Just when you thought the remaining contestants on NBC’s “The Voice” had shown you everything they have to offer, each one found a way to innovate in the "Top 6" performances. The artists had to put on two powerhouse live performances to fight for a spot in the Season 8 finals.
It was the week before Mother’s Day, and each contestant was instructed to pick one song inspired by the woman that brought them into the world. To help people in their voting choices ahead of Tuesday’s eliminations, below is a rundown of how each of the Top 6 did with their songs.
Songs: “Glory” by John Legend and “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith
After narrowly escaping elimination last week, Carney opened the show with “Glory,” which she dedicated to her mother. She entered “The Voice” as a college a cappella singer and she used those talents to tackle a song that’s known for its rap bridge. She turned it into a pretty decent opener to start the evening. It was a phenomenal comeback for a contestant that’s proven in the past that she’s capable of winning the whole competition. She obviously returned to the stage with a vengeance hoping to show what she’s made of.
She set herself up with John Legend, but knocked it out of the park with her second performance covering the Sam Smith hit. There’s an inner superstar hidden inside of this classically trained singer and, tonight, it got out. She pulled a rare standing ovation from “The Voice” crowd. Coach Adam Levine even called it her best performance on the show so far.
Songs: “Desire” by U2 and “In My Life” by the Beatles
Davis’ first song was “Desire” by U2, which was a strange choice for a stripped-down-style singer like him. Still, after one of the better performances last week, momentum was on his side to try something new. His coach, Adam Levine, wanted to give Davis a chance to show off his inner rock and roll performer. The song started out a little boring but quickly got interesting when Davis surprised everyone with a gravely rocker note that hadn’t shown up in the competition so far.
Davis has been regarded for his passion on stage a lot throughout this competition, but last night was something different. Singing to his wife and mother of his children in his second song, he navigated the Beatles’ hit with a bigger twinkle in his eye than usual. If he continues to put on performances that are both innovative and soulful, he may become one of the most dangerous competitors this year.
Songs: “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. and “Dream On” by Aerosmith
Hawthorne’s first song was dedicated to her mother. She sang “Everybody Hurts” because she wanted to show her mom that her constant struggles to give her the best in life haven’t gone unnoticed. Normally connecting to your music on an emotional level is highly encouraged on “The Voice,” but Hawthorne could have dialed it back a bit. Unfortunately, she was getting so into the song that her voice started to suffer a little bit. While it was a great performance, it didn’t exactly live up to the title of the show.
Her second at bat was a big step up as the Aerosmith song allowed her to unleash her gravely voice in a more appropriate setting. It was a powerful performance and the crescendo was perfect for her rock and roll sensibilities. While her voice may not be as on point as some of her competition, her ability to arrange a cover and make it her very own has got to count for something.
Songs: “Free Falling” by Tom Petty and “Dirty Diana” by Michael Jackson
Tonight we learned where Nichole gets her natural ability to have fun onstage. Her mom, who is a former church singer, stopped by her audition and inspired her daughter to innovate in her first performance. It’s hard to imagine writing a bad review of Nichole at this point after she has delivered huge the past four or five weeks in a row. One again, she came through in a big way and reminded everyone why she’s still here and should continue to be.
She took the stage a second time for the Michael Jackson hit and brought a lot more stage presence. The song was sassy and had just the right amount of attitude for her. She confessed to singing it with her band in the past so it was fun to see the music that she used to cut her teeth with prior to “The Voice.” Building off her great first song, Nichole proved that she’s not only a front-runner to win the competition, but would make for a great concert performer.
Songs: “Steam Roller Blues” by James Taylor and “Amazing Grace” written by John Newton
Linsey took the stage for her first song with the confidence of someone who had done this a thousand times. She revealed that the James Taylor hit used to be her “tip jar song” and helped her pay her way on the road in the past. It was her bid to solidify herself as the resident Season 8 soul singer and boy did she accomplish that. It’s unclear if it was her experience with the song, experience with music in general or just a really great single performance. Either way, odds are very good that Linsey will sing again in the finals next week.
Despite leaving it all onstage, she managed to do it all over again in her second performance. She took the stage to sing the first part of “Amazing Grace” a cappella, with nowhere for her mistakes to hide. Luckily, this veteran performer doesn’t make mistakes. In a night when everyone was using the full resources of NBC to put on some show-stopping songs – It was such a risky and brave choice for her to completely strip herself down to such a minimalist song. Once again, Linsey delivered.
Songs: “Shine On” by Daisy May and “Take Me to the River” by the Commitments
Normally a lack of innovation is a huge down side at this point in the competition. However, Sawyer Fredericks has such a lightening in a bottle quality that it wasn’t even a bummer to see him leaning on what he does best. He opened with “Shine On” dedicated to his mother. It was a simple performance of just him and his guitar. After trying to step out of his comfort zone last week, it was back to basics as the 16-year-old tried to carve a spot for himself in the finals.
However, just when you thought that Fredericks was incapable of hiding any tricks up his sleeve, he came out with an upbeat song and no guitar for once. His cadre of backup dancers did a great job of giving this relatively mundane performer some stage presence. It was the singer’s most impressive showing yet and felt a lot like a rabbit being pulled out of a magicians hat. Is it possible he was sitting on this showmanship this whole time? Even though it’s late in the competition, Fredericks practically dared the audience to send him home and miss out on what else he can do.
The results of tonight's show will be read live tomorrow night when two more go home and old contestants take the stage on NBC's "The Voice" at 8 p.m. EDT.