On the April 17 live two-hour episode of “The Voice,” the five artists on Team Alicia Keys that made it through the knockout rounds performed as did her pick from those previously eliminated. Two — Chris Blue and Vanessa Ferguson — won the public vote and made it through to the top 12. Keys then had to choose from her four eliminated acts — Jack Cassidy, Ashley Levin, Stephanie Rice and Anatalia Villaranda — to also take on to the next round.
She went with Rice but was that the right choice? Below, take a read of our recap of each of the performances and then weigh in with your choice as to the best of these four artists by voting in our poll and sounding off in the comments section.
Jack Cassidy: “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”
Cassidy was Keys’ Coach Comeback. As with Shelton’s choice, Temple, he was not welcomed back by the public who passed on his rendition of Elton John‘s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” This ballad had been a hit for John twice, first by himself in 1974 and then as a live duet with George Michael in 1991. Cassidy faltered and while Keys praised his tenacity by noting, “you rose to your greatness here tonight on that stage,” she did not choose to rescue him after he fell in the public vote.
Ashley Levin: “I Can’t Stand the Rain”
Levin had started off on Blake Shelton‘s team and was stolen by Keys in the battle round who did right by her in the knockout round by choosing a country classic, “Fancy,” for her to sing. However, here she went with the soul song “I Can’t Stand the Rain” and Levin had a hard time connecting to this 1974 hit for Ann Pebbles that Tina Turner covered to great acclaim a decade later. Indeed, Keys commented, “It is not an easy song to sing it is difficult to give all that emotion and all that power and all that desperation” and the public agreed.
Stephanie Rice: “Every Breath You Take”
Rice took a risk by tackling “Every Breath You Take,” the signature song by The Police that had ruled the charts for eight weeks back in 1983. Choosing to stay seated at the piano throughout her performance, Rice delivered a raw version of this classic that won praise from Keys who described her as “a pure, beautiful artist.”
Anatalia Villaranda: “Stand by Me”
Villaranda chose the iconic “Stand by Me,” a No. 1 for Ben E. King in 1961 that ranks among the most recorded songs of all time. She struggled to make anything new out of this classic and delivered a low-key version that earned praise from Keys who called her a “little spitfire” but failed to impress viewers.