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“The Voice” Performances: Amber Carrington, Michelle Chamuel Shine on Top 8 Night

Since “The Voice” entered the live portion of its competition, it has been easy to forget that Amber Carrington was once viewed as a serious contender. Though she only truly struggled on one performance–last week’s rendition of “Breakaway”–Carrington has not delivered masterful vocals in the vein of a Sarah Simmons, Sasha Allen or Judith Hill.

And insofar as her song choices have flirted between country-pop and very mainstream pop, she has similarly failed to establish her niche in the manner of fellow country females Danielle Bradbery and Holly Tucker.

As a result, Amber Carrington might have seemed like a prime candidate for elimination this week. One can never be sure what will happen, but from a performance standpoint, she did everything in her power to assure she advances to the Top 6.

Carrington electrified Top 8 night with a version of Adele’s “Skyfall” that did complete justice to the original. Since emerging as the foremost vocal powerhouse of our era, Adele has become virtually untouchable in the music competition scene, but Carrington somehow found a way to make that connection.

Her version traded in some of the jazzy restraint of Adele’s version for overt excitement, but as far as simultaneously capturing the song’s challenging vocals and stylistic elegance, Carrington was absolutely on the English phenomenon’s level.

Earlier in the night, Danielle Bradbery again demonstrated immense marketability, effortless vocal power and musical savvy with a very enjoyable rendition of “Grandpa (Tell Me Bout the Good Ol Days).” More certain of her lane than any talent in the competition, Bradbery again managed to showcase her strengths, satisfy her fans and compel the general “Voice” audience without taking a major risk.

Michelle Chamuel, meanwhile, continued coming into her own with a very strong rendition of “Grenade.” If there has been one criticism of Chamuel it is that her smooth, straightforward vocal style lacks much edge of uniqueness, a particularly noteworthy vacancy given how intently the show pushes her as a unique contestant. Here, thanks to Chamuel’s intense connection to the song, she managed to demonstrate some vocal grit and raw emotion without remotely sacrificing authenticity and vocal control. The result was a very strong performance that justified the hype she is receiving.

No one can ever accuse Sarah Simmons of holding back. Her dial is turned all the way up each week, and while that resulted in some forced, raspy yelling on “Somebody That I Used to Know,” it also resulted in some very strong vocal moments for one of the show’s irrefutable powerhouses. Nowhere near as confident in this song as she was last week’s “Mamma Knows Best,” Simmons is nonetheless endlessly confident in her voice, and that means she routinely takes the chances needed to stand out from the pack.

While Holly Tucker showed of her funny, sassy side on The Band Perry’s “DONE,” fellow Team Blake members The Swon Brothers showed their ambition on “Seven Bridges Road.” Known for consistently delivering “fun” performances, The Swons this week attempted to showcase their range as musicians, and while the vocals and harmonies were not perfect, they definitely proved they are more than mere novelty.

Surprisingly disappointing this week were Judith Hill and Sasha Allen, who both lay claim to some of the season’s most impressive performances. Hill, who kicked off the struggle, paid for attempting will.i.am and Justin Bieber’s “#thatPOWER.” The attempt to be current was laudable, but the song choice itself was laughable, and Hill never found a moment of comfort.

Though it was not her absolute best performance, last week’s rendition of “Next to Me” proved essential in showcasing Sasha Allen’s viability as a modern music star. It also proved that she could do more than stand and belt–she could have fun, bounce around and engage the crowd without sacrificing her superb vocals.

She reached a little too far on “Without You” this week. Allen’s fiery intensity led to a captivating emotion–and even some moments of vocal brilliance–but it also resulted in oversinging. And while oversinging can often be a good thing, here, it came at the expense of the melody. By indulging so deeply into her emotional vocals, Allen occasionally took the song out of the familiar, high-energy, dance vibe, and the result was an uncharacteristically-flat and disconnected performance for the Team Shakira Diva.

Performance highlights from Tuesday’s show follow:

Written by Brian Cantor

Brian Cantor is the editor-in-chief for Headline Planet. He has been a leading reporter in the music, movie, television and sporting spaces since 2002.

Brian's reporting has been cited by major websites like BuzzFeed, Billboard, the New Yorker and The Fader -- and shared by celebrities like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj.

Contact Brian at brian.cantor[at]headlineplanet.com.

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