‘The Voice’: Mark Hood Gives Soulful Performance Of Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean?”
Former Voice champions are baaaaaaaack. Well, one of them, anyway. Season 8 winner Sawyer Fredericks made a brief stop on stage last night to tease the premiere of his single “Take It All” during tonight’s live results. Former coach Pharrell beams with pride as Sawyer announces that – in addition to “Take It All” – Sawyer is releasing a four-track EP tomorrow, as well.
Hoping to be the next Sawyer Fredericks, 12 contestants from teams Blake Shelton and Pharrell performed last night, and, together with the 12 who performed Monday night from teams Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani, will be cut in half on tonight’s results show.
Here’s who’s vying for your votes:
Team Blake: Ivonne Acero
Ivonne Acero, a steal from Team Pharrell, is already a winner: she nabbed her high school’s homecoming queen title. Hoping to add winner of The Voice to her accolades, she sings Joan Osborne’s “One Of Us.” There’s some evangelical arm waving, but she hits her stride in the chorus, wowing with a few big notes at the end.
“It always blows my mind to watch you have such big notes,” says her former coach. “We love that you’re here, and you definitely made your mom proud tonight.”
“You are the perfect example of what makes this show cool, because you see an artist make a transformation like you’ve made,” says Blake. “You have so much confidence when you step on the stage.”
Team Blake: Morgan Frazier
Speaking of homecoming, Morgan Frazier makes her own return, to Team Blake, after a Knockout Round stint on Team Pharrell. She does a cover of a cover – singing Jack Ingram’s country version of Hinder’s “Lips Of An Angel.” This country rock crossover is really her sweet spot.
“I love your voice, like the versus were just so beautiful. I love the tone in your voice,” says Gwen. “The way you build to such powerful belting is amazing to me.”
“Your like a country standard already to me,” says Blake. “If people don’t vote you through, they must be full of hate.” A little extreme, Blake.
Team Blake: Zach Seabaugh
Seventeen-year-old country artist Zach Seabaugh has found his audience: cougars. When a local radio station offered listeners a chance to call in to win a homecoming date with Zach (weird in and of itself), it was actually the high schoolers’ moms who called in. Wait a year, ladies.
With new swagger, Zach absolutely crushes Steve Holt’s “Brand New Girlfriend,” and makes the ladies go absolutely crazy by gyrating his hips like a young Elvis Presley.
“That’s a dangerous thing to try to do all that, but you did it like really well,” says Adam. “You’re one of the few who’s been able to pull off all of the gyration – sorry mom – and all of the performance.”
“I would officially like to top the Superman talk and start the Elvis talk,” says Blake. “I think you just bought yourself a ticket to the lives from here on out.”
Team Blake: Emily Ann Roberts
Blake sees the next Danielle Bradbury in Emily Ann Roberts, but she’s not quite there yet. Her performance of Charles Austin Miles’ religious song “In The Garden” shows more dynamics than usual, but it’s not the breakout she needs at this point in the competition.
Gwen knows what’s really important. “You are one of my favorites on Blake’s team for sure! Your boots are so sparkly.” Nailed it.
“You have the voice of an angel,” says Blake. “You just walked out here and just laid your heart and who you are as a human being out on the stage.”
Team Blake: Barrett Baber
“It’s Baber Fever,” declares Barrett Baber of his return to the school where he teaches drama. Those are big words to live up to, but the country singer does it with his performance of Lee Brice’s “I Drive Your Truck.” He has a beautiful tone, and each note is unwavering.
“I really do believe what you do is really powerful,” says Adam. “If you don’t have that kind of belief in what you’re doing and that passion, you can’t do it. And you have that.”
“You amaze me,” says Blake. “The only other artist I’ve ever seen give as much of themselves to a performance as you is Garth Brooks.”
Team Blake Comeback Artist: Nadjah Nicole
Another killer comeback choice! Blake almost makes up for inexplicably eliminating powerhouse Nadjah Nicole in the Knockouts by bringing her back. She’s as strong as ever singing Diana Ross’ “Upside Down,” and has a new strut to her stage presence.
“You sound beautiful tonight. I’m just so happy you’re back,” says Adam.
“That was so much fun for me to watch you in this moment, right now,” says Blake. “You’ve already fulfilled your dreams. You sounded so good.”
Team Pharrell: Darius Scott
Darius Scott is not known for anything to do with stripped down performances, so he gives Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” a Dariused-up arrangement. He adds extra instrumentals and runs to a song that Blake later admits he’s never heard of (do they screen these coaches, or what?). Despite being plagued by the worst instance of offbeat audience clapping to date, he keeps it steady.
“It’s just so flawlessly navigated and so soulful, which is a very difficult combination,” says Adam.
“Great arrangement. Vocally, the creative liberties that you took in the song, it was just so tasteful,” says Pharrell.
Team Pharrell: Evan McKeel
Evan McKeel is on a mission to cover all of Stevie Wonder’s greatest hits. This week, he’s throwing back to his off the cuff post-Blind Audition performance of “Overjoyed.” It starts off rocky and flat, but he eventually comes around. Evan never quite brings the wow that he did in the Blind Auditions, though.
“That song is so hard to do, and your voice is so beautiful,” says Gwen, who adds, “Once in awhile in your performance, your body language and your stage presence almost feel too theatrical.”
“I thought that was a great performance,” says Pharrell. “Maybe there are some moments that kind of feel awkward, but when you tell someone you love them it doesn’t always look cool. So for me, it was honest.”
Team Pharrell: Madi Davis
It’s high-pressure time, which means the tear quotient is only going up. Pharrell’s next performer, in fact, brings herself to tears. Madi Davis delivers a sweet rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird.” Whether it’s the falsettos, or the backup bongos, she cries immediately after finishing the song.
“The thing that was most impressive to me was not just your falsetto, but the transition to your falsetto,” says Blake. “I think this was the breakout moment for you.”
“You’re 16 years old and so talented beyond your years,” says Pharrell. “I’m just glad you’re here on this journey with us on this show.”
Team Pharrell: Riley Biederer
It’s another Live Round homecoming! After a bit of ping-ponging between Pharrell and Gwen, Riley Biederer competes with Team Pharrell for a spot in the Top 12. She sings Tori Kelly’s “Should Have Been Us,” a perfect pick for her strong and acrobatic voice.
“My favorite part about you is when you go up there and you belt those notes. It’s so beautiful and your voice is so strong,” says Gwen.
“Confidence wise, tonight you came out here and you just fought,” says Pharrell. “I love when you hit those high notes so confidently. This is what you are meant to do.”
Team Pharrell: Mark Hood
No matter how many times Mark Hood hears the advice to “scale it back,” it never seems to break through. He can’t even stay seated at the piano for a full minute of Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean?” The song has never experienced so many runs, but his non-scaled back choices actually work with the song.
“I’m crying again because he’s so good,” says Gwen. “You’re one of my favorites because you have so much personality, and you’re so, so talented.”
“That was unbelievable,” says Pharrell. “I know that everyone at home is standing up…because what you did was just amazing.”
Team Pharrell Comeback Artist: Celeste Betton
It was downright ridiculous when Celeste Betton was eliminated after the Battle Round; this comeback rule was practically invented for her. The soulful singer goes country with Carrie Underwood’s “Something In The Water,” and reminds everyone why she belongs on The Voice with her big notes.
“I’m literally crying right now, because I saw you praying before, and you picked the perfect song,” says Gwen, resident sobber. “You are so talented.”
“You sang like people don’t want you to go home,” says Pharrell. “You tapped into the strongest part of the universe and you brought it in this room.”
And with that, all the contestants can do is sit back and wait…and Tweet, Facebook, Insta, and Snapchat their appeals for more votes until the winners are announced tonight.
So let’s hear it, who are the must haves of your Top 12? And are you loving, hating or totally indifferent to this new comeback twist?