‘The Voice’ Live Playoffs: Did Jordan Smith Just Win The Voice?

The Voice moves into its second night of the Live Playoffs, but I honestly am not over the brilliant performance last night by Jordan Smith. The Harlan, Kentucky, native closed the first live episode of the season — and effectively blew everyone else off the stage.

Smith performed Beyonce’s “Halo,” and it was absolutely the perfect song for him (Kudos to his Voice coach Adam Levine for that!). Although the episode featured mainly stripped down performances, it was hard not to notice that Smith seemed to enjoy greater effects and lighting than most other contestants. I don’t think that was a coincidence. At least, it was about as much of a coincidence as Jordan performing last on The Voice.

I will say these non-coincidences don’t annoy me because Jordan Smith can sing. His voice was like a soothing balm on my ears after hearing some of the rather lackluster performances that came before him. That’s the wonderful thing about Smith at this stage: You pretty much know he’s going to be good. I actually didn’t think he could top his previous performances…but then he did.

If only things could have gone as well for much of his competition last night. I’d say that the person who came the closest to him vocal-wise was Jeffery Austin of Team Gwen (aka Mr. Dark Horse). Meanwhile, his teammate Amy Vachal’s only “crime” was that she needs to branch out stylistically. I love her jazz sound, but she’s in danger of getting very boring very fast. Although Ellie Lawrence doesn’t have Jordan Smith’s voice, she does have great “quirky rocker” chops. Her performance of Elle King’s “Ex’s and Oh’s” was lively and fun.

Voice coach Gwen Stefani needs to understand that while makeovers are nice, it’s a song choice that can make or break her team members. She has GOOD singers, but she’s giving them BAD songs! Braiden Sunshine tried to have an American Idol-style moment with Bread’s “Everything I Own” and the Voice performance fell utterly flat. Fortunately for Braiden, he’s pinch-his-little-cheeks adorable, which might help save him.

If Regina Love survives to next week after butchering Adele’s “Hello,” I’d be extremely surprised. With Gwen reviving her mini-me Ellie, who did comparably better, I think this is as far as she goes. It’s a shame, but not only was this a HORRIBLE choice by Gwen for Regina, but everything I previously was concerned about came to the forefront with this performance.

Regina did a lot of screeching, and while emotive, it was still hard on the ears. She’s already one of the weaker artists, and this failed interpretation of a brand new hit likely dropped her near the bottom. Such a shame.

Team Gwen member Viktor Király is probably safe despite the fact that his performance of “All Around The World” by Lisa Stansfield left something to be desired. Viktor is having the same issues as Team Pharrell member Mark Hood: A good singer who’s over singing simple songs. Even worse, I can already tell he’s going to over-rely on the higher end of his falsetto every week he’s around. When misused (or used pointlessly), it may work against him rather than for him. Király may want to ask how this worked out for Season 8’s Mia Z.

I’ll be paying close attention when Blake Shelton and Pharrell Williams’ teams perform tonight because there are a couple of frontrunners who I have my eye on that have left to perform. I do like Evan McKeel and feel that when given the right songs, he makes a powerful impression. To convincingly go from alternative rock to R&B at the drop of a hat is nothing to sniff at. This Voice contestant’s range may help him deliver performances that can help him catch Jordan Smith. I’m definitely going to be tuning in with high hopes for Evan.

I’m also hoping against hope that Pharrell Williams will do the right thing and bring back Celeste Betton. She did too good a job during her duet with Mark Hood to have gone home. I’m convinced that if steals were available when she sang, she’d still be in this competition. I sincerely cannot fathom Williams bringing anyone else back to The Voice.

There are superb singers on this show and talented musicians who have the possibility of returning, but it means nothing unless they can ALL step up their game — and fast. Jordan Smith has demonstrated that he’s head and shoulders above the rest throughout The Voice Season 9 thus far. To pull off the vocals he did during the Live Playoffs, the first night where performances are live, is unfathomable.

We’re going to have to see some break-through performances on The Voice tomorrow and in the coming weeks. Right now, I’m very much convinced we already saw the winning Voice performance — And it came from Jordan Smith.

Think I’m jumping the gun or being too harsh? Which Voice contestants do you think could pose a serious challenge to Jordan Smith and win The Voice this season? Share your thoughts below!

[Image Via Screen Grab Of ‘The Voice’ Official YouTube Channel]

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