7:18pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'The Voice': Final Four Debut Singles
After months of intense performances, the final four contestants of season eight went head-to-head on The Voice tonight. Koryn Hawthorne and Sawyer Fredericks from Team Pharrell, Joshua Davis from Adam Levine’s team, and Meghan Linsey from Blake Shelton’s team competed in the finale, singing three times for America’s vote. Christina Aguilera had no artists in the finale. The artists sang duets with their coaches and also debuted their first singles.
The first up was Hawthorne, who prior to competing on The Voice was just a junior in high school working at a pizza shop. Now, she’s just one step away from a record deal. Hawthorne was originally on Team Christina before Pharrell stole her in the Knockouts. For her first song, she sang “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” by James Brown, and it was the perfect song choice for her impressively low and booming voice. She took command of the stage and set the bar high for the evening. “That performance right there proves why you deserve to be in this finale,” Shelton said.
Next, Linsey took the stage. Linsey’s journey on The Voice has been a bit different from the others. Prior to competing on the show, she already had a career in music, but The Voice marks the beginning of her solo career after her breakup with her ex-boyfriend led to her band’s split. First, she sang an original song she wrote when in a bad relationship. “I want to empower women. That’s my goal as an artist,” she said when explaining the inspiration for the song to Shelton. Singing “Change My Mind,” Linsey hit all the emotional beats as well as the notes, showing off her soulful sound.
Fredericks, the youngest contestant left in the competition, sang a duet of “Summer Breeze” with Pharrell for his first performance. It was a fine performance, but it was a little one-note, and both of their voices were swallowed up by the band a bit.
In his first performance of the night, Davis debuted his first single, which he wrote about his time growing up in Detroit. Levine praised him for not just writing another love song. His hook wasn’t quite as catchy as Linsey’s, but he gave a solid performance, one that leaned into his indie folk roots. Davis’s former coach Shelton praised his songwriting abilities. “This isn’t just you writing a song. This is you writing a fantastic song,” Levine said.
Next, Fredericks debuted his single, called “Please” and written by Ray LaMontagne. It was a really gorgeous song that was consistent with his point of view as an artist, as well as his unique sound. Fredericks didn’t sound like anyone else in season eight, and he doesn’t really sound like anyone else on the radio. That originality has kept him in the competition because he has the technical abilities to back it up.
Pharrell joined Hawthorne on stage for their duet of a funky rendition of “We Can Work It Out.” It was a fun and bouncy performance, and the two sounded great together.
Carson Daly sat down with Davis and his coach, Levine, to talk about Davis’ journey on the season, starting with when he chose Shelton during the Blind Auditions. Levine has been really great for Davis, helping him open up and find his point of view. Next, Davis sang “Hallelujah” for his second performance. There was a level of impulsiveness to the performance that we haven’t previously seen from Davis, whose usual downside is his restraint. But he took a very classic song and made it his own, finally letting go.
Linsey and Shelton then sang a duet of Aretha Franklin’s “Freeway Of Love,” with Shelton on the guitar. Linsey sounded great once again. She can sing just about anything. Davis also dueted with Levine, singing “Diamonds on The Soles of Her Shoes” by Paul Simon.
Hawthorne debuted her single, which was written by her coach Pharrell. He revealed that he had been struggling to finish writing the song until Hawthorne came along, and he realized it was the right song for her. Singing “Bright Fire,” Hawthorne lit up the stage again. It wasn’t as tight as her first performance, as there was a sense that she isn’t quite fully comfortable with the song yet, but it was still very strong. And Pharrell was right. It was the right song for her.
Daly spoke with Linsey next about her journey, which has been full of pretty much only high points. Linsey has been a frontrunner since the beginning, and she continued her strong showing in the finale, singing “When a Man Loves a Woman” for her final performance. According to Shelton, it was the top performance of the night.
Fredericks talked about how crazy it was coming from just performing at farmers markets to suddenly being on a weekly competition show. Despite the huge jump, Fredericks seemed to settle nicely into The Voice, never looking unsure of himself on stage. He closed out the night with a performance of “Old Man,” and the coaches loved it.
Tonight’s votes will determine who wins season eight of The Voice. Will Shelton take home another championship? Which artist has your vote?