‘The Voice’: Shakira, Usher, Blake Shelton And Adam Levine Cover A Beatles Classic
It’s been a big season of The Voice! Two new coaches — Shakira and Usher — joined Adam Levine and Blake Shelton in the rotation, Shakira gave birth (off-camera, but still), country took over, Carson Daly didn’t change out of his suit and Christina Milian rocked approximately 14 different nonsensical hairstyles during the live shows.
Oh. And some contestants performed. Try not to forget about them in the excitement and guest performances.
The two-night, four-hour season finale of The Voice got underway on Monday. In an evening filled with hyperbole and the earnest use of the phrase “go big or go home,” each of the three finalists performed three songs: a throwback from earlier in the season, a coach duet and a solo turn. While all of the performances would certainly hold some sway in voter decisions, only the solos are factored into the iTunes downloads portion of the vote.
Before we turn to the finalists’ performances, all four coaches join forces on stage together for the first time since the season premiere. This fab four perform The Beatles’ “With A Little Help From my Friends” (the Joe Cocker version), likely to assure America that even after all the bickering, they’re still all friends. Adorbs. These kids should perform together more often! The whole spectacle is fun, high-energy and manages to compliment each of their voices.
Taking a cue from the coaches, the finalists collaborate for one last time before they officially become mortal enemies. Danielle Bradbery, The Swon Brothers and Michelle Chamuel perform Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros‘ “Home.” Speaking of those sent home, the rest of the final 16 return to The Voice to back them up! Judith Hill does a bang-up job not looking resentful that she is singing backup on the show that was supposed to elevate her past the backup singer stage in her career.
Team Blake: The Swon Brothers Throwback: Harkening back to a standout moving performance, the Swon Brothers sing Kenny Loggins’ “Danny’s Song.” Since the original performance happened just last week, it was a refreshing change to add in the piano and some candles. Still, the inevitable repetition is an inherent flaw of the finals format.
“A classic record will last forever, in theory, but it’s really the artists that perform it,” says Usher.
“It feels like this could be on the radio right now today,” says Blake. “Your harmonies get better every time you perform.”
Duet: Blake joins his dudes to perform Brad Paisley‘s “Celebrity.” It’s cheeky and fun, and the three men have a great time with it. If nothing else, there’s a whole lot of Okie solidarity going on on that stage!
Solo: Performing their second Eagles song of the competition, the Swon Brothers put it all on the line with the vocally challenging “I Can’t Tell You Why.” Unlike their performance of “Seven Bridges Road,” they absolutely nail it with perfectly executed falsettos, strong harmonies and beautiful tone.
“It’s great that you guys finally found the girl part of your voice,” says Usher. “I think all that was missing was the third Bee Gee!” It sounds like an insult, but it was intended as a compliment. Probably.
Shakira, who waves an Okies flag throughout the performance, praises the duo. “I think what you have that is so special about you is that you have this universal appeal. You’re straight country but people like me like you.”
“You’re constantly evolving and you’re constantly trying something new,” says their coach. “Great job.”
Team Usher: Michelle Chamuel Throwback: With the two killer Cyndi Lauper songs that Michelle Chamuel has under her belt in this competition (“True Colors” and “Time After Time”), it’s curious that Usher chooses Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” as his contestant’s most pivotal song. During the performance, she sounds out of breath at points, and it’s not her best. This does not stop the coaches from raving, or the audience from rhythmically clapping at inappropriate speeds and going wild when she finishes.
“To see you become this rock star that’s happening right in front of our eyes,” says Blake. “As an opposing coach I have to acknowledge that this is reality for you right now.”
“You can’t have that many relatives to keep screaming,” says Usher. “That obviously is fans.”
Duet: Usher and Michelle Chamuel are arguably the greatest love story to hit The Voice since Christina Aguilera and that dumb saucer hat. It is fitting, then, that their final duet of the season — a sincere performance of U2’s “One” — evokes goosebumps in even the coldest hearts in the audience. Also, it’s revealed that Michelle’s parents were refugees…and she didn’t even use this fact to pander for votes when everyone else was earlier in the season. Respect.
Solo: “Who ever thought that a quirky girl with glasses would have taught me something?” muses Usher, who clearly learned nothing from his role in She’s All That. He selects Annie Lennox‘s “Why” for Michelle’s final solo performance. Michelle begins the song singing into a mirror (hey, it worked well on “True Colors”)…but it turns out the mirror is really a video loop of Michelle! The crowd goes wild at the Now You See Me-style trickery! Blake Shelton will still be working it out in his mind days later.
Shakira, who has switched from her Okie flag to Michelle Chamuel glasses for the solo, says, “I think people should know that you’re such a humble and sweet person.” She then adds, “When you have humility on one side and talent in the other hand, that makes the perfect recipe for longterm success.”
“That was a more laid back performance,” says Blake. “It’s probably an important time to show that side of you.”
“Likeability and capability represent a successful artist and that is what you possess,” says Usher. If the two haven’t already gotten matching tattoos, now is the time.
Team Blake: Danielle Bradbery Throwback: Danielle’s throwback song is Pam Tillis‘ “Maybe this is Memphis.” She’s as flawless as ever, and although there are no new twists in the performance, she hits all of the high notes perfectly.
Keeping with her theme, Shakira switches to her cowboy hat and tells Danielle, “You’re just so amazing that you have gone to the vein of America, and that is priceless.”
“I think Danielle is the winner of this thing,” declares Adam.
“I think you are one of the most important artists we’ve ever seen walk across this stage,” says Blake. Define important.
Duet: In what will go down in history as the creepiest performance ever on The Voice, 16 year-old Danielle Bradbery performs Patty Loveless‘ “Timber, I’m Falling in Love” with her coach on the eve of his 37th birthday. Shudder. When the two artists of staggeringly different generations look into each others eyes and sing, “I woke up with you in my arms,” there is a collective wince nationwide. For everyone’s sake, let’s just move forward and forget this ever happened.
Solo: Danielle closes out the night with “Born to Fly” by Sarah Evans. It’s one of her first uptempo songs since her Blind Audition performance of Taylor Swift’s “Mean,” and she seems a bit nervous going into it. No surprise, though, she pulls it off perfectly.
“It’s obvious that you did a great thing by electing to go with Blake,” says Usher. “If I only knew that Nashville wasn’t a state, she would be on my team!” he jokes of his Blind Auditions gaff.
“Your perfection is almost boring me at this point,” says Adam. “It’s too perfect.”
Blake gives thanks to his lord and savior that Danielle made her way into his life, saying, “I just thank God that you came to The Voice to debut yourself.”
Praise be, indeed. The final results are in Tuesday night, but not before performances by OneRepublic, Hunter Hayes, Bob Seger, Christina Aguilera, Pitbull, Bruno Mars, Florida Georgia Line, Nelly and (dramatic pause) Cher! The ultimate variety hour(s) starts at 9 p.m. but don’t expect any hint of a winner until 11.
So what do you think? Who has deemed themselves worthy of being declared The Voice?