Monday’s live two-hour episode of “The Voice” episode was crammed with performances by six artists each from teams coached by Alicia Keys and Blake Shelton. Each coach brought back one artist to join the five that had made it through the knockout rounds. East coast viewers voted in real-time via Twitter and the official app for the top two artists from each team with the coaches getting to pick one more from their bottom four.
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 dozen artists by voting in our poll and sounding off in the comments section.
Casi Joy: “Parachute” (Blake Shelton): Eliminated
Joy didn’t live up to her name with this low-key rendition of Chris Stapleton‘s 2016 country hit “Parachute.” Perhaps it was having to lead off the live show that caused this case of jitters. While Shelton praised her performance and noted “It’s hard for me to imagine you not moving forward,” viewers were less impressed.
Felicia Temple: “Defying Gravity” (Blake Shelton): Eliminated
Temple was Shelton’s Coach Comeback; he had stolen her from Keys in the battle round but lost faith in her during her knockout against Joy. She has alway favored power ballads and went with “Defying Gravity,” the act one showstopper from the musical “Wicked.” Shelton cheered her on and declared, “I’m glad to be on this journey with you.” But viewers were less taken with her singing charms.
Aaliyah Rose: “Brass in Pocket” (Blake Shelton): Eliminated
This song, a 1980 rock hit for The Pretenders, was an odd choice for this teen talent. The lyrics are quite risque and didn’t sound right being sung by this 14-year-old YouTube sensation. While Shelton observed, “You couldn’t be cuter,” viewers were not so enamored and she was eliminated.
TSoul: “Knock on Wood” (Blake Shelton): Coach Choice
TSoul had the joint rocking with “Knock on Wood,” a No. 1 hit for soul singer Eddie Floyd back in 1966. TSoul made the music come alive and updated the signature sound of the song. Shelton was impressed with his rendition, noting, “That was so much fun. That is what performing is supposed to be all about.” After the public passed on him, Shelton threw TSoul a lifeline and chose him from the four eliminated artists to continue on in the show.
Aliyah Moulden: “Mercy” (Blake Shelton): Public Vote
Moulden made merry with “Mercy,” a 2008 Grammy-nominated hit for Welsh songstress Duffy. The tune was a good choice for this 15-year-old with a grown-up voice. Indeed, Shelton observed, “that’s the best I’ve seen you sing so far on this show.” And the public agreed, putting her through to the top 12.
Lauren Duski: “Someone Else’s Star” (Blake Shelton): Public Vote
Saving the best for last, Shelton did well by Duski by having her sing the plaintive “Someone Else’s Star” which had been a country No. 1 for Bryan White in 1995. The singer and song were perfectly matched and Shelton gushed, “You are going to see from that performance a tidal wave of support from country music fans, mark my words.” And he was soon proven right as she won the public vote.
Chris Blue: “Love on the Brain” (Alicia Keys): Public Vote
Keys kicked off her sextet by having her strongest male artist sing a song that would have been a big ask for any of the women: Rihanna‘s top five 2016 soul hit “Love on the Brain.” That Blue was able to make this music his own is a testament to his talent. He handled the falsetto with ease and earned praise from Keys, “There is not a soul on this planet that can deny the gift that you are offering here,” before winning the public vote.
Anatalia Villaranda: “Stand by Me” (Alicia Keys): Eliminated
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.
Jack Cassidy: “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” (Alicia Keys): Eliminated
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.
Vanessa Ferguson: “Lean On” (Alicia Keys): Public Vote
Ferguson took the 2015 dance hit “Lean On” by Major Lazer & DJ Snake and slowed it right down, turning it into a smooth jazz-themed number. Keys endorsed this risky move, “I love how you are breaking all the rules.” After her coach declared, “I love that you have no limits,” the public followed suit and voted to keep her on the show.
Ashley Levin: “I Can’t Stand the Rain” (Alicia Keys): Eliminated
Levin had started off on 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” (Alicia Keys): Coach Choice
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.” After the public did not put her through to the next round, it was not a surprise when Keys did.