‘The Voice’ recap: More than one artist gets the crowd on their feet as we near the semi-finals
Two things I truly cannot believe: It’s now December and we’ve narrowed down our Voice contestants to just ten. Ten! Now more than ever, it’s hitting home that one of these artists will soon be crowned The Voice winner and get to bring that weird “V” shaped trophy home. What a world! Of course, before we get to that moment, the ten artists left standing have another round of performances to deliver in order to win one of eight spots in next week’s semi-finals. Plus, we get a performance from Kane Brown. Whew. That’s a lot of music to get through. Let’s get started!
Team Gwen: Rose Short, “God’s Country”
Rose brings her parents to rehearsal and now we’re all crying. All they want for their daughter is for her to be happy, and now she’s finally happy. Her parents know what they’re doing because they’re also the ones who pick this giant Blake Shelton song to tackle. It’s a beast and so is Rose and holy hell, she comes out in a gold number that screams superhero and THROWS IT DOWN. In other news, I’d like to live in Rose’s lower register, if that could be arranged. Even Blake is clapping along as Rose takes this song full rock-gospel in the end. He admits Rose’s version is making him rethink his own arrangement. That’s a big compliment!
Team Legend: Marybeth Byrd, “Lose You to Love Me”
This week, Team Legend gets to rehearse at John Legend‘s house and hi, hello, he is accompanying them on the piano. A true dream! Marybeth is excited to take on this Selena Gomez song, even though she’s in a solid relationship now, the girl has suffered some heartbreak. That’s the only way to sell this one, a punch to the heart in the form of a song. Kelly Clarkson was moved by the staging (so many mirrors!), and Gwen Stefani was impressed with how well Marybeth took such a personal song and made it her own. And, of course, Coach Legend is proud of how well Marybeth built the story — he calls it her most artistic performance to date.
Team Blake: Kat Hammock, “You’re Still the One”
Kat was offered a spot to audition for The Voice after getting noticed on YouTube, and now here she is singing a Shania Twain mega-hit while fighting for a spot in the semi-finals. What! A! World! Coach Black Shelton thinks it is the perfect time for Kat to get back to poppy romantic songs. The coaches are all into it, Gwen points out the incredible way Kat bends notes to make arrangements of popular songs very much her own. Blake, meanwhile, is so fired up he has to be told to sit down. He tells his artist that her voice is as if the “angel on top of his Christmas tree” has just busted out into song. Blake likes her a lot, in case you haven’t figured that out.
Team Kelly: Shane Q, “Caribbean Queen (No More Love On the Run)”
After gutting us all emotionally with his Instant Save pick “Jealous,” Shane Q is going with a Billy Ocean bop, one of his dad’s favorite songs. A risky choice, for sure! In rehearsal, Coach Kelly Clarkson recommends ditching the ’80s synth and making the song a little more bluesy. It’s not Shane’s best vocal, but you can see that he hasn’t lost that confidence boost he pulled out of seemingly nowhere last week. John Legend felt the Michael McDonald vibes and also notes that he can see Shane’s growth as a performer. Kelly Clarkson is glad to see him finally coming out of his shell and having a good time. This is supposed to be fun, after all.
Team Kelly: Jake Hoot, “That Ain’t My Truck”
Jake is dedicating this Rhett Akins song to his cousin, a marine who died in combat nine years ago. Thankfully, this is an uptempo country classic so we’re not just weeping the entire time. Coach Clarkson reminds Jake that he’s been the top streaming artist twice now, and the woman can hardly contain herself when she starts to think about Jake’s future career. She compares him to THE GARTH BROOKS. All of her gushing isn’t misplaced — Jake always sounds like a professional up on the stage, and this song is no different from his big ballads. Gwen Stefani tells Jake this is his best performance yet, she loves how relaxed he is on stage. Blake Shelton begrudgingly gives kudos to Jake’s coach Kelly for guiding him so well. “Hell has frozen over,” Kelly responds, before giving all the credit to Jake Hoot, who is a natural.
Team Gwen: Joana Martinez, “Impossible”
Coach Gwen Stefani is excited for Joana to take on “Impossible,” a song written by Alicia Keys and sung by Christina Aguilera, which is all about vocal gymnastics. Gwen also wants the 16-year-old to play up the theatrics in this number and show off some personality. A tall order! John Legend is impressed by Joana’s high notes, but also by her poise and confidence. Coach Gwen, too, is impressed that the youngster so easily commands the stage. It still remains unclear what kind of album Joana would release, but for now, she is just tacking power vocal after power vocal. Is that a winning tactic? Time will tell!
Team Legend: Katie Kadan, “Rolling in the Deep”
It was only a matter of time before Katie put her power behind Adele. Katie is a treasure and we are all lucky to have our ears blessed by her voice and our eyes blessed to see her truly fabulous glasses. Obviously, she crushes this. She gets the entire room completely fired up with that breakdown at the end and, yes, some choreography. Blake Shelton can only pontificate about possible conspiracy theories to explain how Katie Kadan is on this show and not off having an insanely successful music career yet. Kelly, too, gushes about how much Katie stands apart from the rest, not just because of her powerful vocals (growl! growl! growl!), but because of the joy she exudes.
Team Kelly: Hello Sunday, “Stone Cold”
This Demi Lovato song might seem a little dark for 14-year-olds, but as the girls explain to Kelly Clarkson, they really connect with this choice. Chelsea has been suffering from Type 1 diabetes since she was three, and both girls are able to channel that struggle into the emotion of this song. They’re all crying by the end of rehearsal, so prepare yourselves. The duo is, of course, always lauded for their harmonies, but let’s also take a minute to appreciate those low notes they’re hitting at the top of this song. Like rehearsal, Hello Sunday ends in unison and with an emotional hug, and Coach Kelly Clarkson couldn’t be prouder of the maturity her teens showed on such a big night.
Team Blake: Ricky Duran, “Born Under a Bad Sign”
Ricky is headed back into his blues lane with this Albert King jam. Coach Blake Shelton approves of the choice because 1) he wants him to take risks, 2) he knows Ricky has a real connection to the song, and 3) it gives Ricky a chance to wail on the guitar. It turns out to be a great song choice for all of those reasons, especially No. 3. And yes, the show is called The Voice, but the guitar helps define and set Ricky apart as an artist. Also, he performs with fire behind him. Fire! Which, as it happens, is basically Coach Blake’s critique of the performance.
Team Legend: Will Breman, “My Body”
The Will Breman-John Legend bromance is real and it is strong. Coach Legend is just as excited to be rehearsing this song with Will as Will is to have John Legend accompany him on piano. Will is also pumped to be singing such a big song, bringing him back to his high school days as the lead of a metal band. There will be yelling, you guys, but in a very cool, very rock-n-roll, very Will Breman way. It is the perfect closer for the night — the amount of energy Will brings to this one, it feels like we’re at his concert and his time on a nationally televised singing competition is long behind him. As Kelly puts it, it feels like everyone else was his opening act and this was his show.
Things are getting serious now, folks. Who are you hoping to see in next week’s semi-finals?
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A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.