7:14pm PT by Ashley Lee
'The Voice' Recap: Final 4 Debut Original Songs, Music Videos
The Voice is trying something new to ensure their next winner jumps from the finale to the charts.
On Monday night's episode, the last remaining competitors took the stage to debut original songs, penned with support from their coaches' creative teams. They also unveiled corresponding music videos for these immediately available singles — and though they all hail from different genres, some actually sound like viable, postshow hits. Maybe even career starters.
With Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams sidelined, it's down to just two veteran coaches and former champs — Adam Levine, whose three singers are untouched, and Blake Shelton, who's down to his last singer. Here's how the final four performed their new tracks, as well as a coach's pick and a duet:
Levine's Damien kicked off the episode with the oft-covered "A Song for You," but made it his own with his effortless, signature runs that showed him to be the most powerful wild-card pick. The ballad master also sailed alongside his coach on Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," and then performed his single "Soldier" from writers Johan Carlsson and Ashton Parson, and producer Max Martin. Initially, it seems like another song of self-empowerment that singing shows usually use to introduce their winner to listeners at large — which feels odd after already singing two ballads tonight. But of the four finalists, Damien was the best at selling his original track to the audience with his stage presence and facial expressions.
Team Adam's Chris Jamison sang the pop-minded "Velvet" from writers Elof, Kellen Pomeranz and Alex Lacasse and 1916 Management. The performance really showcased his mainstream sound, even though it was a bit muted and wasn't his strongest to date. Jamison also paired his falsetto with that of his coach for a steamy and scream-worthy (does that audience ever stop cheering for this guy?) duet on Robin Thicke's "Lost Without You," and closed his set with a cover of Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River." Basically, Jamison's set wants people to remember that he's marketable and eyeing superstardom, and already gets the girls in hysterics.
Levine's Matt McAndrew unveiled the heartbreaking original “Wasted Love,” from writers Brandon Lowry, Chantal Kreviazuk, Shimon Moore and Mike Fiorentino and 1916 Management. It blended his palpable emotions onstage with the shouts that he's made a name on so far. He also closed the show with "Over the Rainbow" — a risky choice that paid off. And for his coach's duet, he strummed alongside Levine to "Lost Stars" from his Mark Ruffalo-Keira Knightley film Begin Again, which is in the running for original song nominations this awards season. Maybe because it fit McAndrew's abilities so well anyway, but the self-serving song choice seemed much less disingenuous than when Christina Aguilera had Jacquie Lee duet with her on that Hunger Games: Catching Fire song, "We Remain." Altogether, lots of different sounds from the versatile singer tonight.
Shelton's last singer standing, Craig Wayne Boyd, debuted “My Baby’s Got a Smile on Her Face,” written by Mark Marchetti and Stephanie Jones, and originally written for Shelton. Though it's not the most memorable song, its chorus is easy to memorize and therefore sing along to. Of course, he performed the midtempo love song with ease onstage. Boyd and Shelton both picked up their guitars for a very personable duet of Randy Houser's "Boots On," and picked up the mic alone to tug at everyone's heartstrings on Alabama's family ballad "In Pictures." Altogether, he showed various sides and speeds of himself on the final night of voting — a smart set.
What did you think of tonight's finalists? Sound off in the comments below!