Just 10 singers are left on "The Voice" at this point -- three each on Teams Blake and Adam, and two apiece on Teams Shakira and
On Monday's live show, coach
Before any of the contestants took the stage, Blake Shelton, who hails from Oklahoma, acknowledged it was "hard to sit here and do this tonight" in light of the devastating, deadly tornado that had ripped through his home state but that he had a job to do and contestants to mentor, so it was on with the show.
Team Blake's Holly Tucker showed her gospel roots with the spiritual "How Great Thou Art," which a conflicted-seeming Usher called an "incredible statement" as well as a vocal "departure" for Tucker. Shakira thought it was "heavenly" and moving. Levine toasted the "purity" of Tucker's voice, saying it "epitomizes what the show is about." And Shelton returned to his Oklahoma thoughts, saying the song of "faith and hope and strength" was "strangely appropriate" in the midst of the tragedy. He also felt Tucker's performance was her strongest, as well as the "most important performance" she'd had on the show thus far.
Judith Hill, Team Adam member and former
The Swon Brothers, Team Blake's duo from Oklahoma, performed Randy Houser's "How Country Feels," in which they sought to showcase their energy. "You guys make me feel good every time you hit that stage," Shakira told them. "You lighten my mood." Shelton, meanwhile, predicted the Swon Brothers would go on to be big stars.
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But perhaps not bigger than Amber Carrington, of Team Adam, who positioned herself as both pop and country, singing
Team Shakira's Sasha Allen, erstwhile of Team Adam, showed off her upbeat, sunny side with Emeli Sande's "Next to Me." She wanted America to see her really enjoying herself, but perhaps no one enjoyed Allen's performance quite as much as her coach, who danced and pumped her fist in the air. The three male coaches toasted Allen for showing off her versatility, in addition to her fantastic voice. Shakira was beside herself, telling Allen she was "so freaking good. I'm so freaking proud of you."
Usher predicted his male model team member Josiah Hawley (who is apparently now trying to reposition himself as a former construction worker) would have his moment singing Coldplay's "Clocks," but he sounded strangely breathless and thin-voiced even as he strolled confidently around the stage, looking very much like a male model. Shakira said trying to re-create Coldplay's magic had been "almost mission impossible." Levine called the performance uneven. And Shelton thought Hawley had failed to sell him on a lyric. Usher told Hawley he should "take constructive criticism" as an opportunity to improve and that he'd continue to nurture his voice.
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In what was, for me, the show's highlight, Shelton and guest mentor Crow managed to get golden-voiced teen Danielle Bradbery to connect with the lyrics of her song. For the first time, on Jo Dee Messina's "Heads Carolina, Tails California," the 16-year-old singer became the complete package – a total star, as her coach might say. Shelton was full of compliments about how she'd solidly delivered a country lyric people could relate to -- and he wasn't the only one who was impressed. Usher called it a "100% incredible performance" and, sort of creepily, told Bradbery he'd go to either Carolina or California with her. Levine called her a superstar and said her accomplishments at such a young age were "just astonishing."
High-voiced crooner Kris Thomas received tips from his coach, Shakira, and guest mentor Green on how to show off his sexy side. "Confidence is sexy," they told him. Yet Thomas still seemed a bit unsure vibe-wise, if not vocally, on Miguel's "Adorn." Levine and Usher, neither short on swag, advised him to think less and open up a little more on stage, which apparently ticked off Shakira. She said he was "a little bit nervous, but, hey, give him a break," prompting Levine and Usher to hide behind their red spinning thrones. (So much for confidence.)
Sarah Simmons, the Team Adam member who's staked her claim with lilting, ethereal tunes, showed off a rock side (and comfort in a fringy skirt) that no one knew she had with Jesse J's "Mama Knows Best." Shelton looooved her Janis Joplin-esque sound. "You just radiated sexy tonight," he told her. "I think you turned a corner too, musically." Usher added, "If you got it, you got it." And Levine fanned himself and declared, "This was the performance of the night tonight."
Usher, however, thought his own Michelle Chamuel gave the performance of the night with Pink's "Just Give Me a Reason," which she punctuated emphatically with deep knee bends. Levine said she made all the judges forget about the competition and simply feel proud. Shelton admired her dramatic delivery and her squats. Usher said the theatrics and the vocals were simply Chamuel herself. But Chamuel had earned the highest praise from guest mentor Pharrell. He said he was sure she was going to be a monster star with a long career.
What did you think of the performances?