It’s “Fan Week” on The Voice, which means tonight our Top 11 will be performing songs selected by the fans. Risky, yes. But as they say: The greater the risk, the greater the reward. They probably also say “the greater the risk the greater probability of disaster,” because that is also true. Which way will “Fan Week” swing for our remaining artists? Let’s find out!
Team Legend: Katie Kadan, “Without You” by Badfinger
How does one go on after “I’m Going Down?” There is no way. Well, except maybe tackling a giant ballad Mariah Carey has been known to completely crush (also, please see Kelly Clarkson during the American Idol season 1 Top 3, no big deal). That’s exactly what, as John Legend calls them, the Kadan-ators have selected for Katie. Katie’s into her fans’ nickname, and I am into this performance. Also: into the monochrome silver look. Okay, but the vocals: “That is how that song should be sung,” says Kelly Clarkson, WHO WOULD KNOW. John, who was on his feet the entire time, loves seeing Katie perform a classic ballad with such poise and nuance and then hit those money notes when the time came. I mean, has she had a bad performance yet?
Team Blake: Kat Hammock, “I’ll Fly Away” by Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch
Blake is still scared to work with Kat Hammock because he knows she must be a hero to so many young people. He also compares her to Bob Dylan, which is a lot. Blake knows the Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch version of this song, so he advises her to play up the bluegrass on this performance. It’s a little bit of departure from Kat’s norm, and I enjoy her in the bluegrass realm. Gwen Stefani’s right in that the only way to follow Katie Kadan is by doing something completely different, so Kat was the perfect one to take on that dreaded role. Coach Blake remains obsessed with her voice. Like, marry it already if you love it that much, dude.
Team Kelly: Shane Q, “Mercy” by Shawn Mendes
Shane Q’s fans have done their research and after finding a video of Shane performing this Shawn Mendes song in a coffee shop, they want it live, baby. It’s a very cool, stripped-down arrangement and you can immediately tell that his familiarity with it leads to Shane’s most relaxed performance yet. John Legend noticed the confidence shift, too. He felt Shane’s “swag” and thought it was his best performance on the show. Kelly Clarkson is proud that he went for the big chest voice moments and finally rose to his performance potential. I mean, he made Kelly proud, what more does he need? Well, votes, I guess. But it’s the pride and growth that matters. Sort of.
Team Gwen: Joana Martinez, “Dreaming of You” by Selena
After getting inspiration from Gwen’s field trip to Whisky a Go Go, our instant save winner from last year is going back to what worked in the beginning: ballads. The fans have chosen a big ol’ Selena ballad that Gwen reminds her calls for just as much confidence as bopping around to Gloria Estefan (who, BTW, called Joana after her “Get On Your Feet” performance). It’s surprising Joana hasn’t tackled this song yet — it’s perfect for the newly sweet 16-year-old. Coach Gwen Stefani remains impressed by the confidence Joana has to easily move from the low notes into her higher register. In fact, Gwen is so impressed by Joana, she wonders if Blake, whose team Joana was on originally, actually gave her Joana as a gift. He confirms he’s not that nice.
Team Legend: Will Breman, “Light My Fire” by The Doors
Now, this is how you get votes: Will brings in his cute little pug, Oscar, to rehearsals. He’ll probably get all my votes now, what can I say? The heart wants what the heart wants and my heart wants a puppy snuggle. This is an interesting choice for Will, and he decides to make it more “Will” by doing the José Feliciano version. It’s a much more toned down Will, but don’t worry: there is as much scatting as you’d expect. Blake Shelton calls it “weird and awesome” which is a very nice critique in this situation. Coach Legend is very into it. He’s impressed by Will’s musicality and tells his artist that he’s truly on an “advanced level as a musician.” Oscar the Pug gave it five out of five barks, probably.
Team Gwen: Rose Short, “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney
Gwen’s emotional listening to Rose rehearse this song — she felt something tell her that Rose is winning The Voice — no offense to her other artists, I guess? For this song, Rose is leaning into the soul. Honestly, she could perform whatever version of the song she wants when she is in that dress. It is perfection. Also perfect? The entire second half of this song. The low notes! The growls! The belting. You can bet your buns she gets a standing ovation from the coaches. “That was so good, I feel saved,” says Kelly Clarkson, who also commends her on the dynamics of that song, taking us all on a ride. Gwen Stefani is so mesmerized she “feel[s] like [she’s] on drugs,” which is a great review, in case you were wondering.
Team Kelly: Hello Sunday, “The Middle” by Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey
Coach Kelly Clarkson tells the girls that this song is a big one, literally, and it means their fans (who they call “The Weekends”) have a lot of confidence in their talent. It’s also a big song metaphorically-speaking because as Kelly points out, it’s very different from other songs they’ve already done and will show the audience “how adaptable they are.” Hello Sunday do some cool things with the arrangement and it’s definitely the most mature they’ve sounded thus far. Kelly feels that too, and commends them for singing “like women” and still being fun “like 14-year-olds.” It’s probably not their most memorable performance, but The Weekends seem to be a mighty crew.
Team Gwen: Myracle Holloway, “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M.
For weeks, the coaches have been commenting on the pain in Myracle’s voice, and the fans have gone hog wild with that and given her a song with “hurt” in the title. Oh, fans. Gwen’s pretty amped to see what Myracle, such a soulful singer, can do with this classic alternative song. I mean, obviously, she makes us want to curl up in the fetal position. To be honest, I could’ve done with even more of the rasp and breaks in Myracle’s voice, but what can I say? I’m a glutton for pain during nationally televised singing competitions. John’s moved, not exactly by the performance per se, but by Myracle being here to tell her story.
Team Legend: Marybeth Byrd, “Stars” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Marybeth is pleased with her fans’ (The Byrd Watchers?) song choice this week, since the song reminds her of being homesick and she’s been missing home a lot lately. This performance doesn’t feel as effortless as Marybeth’s usually do, and it could’ve used some additional softer moments, but Kelly Clarkson is pleased because it really showed off how well she can open up and make a note soar. Marybeth’s coach John, too, loves the song choice because it was right in her wheelhouse, allowing her to remind everyone of the clarity in her voice and of her gorgeous high notes. John’s a Byrd Watcher. But is he a Bird Watcher? The people want to know!
Team Kelly: Jake Hoot, “Every Light in the House” by Trace Adkins
Bless Kelly for telling Jake that if he ever lets his newfound fame get to his head (Hoot is v. popular), she’ll come after him. Bless Hooters for already reaching out to Jake Hoot about sponsorship opportunities. Bless the fans for selecting this song, since, as Kelly points out, it’s a mid-tempo ballad and that plays right into Jake’s strengths. It’s another solid Hoot performance, and he really works well in this “heartbroken cowboy” genre. Gwen finds Hoot’s voice comforting, and she isn’t wrong. Coach Kelly agrees — his performances remind her of her childhood, and she counts him up there with the best country music storytellers.
Team Blake: Ricky Duran, “Downtown Train” by Rod Stewart
Well, Ricky Duran has MADE IT: He’s on a billboard at the local pizza joint. That’s what it’s all about people, and I mean that with zero sarcasm. Pizza is life. Ricky is handed a pretty iconic song to take on, and Blake gives him some extra confidence by gifting him a new guitar. That’s so nice! Also nice? Ricky covering this song. It might not be his most memorable or flashy, but he sounds great on it. John sometimes forgets Ricky is a contestant on this show because he seems so professional every week — this week especially. Blake piles on: People in the industry are already reaching out to Blake about Ricky, and he couldn’t be prouder that Ricky is having his moment right now. What a sweet note to end on!
We’re only losing one artist in tomorrow night’s elimination, so who do you think will find themselves in the bottom? And who won the night? If your answer isn’t Rose Short, please explain yourself.
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