‘The Voice’: Blake Shelton & Gwen Stefani Perform “Go Ahead And Break My Heart”
Remember that kid that graduated from your high school, but then just sort of showed up all the time after graduation? And you used to think she as cool, but then seeing her hanging by her old locker made you question if she actually was, because why was she still there all the time?
Anyway, Gwen Stefani made another appearance on The Voice last night.
I kid, I kid. Gwen is the ultimate cool kid, but she has been spending a lot of time roaming the halls of her old stomping grounds alongside former colleagues Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams and Blake Shelton this season, despite surrendering her queen bee chair to a now violet-haired Christina Aguilera. The former coach not only mentored Team Blake Shelton, she also performed “Misery” three weeks ago, before premiering her new duet, “Go Ahead And Break My Heart,” with Blake last night.
Along with Gwen Stefani, Florida Georgia Line made an appearance in the midst of the Top 9 performance show last night. The country duo performed their new single, “Holy.” As Florida Georgia Line performances go, it was fine.
The main event (other than, I suppose, the actual contestants around whom the show is centered) came in Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton’s performance of “Go Ahead And Break My Heart.” The cowboy and the pop princess are just a darling mismatched couple that you have to begrudgingly love. There’s plenty of chemistry when they perform their new country jam. Just prepare yourself for their wedding that features a band of former Voice contestants.
That’s it in terms of superstars, but there were nine aspiring superstars that also performed. Here’s how the contestants fared:
Team Blake: Paxton Ingram The idea of Paxton Ingram singing an acoustic version of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” is interesting, but the execution falls a bit flat. The classic dance song is meant to be performed with a lot of energy (not to mention a perm and a crop top), and stripping it down did not do it justice. Paxton throws in a nice key modulation toward the end, though.
“I love how you just put your heart and your soul into everything you do,” says Christina. “It was nothing like I’ve ever heard that song be done.”
“I think you’re the one guy that every week you take another notch forward. Another notch higher,” says Blake.
Team Blake: Mary Sarah Mary Sarah singing a country song? Groundbreaking (sarcastic font needed). Her rendition of Maren Morse’s “My Church” is fun, and has some moments that are great, but there are also rough moments when she’s out of breath. She tries to cover up these breath issues with energy and it just makes them worse.
“I can’t really remember how it sounded, I just know it sounded good,” says Pharrell. Alright, then. “I was caught up in watching you emote.”
“It is the most connected that you’ve been – easily – to a song,” says Blake. “Anybody who knows anything about country music knows what just happened up there on that stage.”
Team Christina: Nick Hagelin Many Instant Save contestants would be a little shaken up from their time in the bottom 2, but not Nick Hagelin. Instead, the pop singer found more confidence from singing for his survival last week. Nick sings an acoustic version of Drake‘s“Hold On We’re Going Home,” and the most exciting part is his experimentation with a high-low shirt. Hold on: You might actually be going home.
“You always have that instinct. You know when it’s time to step it up,” says Pharrell. “When you danced, it’s even more of a stronger rapport with the audience.”
Christina commends the former ballet dancer’s dancing, telling Nick, “It’s part of your artistry. It’s part of who you are.” She adds, “I love the rhythm of it. I love how you brought home your own little hook.”
Team Blake: Adam Wakefield Adam Wakefield blows the coaches away with his performance of Bonnie Raitt’s “Love Has No Pride.” He plays the piano in front of a backdrop of flames, and has Pharrell on his feet the whole time. Adam, Pharrell and Blake join in the standing ovation after the performance, though he can’t quite get Christina to stand up for any contestant that isn’t her own.
“That was fiery, Adam,” says Christina. “It just always comes out so soulful and so strong. I had a dream about you last night – Blake can tell you about it later – but great job.”
Wait, wait, wait. Christina had a dream about Adam Wakefield, felt it was important enough to tell Blake about it in full and referenced it in her comments, but doesn’t elaborate? What kind of cliffhanger nonsense is that?
“What you just did right there was your best performance so far with so much style,” says Blake. “I’ll see you in the finale.”
Team Pharrell – Hannah Huston Team Pharrell’s last woman standing, Hannah Huston, gets his full attention this week. The powerful singer performs Jessie Ware’s “Say You Love Me,” and her mix of sweet high notes, raspy growls, and powerful runs is pretty incredible. The girl’s got pipes, and she’s doing what she can to break out of the “You know: the one that’s not Alisan Porter” category.
“That was my personal favorite performance by you this entire season,” says Blake. “You looked like a superstar.”
“That was amazing,” says Pharrell. “The word I would use, America, is graceful. Every line was beautiful because it came with intention.”
Team Adam: Shalyah Fearing Shalyah Fearing delivers a pretty strong case for making it to the semi-finals. The 16-year-old singer belts out Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” and takes no prisoners with her raspy, gritty, powerful vocals.
“I loved how it started off with just the strings,” says Christina. “The low end I think is something for you to develop, and you’re so young, that’s only going to get better with time.”
“This girl is very hard on herself,” says Adam. “Nobody means it more than Shalyah does. She is so passionate, and so driven, and really feels every thing that she sings.”
Team Adam: Laith Al-Saadi The Voice audience behaved for much of the season, but they are back with some massively bad clapping for Laith Al-Saadi. As Pharrell points out, they should get a metronome. Even with the horrendous clapping, Laith sings an utterly soulful version of Bob Seger’s “We’ve Got Tonight,” and keeps his position as the musician’s musician.
“Here’s your chance to support the guy in high school that loved rock and roll and blues,” says Pharrell.
“The whole room stopped,” says Adam “When you started, your voice filled this room.”
Team Christina: Alisan Porter Christina’s presumptive winner, Alisan Porter, goes from a subtle ballad last week to a big rock anthem this week with Aerosmith’s “Cryin.’” She extends some crazy notes, but it’s not her most emotionally connected performance. If nothing else, she thinks she nailed it, and gives herself a celebratory dance when it’s over.
“You were tapping into that inner rock star with real vocals,” says Pharrell. “You kill that misconception that mom’s can’t do this or mom’s can’t do that.”
“You are a superstar just now,” says Christina. “I love you so much.”
Team Christina: Bryan Bautista Alisan Porter is always a tough act to follow, but Bryan Bautista does his best with the coveted final spot of the night. He sings Beyonce’s “1+1” on the heavenly stage of clouds, hits some stratospheric notes, and really has a moment.
“As a male vocalist you have the most impressive ability to sound effortless in all of your high upper register stuff,” says Adam. “That was really beautiful.”
“Beyonce, if you’re watching out there or if somebody sends you a clip, you gotta do a duet with Bryan,” says Christina. “You and Beyonce would be magic.”
The results are in tonight, with one more contestant going home before next week’s semi-finals. Adam Levine will perform with Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping’s Andy Samberg, followed by a palate cleansing James Bay performance.