The top eight contestants on “The Voice” delivered powerful performances that were either filled with energy or emotion – or both.
That energy started immediately when Team Blake’s Sisaundra Lewis took on Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High.” She stunned the audience with belted high notes viewers have come to expect, and was accompanied by background dancers to amp up her set. The performance was dedicated to her mother, who was sitting in the audience, watching her daughter perform for the first time.
“You’re a pro,” said Shakira. “If you opened the school of Sisaundra Lewis, I’m sure all of us would enroll and you can show us how it’s done.”
Josh Kaufman -- Team Usher’s last remaining contestant -- took the stage next to sing Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” The bold ballad proved a good choice for Josh as he relished in the emotion and vulnerability of the tune. All four judges were impressed but Josh’s original coach, Adam Levine, was genuinely proud.
“To say I’m stupid for not having you on my team anymore doesn’t make a difference because I enjoy your success,” he said. “I’m purely happy to see how far you come.”
Next, the audience prepared for what Team Adam’s Kat Perkins described as a “pop song with a Kat spin,” as she took the stage with a heavy metal rendition of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” Complete with pyrotechnics and flashing lights, the audience was treated to a rock and roll concert from Kat, who was instantly saved via Twitter votes last week.
“Bottom three my ass,” heckled Adam, “Vote for this girl, she is amazing."
“There’s nothing that wasn’t amazing about that,” Blake added.
Bringing the energy level down, but keeping the momentum up, Team Shakira’s last remaining member, country artist Kristen Merlin sang “I’ll Drive Your Truck,” by Lee Brice. Featuring an orchestral accompaniment, Kristin said the song symbolized her gratitude.
“That’s a tough song, but you did a great job,” said fellow country singer Blake. “Adam loves you so much he copied your hairstyle,” he joked.
Coach Adam, who recently dyed his hair platinum blond, had been a trending topic on Twitter with users comparing him to Ellen DeGeneres and Billy Idol. Blake even compared him to Miley Cyrus.
The slew of strong performances continued with Delvin Choice’s soulful take on “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly. Delvin, who admitted to being overwhelmed in rehearsal, sang a composed but compelling piece that left the judges with nothing but positive feedback.
“That was as good as it gets on this show,” said Blake.
Adam also had encouraging words for his charge, saying, “We all know you deserve to be at the end of this thing, you should be so happy right now.”
The two contestants left on Team Blake, Audra McGloughlin and Jake Worthington stuck to their country roots on this week’s episode and both made their coach proud.
To “show off his redneck side,” as Jake put it, he sang "Hillbilly Deluxe” by Brooks and Dunn. A natural, gritty, and heartfelt performance helped him receive his typical praise from the judges.
But Monday, Blake said the performance was a major stepping stone for the 17-year-old singer.
Normally “we see ‘Jake the dude,’ tonight we saw ‘Jake the artist,’” said Blake.
Shakira also enjoyed the performance, noting that when she’s “air guitaring,” which she was, it's a good sign.
For the final performance of the night, it was another rendition of a hip-hop song by Team Adam’s Christina Grimmie, who was determined to top her number from the previous week.
Grimmie showed her skills, turning Lil’ Wayne’s “How to Love,” into a dynamic pop song. Her coach, Adam, noted in his feedback that her individuality is her winning ticket, explaining that if people want to download her version of Lil’ Wayne’s song, they’d have to download her specific song – something that sets her aside from the rest.
Usher added coyly, "You have a wonderful voice, but I'm trying to figure out if you're going to be a hip-hop artist."
In addition to the contestants, new judges Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani both took the stage. Pharrell sang his new song, “Come Here Bae,” and Gwen Stefani revisited her classic pop hit, “Hollaback Girl.” Both artists will be sitting in judges chairs next season in place of Usher and Shakira.
Blake also performed his song, “My Eyes,” featuring former “Voice” competitor Gwen Sebastian.
The fate of the top eight competitors is now in the hands of the viewers as fans download songs, and call or text in their favorites.
"The Voice" airs Monday and Tuesday 8/9c.