In the second night of the Playoffs on The Voice, Team Adam and Team Shakira will each be whittling down their teams to just three contestants.
It will definitely be difficult for the coaches to choose, with such powerhouses as Tess Boyer, Kristen Merlin and Delvin Choice all performing. Who will make the cut to move on to the Live Rounds?
The Voice Recap: Team Blake Performs on The Playoffs Part 1 >>>
Kristen Merlin (“Two Black Cadillacs” by Carrie Underwood)
Kristen is the only country singer left that is not on Team Blake. She was one of Shakira’s biggest scores this season, and the other coaches are definitely threatened by Kristen’s talent.
Shakira tells Kristen to “focus on being expressive.” Kristen says even though she’s in a healthy relationship now, she can relate to the song she has chosen, “Two Black Cadillacs.” She growls during the song, which Shakira likes … as long as there aren’t too many growls.
Kristen’s performance is vocally outstanding. My amateur ears couldn’t find any flaws in it, and by the end, she had both Shakira and Adam giving her standing ovations.
Adam says that Kristen broke through during this song: she is now one of the top contenders. Blake tells her that she was absolutely flawless and he regrets not snatching her up during the Blind Auditions. Usher agrees that she is one of the top voices in the competition at this point.
Shakira is extremely proud of Kristen, and it seems to me like she will be a shoo-in to move on to the next round. In fact, Usher calls the decision to advance Kristen “a no-brainer.”
Deja Hall (“Battlefield” by Jordin Sparks)
Sixteen-year-old Deja has chosen to sing “Battlefield,” because it’s upbeat and shows a more aggressive tone of her voice.
There are some issues during rehearsals, mainly pitch ones. I agree that Deja did not sound great during rehearsals. Shakira thinks if she believes in herself, all will go well. (Well, believe in herself plus land on the right notes.)
Unfortunately, I don’t think Deja’s voice is powerful enough to carry this ballad. You know whose voice would have been powerful enough? Music Box, who inexplicably lost her battle against Deja in an earlier round.
The coaches all focus on how Deja has morphed from a little girl into a young lady. They tell her how this was her best performance, but she has so much potential, aka “You’re going home, toots!”
Shakira says she is very pleased with Deja’s performance, but notes that there are places where it could have improved. I doubt she will keep Deja.
Tess Boyer (“Human” by Christina Perri)
Tess is the only singer who has been with three coaches: Usher, Blake and now Shakira. Shakira advises Tess on how to bring the sexy back … into her voice. Her rehearsals are so good that Shakira gets goosebumps.
The song starts out with that intimate tone that Shakira and Tess worked on. As the song builds, Tess seems anything but “only human.” She sounded strong, confident and totally on-pitch. Her intensity matches the emotion of the song at each distinct point. I predict that Tess will be moving on.
Adam says he looks like an idiot, because he’s the only one who hasn’t had her on his team and she is incredible. Usher agrees with my sentiment and feels that Tess is “super-human.” Usher and Blake pat themselves on the back for also having played a role in Tess’s coaching.
Shakira is amazed that Tess was able to fill the room on the lower register notes. Around then, she came back and surprised everyone on the high note at the end.
Patrick Thomson (“Trouble” by Ray LaMontagne)
I already was a fan of Patrick, but when I saw he chose a Ray LaMontagne song … well, I think Josh Kaufman has some competition for my new favorite male contestant. The last time Patrick performed, I couldn’t put my finger on who his voice reminded me of … Ray LaMontagne!
Shakira thinks it’s a great song choice. She tells Patrick that he doesn’t have to convince her that he is a singer, but that he is an artist. She wants to feel like Patrick wrote the song himself.
I’m a tougher critic on this performance because I love the song and I know it well. I feel like Patrick was just “eh.”
Adam disagrees and says the performance was excellent. Usher didn’t understand who Patrick was until this song. Blake laughs that Patrick performing so well makes Adam look silly, because he let Patrick go previously.
“You are such a dumb person,” Adam tells Blake. Oh, the banter between these two will never change…
Shakira believes that Patrick showed America what he is capable of during this song. Despite such high praise from all the coaches, I don’t think Patrick will move on. We shall see!
Dani Moz (“Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga)
Shakira thinks that Dani has chosen “Edge of Glory” because Dani herself is right on the edge of something big happening … right here on The Voice!
Shakira advises Dani to let her soul show in the song. “The key to moving forward is, I have to just be present, and be in the moment and just sing for my life,” says Dani. Calm down, there … singing for your life? Is this The Voice: Hunger Games Edition?
Dani’s performance has instant street cred because she plays the piano while singing. Blake had said that Dani needed to distinguish herself from all the other pop stars out there. I think piano-playing ability is a good start.
The entire song is beautiful, from start to finish. Shakira and I both got chills, and Dani started crying.
“Emotions are good,” says Adam. Adam states that Shakira would be a loony if she didn’t keep Dani for the next round. Blake felt she was unbelievable, and Usher saw her passion. Usher notes that there were rough parts of the performance. What? Where? Shut up, Usher.
Shakira saw “a true artist.” Shakira thinks that if Lady Gaga was watching the show, she’d be proud of Dani. I doubt Lady Gaga is sitting home watching The Voice; she’s a Housewives fan and RHOC premieres tonight, so … don’t get your hopes up, Dani.
Of her five remaining team members, Shakira selects Tess, Kristen, and Dani to move forward. Girl power!
Delvin Choice (“Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green)
Delvin stands out in this competition, for several reasons. First, he works at one of my favorite places: Starbucks. Second, he auditioned in season 5 and didn’t make it. Third, he beat Josh Kaufman in the last round, so you know he’s good.
Delvin chose this song because it represents the kind of artist he wants to be. Adam notes some pitch issues during rehearsals, but is confident that if Delvin does his homework he will do a great job.
Damn. Delvin’s voice is like a velvety blanket I want to wrap around my freezing feet. Incredible performance!
Blake wonders if Delvin’s change in hairstyle has turned him into such an amazing singer. Adam says it’s probably just his talent and coach — little things like that. Usher tells Delvin that he is a threat. Shakira thinks Delvin’s voice is “delicious.”
Adam is shocked that no one turned around the first time Delvin tried out, and is excited that he is even now still improving. I’m pretty sure Delvin will be advancing.
Jake Barker (“She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5)
Oh boy. Jake chooses a Maroon 5 song, and one that is clearly very dear to Adam’s heart. During rehearsals, Adam closes his eyes while Jake sings … imagining whatever dumb little actress he was dating at the time he wrote this. I’m not bitter or jealous or anything.
I’m not a fan of this performance. It’s just too “busy.” Jake tried to do too much with each and every note. I guess he was trying to make it his own. His falsetto was strong, but overall, too many trills (for my liking). Also, no one does a Maroon 5 song better than Adam, so don’t even try.
Blake, Usher, and Shakira compliment Jake’s falsetto. Shakira actually liked the trills. Blake can see the likeness between Jake and Justin Timberlake.
Adam thinks it’s astounding how Jake has gone from 0-60 in such a short time. If you recall, this is only his fourth or fifth live performance ever, I believe? My prediction: Jake will go home.
Kat Perkins (“Open Arms” by Journey)
Kat has selected “Open Arms” as a tribute to her father. Adam likes the song choice, because it will be some big shoes to fill. He tells her to go big and not worry about subtleties within the performance.
“To hear Adam tell me to not hold back on this song is very refreshing, but the scary part about doing that is that I have to nail it, because it is an epic song,” says Kat.
Kat definitely has the power to do this song, but I am not a fan of her actual voice. It’s too nasally or something. WIth that said, I will still admit that she did an incredible job. The audience and the coaches seemed to love it. Adam and Shakira stand up at the end.
Usher says she should be very proud of herself and calls the performance “flawless.” Shakira says that Kat was committed, effortless and emotional. Blake thinks that the song should have been titled “Open Lungs.”
Adam says this was her best performance yet and his mind is blown by her take on the Journey ballad.
Morgan Wallen (“Stay” by Florida Georgia Line)
Morgan is going country in this round. Adam always loves to stick a Team Adam country performance in Blake’s face.
“If you can get the rhythm down and stay in that groove the whole time … the tone, the pitch, your choices? I have rarely heard someone that is naturally that incredible,” Adam tells him during rehearsals.
“It’s fun coaching Morgan, because he’s an unpolished diamond. And girls love him,” says Adam. No arguments here!
The coaches have thrown out the phrase “unique voice” many times, but I think Morgan is the one who really deserves it. I don’t hear anyone like him on the radio. Possibly it’s the radio stations I listen to, but either way, his voice is actually unique. It’s sexy and raspy, yet sweet. I loved his performance of this song.
Usher thinks that he wasn’t the best coach for Morgan, and is happy that Adam has him singing country now. Blake believes Morgan is reminiscent of “that guy from Pearl Jam.”
Adam can’t gush enough over Morgan. He is “real country,” now that Blake Shelton has endorsed him.
Christina Grimmie (“I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz)
Christina is singing “I Won’t Give Up” in honor of her mom, a three-time breast cancer survivor. Adam tells Christina that when she executes perfectly, her voice is incredible. When she deviates from the plan, that’s when she gets into trouble.
“Make a plan and stick to it!” he urges her.
This song was a great choice. It showed Christina’s versatility and range. She was emotional, she was powerful, she was “the best one,” as Blake whispers to Adam.
Blake again says that Christina is the best singer on Adam’s team. “I should say something critical … your shirt’s too shiny,” Blake points out.
Usher refers to her as “Baby Celine Dion,” and thinks the performance was flawless. Shakira agrees. Adam agrees. We all agree! “The big victory for you today is getting the mastery of what you do under control, and man, it’s just … it’s only the beginning,” says Adam.
Is there any doubt that she will be moving on?
Adam picks Christina, Delvin, and Kat to move on to the Live Shows. Boo! I wanted Morgan instead of Kat.
The final night of The Voice Playoffs airs Tuesday at 8pm on NBC.
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)