With the number of Season 9 singers on “The Voice” in double digits for the last time, each performer battled hard for a spot in the top 9 during this week’s live performances. With one person going home following America’s live save Tuesday, it was on the coaches to help their artists evolve.
Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton and Pharrell Williams each gave their remaining three performers (just one for Pharrell), every bit of advice they had to help them stand out from the surprisingly overcrowded crop of talent. Stefani in particular had a big night, thanks to both stellar performances from her artists and getting to sing her new single “Used To Love You" live on "The Voice" stage.
To help America vote for who will be eliminated from the top 10 Tuesday, below is a rundown of how each performer did:
Jeffery Austin, Team Gwen
“Jealous” by Labrinth
Stefani opened strong with her heaviest hitter in the competition thus far. Austin has proved that he’s got a voice worthy of taking home the entire competition, so now it was time to show versatility with it. To do this, his coach instructed him to take on the very emotional song forcing him to bring his performance to a more vulnerable place than he’s typically used to. Although it was slower than an opening act probably should have been, it was another stellar performance from Season 9’s most consistent artist.
Emily Ann Roberts, Team Blake
“She’s Got You” by Patsy Cline
At this point in the competition, everyone needs to be innovating and proving that they’re not just another good voice in a sea of good voices. This seems to be Roberts’ biggest problem. She took on a highly emotional Patsy Cline song that really forced her to connect with it. Unfortunately, it was all too easy for her to slip into her default country twang and make it a generic cover. It might be time to face the unfortunate truth that Roberts is a bit of a one-trick pony vocally.
Braiden Sunshine, Team Gwen
“Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons
In a competition where some seasoned veterans have been resting on their laurels already, the youngest artist on the show had the guts to try something completely new. If people want to see something different every week, they should absolutely keep Sunshine around for a while longer. He’s got both the talent and enthusiasm to go far. However, his crooning on stage could be dialed back a bit in later weeks. After all, he’s not that old yet.
Shelby Brown, Team Adam
“Go Rest High On That Mountain” by Vince Gill
It’s not necessarily a secret that Brown’s direct competition in this competition is Roberts, given that they have very similar styles and can cover the same spectrum of music. However, if tonight is any indication, her creative vocal performance proved that she’s clearly the superior of the two. Which is strange given that normally country leaning singers are the bread and butter of coach Adam Levine’s rival, Blake Shelton.
Korin Bukowski, Team Gwen
“Same Old Love” by Selena Gomez
After being in the bottom two during eliminations two weeks in a row, Bukowski decided to pull out all the stops and try something new this week. She decided that America wasn’t responding to her efforts to be some kind of crowd-pleasing performer with her last covers. This time, she picked a song that she says resonates more with her style of singing and performing. It clearly worked as she delivered one of the more eye-catching and entertaining songs of the night. Hopefully, America will recognize her efforts this week and save her from having to sing for her career in the live saves.
Amy Vachal, Team Adam
“Bye, Bye, Bye” by NSYNC
For the third week in a row, coach Adam Levine picked an upbeat contemporary song and helped her arrange it into something that fits her classical style. Vachal is another artist that deserves points for innovating and trying something new every week. The performance was, once again, well sung and given a new life thanks to her emotional spin on the song by, what she claims, is her favorite band.
Jordan Smith, Team Adam
“Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen
As previously eliminated artist Mark Hood once said, Jordan Smith is the definitive person to beat in the Season 9 competition. Overall, he’s got the best shot at winning the entire competition, and the crowd let him know it during his top 10 performance. As Blake Shelton noted, it’s pretty boring to talk about Smith for the best reason possible -- he’s so consistently good each week that there are only so many ways to compliment him. Essentially, all that anyone needs to know about Smith this week is that he did nothing to diminish this image people have of him that make him a contender for the top spot.
Zach Seabaugh, Team Blake
“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen
There is no shortage of confidence with this artist and it may just be his undoing. While he’s got the talent and voice to be one of the finalists in the competition, his constant plays to beef up his sex appeal end up getting in the way of an otherwise well-arranged song. Having said that, he gets the biggest reaction from the crowd of any other performer every week, so if his goal is to win he may just be a brilliant strategist.
Madi Davis, Team Pharrell
“Girls Just Want To Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper
Davis is another young performer in the competition that’s not afraid to take on something as complicated as a new arrangement. These artists deserve credit for doing something original, similar to Vachal, but there was a problem -- and the blame falls on coach Pharrell. Her cover was well-arranged, but ill-advised. It took a song all about fun and stripped it down to a very emotional and almost sad cover. It was very strange to hear her singing about wanting to have a good time in a way that just sounded upsetting. Still, her vocals were incredible and, with some slightly better advice next week, could do very well in later rounds.
Barrett Baber, Team Blake
“I Love To Lay You Down” by Conway Twitty
Blake Shelton has a knack for picking artist that walk into the competition already carrying themselves like a professional. He managed to close out the show with a truly well done performance that sounded like the recording of a classical artist that had done it a thousand times. His coach went as far as to say he was going to crack the top 10 charts on iTunes this week.