'The Voice' live blog: The top 12 take the stage

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shakira-usher-the-voice-nbc.jpgThe live shows of "The Voice" continue on Monday (May 13), with Season 4's Top 12 artists taking the stage to sing for America's votes. From this point on, coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Usher and Shakira have no further opportunity to save anyone from their teams. Who on each team will earn enough votes to advance?

To kick off the show, host Carson Daly informs us that the studio has lost its air conditioner and they're suffering a heat wave. Yikes. I am so glad I'm not in that room.

Up first tonight is Team Usher's Vedo. Tonight he'll be singing Michael Jackson's "Rock With You." Usher points out a major flaw of Vedo's, in that his slick dance moves are often out of sync, thematically, with the songs he's singing.

During his live performance, his voice sounds like its struggling with some of the higher notes that MJ could hit with ease. It's not the best fit for Vedo's limited abilities as a singer, that's for sure. The other coaches praise Vedo, while Usher tells his team member that he'll earn America's vote for performing well under the pressure of the heat.

Team Blake's Holly Tucker is up next, explaining how she wants to be recognized as a country star. I don't think she'll have any trouble with that. Tonight, she's performing "With A Broken Wing" by Martina McBride.

Wow. That's all I could think while Holly was performing. Her voice is so big and so powerful, she could sing in any genre she wanted and it would be incredible. She's got a masterful command of her ability. Usher tells her that anyone who ever doubted her was "a freaking idiot." He's right.

Update: The A/C may be back on, Carson says as Adam fans him off. Cute.

Also: Why must Christina Milian continue to be a presence on this show? There's no one else who can do what she's expected to do?

Next up, it's comeback kid Garrett Gardner, who Shakira is dooming with rock version of The Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way." Oof.

There's nothing edgy about this song, no matter how hardly Garrett tries to growl his way through it. At least Shakira's a fan of it, I guess. Adam is not feeling it because Adam is sane.

Usher's taking off his clothes. Maybe the producers broke the A/C on purpose?

Team Adam's Sarah Simmons takes the stage next. In her package, she reveals that she considers herself to be an alternative artist, willing to experiment with genres. Adam's having the songstress embrace a bit of a rock edge with Brandi Carlisle's "The Story."

When Sarah erupts with the song at its mid-point, she finds her sweet spot. There are a few bum low notes at certain points, but she handles herself so well. As Blake thanks her for showing the extremes of her voice, he sums it up perfectly. She's able to show exactly how much she can do and how wide-ranging her voice is.

The Swon Brothers, Blake's save from last week, want to be the kind of artist people love, they say. As opposed to those artists people hate, you know. They're performing the recently deceased George Jones' "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes."

I'm unfamiliar with Jones' ouevre, but they sound generally alright on the acoustic ballad. There are moment where the high notes in the harmony seem to be a challenge for whichever brother it is attempting them. Blake gives them a standing ovation because he always does.

A/C Update: It's back and so are Usher's clothes. Wah.

Team Shakira's Sasha Allen, who Shakira takes to task in rehearsals for singing "too Broadway." I guess that's Colombian for "too good"? Sasha takes the stage with Heart's "Alone" and she sings her face off. It's another standout performance for an artist who's had many of them. Adam continues to kick himself for having cut her from his team. As he should.

After a quick time-kill with Milian up in her skybox, it's time for Team Usher's Josiah Hawley. The hunk will be singing "The Man Who Can't Be Moved" by The Script, as Usher wants his artist to turn inward this week.

Josiah handles the song well. He's predictably bland, but the women screaming in the audience once he's finished proves he'll likely be sticking around. It pays to be pretty.

Up next we're treated to Danielle Bradbery, who's possibly become one of my favorites in this competition, even though I'm not really a country music fan. She's just so talented, it transcends genre. Tonight, she's singing "Wasted" by Carrie Underwood. The subject matter of this song may be a little much for the young artist to express believably, but she acquits herself with the usual vocal expertise.

Shakira calls her the "16-year-old Margaret Thatcher, a mini-Iron Lady" for her consistent lack of nerves. Adam admits that his team has work to do because, right now, she's the one to beat.

Judith Hill, Team Adam's shining star, tells us she's a soul singer who loves singing pop music. Tonight, she's singing Carole King's "You've Got A Friend" while playing the piano with no other accompaniment from the house band. Judith is a Boss. I'm not sure I'm digging her hair style tonight, but her performance is stunning. Can this girl be beat?

Michelle Chamuel, Team Usher's  indie artist who stunned last week, says that she'd love to be an electronic artist, which I see her excelling in perfectly. Tonight, we'll get out first taste of that with her performance on Robyn's "Call Your Girlfriend." (One of my personal favorite songs!)

Michelle makes an interesting pop star because, well, she looks different. That's not a judgement, mostly just a reality. There are moment during the performance where seems kind of out of place, but it's a fun performance that shows a new side to her.

Team Shakira's Kris Thomas is taking the stage with "I'll Be There" by Jackson 5, making this the second performance of the night to find itself compared to Michael Jackson. Kris seems out of his depth in terms of vocal range during the performance. He's not my favorite singer in the running, not by a long shot. Oh well. Usher wasn't a fan either.

Amber Carrington of Team Adam is closing out the night. She wants to be a country star who can cross over into pop. She's dedicating her performance of Martina McBride's "I'm Gonna Love You Through It" to her dearly departed mom, which maybe made me choke up. Maybe.

She sounds terrific on the song and I'm certain she can achieve her pop-country dreams, if her performance here and last week on Rihanna are any indication. Blake tells her that she did country music proud tonight. Usher tells her she defies the laws of gravity because she always pull through with more when you think she's already given all she has.

There you have it, "Voice" fans. Which two artists do you think will get the boot tomorrow night?
Photo/Video credit: NBC