The Voice changed format again this weekend – no more spinning chairs, no sing-off battles, just singers giving it their best shot, with one in particular knocking it out of the park.
It was up to the final act of the night, teenager Ruth Brown, to give us the second spine-tingling moment of the series (after Jaz Ellington during the audition rounds).
Ruth Brown, who’d knocked out pop star Deniece Pearson in the battle round, opted to sing Oleta Adams’ song Get Here. “I hope she comes over well, because a voice that big is hard to capture,” mused her coach Sir Tom.
He needn’t have worried. With a voice that seems to begin somewhere deep, deep within, and effortlessly bangs on the wall at the back of the arena, Brown brought the crowd to their feet, and more hankies for Jessie. Ruth gets better with every song, and definitely stole this show. Based on her performance tonight, HuffPostUK says... Ruth is going all the way.
The favourite so far, singing tutor Jaz Ellington, was tame by comparison. He admitted he was feeling the pressure going into tonight, but it didn’t sound like it as he nailed Etta James’ song At Last. Coach Will had earlier compared him to Stevie Wonder, and remained suitably impressed: “His name is Jaz, ladies and gentlemen.”
At this stage, there’s not much to differentiate the actual format from that of The X Factor, but the difference lies in the credibility of the judges – all on hand with technical advice, and their evident admiration for the talents on display.
Saturday saw Teams Tom and Will do battle (Jessie and Danny’s are up on Sunday night)... here's a round-up:
Joelle Moses seemed nervous, understandable as she was the first off the block for the live show, but her confidence seemed boosted by a glamorous makeover (thought it was about The Voice?), and dug deep to channel Mary J Blige. All judges were impressed, with Danny telling his team to take note for their Sunday efforts.
Frances Wood gave Chaka Khan’s song Ain't Nobody some rock, Cheryl-Lloyd style, and tackled the stairs too. “It’s the first time I haven’t fallen, so that’s a bonus,” she revealed with cheeky wholesomeness. Jessie remarked that she’d wished she’d turned round for Frances. Sir Tom admired her boldness (a compliment from a man who has himself, of course, performed with the great Ms Khan). Danny struck the only negative note, suggesting her dance moves could be punchier.
Sophie Griffin banged out Titanium, and although Will loyally expressed his admiration ("you’ve got to treat people like family"), he wasn’t as effusive as he had been for Jaz.
Danny encouraged applause, telling Sophie, "You’re 17, come on... " (perhaps justifying J Marie’s moan last week that the programme may, after all, be a little bit ageist, in demanding less of its younger performers than older peers).
Tyler James had raised Will’s confidence in the rehearsal - "there’s an artist who knows exactly what he wants to accomplish." He gave Stevie Winwood’s Higher Love an assured soulful rendition, which impressed all of the coaches.
All the latest from The Voice:
Sam Buttery showed his nerves and fears about timing during rehearsal, with Sir Tom on hand to reassure him (unlike Will, who has been off the scene, with his team members reportedly resorting to Twitter to contact him).
Sam hit nearly all the notes in his cover of Erasure’s Respect, and his performance was predictably effusive, with dancers to boot.
Adam Isaac promised to give it some proper rock ‘n’ roll, and he launched into high-octane Foo Fighters action. Twitter followers asked if he was meant to be off-key, off-beat, and one person summed it with “Dave Grohl - cover your ears", while another added "there's only one Dave."
Afterwards, as Jessie tried to give him some technical advice, he revealed he’d fallen off the stage earlier and chipped a bone.
Leanne Mitchell admitted to a crisis of confidence before singing Who Knew? by Pink. Sir Tom had to bolster her, saying "Who knew? I knew, that’s why I picked her." When she got to the stage, Leanne banged out the big notes, which Tom said were as perfect as Jaz's.
"Life-partners" Matt and Sueleen had opted to go with Team Tom on the toss of a coin. Fleetwood Mac's Go Your Own Way was a good song choice for the happily hippy pair. There were some surprising note options along the way, but the pair’s chemistry got them through.
Here are this week's perfomers - who do you think you has what it takes to become The Voice?