12:08am PT by Ashley Lee
'The Voice': Top 8 Think They're Invincible and Take Big Creative Risks
Monday's episode of The Voice kicked off with a top-8 performance of Sheppard's "Geronimo," and undivided by their team affiliations for the first time this season, the truth onstage stared viewers in the face: there's only one lady left in season seven: DaNica Shirey. That fact was even more stark when they took the stage with Nick Jonas for his latest single, "Jealous."
Will the singer under Pharrell Williams' watch survive tomorrow's triple — yes, that's right, triple — elimination?
Shirey admitted she had trouble individualizing Heart's powerful ballad "These Dreams" in rehearsals, but onstage (with an all-female string section, noted Williams), she impressed Gwen Stefani for stepping outside her vocal comfort zone and "being tamed a little bit." Adam Levine said she could "sing the dictionary" and Blake Shelton applauded her strength and accuracy.
Stefani's twice-#Instantsaved singer Ryan Sill was asked to "anti-perform" for Journey's "Open Arms," and got some stage-presence tips form choreographer Jeri Slaughter. After the rendition, delivered with the necessary subtlety Stefani wanted, Levine noted that week after week, he hasn't deserved to be in the bottom-three, and Shelton called it his best performance yet.
Shelton's boomerang contestant Craig Wayne Boyd aimed to cross genres with Travis Tritt's version of "Take It Easy," originally performed by The Eagles. Williams considered the rendition of the classic refreshed by Boyd's authenticity, and Stefani said he already seemed like a well-groomed pro onstage.
Levine's Damien aimed to upgrade by stripping down emotionally, via Adele's untouchable "Someone Like You," and he showcased his ability to soar and simmer when appropriate for the fullest effect. Williams saluted his unstoppable falsetto, and Stefani sympathized with his perseverance after being shelved by a record label, like No Doubt was.
Team Adam's Chris Jamison got his coach dancing during rehearsal on Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing," and committed to the performance onstage, complete with a gospel close and followed by an endless applause (mostly from female fans). Williams said it was his best performance yet, and his ideal sound and vibe, while Stefani was nearly overwhelmed by his professionalism with the track.
Williams' Luke Wade aimed to update Simply Red's "Holding Back the Years" with a Maroon 5-like sound, and though it was vocally sound, Levine said he was visibly thinking too much during the performance, and Shelton said the "sparse" arrangement might've worked to his disadvantage. Williams defended the risky creative choice and highlighted Wade's versatility.
Team Gwen's Taylor John Williams put his dark, pop-less spin on Lorde's "Royals." With the altered melodies and key change, Pharrell Williams admitted that he usually doesn't like it when a cover strays so far from an original, but applauded his creative risk. Stefani clarified that the artistic vision completely belonged to the contestant, but was such a compliment actually her relinquishing ownership, in case it falls flat with viewers?
Levine's Matt McAndrew took his coach's advice and effectively sold Damien Rice's "The Blower's Daughter" while playing his acoustic guitar again. Shelton said it was "freakin' brilliant" and delivered so well with so few instruments onstage.
What did you think of tonight's performances — including Stefani and Williams' super bright "Spark the Fire" duet? Sound off in the comments below!