The Voice

Song by song grades for the Top 4 on The Voice

The Voice Season 14 Top 4 of Britton Buchanan, Brynn Cartelli, Spensha Baker and Kyla Jade (NBC Photo)

The Voice Season 14 Top 4 of Britton Buchanan, Brynn Cartelli, Spensha Baker and Kyla Jade (NBC Photo)


The Voice Top 4 take the stage tonight in the Season 14 performance finale.

Each singer will perform three times, singing a new cover, a new single and a duet with their coaches.

In recent seasons, those duets have not counted in terms of iTunes voting. This season? There’s not a mention of whether they do or not in The Voice voting rules.

Before we get to the songs we’ll hear tonight, here’s a bit of Voice trivia and other tidbits.

* If Brynn Cartelli wins tomorrow night, she would become the youngest champ in The Voice history. She was just 14 when she auditioned. That distinction now belongs to Sawyer Fredericks, who was 15 when he auditioned. The only other teenager to win the show was Danielle Bradbery; she was 16 when she auditioned for Season 4.

* When the Season 14 premiere aired, Britton Buchanan was the first contestant we met. Brynn Cartelli was the second. It’s the first time in the show’s history the first two contestants featured have both made the finale.

* This marks just the third time in Voice history a four-chair turn has not made the finals. Pryor Baird was the last four-chair turn standing in Season 14. The other times it happened: Season 13, when Lauren Duski and Aliyah Moulden each turned three chairs. That season’s winner, Chris Blue, was the last contestant to make the show, so only one chair turn was possible. And Season 4, when Danielle, Michelle Chamuel and The Swon Brothers all turned three chairs in the blinds.

* The winner will head off to Vegas to sing covers in The Voice: Neon Dreams. I confirmed that when talking to the show’s p.r. rep about Neon Dream’s delay and the fact that Chloe Kohanski is no longer part of the opening plans.

* And, yep, that’s the case even if 15-year-old Brynn wins. She’ll be whisked off to Vegas (with a chaperone, of course) to perform at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, also home to the Magic Mike male acrobatic striptease show. Great thinking, The Voice. Just where I’d want my 15-year-old daughter. LOL.

* Oh, and did you read what Pryor Baird had to say about The Voice instant save and how fair it is to West Coast singers and their fans? He described it with an expletive. And he’s absolutely right. Another thing to think about Carson Daly and company.

On to the performances we’ll hear tonight …


Britton Buchanan, “Good Lovin’” by The Rascals — Britton goes Rayshun crazy on The Voice stage on that performance, working the stage, working the crowd and unleashing a guitar solo to boot. He winds up sliding on his knees and belting out a song ending glory note. Great, fun performance for his final performance in the performance finale. Grade: A–

Brynn Cartelli, “Skyfall” by Adele — Hmm, Brynn gets the pimp spot. I felt sure the show’s allegiance might stand elsewhere. Wow, it’s nice when producers pick what they think is going to be the standout performance of the night, and then it works out that way. Brynn just nailed the Adele song with a brilliant vocal from start to finish. It’s pretty amazing that a 15-year-old can take the stage and deliver that song with that much poise and confidence. Grade: A

Kyla Jade, “With a Little Help from My Friends” by The Beatles — Still don’t think Kyla should be on the show. Background singers and musicians for active coaches should be ineligible. That said, the iTunes version of this is very good. Don’t like the arrangement of the chorus here. Kyla is left to ab lib while the background singers carry the tune. Are the background singers mics even on? The sound mix on this is not very good. OK, this amounts to Kyla shouting while the background singers can barely be heard. That was a hot mess. Grade: C+

Spensha Baker, “Merry Go Round” by Kacey Musgraves — Spensha said she picked this song because she wanted to go back to story-telling. Here’s another one of the confounded hide-the-singer set pieces The Voice comes up with for some unknown reason. Spensha is sounding great on the chorus, not nearly as good on the verses. Sounds like her timing is off or something. And if she wanted to tell a story, I’m not picking up on the emotion. Grade: B–


Britton Buchanan and Alicia Keys, “Wake Me Up” by Avicii — Alicia says they decided to perform this song partly because of its great message. They sucked some of the energy out of the song with that arrangement, but it was still a pretty good performance and a song well suited to Britton’s voice. I’m glad they sang separately as much as they did. Grade: B

Brynn Cartelli with Kelly Clarkson, “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House — Okay, this is the first time we’ve seen Kelly do a Voice duet with a contestant. My favorites are when the coach let’s the contestant shine. Already not liking this song choice. Still it is offering Brynn a chance to show off her powerful, soulful vocals. This season of American Idol featured some very good 15-year-old female vocalists. I truly think The Voice uncovered someone even better. Still, at the end of the night, that’s just not going to be one of the more memorable performances. Grade: B–

Kyla Jade and Blake Shelton, “Only Love” by Wynonna Judd — Kyla’s first tour was with Wynonna Judd, which explains this song choie. Really. Really. Wow, that was bad. And so boring. Who on the production team thought that was a good idea? Grade: D

Spensha Baker and Blake Shelton, “Tell Me About It” by Tanya Tucker — Blake says Spensha choose this song during an odd comic bit that doesn’t really work. Which as it turns out, is a pretty suiting lead-in into this performance. Spensha sounded off key on that entire first verse. They did pull it together a little better as the song progressed. But I won’t be streaming that one anywhere anytime soon. Grade: C


Britton Buchanan, “Where You Come From” — Britton says he was inspired to write this by a book he read. This is a great original and deserves better than the second spot in the show. My respect for Britton went through the roof when I heard this song. It’s one thing to sing covers. It’s another to create a great song. And that’s a great song. The vocal wasn’t perfect. But I’m still giving Britton a stellar score. Do yourself a favor and download or stream that song. Grade: A

Brynn Cartelli, “Walk My Way” — Bryn says she likes this original because its sassy, but has a little flair to it. Okay, that was young and fun and certainly more catchy that Kyla’s original. Again, it offered Brynn a chance to show off her strong vocals. And she showed off great stage presence. Solid performance. Grade: B

Kyla Jade, “The Last Tear” — Kyla says this song is a good match for what she’s been going through on the show. I’m liking this vocal from Kyla much, much better. That said, she didn’t exactly get the catchiest original song, did she? Oh, boy, here comes the choir. Great vocal. Not a very good song. But, wow, Kyla’s solos are over and we’re just six songs into the show. Grade: B

Spensha Baker, “Old Soul” — Spensha says this is representative of the soulful country music she’d like to record. She says she also likes the song’s message. This is probably the second best of the original songs. It’s also quickly turning into Spensha’s best performance of the night. She’s doing a much better job of connecting with this song. Mu guess is this could do very well on iTunes. Nicely done. Grade: B+

Based on tonight, here’s how I’d ranked the Top 4 —

1. Brynn (by a whisker)
2. Britton
3. Spensha
4. Kyla

See also …
Ranking the Top 3 on The Voice
Britton Buchanan’s Voice performances
Brynn Cartelli’s Voice performances
Kyla Jade’s Voice performances
Spensha Baker’s Voice performances
Tuesday’s guest star lineup

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