‘The Voice’: Gwen Stefani Performs “Hollaback Girl,” Pharrell Does “Come Get It Bae”
Guest host alert! Miley Cyrus sits herself in Adam Levine’s red chair for the Top 8 perfor…oh wait. A now tow-headed Adam has totally snagged Miley’s short bleached locks for these last stages of the competition on The Voice. His appearance is that of a man that has lost an unfortunate bet, but he stands by his makeover decision.
“I don’t know why I did it, but it feels right,” he says, as Shakira laughs along, Usher compares him to a Fifth Element Bruce Willis and Blake Shelton makes Meg Ryan and Miley comparisons.
It’s all part of Monday night’s top eight performance excitement. In addition to the remaining contestants, Season 2 Voice veteran Gwen Sebastian and Season 7 coaches Pharrell and Gwen Stefani perform.
Gwen Sebastian and Blake Shelton perform their new single “My Eyes.” While this is only the Gwen everyone is second-most excited to hear perform, it is always good to see a former Voice contestant in any sort of limelight. Even if she only uses that limelight to awkwardly sway and backup-sing.
Having apparently received the memo that we’ve reached our “Happy” threshold, Pharrell performs “Come Get It Bae,” and wears a much more reasonable-sized hat than usual. Based on the backup dancers alone, Pharrell will produce some incredible performances come season 7. Based on the rate of hat shrinkage, he’ll be wearing Xtina style saucer fascinators by the fall.
Future coach Gwen Stefani continues the “Hollaback Girl” resurrection that she started at Coachella, and performs the throwback hit. (Banana) yellow romper-clad backup dancers and a cameo by “Hollaback Girl” co-writer Pharrell add to the dramatic performance. Watch out, Blake and Adam — it looks like a Season 7 alliance is set!
Enough with the frills: moving on to the prizefighters.
Team Blake: Sisaundra Lewis
Sisaundra Lewis sings Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High.” For the first time in Sisaundra’s long music career, her religious mother is in the audience. After the last powerful note rings out, the contestant breaks down in tears.
“There’s no doubt about the fact that your vocal ability is astonishing,” says Shakira. “If you ever opened the school of Sisaundra Lewis, I’m sure the four of us would enroll.”
“It was pretty electric in here,” says Adam. “You are amazing.”
Blake lets the cheering crowd speak for themselves. “I am absolutely thrilled.”
Team Usher: Josh Kaufman
Usher’s last man standing, Josh Kaufman, sings Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” His toned-down performance is very soulful, albeit a bit stationary.
“I think you have good intuition, and that is vital in this business,” says Shakira.
“That was probably as perfect of a performance as I’ve seen on this show in seven seasons,” says Blake, blissfully unaware that he is still in Season 6.
“There are singers, and then there are artists,” says Usher. “I am happy and proud to be your coach.”
Team Adam: Kat Perkins
Back from the bottom three, Kat Perkins hopes for a breakout moment with a heavy metal rendition of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine helps Dennis the Menace’s Adam mentor Kat before her killer performance.
“It was incredible,” Usher says, raving about Kat’s hair banging.
“I never saw that Kat Perkins before,” says Shakira.
“We knew we had to go big,” says her coach. “Bottom three my ass.”
Team Shakira: Kristen Merlin
Shakira’s last lady standing, Kristen Merlin, sings Lee Brice’s “I Drive Your Truck.” It appears that the audio department may be messing with Kristen yet again; her vocals are drowned out by heavy instrumentals throughout. What does come through sounds solid.
“From the Blind Auditions to right now, you’ve made a believer out of me and probably everybody on this panel,” says Blake. “You just keep getting better and better every week.”
“Wherever you’re heading in that truck, you’re on the right track,” says Usher.
“This was truly transcendent,” says her coach. “I think you’re not going anywhere, because you are a true artist.”
Team Adam: Delvin Choice
When the power of R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” brings Delvin Choice to tears during rehearsals, it’s a hilarious indication that he will be singing the Space Jam tune in earnest. Soaring through his performance in a white suit, Delvin is vocally strong, but super cheesy on the cloud-filled stage. At least there isn’t a gospel choir or a Looney Toon basketball team waiting behind a curtain (it’s just backup singers).
“That was as good as it gets on this show,” says Blake.
“The song obviously represents the dream that all of the contestants have,” says Usher. “Fight for that dream.”
“You’re having that self-belief in such a major way right now,” says Adam. “We all know you deserve to be at the end of this thing.”
Alright, alright. Good performance. But HE CRIED AT THE SPACE JAM SONG!
Team Blake: Audra McLaughlin
Once a dark horse, Audra McLaughlin is starting to stand out as the country powerhouse of the season. She sings Rebecca Lynn Howard’s “Forgive,” and although her body is a bit rigid, her voice is both powerful and emotional.
“I enjoy your upper register so much,” says Shakira. “Vocally, I think that you are unstoppable.”
“I agree. I think you’re unstoppable,” says Blake. “I found myself getting wrapped up in that performance right then.”
Team Blake: Jake Worthington
Though he struggles to pronounce the word “allergies,” Jake Worthington is suffering from them. He pushes through it to sing Brooks & Dunn’s “Hillbilly Deluxe,” explaining, “It’s a chance to show a little bit of my red neck side.” (Because it was so well concealed before). In any case, his allergies do not take away from his performance, which may be his best to date.
“You had me air-drumming. That’s a good sign,” says Shakira.
“You’re just so damn cool, man,” says Adam. “I learn more and more about what the authentic real-deal country is. That’s about as authentic as it gets.”
“I think tonight, you introduced America to Jake The Artist,” says his coach.
Team Adam: Christina Grimme
Christina Grimme is on a mission to outdo last week’s hugely popular Drake cover, and coach Adam wants her to do it by giving the audience exactly what they want (read: more rap covers). Christina takes on the cover of Lil Wayne’s “How To Love” a bit reluctantly, but coach knows best, right?
Eh, sort of. It’s good, but doesn’t blow last week’s performance out of the water. Still, Christina is a crowd favorite.
“You look and sound like a superstar up there,” says Blake.
“You have an incredible voice, but I’m trying to figure out if you really want to be a hip hop artist,” says Usher.
“That was something huge,” says Shakira. “Your voice is just insane!”
“The one thing that you have going for you is that there’s no other version of that song,” says Adam. “If anybody wants to experience what they just experienced, they need to download your version.” Ding ding ding on the strategy front.
Will Adam’s “download or perish” strategy work out better than his hairstyle? Find out…and see if he sticks to this whole hair commitment, when the eliminations air on Tuesday.