And so we meet again, to follow the journey of Indianapolis’s Josh Kaufman, as he sings live tonight again on a two-hour episode of The Voice on NBC. Here, James Layne and Jonathan Scott will continue to lend honest insights during and directly after the show. From coaches Usher, Shakira, Blake Shelton, and Adam Levine to the hopeful performers, from the banter to the musical guests, nothing is off limits. Follow our (runaway) train of thoughts as one of Indy’s own performs for America, his sights set on seizing a spot in the program’s Top 5. We’d love to hear your questions or concerns. Tweet us @JamesIvanLayne, @jonscott81, and @IndyMonthly.
Let’s do this …
10:05 p.m. Jon: Tune in Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on NBC for the elimination episode to see if Josh Kaufman moves on. Good night!
10:04 p.m. James: Here’s my biggest fear: Viewers will forget about Josh’s flawless take on Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” because it was so early in the night. I know it sounds biased, but he definitely deserves to be in the Top 5 after tonight. It’s up to his fans, though—voting and downloading on iTunes.
10:03 p.m. James: Here’s the thing: That was another great, unique take on a rap song from Christina. But it was way too much. She basically screamed the entire second half.
10:02 p.m. Jon: I think the same about Sisaundra as you do about Josh. Agree on Kristen and Jake. Think it’s either Kat or Audra McLaughlin, despite a great performance. I think the country-music girls, Kristen and Audra, may cancel each other out, split the vote.
10 p.m. James: Kristen Merlin, Jake Worthington, and Kat Perkins. I’m a bit nervous for Indy boy Josh, as he went so early. Your picks?
9:58 p.m. Jon: She has a lovely tone, and the presence. She just sells whatever she’s singing. So who’s going home tomorrow, James?
9:56 p.m. James: She’s at it again! If she does as well with this as last week’s Drake cover, watch out. She’ll be the iTunes leader again, no question.
9:48 p.m. Jon: Nice kid. Looked like he couldn’t wait to get off that stage. Now we get “Internet Sensation” Christina Grimmie doing … a Lil Wayne song, “How to Love.” That’s a week after she took on Drake. Mmboy.
9:42 p.m. Jon: Poor Jake Worthington.He should’ve song “Livin’ on a Prayer.” He doesn’t have one. We were surprised he made Top 8. No way he makes Top 5. Country fans will vote for Kristen Merlin or Audra McLaughlin.
9:39 p.m. Jon: If you say so, James. I enjoy No Doubt’s stuff and her solo songs, but that one hit probably should’ve been titled “Don’t Squeak.”
9:38 p.m. James: For the older generation watching, don’t worry! These two future judges are actually extremely talented musicians and will provide worthy advice for contestants.
9:37 p.m. Jon: I mean, she’s great. Name’s not Aretha, though.
9:36 p.m. James: Yes. Yes, he did. [sighs]
9:35 p.m. Jon: However, did Pharrell really just call her “the queen”?
9:34 p.m. Jon: Sounds like it. Looks like it. Oof. I still love her. She’s just so fun, pulled “Hollaback Girl” out of a self-storage unit tonight. I kind of fear for young vocalists seeking to learn from her next season, though.
9:33 p.m. James: Um. Is Gwen Stefani using a pre-recorded track?
9:28 p.m. James: Couldn’t agree more, Jon. She is a star whether she wins or not. That’s how you sing in your upper register with confidence. Phew!
9:26 p.m. Jon: She didn’t really capture me … until that final note. Bliss.
9:22 p.m. Jon: She sure looks like a star tonight—Lady in Red, singing Rebecca Lynn Howard’s “Forgive.”
9:19 p.m. James: Get ready, Voice Nation. The darkhorse Audra McLaughlin is about to get emotional. She has a voice ready for country music today. The more I think about it, I’d say she’s slowly becoming the favorite.
9:16 p.m. James: I’ve got to hand it to Blake, his jokes about Adam’s hair are actually pretty fun. The Susan Powter reference is my favorite.
9:13 p.m. Jon: You know, it didn’t quite peak like I thought it would. Even so, yeah, he’s a no-brainer.
9:12 p.m. James: It’s hard to focus on Delvin with all his bling. I want that watch. Oh yeah, his take on R. Kelly’s song was all right. He’ll move on.
9:08 p.m. Jon: I cannot figure out how no one turned around among these four coaches for Delvin Choice during his blind audition. And good lord, he’s gonna do “I Believe I Can Fly” tonight. Buckle up, Voice Nation.
9:03 p.m. Jon: BREAKING: This song is not The Second Coming of “Happy.” Collective sigh of relief, world?
9:02 p.m. James: I guess when you’re him, you can wear something with that print all over it.
9 p.m. Jon: Guest performer Pharrell, a coach on this show next season, is on. I like him, but damn it, the hats have got to go. Even so, the Mickey Mouse sweater, that can stay.
8:56 p.m. Jon: Aye. I particularly enjoyed “oscillating” a few weeks back. She taught Adam Levine a new word that night.
8:55 p.m. James: I think Shakira looks through the dictionary before each show for the biggest words she can find. Tonight’s word is “transcedent.”
8:53 p.m. Jon: Camera pans to Kristen’s parents. I don’t know why I didn’t expect them to look like that. They’re so regular looking. (Not in a bad way!)
8:52 p.m. James: I’m not so sure even the “lost soldier” backstory will save Kristen after that rendition. Looks like the end of the road for Shakira’s last-remaining artist.
8:50 p.m. Jon: File this under things you never thought you’d hear Carson Daly say: “Singing ‘I Drive Your Truck,’ here’s Kristen Merlin …”
8:47 p.m. Jon: Kristen Merlin is up next, and she’s just so winsome, and yet I fear she’s bottom three tomorrow. Too many explosive voices left. Plus, she’s coached by Shakira. Sorry.
8:42 p.m. James: Think what you want of Kat’s sometimes-nasal voice, but I guarantee The Voice has never rocked out that hard. She even jumped up and down with the crowd. I was waiting for a mosh pit …
8:40 p.m. Jon: That … was … a pyromaniac’s rock dream. Seriously, so many flames. I feel like I just watched Rammstein (“Du Hast”) fronted by a woman. And I saw that band play X Fest at Indy’s Deer Creek venue years ago.
8:38 p.m. James: Kat Perkins puts a rock twist on this Daft Punk track, and so far it’s working. This is awesome. Sounds like a legit rock anthem.
8:37 p.m. Jon: This take by Kat on Pharrell’s “Get Lucky” is gonna be scream-tastic. The arrangement is so interesting. Break me off a piece of that!
8:35 p.m. Jon: So true. So often the case with these shows. I mean, Paula Abdul and Jennifer Lopez on any of these types of shows, critiquing singers?
8:32 p.m. James: As coach Blake Shelton performed his hit “My Eyes,” I found it funny that Josh Kaufman’s voice is miles ahead of the seasoned country star. How odd.
8:28 p.m. Jon: Sorry, this Blake Shelton–meets–former-Voice-contestant Gwen Sebastian performance is Snoozefest 2K14. Thank God that Kat is on next to belt us back to reality.
8:24 p.m. Jon: Here’s my technical analysis: I love chandeliers, and looking at the one on that stage as he sang. But he sang so damn well. It was a musical moment. Really. Not just because he’s from Indy.
8:22 p.m. James: Yes, Shakira, there are artists in this world. Thanks for that update!
8:21 p.m. James: That is how you cover a Bonnie Raitt song. Are we sure Josh doesn’t have AutoTune on his voice? Wow.
8:20 p.m. Jon: Damn, that falsetto he flies up into is just lovely. He deploys it so deftly, and has done so every week. (See: Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me,” Bruno Mars’s “It Will Rain.”)
8:19 p.m. James: Nobody should sound that smooth. He is absolutely spot on. Just waiting for him to let loose!
8:19 p.m. Jon: And that matters, as iTunes downloads on the heels of this show will count as votes for each belter/soul singer/near-shrieker.
8:16 p.m. James: “Soul Man” Josh’s voice will take “I Can’t Make You Love Me” into the iTunes Top 10 for sure!
8:12 p.m. Jon: Josh Kaufman is up next with a Bonnie Raitt song. This can only be good! By the by, Sisaundra was resplendent in a yellow frock and sounded fantastic, per usual. Not ideal for her to go first tonight, though, in this octet.
8:06 p.m. Jon: Sisaundra Lewis (now branded as “The Powerhouse”) is leading us off with a bang tonight, singing “River Deep, Mountain High.” Her mother, who’s never seen her perform secular music in her life, is in the house. Backstory! Sishaun
8:05 p.m. James: Adam’s hair is almost the worst thing I’ve ever seen. Hopefully it doesn’t mean he’ll manufacture the same banter as the blonde (Shakira) to his left.
8:03 p.m. Jon: So far we have discussed Adam Levine’s new hair color (platinum blond) for four minutes.
8:01 p.m. Jon: New coaches Pharrell (replacing Usher next season) and Gwen Stefani (set to replace Shakira) will perform tonight. Gwen will tackle “Hollaback Girl” … again.