The top ten took the stage last night on The Voice, vying for America’s votes to keep them safe for another round. This week coaches Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green enlisted the help of music elite to lend their expertise to the contestants during rehearsals. Christina brought along industry exec Ron Fair, the man responsible for discovering her; Blake brought his country producer, Scott Hendricks; and Cee Lo brought the star power of Jennifer Hudson, who knows a thing or two about competing in front of America.
The night kicked off with a duet from coaches Christina and Blake dueting on a world premiere performance of Christina’s new song “Just A Fool” from her new album Lotus. Then it was time to dive into the contestant performances.
Contestant: Sylvia Yacoub
Sings: Alicia Keys ”Girl On Fire”
This former pre-law grad won’t have any regrets trading in her books for the microphone to compete on The Voice, because this girl was the definition of fire last night. Tackling the ambitious Alicia Keys single, Sylvia dug deep within herself to pull off a confident performance that let her big voice shine as she belted out the chorus.
Judges’ take:They all agreed Sylvia gave a more “polished” performance in this round with Blake Shelton noting that even though she was the first artist up on stage, fans will have a hard time forgetting her voice.
Contestant: Terry McDermott
Sings: Bryan Adams ”Summer of ’69″
Singing a song that’s as all-American as baseball and apple pie, this Scottish laddie took the classic Bryan Adams to a place all his own. His daring rock performance was highlighted with a more outgoing stage presence than in the past, with Christina even calling out the endearing way he sings on his tippie toes. Hey, whatever helps with reaching those high notes in his register, because it worked!
Judges’ take: Cee Lo summed up the coaches’ consensus on Terry’s performance in one perfect thought; Terry reminds him of everything he loves about rock and he’s ready to hear original music from this breakout rocker.
Contestant: Melanie Martinez
Sings: White Stripes ”Seven Nation Army”
As the youngest contestant at 17 years old, Melanie has no trouble holding her own when it comes to bringing originality and spunk to the stage. Always doing the unexpected on stage, Melanie let the power behind her soft, sultry vocals come out more for this psychedelic rendition, which even featured a backdrop of her own photography and graphics. This girl can do it all!
Judges’ take: Coach Adam wasn’t let down by Melanie’s song choice and applauded her for sticking to her guts to bring a unique twist to this alternative hit, while Christina encouraged her to push her voice even more next time.
Team Cee Lo
Contestant: Cody Belew
Sings: Beyonce ”Crazy In Love”
Who knew it was even possible to out-diva the divalicous Queen Bey, but Cody Belew managed to accomplish the impossible with his bigger than life performance. Turning up the glam a notch in a George Michael meets KISS studded leather jacket, Cody strutted down the stairs with an attitude of a star in the making. His entertaining performance was capped off with a dance breakdown of his best hip-shaking moves.
Judges’ take: The coaches all loved his performance with Christina exclaiming Cody “worked it like a true diva.” Adam delivered more of a backwards compliment saying “you’re cocky, but in a good way. You make me look humble,” which translated we think he means Cody has confidence in the kind of artist he is.
Contestant: Bryan Keith
Sings: Billy Joel ”New York State of Mind”
New York native Bryan Keith chose a timely ode to his home after the city still recovers from the devastating aftermath of Super Storm Sandy. His laid back demeanor allowed his strong, bluesy voice to pop on the classic ballad, while incorporating his own flavor on the tune.
Judges’ take: Christina called the song a “perfect fit” for his old soul style, and both Cee Lo and coach Adam praised the strength in his voice that paralleled Billy Joel’s himself and sounded like a “man’s man” singing the powerful song.
Contestant: Amanda Brown
Sings: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals ”Stars”
Just as some of the judges noted after her performance, Amanda may have taken on a lesser known song, but we have a feeling this tune will surge on iTunes after her incredible rendition. Amanda’s emotional connection with the ballad brought tears to her eyes and chills to the audience as she showcased her skillful control over her powerful voice, hitting the power notes with ease.
Judges’ take: Blake Shelton admitted he wasn’t familiar with the song, but her performance was the way he wanted to be introduced to it, and Christina noted her vocal ability and strength.
Team Cee Lo
Contestant: Nicholas David
Sings: Bill Withers ”Lean On Me”
Back by a full gospel choir, Nicholas David delivered a heavenly performance with his rich, deep southern tone on this blues classic. Even though he was sitting at a piano, he riled up some spirits with his energetic playing and was so overcome by the music, his left leg went wild as he played.
Judges’ take: The coaches gave Nicholas some high praise after his powerful delivery with Blake going as far as calling him a “legend” on stage. He even brought tears to coach Cee Lo’s eyes after making him feel like he was in the presence of his late minister father watching over.
Team Cee Lo
Contestant: Trevin Hunte
Sings: Usher ”Scream”
A double header from Team Cee Lo followed up with a performance from the shy, but talented 18-year-old Trevin Hunte, who wanted to show America his fun side this round with a modern song pick. Coming off a string of compelling performance, Trevin had a lot to live up to, but failed to make the same impression until hitting his final power note, which made the girls in the audience go wild.
Judges’ take: Even though Trevin took a risk with this song choice, the coaches commended him for trying something new as an artist and having fun on stage with a song more his age. Coach Cee Lo seemed pleased with the overall choice and was glad that the risk paid off once Trevin hit that final big note.
Contestant: Cassadee Pope
Sings: Miranda Lambert ”Over You”
Cassadee Pope stepped up to a big challenge taking on a personal song her coach helped co-write with his wife Miranda Lambert. Written about Blake’s late brother, the emotional lyrics resonated with Cassadee, who thought of her late grandfather while performing the ballad. Cassadee commanded the stage as the song built up to the big finale, which she sang directly to coach Blake.
Judges’ take: All the coaches felt Cassadee’s emotional connection with the song, and coach Blake was blown away with her rendition of the “most important” song he’s ever written, which made him feel like he was hearing it for the first time again.
Contestant: Dez Duron
Sings: Nina Simone “Feeling Good”
Fan favorite Dez Duron melted hearts with his silky smooth vocals and alluring smile on this jazz standard. This former Yale football player turned soul crooner knows how to work an audience, and certainly didn’t disappoint as the final act of the night.
Judges’ take: Cee Lo could barely get in his critique over all the cheering in the audience, but simply said he “love it.” Coach Christina was proud of his performance saying he had incredible stage presence and of course melted all the hearts of girls watching.
-Britt Bickel, 94.7 The WAVE/Los Angeles