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11 April, 2015 9:51 AM
Published by Kevin Mc Stravock
Anyone who has been reading my recaps throughout this season of The Voice will probably have a good idea of my thoughts towards the new live knockout rounds introduced this series. So as we approach the final knockout round of the series, let's hope the best four at least make it through so the mass elimination of 24 acts in the space of three acts hasn't been for nothing.
Recap and videos after the JUMP...
John O'Grady - 7.5/10 - 'Hush' by Deep Purple
I kind of feel like Bressie has done his male acts a disservice this series when it came to song choices. He has played to their strengths but given them quite clichéd karaoke song choices. This was a nice enough vocal from John and he seemed to be enjoying it but the song choice was just very lackluster. I feel like he needed something which he could put his own stamp on, this felt too similar to the original. Of the three tonight, I think John's style is probably the least commercial but he could have easily blown the other two out of the water with a really clever song choice which he could have put his own spin on. Vocally, it was pretty good but the song choice just didn't wow.
Kayleigh Cullinan - 8/10 'Every Breaking Wave' by U2
I'm not a massive fan of this song choice for Kayleigh either. I know I was complaining about John's song being too close to the originaly but I don't think someone should be pushed into doing a song like this just so Bressie can be like 'You put your own spin on it'. The song didn't really suit being slowed down as much as it was and vocally, it sounded like it was slightly too low for Kayleigh. You're probably at this point wondering why I've scored her higher than John then. Even though I didn't love the song for her, Kayleigh committed to the performance far more than she did in the Battle Rounds. I actually felt emotion from her and she's probably in the top three vocalists of the series. I don't think this was her best vocal performance but the emotion she injected into her performance made up for it.
Ashley Loftus - 7/10 - 'Live Forever' by Oasis
Ashley has been really good to this point but I think she sort of lost her sparkle tonight. Again, I'm not sure about this song choice for her, I don't get why Bressie is obsessed by giving his girls lesser known songs by 90's bands, however great they are when there are dozens of great songs that Ashley could have nailed. Vocally, she was a bit flat at the start but it was the lack of conviction that was the main drawback for me. She needed more fire, more passion, the vocal didn't really go anywhere and I sort of felt that she lost her spark. Ashley is probably more down Bressie's route in terms of artistry but I think Kayleigh had the better performance tonight.
Bressie brings Kayleigh Cullinan through to the quarter-finals. Based on tonight, I fel that it was the right decision. John probably gave the better vocal but there was nothing outstanding about the performance and I felt that Ashley didn't give the emotion we're used to seeing from her.
Amy Hansard - 6.5/10 - 'Price Tag' by Jessie J
I don't know what's up with the song choices tonight, this is another very random one. Amy's problem in the battle rounds was her performance ability so giving her an upbeat song which is very much about performance seems like such a random decision. I don't think this was a great song choice for Amy, vocally she was a little unsteady, the nerves definitely appear to have kicked in. It wasn't great, I feel a bit sorry for Amy as she's young and if she had been given the right song, she had the potential to really wow us but this wasn't strong enough to see her through to the quarter-finals, I fear.
Paddy Kennedy - 7.5/10 - 'I'm Not The Only One' by Sam Smith
Kudos to Paddy for doing something different with the song, for the most part I thought this arrangement of the song was pretty good actually. The problem I have with Paddy is that his husky tone, whilst nice for a while, soon gets quite grating. It also restricts his range significantly, when he shifted into the higher parts of the song, singing with that husky quality made it sound like he was really straining to reach those notes. I think when it comes to the higher part of the song, simplicity is key and he would have been better just stripping it back and going for the notes. This is probably his best performance to date but there's still things he needs to iron out with his voice.
Gemma Lomax - 9/10 - 'Naughty Girl' by Beyoncé
This isn't my favourite Beyoncé song by a long shot but it's nice to see her not singing the usual 'Listen' we're used to hearing on these shows. In fairness to Gemma, she hasn't been a standout for me in the previous stages but this is by a country mile the best performance so far tonight. She's the only act tonight who has properly moved around the stage and still managed to sing in tune for the entire performance. I get the impression that Rachel favours Paddy more than she does Gemma but for me, her voice is so much stronger and to take a Beyoncé song and do it justice takes some vocal chops. One thing though, the backing singers were awful, literally so terrible, we could really have done without that. I'm not taking that away from the score though as it's not really Gemma's fault.
Rachel takes Paddy Kennedy through to the quarter-finals. Although he has improved a lot from his first audition to now, I still feel that Gemma was by far the strongest performer on Team Rachel tonight.
Ciara Monaghan - 7.5/10 - 'Cool Kids' by Echosmith
Originally entered as a 2FM wildcard, Ciara had a rather rocky battle round performance after Kian walked out on her and her battle round opponent Karla during rehearsals, frustrated at their lack of progress. Her biggest drawback in the competition has been her lack of confidence which has reflected in her performances. Again, this is Ciara's best performance to date, she did a pretty decent job with it, and looked so much more comfortable on stage than she has in previous performances. The only real drawback I found was that her timing was a little off with the band, probably due to nerves and although it was vocally great, it was missing a little of that distinctive quality to her voice that we saw in the blind audition, it felt a little too similar to the original.
John Bonham - 9.5/10 - 'Run To The Hills' by Iron Maiden
Woah, was not expecting this at all. John has been great so far but Kian's track record with rock singers previously hasn't exactly been gleaming (just look at every single song choice he gave Shane McLaughlin in Series 2). This was absolutely amazing, the vocals, the stage presence, everything about this was fantastic. John is such a natural on stage and tears through the crazy notes on this song with ease. If I were to say one thing, it would be that now we have seen what John is capable of doing with classic rock tracks, I'd like to see him doing something that isn't perhaps as well known. I'm not saying give him some obscure Scandi metal track but we've seen how he can nail classic tracks that most people will be familiar with, it would be nice to see him singing something that isn't perhaps as widely known. Great performance all the same, if John doesn't get through, Kian needs sacked.
Caoin Fitz - 6.5/10 - 'Night Changes' by One Direction
Oh Caoin, for some reason this year he hasn't had the same magic as he did last series. His blind audition was quite pitchy and the beginning of this song is very flat. I don't like this song choice for him, it's really dull and doesn't really have much progression. His vocals sort of picked up later in the performance but he was considerably weaker tonight than his two teammates. I feel like Caoin should have aimed more towards the style of last year's performances, it kind of feels like he lost his spark this series. It wasn't a good song choice for him, so I'll give Kian a bit of flack for that but vocally, it wasn't up to scratch either. A shame really as I was so excited when I heard Caoin had reauditioned but I was just waiting for something as good as 'Made Of Stone'.
Kian unsurprisingly picks John Bonham for the quarter-finals. Without a doubt the right choice, John was fantastic tonight.
Evan Cotter - 5.5/10 - 'Bad Bad Leroy Brown' by Jim Croce
This was...unusual? In all seriousness, I don't know what possessed Una to give him this song because it was just a horrible song choice to give anybody, it's like something you would hear a farmer sing at karaoke in a small rural pub. Evan, although not my style, definitely had something in the blind auditions but this didn't work. Vocally, it was just alright, the American twang he sang with, just sounded really put on and strange. The arrangement wasn't great and the choreography was absolutely bizarre, he didn't look comfortable on stage and the whole thing was just baffling. I literally don't know what to make of that, Evan seems a great guy and he definitely has talent but this choice just didn't display it in any way.
Kelley McArdle - 7/10 - 'Everywhere' by Michelle Branch
This song choice came out of nowhere, I never expected to hear it used on The Voice. It's a great track but it just seems unusual to hear a song that barely made it into the UK Top 20 about 14 years ago being used. The positives, this was better than her battle round performance for sure, vocally it was definitely more consistent but I still found it a little under par. She didn't really own the song, and again the transition between her rap verse and back into singing was a little shouty. Kelley has definitely made progress in the competition but I'm not sure that it's enough to take her through to the quarter-finals.
John Sheehy - 8.5/10 - 'Firework' by Katy Perry
John is another act I haven't really rated in the competition so far, his higher voice can be polarizing and I've sort of found myself on the side that wasn't so keen on it. Thankfully, he appears to have toned it down a little for this performance and I actually find myself really enjoying this. Vocally, this is the strongest of Team Una by a clear margin, his restraint impresses me as it's very easy to overdo this song and he hits every high note with ease. This is a really strong performance by John, I'm extremely impressed.
Una completes her quarter final line-up by taking John Sheehy through.