‘The Voice’: Jeffery Austin Performs Haunting Version Of Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own”
No matter which of the 10 (still) contestants advance tonight, there has really been just one true winner thus far in The Voice Live Playoffs: Céline. By all appearances, the fashion brand has some ironclad contract with Pharrell Williams in which he got a free pair of sunglasses in exchange for never.taking.them.off.
The other eleven possible winners from Teams Pharrell, Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine performed on Monday night to see which one would not make it to the Top 10. Yes, Carson Daly and crew are still taking their time with single eliminations…because apparently that’s cheaper than guest performances…
…unless they’re in house, that is. The one guest performance on Monday night’s show is Pharrell, who performs “Freedom” with image of the French flag on the monitors behind him.
And now that the one professional is out of the way, let’s move on to the Top 11!
Team Adam: Shelby Brown
If viewers have a soul, Sheby Brown’s performance of Lady Gaga’s “You And I” should safely secure her in the Top 10. This, however, is a big if. The country-pop crossover song lets her demonstrate her range, and she appears more confident than ever. Adam even agrees to buy her a giraffe for doing so well, which makes little sense, but whatever motivates ya, Shelby.
“That was my favorite performance from you so far,” says Blake. “You could show your range and just take out some aggressiveness on that performance.”
Gwen offers some rare criticism. “That really amazing growl that you do — I would save that, make it special. I feel like you’re doing it a lot.” This is the first – and last – criticism of the night.
“You deserve a giraffe because you killed it,” says Adam, who then turns his rage toward the audience. “Worst clappers ever. Why are you so bad at clapping?”
Team Adam: Amy Vachal
Amy Vachal is toeing a fine line between “artistic” and “deeply boring” with the folk covers of pop hits. Following last week’s cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” with the tonally identical cover of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” this week puts her about one ukulele solo away from getting trapped in a pigeonhole. Don’t worry: the coaches definitely want more.
“I have a song called ‘Boys Round Here’ that I want to hear her do the flip on,” says Blake, adding, “That might be my favorite vocal from you so far.”
“The way that you’re flipping these songs, it frames your voice so well,” says Pharrell.
In the most complimentary way possible, Adam quasi-acknowledges the folk cover box Amy has painted herself in. “We’re kind of stuck doing cover songs – you can’t do your own material – so within those parameters you’ve completely triumphed,” he says. “I’m as pleased as I could possibly be.”
Team Adam: Jordan Smith
Unless he stumbles into a terrible song choice, Jordan Smith seems to have a pretty clear path to the finals. Whether singing a religious standard like he did last week, or hitting the pop charts tonight with Jessie J’s “Who You Are,” he has flawless vocals, huge notes and an emotional connection to each performance.
“Your attention to detail when you sing is remarkable to watch,” says Pharrell. “People can feel your intention, which is one of the most important things.”
“How good does that feel to be as good as you are and go up there and use your gift like that?” says Gwen. “It’s so fun to watch.”
“You were one of the best performers I know, because you do the impossible which is sing like you do, but also do it with this conviction that keeps everyone in it and mesmerized,” says Adam.
Team Pharrell: Evan McKeel
After an energetic performance in the Top 12, Evan brings the tempo down to sing Nat King Cole’s “Smile.” It’s a lovely performance, albeit the one with the oddest backdrop of the night – namely a shadow person dancing in a sun. You do you.
“That was definitely my favorite performance you’ve done on the show,” says Gwen.
“All of your performances are really good,” says a thesaurus-free Blake.
“The difference between today’s performance and every other time you’ve performed on the show, is that I feel like today you let people in,” says Pharrell. “That is the smartest way to use this show.”
Team Pharrell: Madi Davis
Another breakout performance alert! Madi Davis stuns when she sings U2’s “Love is Blindness.” She saves her huge notes for the end of the song, has Pharrell up on stage to congratulate her and Gwen too tearful to offer any feedback.
“I’m pretty shocked. It was so different from anything you’ve done,” says Adam.
After blowing up Madi’s dad’s spot by pointing out that he cried on national television (rude), Blake tells Madi, “I think that’s the best performance of the night so far.”
“Your parents, your family and friends must be so proud of you,” says Pharrell. “My eyes were like watering.” Good thing the sunglasses are still on!
Team Blake: Barrett Baber
Barrett Barber’s performance makes all of Blake’s dreams come true. Not only does Barrett give a classic country song a rock edge, he also does it with a group of backup singers donning terrible vests. Pinch yourself, Blake, because Barrett’s performance of Tanya Tucker’s “Delta Dawn” is very real.
“You’re amazing,” says Gwen. “You literally get up there and command the whole room.”
“I love seeing that side of you, the really energetic showman,” says Adam.
“This is the biggest night you’ve had on the show,” says Blake. “You just took us all to church in that moment.”
Team Blake: Zach Seabaugh
Coming off of his worst week in the competition, Zach Seabaugh smartly shifts back to a high energy song. He performs Thompson Square’s “Are You Going to Kiss Me Or Not?” It’s better than last week, and the ladies do love him, so it would be a shock if he finds himself in the bottom two.
“That was cheating to do that song because you already have all the cute girls that want to vote for you,” says Gwen. “You look so cute doing that song.”
“All the cute stuff aside you have the chops and you can sing,” says Adam. “You’ve kind of got it all.”
“Does he not have some Elvis in him or is it just me?” asks Blake. “You’re singing is spot-on dude man.”
Team Blake: Emily Ann Roberts
“Want to bluegrass this up?” Blake asks Emily Ann Roberts before she performs “Why Not Me” by The Judds. There’s more than one producer in the house now, eh Pharrell? The arrangement really works, and Emily sounds stronger and cleaner than she has to-date.
“When you sing those songs you make it abundantly clear that they’re classic songs,” says Pharrell, who marvels, “Who are you? Where do you come from?”
“You’re going to be around for a long, long time,” says Blake.
Team Gwen: Korin Bukowski
Last week’s save, Korin Bukowski, admits she hasn’t been at the top of her game the past two weeks. She needs something inspiring to re-energize herself, which, for Korin, is a good old-fashioned Mandy Moore song. We all have our things. Korin delivers what just may be the best/only Mandy Moore cover in reality competition history when she sweetly croons “Only Hope.”
“When you look at yourself from what you were doing as compared to beginning, it’s like wow. You’re doing the music you want to do,” says Adam.
“You’re definitely coming to your own, but more importantly you just recognize the importance of being yourself,” says Pharrell. “You’re on the right path now.”
“I’m so happy you get this moment in your life to just shine,” says Gwen. “You have such a unique sound to your voice.”
Team Gwen: Braiden Sunshine
Historically, any time Carson Daly uses any variation of the term “reintroducing an ’80s classic to a new audience,” it’s never a good sign. Though Braiden Sunshine’s performance of Spandau Ballet’s “True” has some big moments, the song was left in the ’80s because it’s an auditory sedative.
Blake stands up for Gwen’s song choice. “It’s just odd enough of a song choice with this guy,” he says. “The pairing of you two has been one of my favorite things to see on this show ever.”
“The big note in the middle that you held forever, I was looking at my watch. It was crazy,” says Pharrel, adding, “I really like the subtle small runs you do in there.”
“I’m just blown away by you!” says Gwen. “You did so much of your own stuff to that song that was so tasteful.
Team Gwen: Jeffrey Austin
“As a gay man, getting to sing Robyn on national television? Dream come true,” Jeffrey Austin tells Gwen before singing the Swedish pop star’s “Dancing On My Own.” The stripped down song, itself, is a dream come true. So much emotion! So many growls! So much power! So many tears from Gwen!
“There’s just something about your voice, you can’t teach the unique type of quality that you have. That’s the type of quality that can be heard by millions and millions of people.” Adam
“He could win The Voice this season,” says Blake, before turning the attention to his girl crush. “You could be the first female coach to ever win The Voice also.”
“I’m blown away. I don’t understand how talented you are. You are so gifted,” says Gwen. “You move me to tears.”
Tonight, Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani each perform with their teams before the “sing for your life” battle of the unlucky bottom two contestants. Then, another single elimination, because really: why ruin too many Thanksgivings?
Voting is still open – who were your faves and least faves last night?