TEAM CEE LO: Caroline Pennell
The song: "Leaving On a Jet Plane" by John Denver
The performance: Cee Lo lets Caroline take the reins by letting her pick this song, which reminds her of summer camp and her impending college transition. I think she missed a great opportunity to show America that her voice is more than a perfect addition to a Gilmore Girls soundtrack. She sounds as butterscotch-sweet as usual, and we see her sustain a few notes to indicate that she possesses power, but it's too similar her "The Way I Am" rendition in the knockout rounds.
The feedback: Coach Cee Lo is being way too nice. At first he says, "I’m pleased about letting go and allowing you to lead yourself," before he mentions how the song overpowered her at points. You get the sense he respects her declaration of autonomy with picking the Denver tune, but it may not have been best-suited for her voice. Adam also lauds her song choice: "I got to see you making a statement about a lot of the things you’ve been experiencing."
TEAM BLAKE: Cole Vosbury
The song: "To Be With You" by Mr. Big
The performance: Coach Blake loves Cole's creativity and still believes he has yet to peak. In rehearsal the two debate over playing piano versus guitar, and the acoustic wins. It was a great little melody, with nice accompaniment by the shadow army of background singers, but Cole is definitely still in pre-peak zone with this performance. I still think his Jeffersons' theme song audition was his best showing.
The feedback: But Blake thought this was perfect -- "Gosh dang it, man, you nailed it to the wall!" Adam is still sore that Cole chose Team Blake. And Cee Lo said, “I’m really happy for you, that you’ve come this far, dude.” At this point, my congenial meter has broken from all the niceness, but at least Cee Lo had a wee bit of snark for the background singers: "They look like American Horror Story: Coven here!"
TEAM ADAM: Tessanne Chin
The song: "If I Were Your Woman" by Gladys Knight
The performance: Now this is the standout performance of the night. When has Tessanne not delivered? It would be easy to become desensitized to consistent vocal greatness from her, but somehow she finds these pockets of songs to surprise and delight us. She can touch sacred diva canons anytime. Also, unusual family box guest alert: Even Tessanne is shocked by her rooting, sprinter fan, Usain Bolt.
The feedback: Adam says this was “solidifying [her] presence as a major contender.” Christina said she wants to hear her Jamaican accent come out more -- after all, what else is there to critique?
TEAM BLAKE: Ray Boudreaux
The song: "You Are the Best Thing" by Ray LaMontagne
The performance: Coach Blake wants this to sound "like you're at a concert down South in Louisiana.” But I think it sounded like it could be heard anywhere; there wasn't anything distinctively Southern or "swamp-pop" about his performance. Which is not to say it was bad, it was regular 'ol Ray, and that's a good thing, considering last week's slightly disastrous foray into the too-smooth world of R&B. What I missed in this song, especially in the chorus, was warmth from his voice.
The feedback: Christina praises his growth so far: “You’ve found an identity.” Adam calls him "one of the more solid vocalists in the competition."
TEAM ADAM: James Wolpert
The song: "Without You" by Badfinger
The performance: I thought this would have been a better choice for Tessanne or even someone like Kat. It needed more of a yearning crooner quality from James, while instead he just delivered a blase rocker vibe. It came together during the second chorus, when he added his signature trill, but overall, I craved a breathier vocal. Also, what was up with the cane?
The feedback: Adam is an unconditionally loving fan: "You take a song and it goes through the James Wolpert blender and it turns into something that is so kind of intrinsically yours.” Christina says he's "a multi-dimensional vocalist” and calls his vocals "clean" just about 90 billion times.
NEXT: How many backup dancers does it take to raise a cat?