Word of advice: Don't give Blake Shelton your personal cellphone number — unless you don't mind having him tweet it out to his 6 million followers.
About a half-hour into the proceedings — after the British band Rixton and a couple of the Top 10 contestants had performed — the show came back from a break to find host Carson Daly in the Sprint Skybox, where he retires periodically to discuss the show's social media buzz. Daly let us know that a recent tweet from Shelton in which he threatened to share Levine's personal phone number had caused a lot of chatter.
"I should do it right?" Shelton had written. "Who wants @adamlevine's personal cell number??"
"Adam, what is going on between the two of you?" Daly asked. "Did you do something to provoke that?"
Levine insisted that the sharing of the digits was "not going to happen" and said Shelton was motivated by jealousy and envy.
"He would never do that, right?" Daly said. "That's crossing a line."
"Let me just check here," Shelton said, holding up his phone. "Yes, I just did … I just tweeted his phone number!"
Back in the Skybox, Daly seemed a bit unsure what to think and said, "Let's give some psychotic fan a chance to call Adam on live television."
As if on cue, Levine's phone rang.
So, did Shelton really do it? Well, this went out on Shelton's Twitter feed:
"HEY EVERYONE!!! Here it is: (310) 493-7939 <-- @adamlevine's CELL NUMBER! Think I'm kidding? Try calling it!! .... "
(I tried it: Busy.)
And Levine did seem mad, at one point barking that it was "not cool" and at another enumerating the tools he might use to exact revenge. Plus, Daly later confirmed it was Levine's actual phone number. Still, you know, Sprint is a show sponsor, so … perhaps it wasn't completely unplanned?
In any event, here's how the evening's Top 10 performances (only eight will move on) went down:
Levine summoned his own mentor, Graham Nash, to work with his contestants and assigned former nanny/rocker Kat Perkins Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide," with which she moved herself to tears during rehearsal. "Nothing wrong with crying," Nash told her cutely. "[David] Crosby does it all the time." Perkins wept again following her performance, explaining that it was because she loved the song so much. Shelton said it was "refreshing" to see Perkins "break it down" and show her "softer side." Usher complimented her on her "precision" and compared the performance to a "winding road," saying "acoustic singing" ultimately matters "more than all the theatrical theatrics of the stage." Shakira admired Perkins' "fast vibrato." And Levine told his contestant she was the perfect singer to bring the "gorgeous, inspiring, bittersweet, beautiful, perfect song … to a generation of people that didn't necessarily know it."
With guidance from Team Shakira mentor and music producer Busbee, Tess Boyer, who was "instantly saved" from the bottom three via Twitter last week, a near-miss she is apparently determined to grow from, tackles Paramore's "Ain't It Fun." Shakira asked her to move to the music and show her "sassy" side, which she managed to do. Levine called the performance "very well executed" and said she appeared to be "comfortable" onstage and showed off a new side to her voice. Shelton defied anyone "to find one part of that performance that wasn't exactly pitch perfect." Usher was pleased to see Boyer, with her gymnast background, get more comfortable in her own skin and in the space. Shakira said Boyer had "killed" it, been "sassy and confident" and showed off her "sexy" tone.
Shelton, who brought in country music producer Scott Hendricks to work with his team members (the coach also apparently gave them new guitars), assigned young Audra McLaughlin “You Lie” by Reba McEntire. McLaughlin's full-throated performance prompted her coach to stand and hoot. "Somebody obviously likes it," Usher said, then reluctantly cheered McLaughlin's performance himself, saying she had "an incredible, amazing voice" and had reached "another plateau." Shakira admired the "cries" in McLaughlin's voice — "so much power, so much emotion," she said — and predicted the young singer would sail safely through the week's eliminations. Levine called it a "world-class vocal performance," "as good as any vocal performance can be ever." And Shelton said McLaughlin had just had "one of those moments on this show that everyone always hopes they have during an entire season."
Team Usher's Josh Kaufman, the soulful-voiced family man he swiped from Team Adam, tackled Kenny Loggins' "This Is It," prompting guest mentor Natural to gush that he could "absolutely" see Kaufman as "part of the music scene right now." Shakira marveled at Kaufman's sincerity and vocal ability to "do it all," noting that "soulful renditions" might be his "sweet spot." Levine said he regretted his "stupid decision" to release Kaufman and complimented his "unique" tone. Shelton called the performance record-ready "perfect" and took a poke at Levine, saying, "I just can't imagine what kind of a guy with his phone number on Twitter would release an artist like that." Usher said he was "blown away" and called his falsetto — the "girl part of your voice" — "manly," saying Levine also had that quality. "Not afraid of our feminine side," Levine said. "It's a beautiful thing."
Team Adam's young YouTube sensation Christina Grimmie put her own acoustic spin on Drake's "Hold On, We're Going Home," accompanying herself on the piano. Mentor Nash called her vocal range, control and depth, at age 20, "insane." Grimmie's performance earned her a standing ovation from her coach. "I think you just got even with me for the phone number thing," Shelton told Levine, adding that we had just watched Grimmie transition from being a singer to being "an artist." Usher said the performance would not only "make Drake proud," it would "definitely" earn her a spot on the finals. Shakira called it Grimmie's "best performance by far." And Levine called her "an inspiration," noting that the idea to do the song and to do it the way she did it was "100% her own." She'd given him "the goosebumps," he told her, and he "couldn't be prouder because there's no ceiling for how proud I am of you."
Team Blake teen cowboy Jake Worthington took on George Strait's "Run," noting that it was "a lot of boots to fill." Worthington's sweetness always comes through, but he seemed tentative in the verses. Still, Shelton stood to applaud. Usher complimented him for coming out week after week with a "great spirit." Shakira said he'd come far and was "a real contender." Levine called him a "pleasant, wonderful guy" who could come out and tell a story in a "matter-of-fact and confident" way. Shelton said Strait, if he'd owned a TV and seen the performance, would have been proud. What's more, he said, the reason Worthington was connecting so well with the audience was that he represented everyone in between New York and Los Angeles. "You're a real dude," Shelton said. "You lay your heart out there on the stage when you're having a conversation, when you're singing; whatever you're doing, it's just always Jake. There's not a fake thing about you."
Team Usher high school senior Bria Kelly, who said she was a naturally sarcastic person, tried to get vulnerable with Avril Lavigne's "I'm With You." Usher gave her a standing ovation, but the other coaches were measured with their praise. Shakira thought Kelly delivered "heart and soul." Levine, however, said he didn't feel as if Kelly was "connected" to the song and believed there was "more that we need to see and … want to see from you because we love you that much." Shelton said it was "like seeing a different artist up there," though he wasn't necessarily saying whether that was "bad or good," just … "different." Usher said she had deliberately defied being "typecast" and had to "do something different" in order to grow and thrive. Not everyone's "going to get it," he said. "That's what being an artist is." Kelly, just 17, left the stage in tears.
Nash predicted that Team Adam's Delvin Choice, who he said had "great talent," was going to turn the audience on with his engaging take on Gary Clark, Jr.'s "Bright Lights." He really did, challenging the audience to remember his name in a dramatic finish. "You just keep taking it to the next level," Shelton said, predicting Choice would continue to stick around for a while because he had "power and passion and all the other words that start with P that are all good." Usher said Choice laid his "soulful essence" over everything he did and brought out "the gospel" in it. Levine said they wanted to take a risk and "wow" the audience at the end. "This was one of the most electric endings of any song," he said. "You could feel it. They were shocked."
Team Shakira's country-singing Kristen Merlin wanted to show a more alterna-folky side of herself with Passenger's "Let Her Go," but mostly she just wanted her microphone to stay on. (Last week it cut out well before she was finished.) Levine said the glitch-free performance was "really good." Shelton called it his "favorite performance yet" by Merlin and said she was now not only looking but also sounding comfortable onstage. Shakira compared Merlin to an onion. As the layers peeled away, "we're starting to see who the real Kristen is, what's inside." She said that if Worthington represented the majority of the country, as Shelton had said, then Merlin represented the minorities. "I'm just so proud of you," Shakira said, of "everything you've accomplished and the artist you've become."
In the last performance of the night, Team Blake's potent Sisaundra Lewis boldly took on Steve Perry's "Oh Sherrie." Shelton noted that an '80s rock song was "not something you'd ever expect from Sisaundra," and he was right, but she pulled it off with gusto. Usher said it was an "incredible performance" and had been a "risk" worth taking. "Everyone look up," Levine said. "See? There used to be a roof in here, but it's gone. So we're going to need a new roof." Still, Levine thanked Lewis for "blowing it off," saying her performance was "once again out of this atmosphere." Shelton said Lewis had made him look "so smart" and nobody had "ever been able to do that" before.
Tweet it to the world, Blake. Or, well …
What did you think of the performances? Who do you think is most at risk of heading home?