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Season 12’s top 10 performed live on NBC’s The Voice on Monday night, all fighting for a spot in next week’s semifinals. Coaches Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani and Alicia Keys got their artists ready for this high-stakes part of the season. The artists also brought their moms to their rehearsals in honor of Mother’s Day, singing songs dedicated to their mothers.
Team Adam’s Jesse Larson was up first, bringing his stepmom along to rehearsal. He chose to sing Morris Day and the Time’s “Jungle Love,” which he said he has played a thousand times in his band. Larson said it was going to be his hardest performance yet, stressing the fact that he would have to bring it on the performance level in addition to nailing the vocals. Larson succeeded, giving a solid blues performance and looking confident onstage. For the second week in a row, Larson proved his ability to take any song and make it his own with strong musical instincts. Keys said that the song choice demanded attention to energy and character, adding that Larson delivered it all, taking his performing to a whole new level. “Dude, you are a superstar!” Levine said.
Team Blake’s Aliyah Moulden brought her mom and grandma to meet Shelton. Moulden decided to do something new by singing a slower song, connecting with the lyrics of “Jealous” by Labrinth, saying that she was singing it to and about her father, who passed away when she was very young. It was a gorgeous performance, and Moulden proved once again that her very young age doesn’t mean she isn’t a seasoned and impressive artist capable of winning the whole thing. She became visibly overwhelmed by her emotions while singing, but she didn’t let it take away from the vocals. “You got lost in the moment, and that’s all anybody can expect an artist to do,” Shelton said. “We all cried with you.”
Vanessa Ferguson of Team Alicia chose to sing “Doo Wop (That Thing)” by Lauryn Hill, which was such a perfect song choice for her. Keys helped her on the arrangement, and together they created something amazing. Keys said this was the first time viewers would see the actual Vanessa, and the artist did not disappoint, giving us a glimpse of what kind of singer she hopes to be. She sang with confidence and charm, nailing the rap parts of the song as well. It was one of the most original performances of the night. “Lauryn Hill is impossible to emulate, because she does it all,” Levine said, adding that Ferguson did an amazing job and that Hill would be proud.
Team Adam’s Mark Isaiah, who has been in the bottom two for the past two weeks but secured the instant save both times, was up next. Like Moulden, he switched gears from what he typically does, singing “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles and playing the piano as he delivered the emotional, delicate ballad. “That was a whole different side of you,” Stefani said.
Shelton took the stage next to perform his new single, “Every Time I Hear That Song.”
Team Alicia’s Tennessee soul singer Chris Blue was up next, introducing his mom to Keys and sharing his plans to sing a song that gives him joy: “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars. He hoped to let loose, and that’s exactly what he did, giving an energetic and free performance without losing the vocals. Of all the artists left in the competition, he’s the best performer, his dance moves unparalleled. He got standing ovations from Keys, Shelton and Stefani. “I think you’re going to be in the finale,” Shelton said. Keys pointed out that the performance was all Blue’s vision. “You just showed me and all of America that you are unstoppable,” she said.
Team Adam’s pop vocalist Lilli Passero, who described her mom, also a singer, as energetic and multitalented, sang a song that has never been done on the show before: “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole. Levine told her to really rely on her phrasing with her delivery of the classic. It was Passero’s personal best performance on the show, perfectly exemplifying the balance between classic and current that she hopes to evoke as an artist. “I love how you interpret songs,” Keys said.
Lauren Duski of Team Blake was up next, singing “Tell Me Why” by Wynonna Judd, who called Duski to offer some advice. Duski had fun with the song and gave a high-energy, engaging performance. “You are like a living country Barbie doll with a guitar,” Stefani said, adding praise to Shelton for being a great coach. “Every time you get on the stage, I think you’re accepting the fact that you can do this,” Shelton said, adding that the confidence issues she used to have are gone now. “You are the missing piece in country music right now.”
Team Gwen’s innovative artist Hunter Plake sang Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” for his mom, who taught him how to play the drums. In typical Plake fashion, he gave a layered and artistic performance that highlighted his strong musical intuition and creativity. Levine said he took the song and turned it into something that makes sense for the present. “I see you so comfortable and so happy up there,” Stefani said of his performing, adding that he’s the real deal.
Team Blake’s TSoul followed with a performance of “At This Moment” by Billy Vera & the Beaters. Shelton said TSol’s vintage sound has kept him in the game. TSoul gave a dynamic and moving performance, his powerful voice giving a sense of urgency to the lyrics. It’s hard to imagine a semifinal that doesn’t include him. “You just bought yourself a ticket to the top eight,” Shelton said, emphasizing that it was the best he has ever sung on the show.
Team Gwen’s classic country singer Brennley Brown closed out the top 10 performances with her rendition of “Anyway” by Martina McBride. In rehearsal, Stefani encouraged her to really think about the lyrics and make sure her interpretation is authentic. Her performance was impressive, sure to please her country-loving fans. She earned the big moments at the end of the song. “You’re inspirational for a lot of young people out there,” Shelton said.
Two artists will be eliminated Tuesday night, and the remaining eight will advance to the semifinals. Who do you hope to see in the semifinals?
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