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24 March, 2015 7:51 PM
Published by Kevin Mc Stravock
After three series, The Voice of Ireland is finally following its' counterparts in introducing the knockout round stage. However, there's a twist as the coaches will be making their decisions live. For the next three shows, three contestants from each team will perform for their coaches with their coaches deciding there and then which act to take through to the quarter-finals.
Recap and videos after the JUMP...
Shauna Nolan - 8/10 - 'Bang Bang' by Jessie J feat. Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj
Shauna has a nice voice but to this point she has had pitch issues in her performances. This is probably the best she has sung in the competition, I'm not a fan of the band's arrangement of the song, it cheapens it a little but vocally, this is definitely a decent performance. The only thing I find is that when she's hitting the high note of the song, she changes key too many times before hitting it so it doesn't have the same impact. That said, it's an impressive performance all in all.
Kathleen Mahon - 8.5/10 - 'Whole Lotta Love' by Led Zeppelin
Kathleen is one of my favourites in the competition, she blew me away in the Battles and I was delighted to see Una steal her. This song is a bit of an out there choice for her but I have to say, she definitely does it justice. At the start I feel that her voice is being slightly drowned out by the music but as it comes into the chorus she grabs hold of the song and absolute nails it. As Bressie says, she has a moment towards the end when she goes for the high notes that just grabbed me. Knowing who is coming next, I don't hold out for Kathleen making it through but this was great.
Patrick Donoghue - 9.5/10 - 'Mama Knows Best' by Jessie J
In the words of Kelly Rowland, who knew he could do uptempo....ow. This was pretty hard to fault, Patrick's talent is undeniable and he absolutely nails every run in this song, which is an impressive feat considering how massive Jessie's range is. I'm particularly impressed by how Patrick delivers the performance, I felt that was where he may fall down but he totally delivered the performance. His presence and his voice are pretty much second to none in this competition and it's beyond obvious that Una won't be sending him home after that.
Una chooses Patrick Donoghue to take through to the quarter-finals. All I can fault is the format of the knockout rounds. If you're going to kick six people out of the teams then at least put them all on stage together and let the coach take the best three through. Given the performances I saw tonight, there was an argument for any of them getting through so it'll be very annoying if the remaining six acts all sing poorer than Kathleen or Shauna did.
Helena Bradley-Bates - 8/10 - 'I Want To Know What Love Is' by Foreigner
The curse of Kian's song choices strikes again. I know Helena sung an 80's power ballad in her blind audition but that didn't mean her song choices should be confined to that for the rest of the process. There's no denying Helena's talent, vocally this is pretty perfect but it's very hard for her to put her own stamp on something that we have seen and heard ad nauseum. A very strong vocal performance but I personally fear that he's going to stick her into this very confined range of songs, like he seems to do with every powerful female singer on his team.
Colm Conlan - 8/10 - 'Angel Of Small Death and the Codeine Scene' by Hozier
Again with the uncreative song choices from Kian, Colm sang Hozier in the blind auditions, it's a little bit early to be giving him another Hozier song surely. Actually, to give Colm credit, this is by far the best performance he has had in the process. His blind audition was quite flat, his battle round was a bit of a disaster but this was pretty great actually. If I had to give some slight criticism, I do feel that his vocal was too similar to the original song, which isn't necessarily a bad thing considering how good Hozier's voice is. Overall, he's pretty much on par with Helena, her being the better vocalist, him having more potential as an artist.
Chris Brady - 7.5/10 - 'Dear Darling' by Olly Murs
What's with everyone having their best performance on the first live show? This was so much better than Chris' battle round performance. I actually feel like he had the most distinctive vocal of the night so far with this, vocally there were definitely a few pitching issues but overall, it was a very good performance. I feel like he sort of got drowned out in the second rendition of the chorus but just like Colm, he has came on leaps and bounds and if the format had been the same as last year for the live shows, I honestly don't know who would go home.
Kian picks Helena Bradley-Bates to take through to the quarter-finals. To be honest, I think she's the least distinctive of the three artists who performed tonight but vocally, she has definitely been the most consistent. Chris and Colm were both great though so fair play to them, I won't bother venting about the format again but you can understand my frustrations when everyone so far has been at least B/B+ standard.
Ellie-May Bopp has withdrawn from the competition for personal reasons. (According to her Facebook, she was ill and couldn't even perform in rehearsals so unless it looked like an illness that wasn't going to go away, I don't get why someone else couldn't have been drafted in?) So it's between two acts on Team Rachel for the first spot in the quarter-finals.
Kieran McKillop - 8.5/10 - 'Together We Cry' by The Script
Kieran is another artist I haven't to this stage really rated and to be honest, this performance sort of came out of nowhere for me. It was pretty similar to the original version, right down to there being a bit of a similarity in Danny and Kieran's vocals but in all fairness to him, this was by far his strongest vocal. He still needs to work on putting his stamp on the songs he sings otherwise he'll run the risk of seeming like a very good karaoke singer but that last high note was pretty fantastic.
Shannon Doyle - 7/10 - 'Lips Are Moving' by Meaghan Trainor
This is a tricky one for me, the vocal was better than I expected it to be but I was still disappointed by this performance. I feel like it needed a little more energy and a bit more backing support for Shannon to lift it because it kind of felt lifeless. I mean, what was with the organ sound coming through in the arrangement, the song needs a lot of energy and that for me was lacking. Shannon's vocals definitely improved as the song went on but I'm going to put it down to poor song choice, or at least poor arrangement of the song because the performance needed something to lift it and I feel like that dragged Shannon down a little.
Rachel picks Kieran McKillop. Based on the two performances tonight, it was the right choice.
Emma Humber - 9/10 - 'Eve, The Apple of My Eye' by Bell X1
This was an absolutely stunning song choice for Emma, such a gorgeous understated song and this was the first performance of the night to give me goosebumps. Emma has this effortless ability to immerse herself in the song and absolutely nail the emotion of the songs she sings. Vocally, there were two moments in the song where she was slightly pitchy but it could easily be overlooked when she was able to lose herself in the song like she did. For me, she's the one with the most potential to be a success after the show, I'd be keeping an eye on her.
Dean Arthur - 7/10 - 'The Way You Look Tonight' by Fred Astaire
No, it's not a new addition to the show, Dean's surname appears to have been changed for some reason, having been known as Dean Forrester in the earlier stages of the competition. There's no denying that Dean has a great swing voice, he's very much in the vein of the classic swing singers but I kind of felt that this was too pedestrian. There was nothing about it that stood out from every other swing/big band singer out there and I kind of felt like the charm and charisma of artists like Fred Astaire which is why they were so successful was missing from this performance, it needed a little more on the performance side of things. All the same, by any standards,this was a good performance.
Sasha Sangari-Smith - 9/10 - 'Piece Of My Heart' by Janis Joplin
This is why I'm so mad at this silly format change. This was an absolutely phenomenal performance, Sasha just came out from nowhere and tore the stage up, that opening note was fantastic and the attitude, the movements on stage, everything was pretty brilliant. Janis Joplin is not an easy artist to do justice to but Sasha was up there with the best performances of that song I have seen. It's a travesty that one of her or Emma has to go home because they were in the top three performances of the night and the fact that one of them will be going home when they may well have performed better than the six other acts in Team Bressie is frustrating.
Bressie picks Emma Humber. He's totally justified in taking her through because whilst Sasha definitely had the stronger vocal, Emma's stage presence and tone give her an edge over the rest of the contestants. However, I'm going to say it until I'm blue in the face, at least five of the people who were sent home tonight could have justifiably been put through based on their performances. On a side note, I'd say that's easily the best live show ever on the whole, there were literally no performances I could describe as bad. Let's hope the rest of the series is as strong.