuinely happy, and that counts for something.

Brooke Simpson and Miley Cyrus, “Faithfully”

The evening ended with Simpson and her coach taking on Journey’s rock ballad. While the song’s emotional impact remained, the performance overall might have benefitted from more straight notes. However, Cyrus’ voice sounded more suited to the task than some might have predicted. Simpson’s range sounded nearly stratospheric. The swells at the end were big and appropriate, and reminded viewers of the stadiums full of people, singing along to Journey songs.

While the night was full of high notes, both literal and figurative, it is a show where contestants get voted off one or two at a time. Viewers have to take the pleasant moments when they come.

 

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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