'The Voice' live blog: The top 10 take the stage
First up, it's Team Blake's Holly Tucker. Tonight's she's going back to her gospel roots with "How Great Thou Art." Her thoughts about how she knows not everyone will identify and agree with all of her beliefs, but still wants to present her whole self are very mature, I think. She sounds incredible on the song, but I feel like I'm in church while listening -- not a feeling I'm really looking for on a show hosted by Carson Daly. Her base audience will eat it up, though. The coaches eat it up, too.
Up next is Team Adam's Judith Hill, who's planning to honor Michael Jackson this evening. Adam's having her sing "The Way You Make Me Feel," which frightens her because Judith faces a lot of criticism from people who believe she's taking advantage of her association with MJ. The decision to turn the song into a bit of jazzy steam for that intro was inspired. Judith owns it, entirely. I know I say it every week, but this competition is Judith's to lose.
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Taking the stage next is Team Blake's The Swon Brothers, performing "How Country Feels" by Randy Houser. There's some talk about how they feel like they're finally being accepted by country artists. It's all so very whatever. These two always turn in a serviceable performance, but there's never been a moment where they show an ounce of daring or risk. Tonight is no exception. They're good, but they rarely get me excited. Oh well.
Up next is Team Adam's Amber Carrington, who says she's looking forward to being a little more uplifting this week. She's singing Kelly Clarkson's "Breakway," with Adam saying he really sees her as a Kelly-type singer, able to tap into country, pop, whatever she wants to do. Amber turns in another spotless vocal this week. She doesn't fall into the trap that many singers do when typing a Kelly song, which is they can't find enough power -- Amber is in complete control.
Team Shakira's Sasha Allen is up next with Emeli Sande's "Next To Me," getting some guest-mentorship from returning coach Cee Lo. Shakira tells the singer that she could easily release an album in this genre, and she's absolutely correct. During her performance, Sasha proves that this song fits her voice like a glove. The coaches eat it up, as they should. Judith may seem have this season tied up with a bow, but Sasha is one to keep your eye on.
Up next is Team Usher's Josiah Hawley, who's complaining about people thinking he only models, which is like complaining about people thinking you're rich or something. He's singing Coldplay's "Clocks," which could be a bit of a risk with the way frontman Chris Martin pushes the upper register in that song especially. Josiah acquits himself quite nicely, but you can tell some of the higher notes were a struggle. Shakira's not really into it, but she finds the nicest way possible to say it.
Time for Team Blake's Danielle Bradbery, singing Jo Dee Messina's "Head Carolina, Tails California." Blake jokes that Danielle is his retirement, which earns an adorable laugh from the competition's youngest artist. Danielle just continually blows me away. Every time she sings, I'm reminded that the first time she ever sang in front of people was her audition -- and then I almost fall out of my chair. For her to be that naturally good, it's unreal.
Taking the stage next is Team Shakira's Kris Thomas. Shakira's going to have the shy R&B singer tackle Miguel's "Adorn" because she wanted something upbeat for the artist. In the weeks past, I've been critical of Kris' vocal abilities, but tonight was the first time I've really felt on board with a performance. I don't think he has nearly enough to win this season, but this was a vocal that proved why he'd earned his place in the competition. Adam criticizes Kris for holding back too much still, a critique I share. Also, Usher and Adam hiding from Shakira? Perfect.
Team Adam's Sarah Simmons is up next. Tonight's she's performing Jessie J's "Mama Knows Best," a song she chose on her own because she wanted to bring up her energy this week after a string of ballads. From the minute she opens her mouth, it's clear this is going to be one of the evening's best performances. She just slams it out of the park, and with such little effort. Adam, too, calls it the song of the night.
Closing out the night is Team Usher's Michelle Chamuel. The quirky songstress is singing Pink's "Give Me A Reason." Pharrell tells her she's going to have a long career, which is sweet. Usher was wise to give Michelle another mid-tempo emotional song, after last week's Robyn song failed to connect with the singer's abilities. This performance is Michelle's sweet spot. It's clear she excels with this kind of track, as she does her tonight. The coaches praise her, as they should.
Who had your favorite performance tonight, "Voice" fans?