The Top 5 performers took to the stage on NBC’s “The Voice” Monday night to battle it out for a spot in the Season 7 Final 3. With so few contestants left in the competition by this time, each was given two songs to prove why they should get a shot at advancing past the 2014 semifinals.
The first round of songs were all picked for the performers by their individual judges, with the exception of Pharrell Williams, who lost his two remaining performers during last week’s results show. In the second round, the performers chose songs that reflected their roots after each one paid a visit to their respective hometowns.
There were no wrong answers in this year’s talented crop of Top 5 singers and the comments from the judges were basically a love fest for those that remain. Below is a brief review of each singer’s stage time in what was by far the most even night of performances in Season 7 thus far.
Damien "She's Out of My Life" (Michael Jackson) and "I Don't Want To Wait" (Paula Cole)
Team Adam's first singer of the evening opened things up with a lesser-known Michael Jackson slow hit. The song was powerful and showed off the singer's vulnerability. He sang sitting on a stool on a mostly dark stage and looked like he had a tear in his eye as he connected deeply with the song's emotional weight. He followed that slow beat with an incredibly creative version of Paula Cole's "I Don't Want To Wait" that sounded much more like a number from "The Lion King" than anything else (in a good way, that is). In terms of sheer creativity, Damien showed that he is, beyond any doubt, the best that Season 7 has to offer.
Matt McAndrew "Make It Rain (Ed Sheeran) and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" (U2)
McAndrew has brought solid gold to the stage week after week, solidifying himself as the man to beat in this competition with both fans and the judges. Coach Adam Levine said he selected Ed Sheeran's "Make It Rain" for the unique performer after hearing it on one of the final episodes of "Sons of Anarchy." The song had an ominous, blues-style tone that the singer did justice to. Unfortunately, it had mostly valleys and not enough peaks, but McAndrew picked his moments with laser accuracy, providing one of the better spots of round 1. However, he didn't truly shine until his second song, where he brought down the house with U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." He proved that his impressive vocal range can take him, an audience and a song literally anywhere they need to go. This versatile performer is truly a force to be reckoned with.
Craig Wayne Boyd "Working Man Blues" (Merle Haggard) and "The Old Rugged Cross" (George Bennard)
Boyd is the only country-leaning contestant left and that may have worked against him in the semifinals. His first song was an upbeat number with an almost swing beat. If there's one thing that Boyd has proven, it's that his voice cannot be called into question. However, his ability to really connect with the song was noticeably lacking. This was an issue he didn't have with his second song choice, "The Old Rugged Cross." However, with the other four contestants really bringing the “wow factor” to the stage, more of the same from Boyd felt like a bit less than required to give him a strong foothold in the Final 3.
Taylor John Williams "Falling Slowly" (The Swell Season) and "Blank Space" (Taylor Swift)
Adam Levine called Williams' first song selection "perfect" -- and for good reason. Armed with just a single guitar and a falsetto hidden in his back pocket, the performer took a song that wasn't necessarily upbeat and found a way to really connect with it and make the audience feel its highs and lows. Each performer tried out one slower song and one upbeat song on Monday, but no one nailed their slow-jam quite like Williams. Unfortunately, his upbeat jam didn't quite meet the same caliber as his competition (*cough* McAndrews *cough*). Still, his bold take on Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" proved he's a unique talent that will be sorely missed if America sends him home during the Dec. 9 results show.
Chris Jamison "Sugar" (Maroon 5) and "When I Was Your Man" (Bruno Mars)
Jamison was definitively the most entertaining performer of the evening (not to be confused with "best performer," but a case could definitely be made). Each song was fun and got the audience’s attention in a big way. Although Levine made it clear that Jamison approached him to do Maroon 5's latest single, no one would fault him if he had let his vanity get the best of him. The song's falsetto proved perfect for the Pittsburg native. He knows what he has with his high notes and wasn’t afraid to lean on them pretty hard. He followed that up with a rendition of Bruno Mars' "When I Was Your Man." Although his covers didn't reach the same level of creativity as some of his competitors, he still found a way to make those songs his own. He is, without a doubt, well suited for the finals.
"The Voice" Season 7 Final 3 will be revealed during Tuesday's episode at 8 p.m. ET.