On Monday night,
Team Adam's Judith Hill,
Seeking to show the audience a new facet of her voice and performance style, Texas college student Holly Tucker, of Team Blake, fiercely stomped and sang her way through the Band Perry's "Done." Usher complimented the notes she hit and the coach who helped her hit them. Shakira dug Tucker's "blinged-out cowboy boots" as well as her "attitude and sassiness." Levine felt she'd shown her range. And Shelton contended that it was the first time in the competition that Tucker took ownership of a song. "You just chewed it up and spat it out. That song was begging for mercy by the end of it," Shelton said. "Meet Holly Tucker, everybody."
PHOTOS: Cable vs. broadcast ratings
Team Blake's funny, talented duo the Swon Brothers took on the Eagles' "Seven Bridges Road," tackling their harmonies with what seemed like a new seriousness and drive. They could have been feeling the heat from the competition -- or from the campfire they were gathered 'round on stage. If nothing else,
Sasha Allen, Team Shakira's sole remaining member, sounded uncharacteristically like her coach -- that fast vibrato -- on David Guetta/Usher's "Without You." The cheesy mime-ish backup dancers were not such a great touch, either. But the coaches seemed to enjoy it. Levine called himself a "dummy" for letting Allen go when she was on his team. Shelton thought her precision performance had bought Allen and Shakira another week. Usher said he'd enjoyed the fact that Allen did her own thing with his song. And Shakira called Allen "the whole package" and "the epitome of the American woman," able to rise to any challenge. "You can do it all," she said.
Levine assigned Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" to the earthy Sarah Simmons, saying it was "exactly the space that I think Sarah can occupy in music." She tackled it with the gusto we've come to expect from her but didn't elicit a huge amount of enthusiasm from the coaches. Shelton paid tribute to Simmons' flexibility. Usher alluded to "sharps and flats" but called the performance "good." Shakira (rightly, I think) questioned the freshness of the material but said it had been "quite enjoyable." And Levine, repeatedly wondering whether he could say "ass" on TV while repeatedly saying "ass" on TV, said Simmons had kicked everyone's "butt" the previous week and had shown off her "range and scope" this week. No one had done that song right, he said, until this week when she had.
VIDEO: Fall 2013 TV trailers
Team Usher's one remaining member, Michelle Chamuel, in whose honor her coach had donned hipster-nerd specs for the episode, sang
The coaches were no less over-the-moon for young'un Danielle Bradbery's take on the Judds' "Grandpa (Tell Me Bout the Good Old Days)" – on an elaborate front-porch set. Shelton is Bradbery's coach, but the others were equally effusive. Usher called her a "prodigy." Shakira said she had "star quality." Levine predicted she'd be a huge country star, "one of the best." And Shelton said "anyone with ears" could see how amazing she was, but also that she took us all back to a time to "when things were good," an important thing to remember when taking in the world today.
Levine, meanwhile, saddled his young country-singing prodigy, Amber Carrington, with
The evening also brought some terrific group numbers, which served as another reminder of how unfortunate it will be to see any of the remaining contestants go this week. If I had to pick, I'd say Allen and Simmons, and perhaps the Swon Brothers, are vulnerable this week.
Who do you think will be sent packing?