7:14pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'The Voice': Top 11 Sing Live for America's Vote
On Monday night, season 12’s top 11 gave live performances on NBC's The Voice, singing for America’s vote. Coaches Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine worked with the artists to reach their potential and show viewers what kind of artists they hope to be.
First up was Team Alicia’s Stephanie Rice, singing “Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who. In rehearsal, Keys compared her to Alanis Morissette. Keys helped with the arrangement, but Rice has strong musical intuition and style on her own. She played guitar and gave another haunting performance, showing a slightly different side to her abilities than last week’s performance of “White Flag.” Rice always has strong interpretations. Her former coach Stefani said it was incredible to watch her grow right before her eyes. “I feel like this was an original for you,” she said. “I can’t wait to hear your record.” Said Keys, “You’re blossoming like this powerful, feminine phenomenon."
Team Blake’s Aliyah Moulden was up next, singing “Take It Back” by Reba McIntire, a song Shelton said was tailor-made for Moulden. Indeed, it was perfect for her lower voice. Moulden put a lot of power behind the vocals and gave an energetic performance that made her seem like a seasoned artist despite being just 15 years old. She had just the right amount of growl. Keys said Moulden has established a signature production value to her performances, adding that she has only become more confident and stronger. “America is falling in love with you,” Shelton said.
TSoul from Team Blake followed with a performance of “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith. “I don’t know anybody who gets into their song as much as you,” Shelton said during their rehearsal. The versatile artist always gives an intensely emotional performance, much like Rice. In his performance, TSoul accompanied himself on the piano, eventually stepping out from behind it to connect with the audience. His vocals were tender but powerful. “You have this beautiful vibrato,” Keys said.
Team Adam’s Lilli Passero had recovered from her sickness this week, and Levine wanted her to really shine this week. He had her sing “Town Without Pity,” which was a great choice for her voice. She gave a sultry jazz performance, and it was the most exciting work she has done on the show so far. Passero proved Monday night that she has something special. Carson Daly compared it to a James Bond song. Keys said she completely lost herself in her own world while singing. ”It took so long for us to crack the code,” Levine said, suggesting that he and Passero had finally figured out the right type of song for her.
Hunter Plake from Team Gwen sang “All I Want” by Kodaline next. Stefani suggested that he add something a little more to the simple song, and Plake delivered with a strong, complex arrangement. Plake wanted to fill up the whole room with his performance, and he accomplished that. For the second week in a row, Plake gave an original, bold performance. He doesn’t necessarily have the top voice in the competition, but he is a layered and consistently exciting artist, and his high notes are stunning. Stefani said there has never been anyone like him on the show.
Team Alicia’s Vanessa Ferguson followed with “Diamonds” by Rihanna. It’s a tough song to sing, but Ferguson’s voice sounded great on it. She probably could have played with the arrangement a little more in order to make it her own, but Ferguson proved to have the range and emotional depth to really make her performance shine. She built momentum, earning the big ending. “I love your vibe,” Levine said. “You’ve got badass style.” Said Shelton, “I want her on my team."
Team Blake’s Lauren Duski chose to sing “Somewhere in My Broken Heart.” “It’s a sad song, but it’s also hopeful,” Duski said, adding that she tends to write songs like that. It was a solid country ballad, but it wasn’t the most exciting performance for this stage of the competition. Levine loved how simple it was. “I’m running out of great things to say about Lauren,” Shelton said. He also called her special, different and classic.
Team Adam’s Mark Isaiah, who barely escaped elimination last week, decided to sing “How to Love” by Lil Wayne. It’s a rhythmically complex song, but Isaiah was up for the challenge, hoping to up his game and impress viewers. It was one of the more creative performances of the night. “That feels like your song,” Stefani said. Levine made sure to point out that Isaiah has chosen his own songs every time in the live shows.
Jesse Larson from Team Adam chose to sing “Human,” and Levine worked with him on the arrangement. It was a very different performance for Larson, and his personal best in the competition. He proved he can do anything, and it’s hard to imagine him not advancing in the competition. Keys said he took the song to a whole new place. She was blown away with the performance, repeatedly saying “that didn’t even make sense” in shock.
Team Gwen’s young artist Brennley Brown chose to sing “River” by Joni Mitchell, which she used to perform in a coffee shop in her hometown. She kept the melody, but gave it the traditional country sound she favors. Brown broke into the top 10 in the iTunes overall charts last week, and she delivered another great performance on Monday night. “You turned it into a country song ... which was beautiful,” Levine said.
Closing out the night, Team Alicia’s Chris Blue sang “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Keys advised him to avoid ad-libbing in the beginning so that he could really let loose later on in the song. Blue gave an emotional performance, and his vocals remained strong throughout. He ended on a huge moment, dropping to his knees. It was the best overall performance of the night. “I felt like I was watching Marvin Gaye,” Keys said.
Two artists will have to perform for the instant save Tuesday night, and one will go home. Who got your vote tonight?