‘The Voice’: Ali Caldwell Does Stunning Version Of Leonard Cohen’s “Did I Ever Love You”
It was a big night for child stars on The Voice. Not only did Billy Gilman shut it down with a Queen cover, Miley Cyrus also proved her musical cred by assigning a contestant a Leonard Cohen song that wasn’t “Hallelujah.” While coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Alicia Keys relied largely on crowd pleasing chart toppers to drum up votes and downloads, Miley was content just being Miley — which in this case meant assigning her contestants some of her favorite songs, strategy be damned.
Yes, Miley upstaged the rest of the coaches with her taste in music. No, I’m not sure what the world is coming to either.
Twelve contestants performed for eleven slots, so they really only had to avoid being the worst to move on. Here’s how that competition went:
Team Blake: Sundance Head
Who would have thought that the soulful and burly Sundance Head would become synonymous with “female country pop cover?” Damned if it doesn’t work each and every time, though. After successfully covering “The Climb” in the Knockout Round, Sundance sings Maren Morris’ “My Church” (previously covered by Season 10’s Mary Sarah), gives it a bluesy edge, and comes out on top with a shining moment. Taylor Swift next?
“You are so spectacular,” says Alicia. “You continue to just raise the bar and really just put so much soul in your music.”
“Vocally, I would put you up against anybody in the world,” says Blake. “You’re what we all strive for. This guy is having a blast with this moment.”
Team Blake: Austin Allsup ‘Tis the season for the coaches to just praise, praise, praise away, even for deeply mediocre performances. Such is the case when Austin Allsup covers Aretha Franklin’s “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man.” It’s, indeed, an ambitious choice, but he doesn’t quite hit all of the high notes, articulate the lyrics or demonstrate any sort of emotional connection to the song. But by all means: praise on!
“I thought this was my favorite performance you’ve had so far,” says Miley. “I didn’t know you had those notes in you.”
“There is a new generation of outlaw country music that is happening and I will be damned if there is anybody in that group that can sing like you do,” says Blake.
Team Blake: Courtney Harrell
Blake’s save from the live round, Courtney Harrell, comes out swinging with Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.” She looks like a stunning super hero in a white cape, but the actual performance is about as strong as the plot of Armageddon. It’s shaky in the lower register and goes off the rails toward the end. Sadly, she may not have achieved the only mission of not being the worst.
“You just went for it,” says Alicia. “We’ve watched you continue to just shine.”
“What you just did is evidence to me that I made the right choice,” says Blake of his save. “You’re having your moment right now.”
Team Miley: Darby Walker
Darby finally takes a break from her falsetto indie girl shtick to sing “Ruby Tuesday” by the Rolling Stones. Miley’s live round save unleashes more emotion in this song than all of her previous performance combined and replaces her usual yodel with a unique rasp.
“I can’t express to you enough how important that performance was for you to stop relying so much on falsetto and give you that full voice performance,” says Blake.
“There’s one line in there and it says, ‘Don’t ask her why she needs to be so free/ She’s gonna tell you it’s the only way to be,’ and I think she represents that,” says Miley, only slightly modifying the original lyric.
Team Miley: Aaron Gibson It’s a risk to sing a lesser-known song in these audience elimination rounds, and one that may not pay off for Aaron Gibson. The raspy singer performs Father John Misty’s “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings,” and it’s a bit of a snooze fest with a small Voice and Father John Misty crossover crowd to download it. On the plus side, it isn’t the worst.
“You have the responsibility to be a singer because with that voice on you it would be a disservice the world,” says Adam. “It’s so special and distinct and beautiful.”
“You covering Father John Misty tonight. That’s the lane I could see you going in after the show,” says Miley. “I really want to have you stick around.”
Team Miley: Ali Caldwell
Ali Caldwell is the standout contestant on Team Miley, and it looks like Miley knows it. The coach gives her contestant the timely Leonard Cohen song “Did I Ever Love You” and all but hands her the performance of the night. Blake even mumbles, “New frontrunner,” as Ali wraps up.
“That was a real moment,” says Alicia. “This song choice, y’all two, couldn’t be better timing.”
“I’m proud of you every single time,” says Miley. “We’re in this for the win, honey!”
Team Alicia: Christian Cuevas
Christian knows that it only takes two things to make sure a crowd goes wild: a Coldplay cover and an audience who will clap for anything. Although he adds a few unique twists and runs to “The Scientist,” it’s not his best performance. But again, we’re not going for best: we’re going for not the worst.
“Everyone knows that you feel what you’re doing,” says Adam, adding, “I wish you were on my team.”
“I’m just so proud of you,” says Alicia. “You have this uncanny ability to take any song from anywhere and make it yours.”
Team Alicia: Sa’Rayah
Alicia’s save, Sa’Rayah, goes the route of crowd pleaser and sings Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer” – or at least a loose interpretation of the lead vocals of the song. She hits some big notes in the chorus, but wobbles and falls out of the pocket during the verses.
“I love seeing you in that [rock] space,” says Miley. “You are doing something that I don’t think anyone would have you do.”
“That was so good. My favorite thing about watching you perform is sometimes she hits notes that the look on her face says I can’t even believe what’s coming out of my mouth,” says Blake.
“I just continue to be wowed by you, not only as an incredible vocalist but as a true artist,” says Alicia.
Team Alicia: Wé McDonald
Get your #TeamWe t-shirts ready, because the 17-year-old prodigy comes back from a shaky performance last week to wow in the Top 12. Wé’ sings Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” and is a total showstopper rocking out to the song. She’s the one to beat on Team Alicia.
“It means so much – don’t you think, Alicia, to have all of these people loving on you?’ Miley.
“You are the real deal,” says Alicia. “You are somebody that no one can ever forget. You are unforgettable, and I’m so proud of you.”
Team Adam: Billy Gilman
Consider Billy Gilman’s child star status shed, because his performance of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On” is obsession-worthy. It’s not only technically strong, as all of his performances tend to be, but also ambitious and filled with emotion. Perhaps he should start going by William Gilman to celebrate.
“As great of a singer as you were then when you were 10 years old, you are a million times better as an adult,” says Blake, basically saying everything Billy has been waiting to hear for decades.
“What could possibly epitomize the show more than someone who sings the way that you do with the emotion and conviction that you do and at the level that you do?” says Adam.
Team Adam: Josh Gallagher
Adam Levine has dreamed of winning The Voice with a country artist ever since NBC manufactured his Blake Shelton bromance rivalry, but it’s not looking like it’s going to be this country artist. Josh sings an off-key version of Jason Aldean’s “Why,” and it seems to drag on forever in flat land.
“I will say that you do deserve to still be in this competition,” says Josh’s former coach, Blake.
“No one works harder than Josh,” says Adam. “No one means it more than you.”
Team Adam: Brendan Fletcher
Closing out the night is Adam’s Live Round save, Brendan Fletcher. His performance of the Allman Brothers Band’s “Whipping Post” wins the award for the most gravelly of the season, and will absolutely make your throat hurt listening to it. Articulation is a problem, but it’s more energetic than anything he’s brought to the table to this point.
“I feel the battle brewing between you and Aaron [Gibson], because as long as we’ve gone on this show without voices like you guys now there’s two of them on the show,” says Blake.
“I’m amazed by you because this guy was not this guy for a long time,” says Adam. “This guy deserves to be voted through.”
One contestant will be eliminated on this evening’s results show, which will include an Instant Save. As nail-biting as the results shows typically are, at the very least it promises to be less stressful than last Tuesday’s voting results.