‘The Voice’: Watch Wè McDonald Own Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain”
Thanksgiving isn’t until Thursday, but it’s clear many of the Voice contestants have already taken a heavy dose of tryptophan. Their sleepy performances were feeling Battle Round quality at best on Monday night, despite being just three short weeks away from the grand finale.
…unless you ask coaches Adam Levine, Alicia Keys, Blake Shelton or Miley Cyrus, who were blown away with each and every song. May we all strive to live with such childlike wonder and acceptance.
There were a few standouts in food coma land (looking right at you Billy Gillman and Wé McDonald), but the rest really need to step it up next week. Well, the rest minus one unlucky last-placer out of this bunch, who will be announced tonight,
Team Miley: Ali Caldwell
Ali Caldwell gives “9 To 5” a Dolly Parton-worthy amount of energy, but with a karaoke amount of accuracy. She has plenty of breathless missed notes, and only partially makes up for it with her stage presence.
“I am so impressed, and that was so much fun,” says Blake. “You brought it to a new place.”
“You’re such a star,” says Miley. “I’m just so excited for you to win this show.”
Team Miley: Aaron Gibson
Last week’s save, Aaron Gibson, doubles down on rock with a performance of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt.” He displays subtle intensity throughout — more in the face area than the vocal cords — and ends it with one painful death rattle, or, if you’re a coach, delightful growl.
“Your voice is just crazy,” says Adam. “It was the perfect song for you to do.”
“I don’t think you could have given anything else to that performance,” says Miley. To me, that was a perfect performance.”
Team Miley: Darby Walker
Darby has fully transitioned to mini-Miley, and sings Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” wearing silver bell bottoms and a full-on Technicolor dream coat. Some notes border on yelling, but she softens them with a controlled falsetto.
“I loved how you owned the song,” says Alicia. “For us girls, we need to remind ourselves that nobody owns us.”
“You represent for all these girls watching to be free,” says Miley. “It just shows people that it is fun to be free, and colorful, and to not be serious all of the time.”
Team Blake: Sundance Head
Not one to shy away from covering a coach, Sundance Head gives a country-leaning rendition of Alicia’s “No One.” Much like his performance of Miley’s “The Climb,” it’s a real crowd-pleaser — and, more importantl, a real Alicia Keys-pleaser.
“You’re the one person I wish that was on my team,” says Alicia. “You just made me listen to my song in a whole new way, in a way that I personally need right now.”
That was so powerful,” says Blake, adding, “This was a breakout moment for you.”
Team Blake: Courtney Harrell
After a shaky week, Courtney goes full Broadway with a song from A Chorus Line. Her performance of “What I Did For Love” has some strong moments, but is also filled with flat notes that are hard to ignore.
“You are so pure,” says Alicia, “You took America on a beautiful journey.”
“This is the happiest I have ever seen you since I’ve known you,” says Blake, telling Courtney the performance is, “the best performance you’ve given.”
Team Blake: Austin Allsup
Austin has a strong week singing Bob Seger’s “Turn The Page.” Though not the most exciting performance, it stands out in a night of mediocrity. Strong praise, truly.
“That was by far, unquestionably the best performance you’ve ever had on the show,” says Adam.
“I don’t know that I’ve been on the edge of my seat like that, maybe ever,” says Blake. “There is nobody doing what you do anymore out there.”
Team Adam: Josh Gallagher
Adam’s country artist Josh Gallagher works the crowd performing Brett Eldredge’s “Drunk On Your Love.” He takes aim at some ambitious high notes, and, despite missing them, earns praise from the coaches.
“It felt like we were already at one of your concerts or at your tour,” says Miley.
“You are so refreshing to me because you just get up there, have a good time, sing your song, and connect with people,” says Adam. “As far as connecting with an audience, there’s nobody better in this competition than you.”
Team Adam: Billy Gillman
Covering Adele is a tall order for most contestants, but not for Billy Gillman. The seasoned singer is so technically perfect singing “All I Ask,” that no one even bothers to mention the “sacred ground” warning that always comes up when a contestant deigns to cover Adele.
“Do you ever hit a bad note?” marvels Blake. “That’s what you would come out of the studio with if you spent a week in there.
“You can sing all the perfect notes, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t feel it,” says Adam. “For the first time in your stretch on this show, you really made me feel something.”
Team Adam: Brendan Fletcher
Brendan Fletcher and Aaron Gibson need to have a growl-off. Brendan, the better of the two gravelly singers this week, sings a slightly above average performance of Bruce Springsteen’s “The River.” Seriously, did all the contestants check out for Thanksgiving break early?
“You have such a warm voice,” says Blake. “I wish you were singing some country music, now.”
“You really conquered a lot this week,” says Adam, telling the audience. “If you want to champion something that is truly special, that is truly different, and that is truly one in a million, you have to vote for this guy.”
Team Alicia: Christian Cuevas
Christian Cuevas is typically a safe bet, but his performance of Toto’s “Rosanna” is a miss. In his attempt to show a more fun and high-energy side, he ends up going a little too wedding singer. Again, though, he’s competing against the sleepiest performances of the season so he should be okay in the eliminations.
“I’ve been so blown away for the past two weeks,” says Miley. “I think it was what you needed, to see you have so much energy with the audience.”
“There is no denying that your voice is like this big,” Alicia says with her arms out wide. “America, you are witnessing a voice of a generation.”
Team Alicia – Wé McDonald
Someone didn’t get the “let’s phone it in” memo! Wé McDonald closes out the night with Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain,” and the 17-year-old singer shows an incredible range. Her soulful styling ends with a kneeling collapse, and girl, we feel you.
“You always come with it,” says Alicia. “You sing like you’ve had a thousand trillion years of experience living.”
The results are announced tonight. Here’s hoping the ten advancing contestants take time over the holiday to give thanks for the fact that they get another shot to bring it next week.