A second week of The Voice Playoffs started on Monday (April 14), in an evening filled with endless compliments from Usher, Blake Shelton, Shakira and Adam Levine, few critiques and a smattering of standout performances. Performing Monday night were five finalists from Team Shakira, five finalists from Team Adam, and the entire audience by way of off-rhythm clapping and aggressive arm waving.
While the audience impressed roughly no one, Teams Shakira and Adam earned high praises from the coaches – and some of these compliments were even deserved! Unfortunately, compliments can only take contestants so far in The Voice, so four out of the ten competitors would be packing up by the end of the evening.
Team Shakira competed to stay first:
Kristen Merlin starts the night for Shakira’s team with Carrie Underwood’s “Two Black Cadillacs.” Fun fact: apparently Kristen blacked out in the Blind Auditions, and woke up on Team Shakira. Best blackout ever, right?
Kristen excels in the upper register, and, even more impressively, overcomes terrible rhythmic clapping from the audience.
“I hear so much of Shakira’s incredible coaching in what you have done with your voice,” says Adam. “You are on the top of your game right now.”
“I would go so far as to say that was as flawless as a live performance can be by anybody,” gushes Blake.
“My hat’s off to you because you are one of the strongest voices in the competition,” says Usher.
Her coach, who beams and claps throughout, says, “You’ve made me so happy.”
Deja Hall is up next, and picks Jordin Sparks’ anthem “Battlefield.” The choice has so much potential, and her bangs are totally fierce, but the end result doesn’t quite live up. The performance is weak and and has very little energy. It feels more like a high school talent show than the stuff audiences have grown accustomed to from Deja.
Don’t worry: the coaches are still impressed.
“You definitely came out of your shell a little bit,” says Blake.
“At times, you almost over-sang the track because your voice is so strong,” says Usher, adding, “You’re young, so you’re going to continue to thrive and learn.”
“Just based on the progress that we’ve all seen now, it was a wonderful choice for everyone to turn around,” says Adam of the four-chair turner.
“You have so much talent, and today you have shown to all of us not just that sweet and angelic voice, you can also be stronger and more aggressive,” says her coach.
Tess Boyer has made the rounds with coaches this season. The pop singer started on team Usher, and was then stolen by Blake in the Battle Round before landing on Team Shakira after the Battle Round (2). Tess sings Christina Perri’s “Human,” and really has Blake and Usher regretting their choices.
“If you win this thing you’re going to really make me look like a real ding dong for being the only person that didn’t coach you on the whole coaching staff,” says Adam.
“You won me over the moment that you got to, ‘I’m only human,’” says Usher “You’re superhuman to be able to hold notes like that.”
“The thing that I admire about you is whatever the challenge is set before you, you step up to it,” says Blake.
“You’re like the little miracle that happened on Team Shakira,” says Shak. “You have an amazing gift, and I’m just so lucky to have you.”
Raspy soul singer Patrick Thomson was a Blind Audition steal from Team Adam that landed himself on Team Shakira due to his “classic voice.” Patrick chooses Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble,” and his soulful voice is almost too raspy for this particular song.
“It’s just so cool to see you do a song, finally, that really reflects where you’re coming from,” says Adam. “I thought this was your finest moment.”
“You took control of the room, took ownership of the song, and she’s going to have a really difficult decision to make,” says Usher.
“That gargling with broken glass, or whatever you do to scratch up your throat sounds so good,” says Blake.
“I could not be more proud of you right now, because you killed it,” says Shakira.
Former PR girl Dani Moz sings Lady Gaga’s “The Edge Of Glory,” aiming for a unique, stripped down performance on the piano. It would be super unique, too, if Lady Gaga hadn’t done the same stripped down performance, many times, better (and in higher heels). Dani was nervous to start, cried tears of joy by the end, and did hit a strong high note or two in there along the way.
“You were super nervous in the beginning, and then you put it away,” says Adam.
“This was a game changer,” says Blake, noting Dani made Shakira’s decision even more difficult.
“You are an extremely passionate person, but it wasn’t a flawless performance,” says Usher.
“You made me connect with the emotion in the song, because you were the perfect vehicle,” says her coach.
Shakira brings out the girl power, advancing only her female singers.
And the winners are:
Which means say goodbye to these folks:
Up next, Team Adam stands out as a force to be reckoned with. His contestants earn huge crowd reactions, and (naturally) plenty of coach gushing.
Singing barista Delvin Choice makes Starbucks proud with a performance of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.” He makes a critical misstep when he encourages audience clapping (which should be avoided at all costs), but pushes through it to deliver a solid performance with strong ad libs.
“You’ve just come leaps and bounds,” says Blake, crediting Delvin’s hair change for his success
“There’s not a more unique voice on The Voice this season,” says Usher.
“It was delicious,” says Shakira. “You drove the whole thing in such a tasteful way”
“No one turned around for you the first time you tried out. I can’t believe that ever happened,” marvels Adam. “You solidified in my mind that we’re the team to beat this season.”
Jake Barker, who continues to claim he never performed on stage before The Voice, joined Team Adam from Team Usher. He chooses Maroon 5’s “She Will Be Loved,” which is a bold decision. Or one of a total kiss ass: you decide.
Even the black leggings can’t quite sell Jake as a rock star, and the performance feels like a watered down version of the (already watered down) original. It’s not great, unless you’re asking the overly generous coaches.
“What a strong falsetto you have,” says Blake.
“I never thought I was going to like this song in someone else’s voice, but you just did an amazing rendition,” says Shakira.
“All I have to say is bravo: I am so beyond proud of the short time we’ve been able to spend together working,” says his coach.
Rock ‘n roll nanny Kat Perkins selects a challenging number as a tribute to her dad. Adam encourages Kat not to pull back (for a change), and really attack Journey’s “Open Arms.” She follows his advice to a T, and gives an all-in performance of the ballad.
“You should be very, very proud of yourself,” says Usher. “Your performance was flawless.”
“You made it seem so effortless, and you were so committed and in the moment,” says Shakira.
“It sounded like your song,” adds Blake. “We’re supposed to be critical, but I can’t even come up with anything to say.”
“Steve Perry does not screw around,” says Adam. “There has not been a better performance than this one so far,” says Adam. So…see you in the next round, Kat.
Tennessee rocker Morgan Wallen combines his affinities for rock and country to perform Florida Georgia Line’s “Stay.” His vocals are nothing out of this world, but it’s really his stage presence that’s the most to be desired. Except for from the coaches, who just seem happy to be there.
“Now that I’m hearing you sing country music, I’m realizing that’s where we should have started,” says former coach Usher.
Blake struggles to find Eddie Vedder’s name, but endorses Morgan as sounding like the lead singer of Pearl Jam (whose name he thought was “Jeremy.” Blake Shelton, everyone!).
“You’ve improved substantially,” adds Shakira.
“Congratulations, you are excellent,” says Adam.
Youtuber Christina Grimmie closes out the night for Team Adam with an emotional performance of Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up.” She is inspired to sing the song by her mother, a breast cancer survivor, which adds depth to her performance. Christina mixes powerful high notes with sweet, tender tones, and has the coaches out of their seats for her standing ovation.
“That is the best singer on your team right there,” Blake tells Adam. “How does such a great voice come out of such a miniature person?”
“You’re a ball of fire,” says Usher. “You’re like baby Celine Dion.”
“You were so great, so perfect,” says Shakira. “I didn’t know you could do those falsettos.”
“The big victory for you today was getting the mastery of what it is that you do under control,” says Adam, praising her performance.
Teased by a promo where Adam starts a sentence, “I feel let down by…” there was a chance at some juicy critiques in Adam’s eliminations. Until he ends that sentence with, “no one,” and begrudgingly lets two go.
The Playoffs Round One wrap up tonight with Team Usher! How do you think Teams Shakira and Adam performed?
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