Women in Music 2016
Watch Billboard and American Express' 'Women in Music: Inspiring a Generation' Video
Bozoma Saint John Accepts Executive of the Year Honor at Women In Music 2016: 'We're Knocking Dudes Out of the Way to Make Room for You'
Madonna Delivers Her Blunt Truth During Fiery, Teary Billboard Women In Music Speech
Kesha Accepts Trailblazer Award at Billboard Women in Music 2016: 'Don't Let Anyone Take Your Happiness'
'The Voice' Recap: Team Pharrell and Team Adam Compete in Live Playoffs
After last night’s performances from Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton’s artists, Team Pharrell and Team Adam took the stage on The Voice tonight, singing for America’s vote in the second night of Live Playoffs. Pharrell and Adam Levine also announced their comeback artists, giving two more eliminated contestants a second chance.
Pharrell chose Daniel Passino, a former member of Team Christina who was eliminated after going up against Alisan Porter during the Knockout round, as his comeback artist. Pharrell didn’t have a steal left at the time, so he was glad that he found a way to get Passino on his team after all. For his Live Playoff performance, Passino sang “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars. He sounded good, but it wasn’t an exciting enough performance for his comeback. Still, Pharrell seemed very content with his decision.
Also from Team Pharrell, Emily Keener performed next. She decided to sing the classic Paul Simon song “Still Crazy After All These Years,” and she accompanied herself on the piano. Kenner really showcased her talents as a storyteller, taking the audience on a journey with her singing. It was an understated but strong performance. “I especially loved the verses,” Aguilera said, adding that she proved that vocals don’t have to be too embellished to be impressive. Pharrell said that she has the ability to take people to totally different eras, adding that she’s an “amazing unicorn of a singer.”
Laith Al-Saadi from Team Adam sang “With a Little Help From My Friends,” which was a great song choice for him. The song allowed him to really focus on his singing instead of overpowering everything with his guitar playing. It was a fun and gritty performance that really embodied who he is as an artist. The coaches all praised his live guitar playing, with Aguilera adding that Al-Saadi really let loose tonight. Even though he’s not on his team, Pharrell really encouraged fans of classic rock to vote for Al-Saadi.
Moushumi from Team Pharrell performed next, singing “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber, saying that it’s similar to the kind of music that she hopes to put out. Pharrell encouraged her to bring an emotional dynamic to the song and helped her to make the arrangement more dynamic. Moushumi has a very distinct tone, and that allowed her to bring her own sound to the hit. She probably could have dug into the emotions of the song even more, but it was a lovely performance. Levine said he would have liked to hear more of the glassy sound to her voice, but Aguilera praised the production changes to the song.
Team Pharrell’s Lacy Mandigo, who is now on her third coach of the season, came to the Live Playoffs ready to prove why she deserves to stay in the competition. She decided to sing “Love Is A Battlefield,” which was a great song choice for her. In her rehearsal, Pharrell pushed her to really let go and not think too hard about all the elements. In her performance, Mandigo definitely let loose and didn’t seem overproduced, bringing a very natural energy and magnetism to her singing. She rocked it out, and it was very fun to watch. On top of it all, her vocals were great. “There’s something special about you,” Shelton said, saying that when she sings, it’s like a monster comes out of her. Aguilera said she loved the big, long note Mandigo ended on. “What you just did demonstrated that you were never meant to go home,” Pharrell said.
Owen Danoff from Team Adam was up next, singing “Hero” by Family Of The Year. Up until now, Danoff had only been doing older music, so he wanted to do something a little more contemporary. He played guitar as well, and it was a very beautiful and delicate performance. As Levine pointed out in rehearsal, Danoff has a lot of layers to him as an artist, and it makes him so captivating. It was a strong choice that really seemed to reflect Danoff’s personality and artistry. Shelton praised Danoff’s ability to connect so strongly with a song that wasn’t his own. Pharrell described the performance as a “magical moment” because of the way his unique tone sounded on the folk song. Levine seconded the notion that Danoff made the song sound like his own.
Team Adam’s Shalyah Fearing, who has also bounced around between coaches this season, sang Beyoncé’s “Listen” tonight, and it was the best performance of the night. It’s remarkable that Fearing has managed to stay in the competition despite drawbacks, because she could easily make it all the way to the end. Levine really pushed her to tap into her true potential tonight, and she dominated the stage, earning standing ovations from all four coaches. It’s hard to believe Fearing had to be stolen twice in order to make it to this point. According to Shelton, Fearing “all of a sudden became the freaking frontrunner.” “You’re so young to have those pipes,” her former coach Aguilera said. “We believe you. We feel the message you’re trying to convey,” Levine said, adding that she has a similar authenticity to her that Danoff has.
Levine brought back Nate Butler, who was eliminated during the Knockout round, as his comeback artist. “It’s hard to stand out that early in the competition,” Levine explained to Butler, adding that he’s very happy to have him back. Tonight, Butler sang “Sara Smile,” and Butler thrived with the soulful sound. “The subtleties and nuance to what you do is so boundless,” Levine said, praising Butler’s runs and technical skills.
Team Pharrell’s indie-pop singer Caity Peters opted to sing Adele’s “I’ll Be Waiting.” Peters usually sings ballads, but she decided to shake it up tonight with something more up-tempo. In rehearsal, Pharrell encouraged her to have more definition in her vibrato. Peters sounded great on the high notes, and even though she said she was nervous about being on live television, she remained confident and powerful throughout the performance. She showed a different side of her artistry tonight, and it helped to set her apart. “Everything was completely brought to life,” Aguilera said. “I feel like you really released your spirit,” Pharrell added.
Team Adam’s Caroline Burns sang next, choosing “All I Want” by Kodaline. Levine told her that she doesn’t need to work so much on her singing but rather on her confidence and on making sure that her personality really comes through in her singing. The song choice really pushed Burns out of her comfort zone, and even though she’s very young and small, she filled the room with her voice, giving an emotional performance and breaking out of her shell. “This was a total different level for you,” Pharrell said. “That big note was beautiful.”
Team Adam kept things rolling with Brian Nhira performing “Alive” by Sia. It was another great song choice of the night, capturing Nhira’s energy and passion while allowing him to showcase huge runs and vocal control. Sia songs are difficult to sing, but Nhira handled it so well. “That’s a crazy range that you have there,” Aguilera said. Pharrell said he was “defying logic” on the high notes.
Closing out night two of the Live Playoffs, Team Pharrell's Hannah Huston sang the soul classic “Ain’t No Way” by Aretha Franklin. Pharrell said he felt like the song matches the way people feel when they hear her sing. It was another highlight of the night, with Huston showing off all of her strengths and ending the night on a very exciting note. If it hadn’t been for Fearing, it would have been the top performance of the night.
Tomorrow night, all four teams will be cut in half. Who got your vote tonight?
This article originally appeared in THR.com.