'The Voice' Recap: Semifinalists Compete With Solos and 1980s Duets

Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton
Trae Patton/NBC

Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton on The Voice on Dec. 9, 2019. 

NBC's The Voice season 17 is winding down to a close, starting with Monday night’s live semifinal performances. The eight remaining artists sang solos and duets for the semifinals, and the pool will be halved in a live results show on Tuesday night. Coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Gwen Stefani were all represented in the semifinals.

The first solo came from Team John’s Katie Kadan, singing “Lady Marmalade.” The up-tempo song allowed her to show off some personality and entertainment skills. She had impressive ad libs, and it seems likely that Kadan is destined for the finals.

Team Blake’s Kat Hammock followed with a rendition of “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane in a type of performance she has been delivering all season: solid, but not necessarily memorable. Hammock hasn’t shown off any tricks all season, sometimes slipping into pitchy territory. She could be on the chopping block on Tuesday.   

The first duet of the night came from Team Blake’s Ricky Duran and Team John’s Will Breman, who sang “Your Love” by The Outfield. It was a fun performance that channeled the 1980s — which was the theme for the duets, as a tie-in for Wonder Woman 1984. But the duets rarely play much of a role in the outcome at this stage; they’re just filler.

Team Legend’s Marybeth Byrd showed some grit and growl in her rendition of “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood, and it made for a lively performance, but it was an odd song choice from Legend, who is usually more in tune with what his artists should sing. Still, she has been consistently versatile in the competition.

The season’s duo — Hello Sunday from Team Kelly — sang Stevie Wonder's “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing.” The throwback song choice was unexpected, and it didn’t allow them to do anything super creative, but their harmonies were tight as usual.

In another duet, Team Kelly’s Jake Hoot teamed up with Byrd for “Up Where We Belong.” Byrd definitely outperformed Hoot.

Duran returned to the stage for his solo, singing “Let It Be” by The Beatles, which, despite being such a popular song, was something a little different for the rock singer. He sang with vulnerability and some of his best vocals of the season.

Will Breman from Team John kept things going with a performance of “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars, which suited the tone of his voice as well as his singing style. It was one of the better song choices of the night, highlighting Breman’s strengths, including his range and his distinct tone. He could have played more with the emotions of the song, but he delivered the vocals.

Kadan returned to sing a duet with Rose Short, and they took on “Express Yourself” by Madonna. It was the best duet of the night, and Kadan and Short are likely finals-bound.

Another “duet” followed, but it was more like a trio, since it featured Hello Sunday as well as Hammock. They sang “We Belong” by Pat Benatar, and it was an awkward arrangement that didn’t really suit anyone. Hello Sunday could be in trouble on Tuesday.

Short was back for her solo, singing Foreigner's “I Want to Know What Love Is.” She nailed the power ballad with soaring vocals and an emotional, well-rounded performance that probably solidified her spot in the finals. Stefani could win it all with Short on her team.

Closing the semifinals out, Hoot did a solo performance of Eagles' "Desperado." He brought some of his country sound to the song, made it his own, and delivered a memorable lyrical interpretation. It was a standout performance, and he'll likely join Kadan and Short in the finals.

Only four artists will advance in Tuesday night's results episode. Who has your vote?

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