Reality Check

'The Voice' Recap: Reba McEntire Advises Top 12

Top 12 Mentor Reba McEntire and Pharrell Williams on NBC's The Voice on April 13, 2015.
Vivian Zink/NBC

Top 12 Mentor Reba McEntire and Pharrell Williams on NBC's The Voice on April 13, 2015.

Reba McEntire joined the Top 12 on The Voice tonight to offer her wisdom as an advisor to the artists.

With no more steals or saves left in the competition, the results are completely in the hands of viewers. But Blake Shelton, Pharrell Williams, Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine continued to shape their artists and push them to new limits.

Team Blake’s Hannah Kirby was the first artist up. Kirby was Shelton’s save, so she had a lot to prove tonight. He gave her “Edge Of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks to sing, and McEntire compared Kirby to Dolly Parton. Kirby always puts her full voice and body into all of her performances, and the big and bold song choice suited her artistry. “Now, they understand,” Pharrell said, and hopefully America’s voters really do see what the coaches saw tonight because Kirby brought it on the vocal and performance fronts. As Shelton put it, she set a very high bar for the start of the competition.

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Next up was Brian Johnson from Team Adam. Levine has believed in Johnson for a while, having stolen him earlier in the competition and then saving him after America’s vote. Johnson sang Sting’s “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You” and incorporated all of Levine’s notes from their rehearsal together, but he still lacks a special spark, which is probably why America didn’t take to him in the first round of Playoffs.

Aguilera asked India Carney to sing Hozier’s “Take Me To Church,” and given the popularity and oversaturation of that song, it placed a lot of pressure on Carney to really make it her own and make it interesting. She succeeded, and it was fun to see Carney do something a little more upbeat. Carney looked confident and powerful, and it seems certain that she’ll advance in the competition.

Mia Z from Team Pharrell performed next. Pharrell gave her “Miss You” by The Rolling Stones, explaining that it would play to all of her strengths, including those incredible high notes she can hit. It was an understated performance for Mia Z and yet still a powerful one. She showed artistry and also skills beyond her years. She hit what Aguilera dubbed the stratosphere area of her voice, busting out notes that most vocalists can’t even come close to.

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Team Adam’s Deanna Johnson sang next. Levine chose “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” for her, and McEntire pushed her to have more fun when she sings. The song was suited for her lower register, and even though Johnson looked a little nervous up there at first, she found her power by the time the first chorus began. The coaches had trouble hearing Johnson at the beginning, possibly due to a technical issue, but overall, they still liked her performance.

McEntire told Sawyer Fredericks to make sure to smile in their rehearsal together. Pharrell gave Fredericks John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Fredericks played the guitar for his performance, and even though it was a quiet moment in the competition, his voice sounded the most beautiful it ever has, and the crowd got just as into it as the more upbeat songs of the night. The performance left Levine scrambling for words to describe just how special Fredericks’ voice is.

Rob Taylor from Team Christina sang “I Put A Spell On You,” and Aguilera pushed him to really let go and not be scared of cracking. Aguilera and Taylor are such a perfect coach-artist match, as she’s able to really pull great things out of him and give him feedback that’s specifically tailored to not only his abilities but who he wants to be as an artist. Though it didn’t quite match his last performance, Taylor gave another one of the best performances of the night, pulling a four-coach standing ovation. He absolutely belongs in the top ten and could even win this whole competition.

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Team Blake’s Corey Kent White sang “Why” by Jason Aldean, with Shelton explaining that he wanted White to show that he can have a bad boy side. White gave a solid performance, but it didn’t really showcase the versatility Shelton was hoping for. White is charismatic on stage though, and that might be enough to carry him through to the top ten.

Pharrell’s top-12 save Koryn Hawthorne was next, singing “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson. She started the performance a cappella, and then the music slowly crept in. She captivated from the start and proved Pharrell was smart to save her. As Shelton put it, she made the most of her second chance. Tonight, Hawthorne was at her most confident, and it led to one of her personal best performances.

Joshua Davis from Team Adam performed “America” by Simon & Garfunkel next. In his rehearsal, Levine told Davis to lose the guitar and really just focus on his vocals. The advice to sing without his guitar definitely led to one of Davis’s more engaging showings, but it didn’t really stand out among some of the night’s stronger performances. It might not be memorable enough to secure America’s votes.

Deciding to switch up her genre, Meghan Linsey sang the country hit “Girl Crush” by Little Big Town. Once again, Linsey proved that there’s nothing she can’t sing, bearing her soul on the song and really owning the stage. She continues to be a frontrunner in the competition.

Kimberly Nichole sang “The House Of The Rising Sun,” and in her rehearsal, McEntire challenged her to play with her levels. It was another song choice suited for the artist, and Nichole sang the hell out of it. It was quite the way to end the night and proved that Team Christina really is the strongest in the game still.

Tomorrow, the bottom two vote-getters will go home, as the top ten are announced on The Voice. Who got your vote tonight?

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