7:58am PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'The Voice': Top 11 Sing for America's Vote
With the elimination of Mark Hood last week, season nine of The Voice is now down to 11 artists. The top 11 took the stage on Monday, and only 10 will advance after America’s votes are tallied. The artists’ family members dropped by the rehearsals this week to offer advice to and insight into the contestants.
First up was Shelby Brown, Adam Levine’s country artist. She decided to sing “You and I” by Lady Gaga. With both rock and country influences, the song was a strong choice for Brown and seems to be the precise sound she’s going for as an artist. It was a great start to the night, and she attacked the song, looking the most confident she ever has looked. It was Blake Shelton’s favorite performance of hers so far. “I can see you doing a song like that for sure,” said Gwen Stefani.
Team Pharrell’s Evan McKeel went next, singing “Smile” by Nat King Cole. McKeel has a throwback voice that was well-suited for the song. He gave an incredibly intimate performance, and even though he accompanied himself on the guitar, it didn’t feel like he was hiding behind his instrument. McKeel created a strong connection with the audience, which likely will earn him votes.
Barrett Baber from Team Blake sang “Delta Dawn,” which gave him the chance to show off the rock and country sides of his sound. Baber gave an exciting performance, working the stage and never letting his vocals slip. He put on a show, and the coaches loved it. Baber might not have the most impressive range in the competition, but he knows how to perform.
Last week’s recipient of the instant save, Korin Bukowski from Team Gwen, performed next. In her rehearsal, her dad shared that Stefani’s “Just a Girl” was an early favorite of young Bukowski. For her live performance, she decided to sing “Only Hope” by Mandy Moore. It was a gorgeous performance, but it was almost too similar to her instant-save performance from last week. Bukowski needs to show that she can tackle up-tempo songs in addition to the beautiful ballads. Her vocals weren’t perfect, and Bukowski could find herself singing for the save again soon.
After her fun take on “Hotline Bling” last week, Team Adam’s Amy Vachal worked with Levine to do something a little different. She performed a stripped-down, soft version of “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift. The arrangement had a more complex melody than the original recording, which really allowed Vachal to show off her voice. She also played with dynamics, leading to a mesmerizing performance that had all the coaches giving her high praise. As Levine put it, Vachal has been the best this season at bringing her own style and artistry to every song that she sings.
Coach Pharrell took the stage to perform his single “Freedom” before the next artist, Zach Seabaugh, was up. Seabaugh is easily Team Blake’s most versatile artist. On Monday, he decided to lean into his country side with “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” by Thompson Square. The performance played to his strengths and made it clear that he is Team Blake’s strongest asset.
Team Pharrell’s Madi Davis took the stage next, singing “Love Is Blindness” by Jack White. It was a bold song choice, and it led to one of the best performances of the evening. Davis’ vocals were incredible, and she was the most confident she has been all season. She also conveyed all the emotions of the song. She got a standing ovation from all four coaches, and Pharrell even got on the stage to give her a hug. It was different from anything else she has done so far. Davis just proved she has what it takes to win. “I had no idea you had that in you,” said Levine.
The youngest artist in the competition, Braiden Sunshine from Team Gwen, took on “True” by Spandau Ballet. He managed to bring some of himself to the song, and even though it wasn’t necessarily his best performance, it was a solid one. He has impressive control and stage presence and likely will continue to the next round.
Team Adam’s Jordan Smith returned to his strengths by singing “Who You Are” by Jessie J. He really connected with the lyrics, and it came through in his powerful performance. Smith has been a frontrunner since the Blind Auditions, and it’ll be shocking if he doesn’t make it to the next round of the competition — and if he isn’t in the finals this season. “You’re one of the best performers I know,” Levine told him.
Shelton worked on an arrangement of “Why Not Me” by The Judds for Emily Ann Roberts that highlighted her strengths as a young bluegrass vocalist. Roberts still hasn’t given a super-memorable performance, but she did sound strong tonight, and the coaches loved it. “You’re going to be around for a long, long time,” said Shelton.
Closing out the night, Team Gwen’s Jeffery Austin decided to sing the dance anthem “Dancing on My Own” by Robyn. He made the song his own, and it was his best and most memorable performance. He has a unique tone that gives his performances something special. Austin could be Stefani’s ticket to being the first female coach to win The Voice.
Who got your vote?