After weeks of blind auditions, battles and knockouts, “The Voice” debuted its coveted top 10 performers Monday night. In lieu of Tuesday night’s eliminations, contestants pushed their vocal limits and stepped out of their comfort zones to great success in an episode dubbed “the best” of the series.
The night started off on a high note, literally, as Christina Aguilera graced the stage followed by her duet partner Blake Shelton singing “Just a Fool” from her forthcoming Lotus album.
Soon after, the competition began as the top 10 vied for the country’s vote.
Team Christina had the honors of opening and closing the show with Sylvia Yacoub and Dez Duron, respectively. Yacoub gave a “solid” performance, maintaining her fierceness but also incorporating some softness in her rendition of Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire.” The girls, of course, went gaga for Duron, who finally found his stride with the Broadway jazz number “Feeling Good.” His buttery voice coupled with his natural swagger made him a stand-out.
Melanie Martinez, Bryan Keith and Amanda Brown repped Team Adam last night by delivering candid and connected performances. Martinez’s unique rendition of “Seven Nation Army” won her the title of “uber cool” by Cee Lo Green, while Bryan Keith was commended for his “big pair” (of you know what) for tackling Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind.” It was Amanda Brown that reigned, though. “That’s how I’d liked to be introduced to that song,” Blake Shelton told the former back-up singer of her less-known song choice, “Stars.” Not only did she nail the vocals, her emotional connection to the song left her in tears.
Team Cee Lo
It is no surprise the most diverse team on the roster is Cee Lo Green’s. Trevin Hunte, Nicholas David and Cody Belew more than held their own in the night’s competition. Hunte diverted from his usual ballads to take on Usher’s “Scream” receiving positive but mixed reviews from the coaches. David, on the other hand, was showered with praise for his absolutely soulful cover, equipped with backing choir, of “Lean on Me.” Shelton said “it was like watching a musical legend” and Aguilera thanked him for “soothing” her soul. But the night’s most ambitious props go to Belew. The simple Arkansas singer who sang “Jolene” just a while back changed full gears by channeling his inner diva with Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love.” He was working that stage to no avail and just when you thought he hit his final note, “I’m not done yet,” he said before breaking into a hip-shaking routine with dancers. Epic.
Terry McDermott and Cassadee Pope rounded off the night’s top 10. A true rocker, McDermott sang “Summer of 69″ receiving unanimous acclaim. “You reminded me about everything I genuinely love about rock and roll,” Green told the Scottish singer. The night’s top honors went to former Hey Monday singer Pope who took on the greatest challenge by tackling “Over You,” “the most important and most personal” song coach Shelton has ever written (alongside his wife Miranda Lambert). Penned in the wake of his brother’s death, Shelton cupped his face in his hands as he watched a mature, angelic Pope bring the song to life. Receiving a standing ovation from Xtina and Shelton, Pope was applauded for her “sincerity” and Levine even told her to consider going country. “You made me feel like I was hearing it for the first time. Words can’t express what that means,” a tearful Shelton said. There was nothing left to say after that.
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