Big sets and bigger vocals pump up the volume (and the crowd!) as the Top 6 take the stage

By Samantha Highfill
Updated April 14, 2015 at 10:25 PM EDT

I will start by saying what all of you are waiting to hear me say (and possibly dreading): I miss Sarah. It’s not that I thought she was the best, but I loved the surprise factor that she brought to the show. Plus, she was my jam. It’s that simple. But that being said, we have a lot to talk about tonight, because there is so much happening: Carson’s getting creepier, the sets are getting bigger, the audience is getting louder, and Usher’s puns are taking over the joint. Let’s get to it!

On the technical side of tonight, here’s what you need to know: All the contestants will perform two songs, one that they choose and one that their coach chooses for them. And in a last-minute change of plans — could it have something to do with the backlash after last week’s eliminations? — only one contestant will go home tomorrow night. Will Blake finally lose one of his three country artists, or will one of the other teams get booted off the competition for good? First things first: The performances!


The song: “When God-Fearin’ Women Get the Blues” by Martina McBride

The performance: Blake’s pick is yet another Martina McBride song for Holly. I understand that the girl has a great country voice, and it’s Martina-esque at times, but I am so over this song list. Although, confessional time, I did jam out to this song in my first car when I was 16. Flashback! But back to Holly — her performance is solid. I still don’t quite get the fire from her that I want, and the backup singers are just a little much, but it’s a nice performance. She’s a little breathy at times, but she definitely has the scorned-woman walk down.

The feedback: Usher commends her attitude and her theatrics, says he doesn’t have anything too critical. However, he wants to see more. Shakira likes her powerful voice and enjoys seeing Holly have fun on stage. Adam calls the performance “cool,” and Blake goes on record saying it’s by far his favorite performance of Holly’s. I’m not so sure about that.


The song: “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane

The performance: Usher’s pick for Michelle isn’t something we’ve seen from her before, but it’s a side that I enjoy. Her vocals are strong and other than a very distracting visual of a tree going through the seasons in the background, I like Michelle’s rendition a lot. Is it her best? No. Is it better than the Glee version? No. But I like it. It suits her voice.

The feedback: Shakira thinks it’s going to be another amazing week for Michelle and enjoys her balance of powerful vocals with falsetto. Adam loves how she is carving out her own spot in the universe and congratulates her on that accomplishment. Usher thinks she showed vulnerability and versatility, and he loves that she’s finding “a place we only know” and being comfortable in it. Usher and his puns… they’re unstoppable.

NEXT: Guess who sings about a wagon wheel?!

It’s time for our first awkward trip to the skybox with Christina Milian, whose hair continues to grow every week! Here, we learn that Holly plays the sax, and Michelle met Taylor Swift in rehearsal. As Carson puts it, that trip was “very entertaining.” Back to business!


The song: “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker

The performance: The Swon Brothers’ choice, this Darius Rucker song is a lot of good ol’ country fun. Now let’s talk about the saloon set-up complete with dancers in corsets with feathers in their hair, rolling around on the bar. It’s all very Wild Wild West, and you can ask Will Smith how that turned out for him. Regardless, the boys have fun, and the “Swonettes” do their thang. Vocally, I don’t think it’s the brothers’ best. However, it does give us Carson’s creepiest quote of the night: “I hope that bar’s open after the show.”

The feedback: Shakira expresses her newfound interest in country music, and Adam thinks it’s his favorite performance from the brothers. Also, the girls were cool. Blake thinks that the Swon Brothers have a truly unique sound, so hats off to them.


The song: “Ain’t No Way” by Aretha Franklin

The performance: For this performance, Sasha chose her mother’s favorite song, and here’s where I’m going to surprise you: It’s my favorite Sasha to date! I don’t mind her big voice or her vibrato on this performance. I actually quite like it. But what I like the most is that lipstick. Work it, woman!

The feedback: Adam thinks tonight was Sasha’s best performance, and Usher agrees that she’s an incredible vocalist. Shakira compliments her fabulous look for the evening, and then asks who else could do that. An audience member helps her out by shouting, “Nobody!” Okay fine, I’ll give Shakira that one.


The song: “Shake the Sugar Tree” by Pam Tillis

The performance: Blake’s choice for his favorite teenager is another old country tune. Sitting under a tree — that is not just a graphic on a screen (sorry Michelle!) — Danielle gives us more of the same. She’s solid, but I am not at all pulled into this performance. I think she’s good, but I think this performance is forgettable.

The feedback: Usher thinks she was a littler nervous at one point but says that her overall confidence is always amazing. Adam reinforces the fact that he has loved her from the beginning. Blake claims that, much like his wife, Danielle has that something extra that makes a star.

NEXT: Even rock songs can go country


The song: “I Remember You” by Skid Row

The performance: Adam’s choice for his final contestant is a rock song, which they decide to put a bluegrass twist on. Add some killer vocals and actual fire to the stage, and you’ve got another really strong performance from Amber. Her control constantly amazes me. I’m a big fan of this girl.

The feedback: Blake thinks Amber’s rendition is something people will want to own, and Shakira commends a great song choice for changing it up. Adam agrees that his plan was so crazy that it worked, and he thinks Amber’s rendition stands alone, which is pretty much all he could ask for.

Hold the phone! It’s that time again… let’s check in with “our pal” Christina, who says words like “spantastic” while hanging out with Sasha and Danielle and showing Danielle a video that her sister made for her. Aww. Back to you, Carson!


The song: “Okie from Muskogee” by Merle Haggard

The performance: Blake’s pick of the night/forever is a good-timey song about being from Oklahoma. The brothers leave the dancers behind for this performance, and the result is sure to make you smile. Are the vocals out-of-this-world amazing? No. But fun is had by all.

The feedback: Usher thinks the song proves that you don’t have to smoke weed to have fun. You just have to go to Oklahoma. Hear that, kids? Ush also enjoyed seeing the brothers’ personalities on stage. Adam can’t get over how happy Blake is to hear that song on the show, and Blake has a ratio for all of us: 90 percent of Americans will love that country song; 10 percent of Americans will b—- and moan. Where do you fall on the spectrum?


The song: “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts

The performance: Holly’s pick slows things down a little bit… except for set production, which consist of an entire lighthouse for her performance. Clearly Blake has some hookups backstage. Vocally, I actually like this performance better than the first one. It’s not my favorite of the night, but Holly knows what she’s good at, and she is, in fact, good at it.

The feedback: Shakira thinks Holly is consistently good and most of the time in-tune? Is she saying that Holly is often out-of-tune? I guess we’ll never know. Adam, meanwhile, likes her range and always enjoys finding out more about her. Blake thinks she’s his most diverse artist and loves her powerful voice.

NEXT: Oh hey, Taylor Swift!

Cue Christina in the skybox! With Amber and the Swon Brothers, Christina gets some tips on how to be more country. Here’s what you need to know: You need a little stank. No skinny jeans allowed. And no flavored coffee, neither! Oh, and Amber got to meet Maroon 5!


The song: “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift

The performance: When Michelle chose Taylor’s song, Ursher (baby!) made a few calls, and Ms. Swift herself shows up at rehearsals. Listening to Michelle, Taylor gives us some of her best awkward (usually reserved for award shows) moves before exclaiming, “That was so emotional!” She loves how Michelle doubles over and tells her never to stop doing that. And she definitely doesn’t. Michelle hits the stage rocking, and this is where the girl is comfortable. From her amazing jacket to her spot-on vocals, I love this performance. It’s my favorite version of Michelle to date. I mean, this is clearly Michelle’s comfort zone, and is she exciting or what?!

The feedback: After the crowd finally quiets down, Adam reiterates his love for her, and Blake is incredibly jealous that Usher got Taylor Swift in rehearsals. Oh, and Michelle sounded great. Usher makes another song-related pun and then gets confused about the difference between uploading and downloading, The important takeaway? He loves his Michelle!


The song: “Crazy” by Patsy Cline

The performance: She nailed it.

The feedback: Blake and Shakira agree that the performance was beautiful. Adam says Amber’s purity and traditional approach is why he agreed to let her do it. He thinks the subtlety and simplicity behind a performance that is 100 percent about someone’s voice is the most underrated thing, and Amber killed it.


The song: “A Little Bit Stronger” by Sara Evans

The performance: Danielle finally shows some emotion! Her vocals are always strong, but I’m happy to see Danielle really get into this song. That being said, I don’t think she really gets into it until that last note, which is amazing, but still, up until that point, I’m not believing her performance.

The feedback: Usher and Adam both commend the power behind that last note, and Blake loves her ability to pick and choose her powerful moments. Fun fact: Blake Googles Adam!


The song: “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood

The performance: Shakira’s choice leads her final contestant down a very angry, very country path. And once Sasha sheds her dress/jacket, she really gets into the song. It’s not her best performance, but I don’t ever get the feeling that her voice is too Broadway for it, which is a good thing.

The feedback: Blake is still stuck on the fact that she took her dress off, and Usher claims there’s “more than one Sasha Fierce.” Shakira is so very, very excited and thinks that Sasha Fierce is her new nickname. Now, let’s not get carried away, y’all. As much as I love this side of Sasha, you don’t mess with Queen B.

So that’s a wrap! Who was your favorite performance of the night? And who do you think is at risk of going home. Based off of tonight, I think it’s time for Blake’s team to lose a contestant. For me, Michelle and Amber took the night. Maybe meeting famous people makes you better? Okay, now I’m just making stuff up, which means I need to go. Let me know your thoughts and tune in tomorrow night to hear Cassadee Pope perform her new single and watch the Top Six lose another contestant.

Samantha on Twitter: @samhighfill