On last week’s top 13 results show on The Voice, Team Gwen’s teen pop singer Joana Martinez, who was originally a member of Team Blake, was in the bottom three, and she barely escaped elimination. But Blake Shelton revealed this week, after hearing Joana crooning the Selena classic "Dreaming of You," he still said letting her defect to his offscreen girlfriend/onscreen rival Gwen Stefani’s team was his biggest Voice mistake ever.
“Joana, I can't think of a dumber decision I've made in the history of this show than letting you go from my team. Every week, it's not that you get better, because you've always been great — but you're just coming into your moment on this show.”
“[Joana] she was actually perfection tonight,” said Gwen. “I was thinking, ‘Did Blake give me her as a present?’”
Well, I don’t know if losing Joana should be Blake’s all-time biggest Voice regret. Like, what about all those times he used the word “literally” incorrectly? (Example: “You literally bludgeoned me to death with the power of your voice.”) But Joana did get back on track this week, so Gwen definitely corrected her coaching mistake with the help of the show’s viewers, who picked for the contestants’ songs this week. Gwen realized that Joana’s fans wanted to her to return to balladry (last week, Joana did the uptempo Gloria Estefan hit “Get on Your Feet,” which garnered accolades from Gloria herself but failed to garner votes), and while Joana didn’t do much to make the Selena song her own, it’s seemed to be a crowd-pleaser.
These were the other performances, mistakes and all, of Monday’s episode:
Katie Kadan (Team Legend), "Without You"
I will admit I missed of Katie’s big, brassy personality here. If only she had done the original Badfinger version of this song! But apparently Katie’s fans wanted the string-laden Mariah remake, while Katie stood on a pedestal in a silver mother-of-the-bride gown. But vocally, this was just about flawless, with a lot of passion and power — and any conservative voters turned off by Katie’s “eccentric” image were surely won over tonight. Kelly Clarkson called the performance “mind-blowing” and told Katie, “That is thee way that song should be sung.
Kat Hammock (Team Blake), “I’ll Fly Away”
Kat was once again giving me middle-school-recital vibes during this tepid performance of the oft-covered 1929 gospel hymn. It started to pick up and get more Alison Krauss-y midway through, but it fell flat after Katie. (John Legend had joked that he felt sorry for anyone who had to follow Katie, but maybe he wasn’t really joking.) Kat definitely hit some flat notes, too. But Blake stood by his young team member: “I don't care what anybody says, that was magic,” he insisted. And since Kat went with a religious song, she will probably be safe this week.
Shane Q (Team Kelly), "Mercy"
“Confident” and “sensual,” two words John used to describe this performance, are not two words I’d usually use to describe Shan, whose performances have always seemed too staid and dinner-theater to me. But this Shawn Mendes song worked really well with Shane’s voice (aside from some screechiness at the end), so John wasn’t totally wrong here. This was by far his best performance of the season, and the first time he’d seemed even remotely modern or relevant.
Will Breman (Team Legend), "Light My Fire"
Clearly Will’s fans want him to challenge himself. His fan expect the unexpected. Doing the scatty José Feliciano version of the Doors’ classic was sultry and smoky — a different side of Will, but still quirky and charming. “I gotta be honest — I've never really been crazy about that song until now. That was weird and awesome. I loved it,” said Blake.
Rose Short (Team Gwen), "Maybe I'm Amazed"
You know, if the finale this season ended up coming down to Katie vs. Rose, I would not be mad. This perfectly paced, pronouns-intact, masterclass performance of Paul McCartney’s heartfelt power ballad made me feel like I was already watching the finale. Everything about this, from the staging to the styling to Rose’s sense of dynamics, was masterclass-level. I was amazed — no maybes about it. “That was, like, from the Lord! That was so good! I feel saved!” screamed Kelly. “I have tears. I'm so moved by you tonight. That was almost like I was in a dream. … I feel like I'm on drugs,” said Gwen.
Hello Sunday (Team Kelly), "The Middle"
This teen duo has been inconsistent all season. Last week, they excelled, but this sluggish, slowed-down, semi-acoustic Zedd cover showcased all of their vocal shortcomings. A more upbeat, less jazzy arrangement may have suited them better. Their harmonies were shaky and their solo vocals were shouty. But they have enough of a fanbase to pull through, so I imagine this week they’ll land somewhere in the… wait for it… middle.
Myracle Holloway (Team Gwen) "Everybody Hurts"
Finally, Myracle was back on track! This domestic abuse survivor and recovering addict has so much pain in this voice — remember, she almost seemed like she was on the verge of crying during her audition — so this soulful R.E.M. weeper was perfect for her. The fans really did Myracle a favor with this song choice. She was more emotionally connected than she’d seemed in weeks. “It's such a moving thing it shows you how powerful music can be and how powerful the story behind the music can be. Everybody feeling it in your voice and the way you perform, it's a beautiful powerful thing,” said John.
Marybeth Byrd (Team Legend), "Stars"
I was worried that this wide-open Grace Potter ballad would be too big for Marybeth’s gentle tone, and there were times when the song seemed like it was about to get away from her, but she always pulled it back from the brink. The small-town yearning connected to Marybeth’s backstory. This performance was genuine and earnest — two qualities that will get this girl far in the competition. “I want to thank the fans for picking that song for you. It's so perfectly right in your vocal pocket. You sounded so magical — all the twists and turns that the melody takes, it was right there for you. You gave us power. You gave us clarity. You gave us beautiful high notes. It was one of your best performances so far,” said John.
Jake Hoot (Team Kelly), “Every Light in the House”
Kelly’s “magical cowboy unicorn” kept it country, and kept it simple, with Trace Adkins classic. He didn’t do much with it, but as the only country singer left in the top 11, he didn’t really need to. This was another solid performance from Jake. “Every time you open your mouth to sing, I am reminded of just every part of my childhood that was awesome. You're so nostalgic. You're such a great storyteller. It's like you naturally have a microphone in your throat. I don't understand it. It's so beautiful. You're so present. You're a really great human as well. I'm so blessed you're on my team,” gushed Kelly.
Ricky Duran (Team Blake), “Downtown Train”
Ricky scored extra points with me for crediting Tom Waits as the writing and original recording artist behind this song, even though most Voice viewers are probably more familiar with the Rod Stewart version. I was really digging the sense of urgency of, anthemic vibe of Ricky’s rendition, which sounded nothing like either Tom or Rod. If I were to compare to any other artist, it was Springsteenian. It had swagger to it. Ricky was a rock star tonight. “Sometimes I forget you're a contestant on the show. You feel like you're past that — you feel like an artist already. The way you carry yourself, just the level of polish and confidence and stage presence you have, you just look advanced, beyond a competition,” marveled John.
So now, it is prediction time. This was a very strong night, and even the weaker singers of the night have strong fanbases. I fear Will might be in trouble for his risky song choice, and I suspect Hello Sunday, Shane, and yes, Joana could be in danger as well. But this could go any number of ways. See you Tuesday for a nail-biter of a results show.
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