Thank you, John Benutty with Gold Derby for this article!
When Janice Freeman, the 32-year old from Compton, California, began her journey on “The Voice” with a Blind Audition of “Radioactive,” I thought all we’d see from her throughout the competition were similarly rock-tinged performances that helped show her as an artist that doesn’t fit into a mold. Well, I was wrong. Since then, her coach Miley Cyrus has helped illuminate her as an artist capable of more complexity than that, culminating in a showstopping performance of the little known Leela James track “Fall for You” in this week’s Playoffs. From the Blinds to the Playoffs, Janice has gotten better with each performance, fleshing out an image that is simultaneously powerful and vulnerable.
For me, “Fall for You” is a major turning point in Janice’s journey in the competition and it couldn’t have come at a better time. When you look at the high energy level of her “Radioactive” performance and compare it to how subtle, vulnerable and moving the Leela James cover is it’s almost as though you’re seeing two completely different artists. But that ability to inhabit different personas is what makes Janice such a compelling artist to watch — we never know what type of performance we’re going to get from her next, but can always count on her slaying it.
And as stellar as “Fall for You” was, Janice’s breakout moment came with her second time on “The Voice” stage when she battled Katrina Rose to “W.O.M.A.N.,” a song that was a complete 180 from what we saw her do in the blinds. The passionate vocal that erupted out of Janice in the Battles was a doubling down on the energy she brought with “Radioactive,” but this time it felt more genuine and personal. And sine then she seems to have found her comfort zone, following it up with an excellent rendition of Mary J. Blige‘s “I’m Goin’ Down” in the Knockouts and, of course, “Fall for You.” After showing both the big and softer sides of her voice, where is Janice going to venture for the lives? I can’t wait to find out!