After one of the closest live saves in ‘The Voice” history, the top five contestants took to the stage fully aware of the high stakes. With each remaining artist vying for a spot in the finals of the season, it was a truly impressive live show.
Each artist was fueled by his or her recently discovered home-town-hero status coming into Monday night’s show. Each artist returned to his or her hometown this week to see just how “The Voice” has changed the way their communities view them.
The first hour of the show saw each coach pick a song for his or her remaining contestant and the second was all up to the artists themselves. To help make sure you don’t forget a moment before voting for your favorite singer on “The Voice” Season 8, below is a rundown of each singer’s two performances and how they did leading into tomorrow night’s live eliminations.
Joshua Davis (Team Adam)
Songs: “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt and “When I Paint My Masterpiece” by the Band
Davis opened up the show doing what he does best, performing a passionate, soulful song behind the guitar. The song was slow-paced and didn’t exactly open the night on a feet-tapping note. However, playing it safe in the first song was the perfect choice for this stripped-down singer as his attempts to innovate haven’t always gone smoothly. Blake Shelton says Davis reminds him of a man soothing a group of people around a campfire, and that’s exactly what the performer leaned on tonight.
After showing his return to his hometown in Michigan, Davis took the stage once again for his second song of the night, singing a much peppier number than his first. He even managed to put a bit of rock 'n' roll into his otherwise soulful repertoire. While he may not have the same flare as some of the other contestants, it’s impossible to ignore this singer’s talent going into the semifinal eliminations.
Koryn Hawthorne (Team Pharrell)
Songs: “One” by U2 and “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep”
Koryn Hawthorne is a difficult artist to digest. On one hand, she puts on a great show and doesn’t have a bad voice. On the other hand, she doesn’t have the same control of her voice as many of the other contestants. She leaned heavily, once again, on her gravely side in her first song and at times it felt like it had fallen off the rails a bit. However, the audience seemed to love it, proving that, at the very least, she’s got potential as a live performer.
The Louisiana native stepped up to the stage for her hometown dedication of the old spiritual “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep.” She began her song in the middle of the audience before slowly making her way to the stage. If her first song was a little off, her second more than made up for it. The song choice was flawless as it gave a place for her natural rocker runs to sound appropriate. While she’s still got some vocal problems compared to her competition, it’s hard to want to send her packing after her second at bat of the night.
Meghan Linsey (Team Blake)
Songs: “I’m Not The Only One” by Sam Smith and “Tennessee Whiskey” by George Jones
Linsey has been one of the most consistent performers in the 2015 competition. Not only does she have years of experience under her belt, but she’s got a voice and stage presence that are unparalleled. Her first song opened with a rare theatrical close up of her leaning against the wall singing live onstage like she’s in a music video. The song was a soulful cover of Sam Smith’s hit that really demonstrated her versatility with music. Every time she’s onstage it feels like she’s proving something new.
Reinvigorated by her return trip to Nashville, she came to the stage next singing the George Jones classic. She ditched the theatrics from her first song in favor of a simple performance with her sitting on a bar stool armed only with a microphone. While there are no untalented singers in this competition, it’s hard not to make a case for Linsey to take the whole thing this year as she’s clearly put in the work. Everything about her second song reeked of an artist that’s just on the cusp of her big break. Why not let “The Voice” propel this singer to her inevitable stardom?
India Carney (Team Xtina)
Songs: “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles and “Earth Song” by Michael Jackson
After escaping elimination by the skin of her teeth last week, she came back to the stage with the bold choice to cover the popular, and very emotional, Sara Bareilles hit. At this point in the night, it became clear that the coaches were having a personal battle of who could pick the better slow and passionate song for their remaining contestants. Like she always does with this kind of music, Carney came out on top in the first round with her powerful vocals, which led to a very heartfelt and tender finale.
She took the stage again singing “Earth Song,” and it showed a brand new side to the a cappella singer. After narrowly edging out Kimberly Nichole last week, many were worried that Nichole's stage presence was now lost forever. To help alleviate some fears, Carney showed off one of the most impressive performances onstage thus far. She was a shocker in the bottom three the past two weeks in a row and she clearly wants to make sure that doesn’t happen again in the semifinals.
Sawyer Fredericks (Team Pharrell)
Songs: “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield and “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri
There’s a lot to say about this 16-year-old prodigy but the first thing that was noticeable during his first song tonight was that he seemed to be having more fun than he’s ever had on “The Voice” stage. For a performer that’s struggled to innovate, the past two weeks he’s found a way to do what he does best while ever so slightly bringing something new to the table. Tonight he lent his slow and powerful voice to a funkier version of the song that kept him smiling until the last note. He’s not just an average folk singer anymore.
Last week Fredericks proved that he can make his lack of stage presence a moot point with the help of some good backup dancers. This week, he was joined by a professional ballerina. Fredericks has been one of the first to move forward each week and odds are good that he'll do it again during tomorrow night’s live elimination round. The 16-year-old closed out the night with a powerful hit inspired by his hometown. He’s come a long way from the farm.
“The Voice” Season 8 will dwindle down to the top 4 during tomorrow night’s live elimination at 8 p.m. EDT on NBC.