Perhaps it was the renewed sense of hope for post-Voice careers that Danielle Bradbery’s album dropping Monday gave them, but the contestants really performed like the meant it on Monday. Christina Aguilera, feisty fresh from reprising her performance of “Say Something” with A Great Big World on Sunday’s AMAs, even struggled to find honest criticism, and Cee Lo, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine fall all over themselves with praise for the contestants.
Before the hopefuls sing for votes, former mentor Robin Thicke performs “Feels Good.” He looks much better behind the piano than behind Miley, and it’s, well, a feelgood tune.
Speaking of feel good performances, Tessanne Chin, Ray Boudreaux, Will Champlin and Cole Vosbury perform Matisyahu’s “One Day.” To be more accurate: Tessanne Chin steals the show during “One Day”, and those other dudes do a decent job backing her up.
Caroline Pennell, James Wolpert, Jacquie Lee and Mathew Schuler sing a stripped down version of mentor Ed Sheeran‘s “Lego House.” It’s beautiful, though low energy, and James Wolpert stands out above the rest of the group.
Team Adam: James Wolpert
James Wolpert takes on Queen’s operatic smash “Somebody To Love,” and he takes it on in a tuxedo. Oddly, he’s surrounded by a gaggle of also-tuxedoed Wolpert clones that give off a college a cappella vibe. Even the cheesiness of this visual can’t overshadow this powerful vocal performance.
“That is the tallest order for a male vocalist to sing Freddie Mercury like that, and you could sing in Queen,” says Adam, adding “That was such an unbelievably impressive performance.”
“It was incredible. It was dynamic. It was dramatic,” says Blake.
“That was a lot of fun!” says Christina. “I felt like I was watching a Broadway show.”
Team Adam: Tessanne Chin
Tessanne Chin belts out No Doubt’s “Underneath It All.” It’s one fantastic performance after another for Tessanne, and her coach is just elated at another flawless turn from her. Whether the excitement factor is enough to win votes, however, remains to be seen.
“I’m just so overwhelmed that we found a way to tie Jamaica to America in the most efficient and beautiful and soulful way,” says Adam.
“That was awesome,” says Cee Lo.
“I wanted to get to know who you were beneath the surface, and you just broke it down and you were able to tap into your truth” says Christina, likening Tessanne’s performance to her own “What a Girl Wants” performance. Comparing another singer to herself is the ultimate compliment, and Tessanne earned it tonight.
Team Cee Lo: Caroline Pennell
Team Cee Lo’s last one standing, Caroline Pennell, performs Florence + The Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over.” It’s directly in Caroline’s wheelhouse, but even though it’s not a huge risk, it’s a better choice than last week’s “Leaving On A Jet Plane.” Cee Lo writes her a poem of sorts about being his last contestant left. It can be cliff-noted with, “You are the only thing that matters to me at this moment.”
“It’s very bold and exciting, and I think you did it really well,” says Adam. “You did the best thing you could possibly do at this point in time.”
Team Blake: Cole Vosbury
After tagging along to Blake’s appearance on The Tonight Show last week, Cole Vosbury performs Vince Gill’s “I Still Believe In You.” (Blake is clearly missing Austin Jenckes, and is projecting his need for a country singer directly onto Cole.) Cole gives his own spin on the beautiful performance, and earns a standing ovation from Blake.
“We know that he’s a great singer, but to see that type of an emotional performance for me, is key at this point,” says Blake.
“I heard something really special tonight,” says Christina. “Your voice really shone really brightly on that song.”
Team Christina: Matthew Schuler
Birthday boy Matthew Schuler sings Imagine Dragons‘ “It’s Time,” which speaks to him as a new 21 year old. The percussion-heavy choreography makes for a fun performance, although it’s not the powerhouse ballad that Matthew has won audiences over with in past weeks. He even sounds pitchy at points, which is unusual for the typically on-point singer.
“You come from a place of integrity,” says Christina, cleverly leaving out his off-key moments. “You just wanted to speak your truth.”
“The sentiment of the song is something that I support,” says Cee Lo. “You’re doing a damn good job at it.”
Team Adam: Will Champlin
Will Champlin — or Team Adam’s hard worker as his teammates know him — performs Etta James’ “At Last,” trying for an out-of-the-box performance. When he belts out the first of many perfect notes, it’s clear this was the right song choice. Will hits notes that don’t even exist in the original version, and it impresses throughout.
“It doesn’t matter how high a note is, he wants to go higher. It doesn’t matter how challenging a song is, he wants to completely surpass himself,” Adam raves about Will.
“I eat sleep and breath that song,” Christina, who sang the song at Etta James’ funeral, starts. “I have to say, very very great job. Tremendous job.
Team Blake: Ray Boudreaux
Ray Boudreaux sings Spencer Davis Group’s “Give Me Some Lovin’,” and the high energy song is right in his sweet spot. The gaggle of LBD-clad gals that surround him borders on cheesy, but he would be a very adorable lounge singer.
“Ray has got some swag up there,” says Blake. “That was a very entertaining performance!”
“It was a lot of fun,” says Christina. “I love the whole thing.”
“I love soul music, and you’ve got soul,” Cee Lo says.
Team Christina: Jacquie Lee
Jacquie Lee closes out the night with The Temptations’ “Who’s Lovin’ You?” After some in your face training with Christina to be more emotional with the song, she belts it out with a whole lot of (produced) emotion.
“I wanted you to get up there on the stage and simply sing,” says Christina, “And you did it and then some, and then some, and then some!”
“You haven’t even been alive that long, so to be able to convey that [heartache] means you really need to pour it all out,” Adam says.
“It was just full of energy, and dynamic and really cool,” says Blake.
Two will go home when the results air live Tuesday night (November 26) at 9:00 PM ET, when both Cee Lo and Ellie Goulding perform. Regardless of who moves on, all of the Voice contestants will rejoice on Tuesday night, thankful that they don’t have to work on Thanksgiving like all of those X Factor suckers.
What do you think of the Top 8 performances? Let us know in the comments below!
Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.