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The top eight artists of The Voice’s 11th season performed in Monday’s semifinal episode, with coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Alicia Keys and Miley Cyrus all hoping to take an artist to next week’s finals. The artists also sang duets to fill the time.
Team Alicia’s Christian Cuevas got things started with the worship song “To Worship You I Live” by Israel Houghton. This was Cuevas truly in his element, and Keys barely had to help him get ready for the show because of how comfortable he was with this song choice. He sang part of the song in Spanish and brought a lot of emotion and soul to the performance. It was powerful and one of his best so far this season. Levine said he wished Cuevas was on his team. “I saw you lose yourself,” Keys said. Cuevas seemed undoubtedly finals-bound.
In the first duet of the night, Team Alicia’s Wé McDonald and Team Miley’s Aaron Gibson sang “Four Five Seconds” by Paul McCartney, Rihanna and Kanye West. Even though they’re an unexpected match, they sounded great together. McDonald stood out, though. She has such a unique sound that it was hard for Gibson to sound like he wasn’t just backup.
Team Miley’s Ali Caldwell sang “I Will Always Love You” next, and Cyrus was certain that the performance would be one of the semifinal’s boldest. Caldwell said that Whitney Houston is her idol, and Cyrus suggested bringing some of songwriter Dolly Parton’s version into the arrangement. The final performance was Caldwell’s best of the season, with Caldwell blending the styles of Houston and Parton but also bringing her own touch to the song. There was magnificent momentum to the performance, and Caldwell transcended genre. Keys praised her restraint, and Cyrus was blown away by how successfully Caldwell combined the two styles.
Team Adam’s Brendan Fletcher was up next, singing a no-frills rendition of “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan. “I believe that Brendan can get to the finals,” Levine said after rehearsing with his artist. This week, Fletcher’s understated style of singing was the right call. The performance was gorgeous, and Fletcher’s tender vocals were immediately captivating. Levine urged viewers to vote for Fletcher, touting him as something different. Fletcher definitely has interesting artistry, but he doesn’t really seem to be The Voice winner material. There are other more exciting and versatile artists in the competition.
Next up, Team Blake’s Sundance Head and Team Adam’s Josh Gallagher sang Joe Cocker’s “Feelin’ Alright.” The season’s two remaining country artists fared well together, both accompanying themselves on the guitar and having a great time onstage. Their duet injected some energy back into the night.
Team Alicia’s young singer McDonald followed, opting to sing “Scars to Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara. It was a great song choice for her. McDonald has had so much momentum over the course of the season, and singing a bold pop song this week was the right call. She matched strong vocals with strong presence, convincingly singing through the emotions of the song’s lyrics and bringing her unique tone to the performance. The youngest artist left in the competition could win it all. Cyrus said the performance showed her what McDonald’s tour might look like, praising the way she used the stage and the set.
Team Miley’s Gibson, who has been in the bottom for three weeks in a row, was hoping to really prove himself tonight. Cyrus suggested he sing “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” by Bryan Adams, hoping that the well-known song would invigorate viewers. Even though this was another understated performance for Gibson, he reached a much bolder place than he usually does, and it was one of his first song choices that viewers could actually sing along to. Would it be enough to finally keep Gibson out of the bottom?
Cuevas and Team Adam’s Billy Gilman performed a duet of “Unsteady” next, and they had a lot of fun with it. Both artists seem really sure of who they are.
Team Adam’s Gallagher returned to the stage for a softer country song, singing “Danny’s Song” by Loggins and Messina. Levine really worked with him in rehearsal in order to make it sound fresh and different. It wasn’t the most exciting performance, but it was solid, showcasing Gallagher’s overall sound and vibe. His tone is warm and lovely, and it was nice to see him do something simple and unembellished. “I know you know that you nailed that,” Levine said, proud of his artist. “Vocally, feel-wise, I thought that was the best of the night so far,” he added. It was good, but Levine’s praise was a bit of a stretch.
Caldwell and Fletcher did a rocking duet of “It’s Only Love” by Bryan Adams and Tina Turner. Even though they don’t really factor into the results, the duets were the most fun part of the night, keeping the energy high and being so entertaining that it was almost easy to forget they were just filler.
Head confidently opted to sing one of the biggest songs in country music history, taking on “Love Can Build a Bridge” by The Judds. It was Shelton’s idea, and Head rolled with it. There was a lot of pressure on Head to do it justice, and he truly did, showing range and impressive artistry. Shelton was pleased with the pure country sound. Indeed, Head’s coach congratulated him on an overall impressive and defining performance.
Team Adam’s Gilman closed out the night with a song choice that really reflected who he wants to be as an artist. Gilman has transcended his country roots, becoming the big pop artist he wants to be. This week, he sang “I Surrender” by Celine Dion. It was a showstopper — a brilliant end to the semifinal performance. He pulled viewers in and was bold and theatrical without being banal. He had incredible dynamics and huge vocals, closing out the night on a high note. Levine was practically left speechless. He noted that the other coaches looked shocked while Gilman was singing. “It’s hard for Celine Dion to sing a Celine Dion song,” he added.
Only four artists can progress to next week’s finals. Four will be eliminated in Tuesday night’s episode. Who do you think it should be?
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