The remaining three artists give their final performances, revisit their blind audition songs, and perform with their coaches

By Jennifer Arellano
April 14, 2015 at 06:33 PM EDT
NBC
S5 E26
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After slogging through (or rather, watching comfortably from your couch) the blinds, the battles, and the overly-twee coach banter of season 5, the final performances are here. And we got them in multiples of three. “Tonight, the entire season is at stake,” said Carson Daly. Tessanne Chin, Will Champlin, and Jacquie Lee each sang their original blind audition songs, a duet with their coach, and a final coach’s choice. The result? A sincerely heart-warming and tear-jerky episode, thanks to Adam Levine’s nostalgic song choices, a sweet moment between Will and his family, and the tinge of dulled sadness that comes with anything that you gave an effort to coming to a close. And then they were three…

The coaches opened the show with a rendition of  Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” joined by a few of the band’s actual members. Wish I could say the coaches ended their string of performances on a high note, but this was a pretty disjointed sing-along that left me wishing Christina Aguilera’s mic was turned all the way up to 11.

It was a case of artist déjà vu when the top three sang their original blind auditions that got the coaches’ chairs turning. Tessanne sang Pink’s “Try,” which sounded just as tantalizing and finale-worthy as it did at the beginning of the season. “Everything you do just draws me in,” said her coach Adam Levine. “You deserve it all, darling,” said Cee Lo Green. Will sang “Not Over You” by Gavin DeGraw, which reminded Adam about their similar musical sensibilities — “Our tastes kind of gel,” he said. “He’s been through a lot of ups and downs on this show,” Adam added. Jacquie Lee sang “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse, which would become only the tip of her overly-mature-song iceberg this season. Her coach Christina revealed that she wanted Jacquie to wait a bit, perhaps sweat it out, before she turned her chair during the blinds. Deluging Jacquie with another impassioned speech about her preternatural talents, Christina said, “You make me enjoy everything that I do here in this chair.”

For the coach-artist duets, I think Team Adam really killed it. First up was Tessanne and People‘s Sexiest Man Alive singing The Beatles’ “Let It Be.” Let it be known that if Tessanne and Adam were to go on tour, I’m in. They made a great pair and strangely complemented each others’ voices. I loved the reggae-fied breakdown at the end. Christina sang one of her own tunes, “We Remain” from the Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack, with Jacquie. In their similarly raging-red dresses, their affectionate gesturing, and with the epic song subject matter, this performance should have blown me away, but I was left underwhelmed and almost cringing at their lack of harmony during the chorus. Will and Adam closed out the duets with Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” which was fun and perfectly in sync. If you thought Adam’s song picks were spot on, wait ’til you see what he had in store for the final ones.

The top three performed The Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There.” I thought Will and Tessanne did especially well during this group performance, but at around 9:19 Will hit this insane high note/vocal run that just floored me.

NEXT: Sonic blasts from the past make an appearance on the Voice stage… 

And the final performances…

TEAM ADAM: Tessanne Chin

The song: “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston (watch below)

The performance: Cue total freakout. Why hasn’t she sung Whitney earlier? So singularly sublime, I have nothing to else to say about this performance. Except that she ought to win this competition right this instant.

The feedback: “I don’t have thoughts right now, I just have emotions,” said Adam. “We gave you the biggest challenge there is…You’re just capable of anything and it blows me away. I know in my mind and in my heart that you are the winner of this show,” he added.

TEAM ADAM: Will Champlin

The song: “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams

The performance: I loved this. Will didn’t overdo it on the vocals, he let the melody shine through, and seemed more emotionally connected at this point than the entire season combined. If you didn’t tear up when he serenaded his wife and baby in the stands during the final verse, then consider your stubborn tear ducts proof that you are a cold, heartless, mountain troll.

The feedback: “This is a huge, massive victory, especially considering all the crap that you had to deal with on the show,” said Adam. “It was solid all the way through,” said Blake Shelton.

TEAM CHRISTINA: Jacquie Lee

The song: “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” Jennifer Hudson version (originally by Jennifer Holliday)

The performance: Totally overrated. Aside from the pyrotechnics and dramatic key lighting, this wasn’t a bright spot for me. Yes, that final, lung-busting note she held was impressive, but it didn’t move me the way Team Adam’s last performances did.

The feedback: Though she began saying, “I’m completely speechless,” Christina delivered another whirling, rambling speech about how awesome Jacquie is, mentioning that she’s only 16 about 17 times. “That was amazing,” said Blake. “This is one of the best coach artist pairings I’ve ever seen.”

Parting Thoughts:

-Did this feel like a finale (well, Part 1) for you? I thought for once that the gravity and finality of the episode was matched by the performances and song choices. Nostalgia all the way.

-Was it a teensy bit unnerving that Adam declared Tessanne the winner even though his other student, Will, was waiting in the wings to perform next?

-Who do you guys think will take it all tomorrow night?

Sound off in the comments!

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A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.
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