'The Voice' Recap: Top Five Step Up for Semifinals
Usher performs his new single, while the contestants tackle electronic, disco and some very ambitious pop anthems.
It's down to the top five on NBC's The Voice, and the semifinal round was an especially heated one -- only three singers will move forward to next week's finale.
Usher kicked off the two-hour broadcast with a performance of his new single "Twisted," demonstrating what all of his unconventional coaching exercises (ballroom dancing, boxing and building confidence with a mirror) can accomplish onstage.
After reinvigorating trips home for family reunions and national anthem honors, the top five singers each performed two songs Monday night. Blake Shelton is the only coach with two musicians still standing; Usher, Shakira and Adam Levine remain in the game with one each. Here's how they performed:
After getting a video greeting from Vince Gill while visiting Oklahoma, The Swon Brothers showed off more of a rock sound with Bob Seger's "Turn the Page," and dedicated the performance to their past and present band members. Shelton noted their musical growth over the season while Levine created a "Swon salute" for the duo's future sea of fans at concerts. Zach Swon then took to the piano for Anne Murray's "Danny's Song" with Cody Swon. Usher called them true artists for effectively teaching audiences unfamiliar to country music, and host Carson Daly even chimed in that the performance triggered childhood memories of the song to flood back to him.
Danielle Bradbery sang Tim McGraw's "Please Remember Me" (and received well wishes from the singer via video before the performance), free of flaws. "You're so graceful -- at your age to have that type of control, it's just remarkable," noted Usher. He would know -- he mentored Justin Bieber into stardom, after all. She then sang Jessica Andrews' "Who I Am" to her loved ones back home, and spurred Usher to express his thanks to his support system as well. "You are such a little star, and you're the cutest thing ever!" noted Shakira. "You're going to grow up to do great things."
Sasha Allen tackled Whitney Houston's rendition of "I Will Always Love You," keeping her children in mind. It's an iconic song that isn't easy to make unique, and Allen mirrored Houston's phrasing exactly -- which, in itself is a difficult task that deserves some respect. Levine said she conquered one of the toughest songs to sing, and Shakira added, "I think you made Whitney's fans really proud." After setting up her name in lights, she then sang Donna Summer's "Bad Girls" -- the first record Shakira ever had -- and earned unanimous praises, plus a standing ovation from Usher.
Michelle Chamuel sang the electronic hit "Clarity" by Zedd feat. Foxes -- her coach's way of helping her champion another genre while in the competition. "I'm always amazed at how dramatic you can be," said Shelton, who admitted he constantly hopes she screws up. She chose Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" to dedicate to Usher, who has mentored her through musical and emotional growth this season. "You are on a permanent crescendo, and I enjoy it every time you get up onstage," said Shakira, while Levine said she outdid season one champion Javier Colon, who auditioned with the track.
In dedication to her best friends, Amber Carrington took on Katy Perry's most vocally ambitious song, "Firework" (and got a piece of good luck from Perry beforehand as well). Shakira commended her for performing the "nightmare song" well, and Shelton praised her versatility beyond the country genre. In dedication to her family and friends, Carrington sang Maroon 5's "Sad" which was written by Levine and his guitarist, James Valentine. "The fact that you can make one of Adam's songs that beautiful, that's doing something!" teased Shelton. "I can't wait to buy your record."
The two singers with the lowest votes will be sent home Tuesday at 8 p.m. on NBC. The episode will feature a guest performance by season three runner-up, Scottish rocker Terry McDermott.
What did you think of tonight’s performances? Will a lady take the title once again, or will a duo win for the first time and make Voice history? Who had the best set tonight: Allen's disco stage or Chamuel's electronic dance club? Sound off in the comments section below.