The verdict: Grace’s uniqueness (bleck) is offset by her use of guitar, which Usher thinks might have been a distraction. Plus The Brothers Swon just play so well off each other. Blake likes Grace because she never sangs the same thang twace. But gosh dangit, he just can’t get a handle on her. (This is a transcript of the remarks.) So it’s The Brothers Swon in the spotlight -- the first of Blake’s duos to ever make it to the live rounds.
TEAM USHER: CÁTHIA VS. RYAN INNES
The songs: Cáthia chooses “Mr. Know It All” and Ryan chooses “I Don’t Want to Be”
The knockout: Since Cáthia will be singing he first English-language record on the show, Blake wants her to bring an extra amount of energy and control to the stage, which ends up getting telegraphed as Cáthia moves her limbs in alternation with her runs. She’s sassy because her face says so. It’s not sassy in any particular way and could have settled nicely in as just well-sung, but she’s trying and she wants us to know that she’s trying. Watch those syllables, Cáth.
To be fair, Ryan is guilty of trying, too. But he’s not trying to impress as much as he is just trying to feel. Why else would he sound so emotive and raw? It can’t have been easily sung -- it didn’t look that way, though it has a strong life to it. The night had a lot of talk of bluesiness: of wanting to appear bluesier and sound bluesier, of wanting to show off one’s bluesy side. Ryan is bluesy.
The verdict: You did good, Cáthia! So confident! Good try, Ryan, and good grit. Usher likes your brute force, but the season’s buzzword is
sassiness personality and the victory goes to Cáthia.
That’s it for The Voice’s first month. Next week we head into the live rounds. We’ve seen a lot of personalities -- but have we seen any signs of greatness? On this count, Idol may still have the edge. Who are your early favorites? Samantha loves Sarah; I’m surprised by how much I’m Team Sasha. Are you excited to see more of the judges’ fashion? (It’s a legitimate question.) And based on what we saw tonight in rehearsals, is Usher just the right kind of crazy?