With the most heartbreaking eliminations on the horizon on NBC's "The Voice," each contestant had to bring more to the stage than ever before in order to impress the American voting public. In order to be one of the four remaining contestants heading to the finals, each artist decided to show his or her innovative and emotional side in the top 9 performances.
Coaches Blake Shelton, Pharrell Williams, Gwen Stefani and Adam Levine had a tense night as they watched their few remaining artists make what was inevitably their last performances, meaning they lose their chance to take home the win in Season 9. With all the acclaim that comes with winning "The Voice," voting has never been more important. To help make sure that “The Voice” voters can make an informed decision about who should go to the final round of the year, below is a rundown of how the semi finalists for Season 9 performed.
Barrett Baber, Team Blake
“Ghost” by Ella Henderson
Baber wanted to show a different side of himself on stage, which was a lot of the artist’s problem last week. With the help of his coach, he managed to pick a song that allowed him to fall back on his country roots while still showing what he can do with a more pop/rock-style number. He managed to get a little funky on stage and even hit some notes successfully that a country song wouldn’t have allowed him to showcase. Overall, if his goal was to show diversity, he accomplished it swimmingly.
Shelby Brown, Team Adam
“Even God Must Get The Blues” by Jo Dee Messina
Brown proved her ability to do something different from her competition last week, so this time it was all about proving she’s an artist that can connect emotionally with her songs. Adam Levine’s goal this week was to help her get back to the person she was before the competition when the stakes got so high. She took the stage with a new level of confidence that she channeled into a very powerful performance. While it fell back into her country twang at certain points, she was commanding the stage so well, with minimal movement, that the low points of her vocals could be forgiven.
Jeffery Austin, Team Gwen
“Believe” by Cher
Austin is one of the frontrunners to win the entire competition this year, but with literally no one safe this week, he decided that he wanted to make his potential last performance on the show meaningful. Although his coach was worried that the original version of the song is a tad over-produced, they managed to strip down the ballad to something that was within the singer’s range. From there, he allowed his raw feelings to carry his semi final performance the rest of the way. Although it’s hard to determine who will go through this week, Austin feels like one of the safer bets to remain.
Braiden Sunshine, Team Gwen
After having to be rescued at the eleventh hour last week, Sunshine said everything was leading to this moment, almost indicating that he doesn’t believe he’ll be around next week. He took the stage decidedly less made-over than he has in the past and sang the gospel hymn with very little backing from the band or stage crew. For the youngest performer in the competition, it was a bold move to literally let it all ride on his voice alone. His pipes would either propel him forward or send him home. Fortunately, he didn’t make it this far on luck alone and his performance was one of the better ones of the night. It felt a lot like a goodbye than anything else, but it might be nice to see what this artist can do with the finale spotlight.
“Climb” by Miley Cyrus
As his coach noted, Seabaugh got the attention of the young ladies in the crowd last week with his very active performance. However, his dancing and audience interaction distracted voters from his singing. Fortunately, it was enough to keep him out of the bottom two. Not wanting to tempt fate twice, he opted for a stationary vocal bout with a guitar. It was a good cover, but decidedly lackluster. With the stakes higher than ever before, it would appear that this performer might not be able to make it to the finale on voice alone.
Madi Davis, Team Pharrell
“Big Girls Don’t Cry” by The Four Seasons
Davis is Team Pharrell’s only artist left, and it makes sense because she’s the most unique artist that remains on Season 9. She took the stage with a more theatrical performance for her semi final round with a song she says she chose because it’s fun and allows her to show her personality. That feeling translated as she used every element that “The Voice” stage had to offer, including set design, full band and an impeccable wardrobe. Her cute yet classical vocals are very different from her more pop and country oriented competition, meaning America may be reluctant to eliminate her and lose something that unique. As Levine noted, it was impressive to see someone do something so innovative at this stage in the competition, which seems to be a trend with the younger artists.
Emily Ann Roberts, Team Blake
“9 To 5” by Dolly Parton
Roberts took on a Dolly Parton song and took every opportunity to remind the audience that that’s the kind of artist that she is trying to emulate. She took the stage and decided that it was time to have a little fun on the show and cut loose with the peppy and upbeat number. The biggest complaint with Roberts in this competition is the fact that she hasn’t been doing anything different since cracking the top 12. However, she did her same old thing to perfection once again, practically channeling the original artist as she commanded the stage with attitude and high-speed lyrical perfection.
Amy Vachal, Team Adam
“To Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan
Vachal, like many who feared this was their last performance on “The Voice” stage, aimed for a more emotional and stripped down number in order to showcase how far her voice has come in Season 9. She began the song with absolutely no backing from the house band and got noticeably choked up on stage. Fortunately, she pulled through and accomplished her goal of taking the audience on her obviously emotional journey. For an artist that has routinely innovated her own style and knocked it out of the park each time, it seems odd that she clearly thought she wasn’t long for this competition, which hurt her on stage a bit. Meanwhile, problems with her microphone cutting out didn’t help, but it is live TV after all.
Jordan Smith, Team Adam
“Somebody To Love” by Queen
Although the song was a bit peppier than Smith usually gravitates toward, it still had the massive vocal runup that has become his bread and butter in Season 9. What was different this week was his coach pushing him to do something a bit more theatrical and fun. He made the effort and then some, incorporating an entire gospel chorus into his stage time. Smith has been a front-runner in the competition for a while now and his semi final performance did nothing to change that title.