Am I the only one who has Meat Loaf’s “I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” stuck in my head now?
Those of us “Voice” watchers who do -- and I suspect I am not alone -- can’t say Adam Levine didn’t warn us. After his team member James Wolpert performed the catchy tune at the tail end of Monday’s Top 6 performance show, Levine said the song had been rattling around in his head nonstop.
Levine also let us know that Wolpert wasn’t feeling well, which may explain why he had a somewhat uneven showing Monday, when the singers each sang two songs: one chosen by his or her coach and the other chosen by the singer as a dedication to someone special in his or her life.
In addition to his theatrical take on Mr. Loaf’s stick-to-your-ribs rock classic, which was Levine’s pick, Wolpert sang a stripped-down, (perhaps overly) simple version of the White Stripes’ “Fell in Love With a Girl,” which he devoted to his dad, in part because he’d performed a Jack White song during his blind audition, and it had been his dad who had given him the “strength and confidence” to pursue his musical dreams.
Levine noted that Wolpert had “kind of messed up in the middle” but that it didn’t matter because perfection was not the goal. It was only later that Levine let us know Wolpert, whom memberless coach CeeLo Green cited as a favorite, was under the weather.
The other members of Team Adam required no such excuses. Tessanne Chin put her own spin on Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song,” which her coach had assigned her, while still remaining true to its essence. Her gorgeously lush, caressingly smooth vocals were on full display, reminding Christina Aguilera of a horseback ride on a Jamaican beach. Levine too said he’d gotten immersed in Chin’s performance, which showed off not only Marley’s “potency” and “power,” but Chin’s as well.
Chin’s second song, Katy Perry’s “Unconditionally,” which she dedicated to her parents, was also off-the-charts good. “If it doesn’t show range to come out here and do Katy Perry and ‘Redemption Song’ by Bob Marley, then I don’t know what range is,” Levine said. But Shelton had, if anything, higher praise. He seemed exasperated that the other coaches had been so focused on Chin’s Jamaican/reggae roots. “You are a world-class vocalist,” he told her. “That’s what people should talk about.”
The final member of Team Adam’s complete team of three, Will Champlin, also turned in two terrific performances. He dedicated the first, Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” to his wife and baby daughter, muttering in his marble-mouthed way about how they’d “been through a lot together, a lot of ups and downs” and that they had “stuck by his side” and would now experience “great things” together.
Champlin’s low-key speaking style made his emotional delivery of the song seem that much more powerful. Levine praised him for his musical chops, his “courage,” his “grit” and his “heart." He also commended him for his ambition, saying he was “reaching, every single time.”
Champlin switched from piano to banjo for his coach pick, Avicii’s “Hey Brother,” on which Levine hoped he would “showcase his versatility as an artist.” “That’s the weirdest song,” Levine said of his choice after Champlin had sung it, and well. “It’s so many things … It’s kind of hard to follow. But you did this thing you always do, which is that you figured it out.”
Team Christina’s Jacquie Lee had a strong night, showing fire and passion on her coach pick, Janis Joplin’s “Cry Baby.” Though at 16, she has had little firsthand experience of the heartbreak the song depicts -- “I’ve never really had a serious boyfriend who I was head over heels for,” she said -- you wouldn’t have known it from the way she spat out the song, knocking over her mike stand and dropping to her knees at a choice moment.
“This was her,” Aguilera said of the toppled stand. “She left her heart on the stage on the floor for all of you.”
Green called the teen singer “a medium of some sort, some sort of vessel.” And Levine noted, “If that was you having not had your heart broken,” he didn’t want to see what she’d be like once she had.
Lee dedicated her second song to her coach, Aguilera, to whom she’s clearly grown quite close and who she said had inspired her long before she’d met her. To underscore their connection, Lee sang Aguilera’s own “The Voice Within.” Aguilera was clearly thrilled, saying it was “very special” for her to hear Lee, with whom she feels such a kinship, sing that song. She said she found “so many similarities” between herself and Lee, “not only as a vocalist, but as a person,” and admired her “courage” for tackling such a vocally and emotionally complicated song.
Matthew Schuler, also of Team Christina, had a more uneven showing. His first song, One Direction’s “Story of My Life,” which he dedicated to his family, was a little light and fluffy for the occasion. But Aguilera’s choice for him, Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman,” in which she wanted him to show off his soulful, bluesy side, was a different story. “That was as good as I’ve ever heard you sing,” Shelton said of Schuler’s emotional take on the classic. “Great job.”
Shelton assigned his own team member, Cole Vosbury, Hall & Oates’ “Rich Girl,” which showed off Vosbury’s rich, earthy vocal tone and onstage ease. “You’re such a pro,” Shelton told him. “It’s clear when you get up on stage that you’ve been working hard on this for a long time.”
Vosbury dedicated his second song, James Morrison’s “Better Man,” to his “first love,” saying that, while things hadn’t worked out ultimately, “you still make me want to be a better man.” Aww!
“If you don’t get her back” after singing that song, Shelton told him, “something’s wrong.” Shelton complimented his sole remaining contestant on his “dimension” and “character” and vulnerability, which, he said, is ultimately what it takes “to be a star.”
We’ll find out which vocalists the “Voice” voters see star quality in -- and whether the pattern of saving a contestant one week only to send him or her home the next will continue -- Tuesday night.
Which contestant do you think is most in danger?