‘The Voice’: Watch Billy Gilman Own Celine Dion’s “I Surrender”
In Memoriam reel time! We bid a sad(-ish) farewell to last week’s casualties on The Voice, Austin Allsup and Courtney Harrell, but certainly not as sad as the farewell from their coach, Blake Shelton. Seeing two of his final three contestants peace-out before the semi-finals when Adam Levine, Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys each have two or three left was a real blow for the country coach. That said, his girlfriend is (still) Gwen Stefani, so life’s not all that bad. Like Blake, we’ll always remember his former contestants fondly.
Wait, what were their names again?
Doesn’t matter: on to the remaining eight who we’ll remember until at least 10 p.m. tonight. These semi-finals each performed twice on Monday night’s show: one duet with a competitor/fake friend and one solo performance. It will all culminate in a buh-bye to half of them on the results show tonight. So no pressure.
Aaron Gibson and Wé McDonald Team Miley’s Aaron Gibson and Team Alicia’s Wé McDonald partner up — who knows why — to sing Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney’s “FourFiveSeconds.” An autotune-less Aaron singing Kanye’s part works surprisingly well, and Wé pulls off Rihanna’s part effortlessly.
Josh Gallagher and Sundance Head It’s the rematch you never knew you wanted when Team Adam’s Josh Gallagher sings with Team Blake’s Sundance Head (who previously got Josh booted from Blake’s team in the Knockouts). The pair performs Joe Cocker’s “Feelin’ Alright.” Although Sundance would still knock Josh out of any competition, they work well together in the duet.
Christian Cuevas and Billy Gillman Throwing competitors together in a teamwork situation is always tricky, but Team Alicia’s Christian Cuevas and Team Adam’s Billy Gillman manage to take the awkward out of it. The pair sing “Unsteady” by X Ambassadors, and it’s almost as though they don’t dream about the other’s downfall each and every night.
Ali Caldwell and Josh Gallagher Team Miley’s Ali Caldwell and Team Adam’s Josh Gallagher sing Bryan Adams’ “It’s Only Love,” and it’s definitely the sexiest of all of the duets. They have an onstage chemistry that no one saw coming (especially from the always-stoic Josh) and actually appear to have fun rocking out.
Team Alicia: Christian Cuevas Christian Cuevas moves from Lady Gaga to contemporary Christian (as in religious) with a performance of Israel & New Breed’s “To Worship You I Live.” The whole chorus-backed ballad feels a little overdone, but a little divine intervention can’t hurt at this point of the competition.
“You just lived your dream up there, and I watched you light up when you chose this song,” says Alicia. “It was a beautiful, gorgeous performance.”
Team Alicia: Wé McDonald It’s not that Wé’s performance is a total miss, it’s just that the song choice failed her. She sings Alessia Cara’s “Scars To Your Beautiful,” a song that, despite its message of importance to the 16-year-old, is on excessive rotation on every Top 40 station in the country and doesn’t give her a whole lot of room to demonstrate her range.
“This is Wé’s vision,” says Alicia. “When you finish performing, Wé, we can’t stop screaming for you. That’s how much we believe in you.”
Team Miley: Ali CaldwellDolly Parton is the fairy godmother gift that just keeps on giving for Miley. This week, her bubbly blessings include giving Ali Caldwell the opportunity to perform “I Will Always Love You” at just the right moment in the competition. Pandering to the audience’s sentimentality? Maybe. Best move she can make right now? Absolutely.
“I feel like, in 2016, we are Whitney [Houston] and Dolly together,” says Miley, greatly overestimating both of the 2016 version’s icon status. “You never lost feeling, you sang as beautiful as you look, and you are a rose.”
Team Miley: Aaron Gibson Aaron holds the distinction of being the first Voice contestant to make it through not one, not two, but three Instant Saves. Sure, that means he’s been in the bottom three weeks in a row, but any record is a good record, right? Perhaps shooting for a fourth go at it, Aaron sings Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” and it’s even painful by karaoke standards. Shaky, pitchy and excessively growled, the adult contemporary murder seems to last forever.
“I don’t want to see you in the bottom again, so please everybody vote for Aaron,” says Miley. Yikes.
Team Adam: Brendan Fletcher Brendan Fletcher goes from a breakout performance in the quarterfinals to a total flop in the semifinals. His Xanex-laced performance of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” is simultaneously sleepy, shaky, mumbled and forgettable.
“You should vote for him if you want something different,” says Adam. “This guy, who I’m so immensely proud of, is doing something all the way to the bitter end of this thing that is so him and so pure to who he is and the message that he wants to deliver.”
Team Adam: Josh Gallagher In a total Blake move, Adam gives Josh Gallagher the perfect classic country/folk rock throwback at a critical stage in the competition. Time will tell if Josh’s performance of Loggins and Messina’s “Danny’s Song” is enough to catapult him into the finals, but it at least won over the audience.
“I know you know that you nailed that,” says Adam. “Your voice sounds better than it’s ever sounded, best timing ever going into the finale next week.”
Team Adam: Billy Gilman Poised for the finals from week one, Grammy winner Billy Gilman clinches it with a performance of Céline Dion’s “I Surrender.” His signature soaring high notes make up for a few moments that are pitchy, but certainly not off enough to sway his loyal fan base. We surrender, Billy.
“It’s hard for Celine Dion to sing a Celine Dion song,” says Adam. “The length of the notes that you hold out with such passion is unbelievable.”
Team Blake: Sundance Head Blake’s last team member actually gives the country coach a fighting chance. Sundance’s performance of The Judds’ “Love Can Build A Bridge” is incredible, his soaring vocals are flawless, he’s emotionally dialed-in and the whole “build a bridge” message is coming at a timely moment.
“I think everything great right now,” says Blake, losing his verbs. “You have so much passion when you sing and you couple that with so much talent that you were born with.”
With four going home tonight, everyone is at risk (except, probably, for Wé, Billy and Sundance). The Instant Save is sure to be a real death match, so get the popcorn ready!