‘The Voice’: Watch Christian Cuevas Belt Out Lady Gaga’s “Million Reasons”
The Voice is already in the quarterfinals — in other words, you have two weeks left to decide whether you’re voting for Team Alicia Keys’ Wé McDonald or Team Adam Levine’s Billy Gillman to take it all. Sure, one of the others could pull the ultimate dark horse move and come out of absolutely nowhere to defeat the frontrunners, but there would probably have to be some form of hypnotism, bribery or Blake Shelton rallying the country fan base to get it done.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before jumping into Monday night’s performances from Maroon 5, Wé, Billy and the eight eventual runners-up, let’s take a moment to pour one out for the fallen contestant of the Top 11: Team Miley’s Darby Walker. Despite her gradual evolution into actual Miley Cyrus, she ultimately had to hand her shiny bell bottoms back to the costume department and leave. See you at the bring-back performances, Mini-Miley!
Along with the Top 10 contestant performances, Maroon 5 performed “Don’t Wanna Know.” Unfortunately, there were no crazy bug costumes or Kendrick Lamar involved, but it was sufficient enough to get the song stuck in the heads of the masses until the next Maroon 5 performance.
Enough with the housekeeping; on to the contestants! Here’s how the Top 10 made their cases to advance to the Top 8 semi-finals:
Team Adam: Billy Gilman
Eventual first or second place winner Billy Gilman goes back to his country roots with Martina McBride’s “Anyway” His range is out of this world, and all four coaches give the lead off performance a standing ovation.
“You just made me really nervous, and as a coach I’m flipping out,” says Miley. “It just heightened what you are, which is maybe the winner of The Voice.”
“It’s just amazing, Billy, that you can still astound me,” says Adam. “It really is a remarkable feat to be able to do all of the things that Billy Gilman just did.”
Team Adam: Josh Gallagher
Adam’s country singer, Josh Gallagher, is still kicking, and he’s really committed to making the black baseball cap the new cowboy hat. Josh sings Tim McGraw’s “Real Good Man,” and it’s on par with all of his other strong performances. He’s probably safe from elimination, which is a lovely consolation for his not-favorite-child status on Team Levine.
“That was fantastic,” says Alicia. “You were really in your element. I liked the way you controlled that feeling.”
“You’ve been really consistent throughout, but tonight a country star was on that stage,” says Adam. “I was blown away by you.”
Team Adam: Brendan Fletcher
Brendan Fletcher usually likes growling his way through alternative and classic rock songs, but tonight he growls his way through an ’80s pop song. Oddly, it’s just crazy enough to work. Brendan sings Cyndi Lauper’s ‘True Colors,” and, despite the song choice contempt gleaming in his eyes, it’s a standout.
“You just made ‘True Colors’— which I never really thought about—and your version of it specifically my new favorite song that I’m going to listen to on repeat,” says Miley. “I’m going to get it on iTunes.”
“You’re the first artist this season to take a song and artistically create a version that didn’t exist before, and that is so incredibly different and valuable that people are going to want to listen,” says Adam.
Team Blake: Courtney Harrell
Courtney’s performance has all the makings of a (temporary iTunes) chart topper, but it just falls flat…and then sharp…and then flat again. Her rendition of Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” is painfully shaky and off the mark — something that’s not easily forgiven at this stage of the competition.
“That voice comes out of you in a way that is relentless,” says Alicia. “I love the way that you take the expected and turn it on its head.”
“Even your stage presence and your personality came out like it’s never come out before,” says Blake. “You look like you were having the type of fun that you should be having on this show.”
Team Blake: Austin Allsup
While other contestants have sporadic wow moments, Austin Allsup has consistency on lock. He sings John Waite’s “Missing You,” and it’s just as solid (and semi-forgettable) as all of his other performances. The only major difference is that he performs it wearing a camo tuxedo, which is regrettably unforgettable.
“I just got teary eyed on that song, because when I believe somebody and what they’re saying I put myself in their shoes,” says Miley, adding, “It was really powerful.”
“You have this personality that comes out onstage,” says Blake. “This music comes out of him, this range, this power, and it’s so emotional.”
Team Blake: Sundance Head
In perhaps a Hail Mary move, Sundance Head looks to god to sway some voters, performing Tom T. Hall’s “Me And Jesus.” He gives it a bluegrass kick that takes it from the altar to the swamp, and earns a standing ovation from all four coaches. Praise the lord, indeed.
“You happen to take people’s heart everywhere you go,” says Alicia. “Every time you sing, I’m just right at home.”
“I just want to congratulate you more than anything. We’ve never experience any performance like that ever,” says Blake.
Team Alicia: Christian Cuevas
Being on the same team with Wé McDonald isn’t easy, but Christian Cuevas manages to hold his own. The soul singer performs Lady Gaga’s “Million Reasons.” After a couple of weeks of iffy performances, he returns to all of his early round glory.
“We all know what an incredible vocalist you are, and we’ve been waiting for that incredible moment,” says Blake. “I think you may have just had it.”
“I am so proud of this moment for you,” “I feel like an artist was born on this stage right now,” says Alicia. “
Team Alicia: Wé McDonald
No one on The Voice has swagger like Wé. Sure, her coach’s choice to start incorporating Wé’s opera background into a song at this critical moment was interesting, but the first 95 percent of her incredible performance of Billie Holiday’s “God Bless The Child” makes up for that last 5 percent of awkward trilling. And wow, does she work the crowd!
“There is nobody like you,” says Alicia, jumping up and down. “It’s just a really beautiful thing to appreciate and to honor the way that you’re bringing so much to it and showing so many sides of who you are.”
Team Miley: Aaron Gibson
After a brush with elimination in the bottom two last week, Aaron Gibson changes his approach to be less esoteric and more crowd-pleasing in the quarterfinals…to the extreme. Aaron adds a little bit of swamp to Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” and the crowd eats up a song they’ve heard before.
“Regardless of how far you go, I just feel like you’re establishing yourself,” says Adam. “I’m a huge fan of yours.”
“I’m covered in glitter, but you don’t need glitter and glam,” Miley says. “You chose the song and you chose the arrangement because that’s what you want to be, an artist.”
Team Miley: Ali Caldwell
Miley’s powerhouse singer Ali Caldwell closes out the night with a Mariah Carey-inspired performance of Harry Nilsson’s “Can’t Live Without You.” She takes quite a bit of creative license on the melody, which doesn’t particularly improve the song. But her on-point vocals earn a standing ovation from all four coaches.
(Or maybe it’s her dress and the wind machine. Who can be sure?)
“I felt like I won in the Blind [Auditions] just by having Ali choose me as her coach,” says Miley. “My new goal in my life is to just make you the biggest star in the world.”
It should be fun to track Miley’s selfless efforts to make Ali the “biggest star in the world,” which will certainly continue well after the season finale slash whenever Ali gets eliminated. Certainly.
Eight contestants advance to the semi-finals tonight, amidst performances by Dolly Parton, Jennifer Nettles and Pentatonix. Who do you think made the cut?