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Song by song grades for the Top 11 on The Voice

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TSoul and Aliyah Moulden of Team Blake before tonight's Top 11 show on The Voice.

TSoul and Aliyah Moulden of Team Blake before tonight’s Top 11 show on The Voice.

The Voice Top 11 take the stage tonight, apparently without the help of a key adviser.

Considering how well they performed last week, I’m sure they’ll get by.

Meanwhile, I’ve moved a new singer into the top spot in my weekly Voice rankings. Let’s see if she can continue her trend of outstanding performances tonight.

And did you hear? The Voice is actually inviting a former contestant back to perform her new single on Tuesday’s results show.

The show should be doing that every week. For that matter, it wouldn’t hurt to ditch the group numbers to create three performance spots for past contestants on the Tuesday shows.

As good as the performances were last Monday night, the Team Adam and Team Blake group songs last week were … okay, to be blunt, painful on the ears.

As usual, I’ll be providing song by song grades during tonight’s performance show. Feel free to follow along.

Stephanie Rice works the stage during her Top 11 performance on The Voice. (NBC Photo)

Stephanie Rice works the stage during her Top 11 performance on The Voice. (NBC Photo)

Stephanie Rice (Team Alicia): Stephanie said last week she was hoping for a chance to rock out. Alicia has given her “Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who. Interesting choice for rocking and for a singing show, because it takes a while for this song to build and explode. That said, with a female flipping it, it has the earmarks of an iTunes hit. And Stephanie’s doing a great job with it. Wow, great way to start the show. My only complaint was that her vocals were a bit overwhelmed by the band when the song swelled. Grade: B+

Aliyah Moulden (Team Blake): No so sure about this song choice for Aliyah, and I wasn’t particularly impressed by the iTunes version. She’ll sing “Take It Back” by Reba McEntire. She’s dedicating the performance to her grandmother. You have to be impressed by how at home these 15-year-olds seem on The Voice, singing for millions at home. Aliyah is doing her best to deliver a sass-filled performance and showing off a nice little growl in her voice. It might work a mite better if she wasn’t dressed and her hair wasn’t styled like a princess. Very nice performance-ending glory note. Grade: C+

TSoul (Team Blake): He’ll sing “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith. Blake notes it’s the first time he’s tackled a current song and the first time he’s performed at the keys. TSoul is piling on all his typical TSoul embellishments. It’s all a bit much for me. And he decides to lay down in the middle of the performance and sing from his back. Which might be a Voice first. I’m sorry, this just seems disjointed and all over the place for me. But the Voice crowd seems to love it. Grade: C–

Lilli Passero delivered another fine vocal during Top 11 night for Team Adam Levine on The Voice. (NBC Photo)

Lilli Passero delivered another fine vocal during Top 11 night for Team Adam Levine on The Voice. (NBC Photo)

Lilli Passero (Team Adam): Carson said her song this week could be a perfect fit. Last week’s Shania Twain tune sure wasn’t. She’ll sing “Town Without Pity” by Gene Pitney. Yep, this is a much better match for Lilli’s preferred style of music. That said, not sure it has the makings of an iTune smash. Fine vocals. Fine performance. Lilli looks lovely and classy at the same time. But the song choice was a snooze. Grade: B–

Hunter Plake (Team Gwen): On Twitter, Hunter promised this week’s song will be his best yet. He’s singing “All I Want” by Kodaline. Interesting, Look at that, Hunter play drums too. Okay, this was easily Hunter’s best performance since “Every Breath You Take” in the knockout round. He showed off great range. And if some of the lyrics seemed a bit mumbled early, that problem went away as Hunter got into the song. My guess is that will be another iTunes hit for Mr.
Plake. Grade: B+.

Vanessa Ferguson: Vanessa will perform “Diamonds” by Rihanna. Glad to see her get to perform a current song. She starts off behind the keys, but it isn’t long before she starts working the stage, then heading out into the crowd to greet a few fans. All the while, she’s delivering another top notch vocal. I doubt Vanessa will make the Season 11 finals, but she’s got Top 4-level talent, folks. Just listen to the way her voice effortlessly soared a number of times toward the end of that performance. Grade: B+

Lauren Duski: Another ballad for Lauren Duski. This time she’ll sing “Somewhere in My Broken Heart” by Randy Travis. This is sure to be another crowd pleasing performance because Lauren is delivering a fine vocal with plenty of emotion. I would like to see her do something upbeat as a change of pace sometime soon. The harmonies on that performance were especially impressive. With Blake guiding the way, I’m be surprised if Lauren doesn’t land in the Season 12 finals. Grade B

Mark Isaiah performs for on Top 11 night for The Voice. (NBC Photo)

Mark Isaiah performs for on Top 11 night for The Voice. (NBC Photo)

Mark Isaiah (Team Adam): Mark took a step in the right direction with last week’s save song. Until then, he was struggling. He’ll perform “How to Love” by Lil Wayne. Adam says it’s more of a Mark Isaiah song than a typical Lil Wayne song. We’ll see. Uh, no. Don’t think so. If there’s any justice in the voting, Mark will be in or near the bottom two again. And that was not a great song choice for a singer who’s been struggling to stay on pitch. Hmm, it was Mark’s choice. That still doesn’t make it a good one. Grade: C–

Jesse Larson (Team Adam): The Voice says Jesse is being pushed out of his comfort zone with this song choice. He’ll sing “Human” by Rag N Bone Man. I listened to the iTunes version, and it was quite impressive. Jesse is putting together a string of performances that are easily the best on Team Adam. That was another. I predict he’ll sail into the Top 10. Grade: B+

Brennley Brown (Team Gwen): Brennley says this is a song she loves to do back home. She’ll sing “River” by Joni Mitchell. The 15-year-old is on quite a roll. I can see her winning Season 12. This is for sure. We’re going to hear another squeal from Brennley tomorrow night because she’s going to be voted into the Top 11 after another stellar performance. And she’s likely to be near the top of iTunes again. That was damn impressive for a 15-year-old. Grade: A–

Chris Blue (Team Alicia): He gets the pimp spot and deservingly so considering his performances to date. He’ll sing a song he’s never performed before, “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Alicia is pushing for him to deliver an emotional performance. She’s looking for a statement performance. This will go down as a Top 10-worthy performance, but not a statement performance. It could have been, if Chris had stood behind the mic and let emotion and that incredible voice rule the moment. Instead he added lots of unnecessary flourishes — well executed, I must say — and danced all over the stage. That detracted from the emotional power of the song. Shame. I think there was an incredible Voice moment well within his grasp and he just did a little too much. Grade: B+

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NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE FINALS?

Voice Season 12 comeback artist Johnny Hayes turned in this performance during Tuesday night's live playoffs, yet somehow missed out on the show's finals. For a recap of the Team Adam oversight, head here.

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