Team Adam: Jon Mero
“Why I Love You” by Major
Jon Mero’s been one of the surprises of the last few weeks because he’s got a lot of tricks up his sleeve and has been very timely in revealing his hand. He can do falsetto like nobody’s business — tonight, he’s able to play with his head voice with so much charisma that he could easily spend the whole song there and sail through to the next round — and his full voice is the exact kind of warmth you wanna swim in.
Per Adam Levine’s instruction, he lets himself get lost in the delicate number, and while it’s not quite as much ownage as he delivered last week, he’s still keeping himself in the true contender circle with this one.
Team Miley: Ashland Craft
“Delta Dawn” by Tanya Tucker
During rehearsals, Miley Cyrus lets Ashland Craft play her way into singing “Delta Dawn” above her second choice (Zac Brown Band’s “Chicken Fried,” which is not as hokey as the title suggests). And her acoustic take on the song is just tender enough to take it outside its obvious lane, but what she does with it on stage tonight is not that.
If she had come out with a subdued rendition of this piece, as previewed in the prep footage, it may have been very pretty, but Ashland’s performance is busy and forced. What should be a sweet little melody has become some twisted rock rampage that just doesn’t match the mood of the song. And she’s at max screech capacity, leaving little room for nuance.
Team Adam: Adam Cunningham
“Against All Odds” by Phil Collins
Now, I know Adam Levine instructs Adam Cunningham to sing this like it’s a Chris Stapleton cover, but it’s clear he’s trying to replicate Noah Mac’s moment of self-betterment from the playoffs by giving him a Phil Collins song. And…it’s not working for anyone.
Adam is behind the tempo of this song right off the rip and spends the rest of the tune struggling dearly to salvage things. On top of that, his normally strong, scratchy country voice sounds desperate in the most important notes. The coaches do their best to throw on a “you’ll get ’em next time” cheerleading session, but it’s obvious he’s put himself in jeopardy here tonight.
Team Blake: Chloe Kohanski
“Thank You” by Dido
Girl. This is how it’s done. Chloe Kohanski is already coming into this night with a lot of momentum behind her — as Blake Shelton points out, her playoff single is breaking records with audience engagement. And she does not spoil it one bit. In fact, this song choice is pretty killer because even though Dido does it in an entirely different key, Chloe knows how to make it her own without alienating the original feel.
Her haunting low tones are well matched with the upped tempo, and she maintains an even composure throughout. For someone who’s never had any formal training, she sure knows how to play to her own strengths, and her smoky tones are just fun to listen to. With Chloe, it’s the rare case of never having too much of a good thing, even if she does get pretty repetitive in this and most of her other song choices. If and when she becomes a recording artist, producers won’t even have to cut and paste her chorus in to make it even.
Team Jennifer: Davon Fleming
“Love on Top” by Beyoncé
Jennifer Hudson had to call in a favor to her fellow Dreamgirls alum Beyoncé to let her teammate try his hand at her song. But Davon Fleming manages to make it mostly his own, despite the fact that it comes from such a living icon. Sure, there’s still the same cheery feel to the number, but he sounds more like he’s waxing Stevie Wonder than Queen Bey.
Adam Levine and Jennifer Hudson are driven to throw shoes at his stage after Davon Fleming melts the place with his dramatic crowd play and honey tones. It’s still not perfect, nor is it his most convincing performance of the season, but it’s still enough to see him through, and it won’t be making anyone’s blooper reels. That said, Davon will probably want to hone things in a little more if he’s going to compete with the other soul singers of this competition. (Recap continues on page 3)