It’s been a busy few days for The Voice crew since last Tuesday’s elimination show. Blake Shelton and Usher performed at Blake’s Healing In The Heartland concert on Wednesday. Adam Levine tried his best to overcome the “I hate this country” remark that, obviously, said country has blown out of proportion. Shakira creeped everyone out by sharing her plans to breastfeed her infant well into his teen years (oh, honey). The six remaining contestants, for their part, spent the week reading about how it should have been them, and not Judith Hill, booted from the competition.
The final contestants also spent the week rehearsing not one, but two songs for Monday’s performance show. With only six artists left, there’s plenty of time for that sort of thing. Take a look below at what songs the coaches chose for their contestants and what songs the contestants selected for themselves on Monday’s Voice.
Team Blake: Holly Tucker
Plugging along on his mission to bring back country from decades past, Blake chooses Martina McBride’s “When God Fearin’ Women Get The Blues” for Holly Tucker. “My mamma will tell you, I’ve got all the attitude in the world,” Holly says confidently before she performs the song with a very small amount of attitude. There are a few growls, but this is not a woman with too much edge.
“It showed how much fun you’ve learned to have on stage,” Shakira says.
“You’ve combined what we’ve learned about you and that attitude,” Coach Blake tells her. “It was just so strong.”
For her song choice, Holly selects “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts, and sings it against the backdrop of a lighthouse (Why not, right?). It’s a little too easy-listening to bring tears to anyone’s eyes, but the coaches seem to dig it as much as they dig everything at this point. “You’ve really shown range and scope,” Adam says. “What’s been cool to watch unfold is how much diversity you have.”
“You’re easily the most diverse artist that I have on Team Blake,” says her coach. “Your voice is so powerful.”
Team Blake: The Swon Brothers
The Swon Brothers start off with their pick of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel.” Although the song has been performed to death, leave it to the brothers Swon to be the first to incorporate a bizarre cabaret in the background. The performance leaves little to criticize, but is also fairly predictable (other than the cabaret ladies, who make no sense at all).
“I thought that was fun and loose,” says Shakira, a self-proclaimed huge country fan.
“There’s nobody else that sounds like you guys,” says Blake. In that they are the only duo and the only males left on the show, that is certainly true.
Blake digs deep into the archives for his pick of Merle Haggard’s “Okie From Muskogee.” Despite nailing it technically, it remains to be seen whether The Swon Brothers’ rendition of the 1969 song will resonate in the ever-important measure of iTunes downloads. Although, if they can pull it off with “Fishin’ In The Dark”…
“It’s great that you’re able to have fun and also represent where your from,” Usher says.
“How could you not enjoy that?” says Adam. “I don’t think there’s a song on this earth that Blake has ever wanted sung more than that one.”
“There’s going to be a 10% portion of the population that’s going to bitch and moan that you’re doing this hardcore country music on The Voice,” Blake says. “The other 90%, you just hit smack in the heart.”
Team Blake: Danielle Bradbery
Reaching back yet again, Blake picks Pam Tillis’ “Shake The Sugar Tree” for the young Danielle Bradbery. This is Danielle’s first experience with the song, as she was a fetus when it was released. She performs it with a smile (obviously), and gets over her issues remembering the melody before she hits the stage.
“Even though I felt like at one point you were nervous, you 100% overcame it,” says Usher.
Adam laments over losing Danielle in the Blind Auditions. “I still wish you were on my team because I still think you are so incredibly talented,” he says. “You are still, in my opinion, one of the best in the show.” Somewhere backstage, Amber Carrington is plotting against Danielle to regain the attention of her coach.
“You make my job easy because your voice is so pure,” Blake tells her.
Danielle selects a song that she actually knows from her lifetime, and performs Sara Evans’ “A Little Bit Stronger.” While Danielle has yet to experience enough emotional hardship to connect to the lyrics directly, her sister once had a breakup (or something), so through a couple of degrees of separation, she gets it. Perma-smile aside, she delivers it like a pro, and earns rave reviews from the coaches.
“That was an incredible build up for the crescendo at the end,” says Usher.
Adam agrees, “That last note was one of the most powerful I’ve heard in this competition,” he says. Backstage, Amber is totally having a Jan Brady moment.
Blake has nothing but positive things to say about his golden child. “The most exciting thing and the best thing about some of the greatest country singers ever is when they possess the power that you have vocally, but they pick and choose their moments of when to go for it,” he says. “It’s so freaking special.”
Team Usher: Michelle Chamuel
Usher selects “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane for Michelle Chamuel. As always, she has the emotional connection, but she sounds a bit shaky and breathless in spots. The coaches, now immune to any error, simply rave.
“I have the feeling this is going to be another amazing week for you,” Shakira says. “You have made so much progress working with [Usher].”
“I felt like it was 100% a great performance on your part,” says her proud coach. “It showed depth and your vocal ability, and that you have many different ways of using your tone.”
Michelle chooses Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You were Trouble,” a truly unexpected pick from the indie singer. You know what else is unexpected? Usher bringing Taylor Swift to Michelle’s rehearsals. Taylor is so impressed, bobbing her head and dancing without arm movement throughout. She has no changes to offer Michelle’s powerful performance, and encourages her to keep up the head banging.
Michelle, indeed, keeps up the head-banging, especially when she opens it up and rocks out at the end. It’s a rare sight to see, which makes it all the more special. The faster verses are a little breathy, but overall, it’s a real crowd pleaser.
“That’s like TRL with the Backstreet Boys live,” says Carson Daly of the audience reaction. Sounds like someone misses the ’90s even more than Blake.
“I’m so freakin’ jealous right now,” says Blake. “That was just so intense.”
“I got the whole visual, and I think the world did too,” Usher tells Michelle. “Incredible.”
Team Adam: Amber Carrington
“I’m so passionate about Amber winning The Voice because she was a one-chair turn,” Adam says, because it would be desperate to day “because she’s my only contestant left.” Therefore, there’s a lot riding on his song selection. It’s curious, then, that Adam selects Skid Row’s “I Remember You” for the country singer, and only offers her slight suggestions on how to make it fit her style.
The rendition doesn’t quite cut it. It either needs to go more rock, or more country: The middle ground they settle on is forgettable.
“It’s good that you’re showing us your different sides because monotony is an artist’s worst enemy,” Shakira says.
“I’m so happy you represent my team because you’re willing to take those risks,” says Adam.
Amber selects “Crazy” by Patsy Cline, which is about as far away from Skid Row as she could get. The old school country classic fits her although it’s a bit mellow compared to some of the more fiery performances of the evening.
“It was beautiful. You did a great job and didn’t go over the top with it,” Blake says.
“I thought it was beautiful,” says Shakira. “It was dreamy.”
“You’re a breath of fresh air. You’re a firecracker,” says Adam. “You need to show everyone your firecracker side that I love so much.”
Team Shakira: Sasha Allen
After risking it all on a dance song last week, Sasha Allen moves closer to her comfort zone with Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way.” It certainly falls right in Sasha’s soulful sweet spot, and she really connects with the song. Her vocals are, as always, rich and flawless.
“You can gauge your progress by how angry in myself I get every time I watch you,” says her former coach, Adam. “Tonight was your best performance by far.”
“I don’t think you could be critical at all,” says Usher. “I would definitely second that this was one of your best performances throughout this entire season.”
“I just have one question: Who out of all of the artists in this competition can sing that song this well? Nobody,” says Shakira.
Sasha closes out the night with her coach’s pick: Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats.” Sasha teased to her country abilities during last week’s results show in a duet with The Swon Brothers, and this follow-up solo is a worthy way to close out the show. Shakira, incidentally, redeems herself for some of her more questionable song choices.
Here’s the deal, though: why does Sasha need to strip down to prove she has “stage presence?” She quite literally tears off her dress to reveal a lingerie-esque outfit paired with “come and get it” boots, and the coaches love it. Would Blake ever suggest The Swon Brothers have a Magic Mike moment to improve their stage presence? (Apologies for that image, but food for thought. Back to the striptease.)
Stripper moments aside, it’s awesome, if a little breathless. She owns the stage, dances more than she has in the past, and gets her signature soulful voice to make the country song her own. The room goes crazy, especially Shakira.
“What guy doesn’t like it when a girl rips her dress off, especially on the stage?” Blake asks, focusing on the most important part of the performance. “That was so dramatic and powerful. And she took her dress off on stage.”
“I guess there’s more than one Sasha Fierce,” Usher says.
“One of your first concerns when we first started working together was your stage presence, and you just worked that stage like a star.” Shakira says, giddy from the performance.
After last week’s shocking eliminations, only one contestant will go home on Tuesday’s results show. Will Blake have to say goodbye to one of his steadfast three, or is voting Team Blake off against the rules this year? Either way, Cassadee Pope returns to The Voice stage to perform her new single, and to give the country coach another chance to boast about his winning record. It should be a good night for the Okie from Muskogee.
Who do you think is getting the boot?