‘The Voice’: Watch Sawyer Fredericks’ Moving Performance Of “Shine On”
Mother’s Day is coming up, which means it’s time for The Voice to exploit a national holiday! Yes, the standard dedication performances were narrowed down to “You better dedicate this to your mother because NBC is really pushing Mother’s Day this year,” so all of the contestants in the Top 6 did just that. Only Joshua Davis got a minor exception, and dedicated a song to his wife. She has a baby, though, so it fit with the Mother’s Day theme enough to slip through…this time.
Dedication mandates aside, it was another evening of too-close-to-call performances by teams Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Pharrell and Adam Levine. Contestants from all four teams performed two songs each: the aforementioned mom song, and a free for all.
Here’s how all that mother loving competition went down:
Team Christina: India Carney
After narrowly escaping elimination last week (by two votes!), India Carney steps it up for her Top 6 performance. Her dedication performance of John Legend and Common’s “Glory” is so beautiful that it must have caused Chris Pine to shed some Oscar-worthy tears.
“What an incredible comeback you had just now,” say Pharrell. “I just really hope Kenny Babyface Edmonds is watching because I feel like he should be writing you a song for one of these upcoming weeks.”
“I didn’t know that song,” says Blake, and…wait, what? Dude, the song won an Oscar. Like…a couple of months ago. Get yourself a music education, or take a pop culture 101 class, or – I don’t know – discover the Internet.
“What you did was pretty remarkable considering a couple of those verses are Common’s verses,” says Christina.
India’s second performance is Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down.” She executes it perfectly, actually looks like she’s having fun during, and is all smiles after.
“That was your best performance ever on this show,” says Adam. “I’m so impressed with really everything about it, but specifically that you did something that was really different for you.”
“You killed it,” says Christina. “I did see you step out of your comfort zone.”
Team Adam: Joshua Davis
Joshua Davis has an undeniably strong voice, but his stage personality continues to lack. Adam advises Joshua to give a little more edge in his performance of U2’s “Desire,” but it’s the bluesy ensemble band that adds any personality to the performance.
“I’m going to say that this was even more better, best better more,” says Pharrell. “You looked like you were having so much fun doing something different.”
“You’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, which is making great music and not thinking about anything else and having the time of your life up there,” says Adam.
Next, Joshua dedicates a performance of “In My Life” by The Beatles to his wife. It’s better than his first performance, and he oozes John Mayer circa 2001 realness over the worst bout of audience clapping of the season.
“This song does mean something to everybody, and clearly in a different tempo to everybody in this audience,” says Blake.
“Other than the abysmal rhythm of the clapping that was upsetting my soul deeply, you are A.) A class act and B) That performance was absolutely mesmerizing,” says his coach.
Team Pharrell: Koryn Hawthorne
Koryn Hawthorne dedicates her performance of R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts,” to her mom. Um…a little bit of a Mother’s Day downer there, Koryn. She makes up for the negative Nellie of it all, though, with another stunning performance.
“You’re either the world’s greatest actor, or you are so invested in these songs,” says Blake.
“It’s unbelievable the way you let the ego to the side and let the spirit come through,” says Pharrell. “You are truly anointed.”
Changing her tune, Koryn sings Aerosmith’s “Dream On” for her second song of the night. She explores the full extent of her range, though backs off a little bit in the “dream on” reprise that Steven Tyler famously screams.
“I know that song is kind of out of your comfort zone, so it was interesting to see you take it on,” says Christina. “I think you did a great job.”
“After a performance like that, who in here is inspired to dream harder?” asks Pharrell. “Everybody vote for Koryn Hawthorne.”
Team Christina: Kimberly Nichole
Up to this point in the competition, Kimberly Nichole hasn’t had an off performance. Her Mother’s Day dedication, though, is her first misstep. Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” is not the best choice for her. She sings it in a high key, and the performance sounds borderline shrill. The understated song restrains the typically high-energy Kimberly. Luckily for her, the coaches notice none of this.
“Kimberly can just sing anything, and it kind of doesn’t matter what you sing,” says Adam. “You did it your way, and you’ve been doing it the whole time.”
“I know you did your mama proud,” says Christina, “You filled my heart with so much joy.”
The Kimberly we know and love is back for her second performance, and it’s all stage presence when she sings Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana.” Her vocals are strong, though sometimes drowned out by the backup band, but it’s her strutting, dancing and overall attitude that stand out as utterly epic.
“Congratulations, you just had your first official rock and roll moment in front of 12 to 15 million people,” says Pharrell.
“This is exactly what this show needs. They need somebody to emerge from the show like you,” says Christina, adding. “You embody just how to perform.”
Team Pharrell: Sawyer Fredericks
Sawyer Fredericks dedicates his performance of Daisy May Erlewine’s “Shine On” to his mom, who has taken a break from her life on the farm to accompany Sawyer in L.A. for the whole season. It’s sweet, just like Sawyer, though squarely positioned in the center of his wheelhouse again.
“It’s hard to put into words the thing that you do up there, which is very simple but so real and powerful,” says Blake.
“There is not a person who just watched you do what you’ve just done who can deny the incredible power that you have and what comes through you,” says Pharrell. “Everyone vote for this guy.”
Sawyer trades the guitar for some go-go dancers for an upbeat performance of “Take Me to the River” by The Committments. This is much more of a stretch for him, and the risk pays off with an impressive performance.
“We’re so used to seeing you planted with the guitar,” says Pharrell. “Did he not work the stage, ladies?”
Team Blake: Meghan Linsey
Meghan Linsey continues her long streak of slaying with James Taylor’s “Steamroller Blues,” which she calls her Nashville “tip jar” song. Consider the tip jar filled, because Meghan is absolutely unrelenting and flawless with the blues jam.
“That was crazy. You just laid your heart and soul out there on that stage,” says Christina.
“You sang the crap out of it,” says Blake. “That was unbelievable.”
Pharrell jumps in to addd, “We need everybody in Nashville to vote for this girl right now.”
Meghan closes out the night with “Amazing Grace,” a performance she dedicates to her mom. She starts off a cappella, and gives the song some unexpected grit throughout. It might not be the best performance of the night, but it’s the type of performance that wins The Voice.
“Did Blake just win the whole thing again?” says Christina, echoing America’s collective eye-roll at the idea of a Blake dynasty.
“In that moment, the whole world stopped for just a second to listen to that,” says Blake. “There’s a new sheriff in town on this show.’
Only one contestant will be voted off tonight, so while either Blake or Adam could easily end their Season 8 run, Christina and Pharrell are both sitting pretty with slots in the semi-finals. In addition to the elimination and save performances, there will be a bit of a Voice contestant reunion — alumni Jacqui Lee will return to perform her single “Tears Fall” (which actually has some cred, as it was penned by Sia), and fellow alumni Craig Wayne Boyd, Avery Wilson and Vicci Martinez return to where it all started (and mostly ended) as well.
Any guess who’s not going to make the Top 5 from this Top 6 group?