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Part one of The Voice’s two-night season-nine finale tonight saw the final four artists have three chances to sing, including their Christmas favorites as well as duets with their coaches.
Adam Levine’s Jordan Smith kicked off the night with a performance of “Climb Every Mountain” from The Sound of Music, which showcased his impressive range and vocal control. Smith has the best technical skills of the final four, which makes him able to tackle any type of song. He hit one of his signature high notes at the end of his first performance and got a standing ovation from Levine, Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams.
Next, Team Blake’s Emily Ann Roberts got into the holiday spirit and sang “Blue Christmas.” It was an understated but lovely performance that played to her strengths and encapsulated what has been her style since the beginning. “You’re the real deal,” Levine said.
Barrett Baber followed with a duet of “Rhinestone Cowboy” with his coach, Shelton. The throwback country song was a bit different for Baber, but his voice sounded strong and he wasn’t overshadowed by Shelton. It wasn’t the best song choice, but Baber still had two more performances to make an impression.
Team Gwen’s Jeffery Austin sang “O Holy Night” next, and the arrangement was great, allowing him to show off the power in his voice. It was a dynamic performance, and he managed to make a well-known classic sound like his own by bringing his personal artistry to it.
Levine joined Smith for the next performance. They sang a duet of “God Only Knows,” and their voices didn’t blend super well, but it was still an engaging performance. They probably would have been better suited to a contemporary pop song.
After reflecting on his journey, Baber took the stage again for a performance of “Die a Happy Man.” He really connected with the emotions of the song, and it was much stronger than his first performance. “I don’t know that I’ve ever worked with anybody who puts more heart into their performances than you,” Shelton said.
After her success with “9 to 5,” Emily Ann Roberts sang another Dolly Parton song with her coach, Shelton. They sang a duet of “Islands In the Stream,” and their harmonies sounded great. Dolly is a great fit for Roberts.
Austin reflected on his progress in the competition and noted that the start of the Live Playoffs were a real turning point for him. Austin has really flourished in the second half of the season, and his hard work has paid off. For his second performance of the night, he sang “Stay” by Sugarland, and it played to all of his strengths. Austin always does well with emotional power songs, and tonight was no exception. “You snuck up on all of us,” Shelton said.
For his Christmas song, Baber sang “Silent Night” and put some of his country style into it. The vocals weren’t perfect at the beginning of the performance, but it sounded better as he went on. The coaches were still unanimously impressed, and Levine was at a loss for words because of how consistently good Baber had been the past several weeks.
Austin sang a duet of “Leather and Lace” with Stefani. The song choice was perfect, and both of their voices sounded great on it. It was the best duet of the night and one of the most memorable performances overall.
Smith sang “Mary Did You Know” for his Christmas song, and it was unsurprisingly spectacular. He earned a standing ovation from all four coaches. Levine shared that he had picked a different song for Smith but that the artist decided at the last minute to go a different direction and sing this song. He made the right call, because it led to an exceptional performance.
It was a tough act to follow, but Roberts closed out the night with a solid performance of “Burning House” by Cam. Roberts had never sung a contemporary country song before, but she took the risk and tried something new, and it paid off. It was her strongest performance of the night.
Tomorrow night, season nine’s winner will be announced in the two-hour finale. Who do you think it should be?
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