The Live Playoffs kicked off on The Voice tonight, with live performances that viewers could vote on in real time. Coaches Alicia Keys, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani all got to bring back a comeback artist during this round. Artists from Team Alicia and Team Blake performed tonight, with Shelton bringing back Felicia Temple and Keys bringing back Jack Cassidy.
Casi Joy from Team Blake was up first. She chose to sing “Parachute” by Chris Stapleton because it’s her fiance’s favorite song and because it embodies the kind of music she wants to make. Shelton encouraged her to work on her enunciation. She gave an energetic country performance, working the stage effortlessly. Levine described her as fiery and engaging. Shelton praised her yodel and her ability to put her own spin on the song, adding that it’s hard for him to imagine her not moving forward.
Shelton’s comeback artist Temple sang next. She fittingly chose to sing “Defying Gravity” from the musical Wicked, an ambitious song that reflects her journey on the show so far. It was a fittingly theatrical performance, but Temple brought a lot of emotion to it, too, and she backed it all with precise, bold vocals. She built to the final, big note, earning the powerful moment. Keys, Temple’s former coach, said she loved the message of the performance and also thought she made singing a Broadway hit seem more effortless than it is. “You just killed it,” Shelton said.
Aaliyah Rose, who Shelton stole from Team Gwen last round, sang “Brass In Pocket” by The Pretenders. Shelton commended her confidence in rehearsal. The 14-year-old singer proved to be a seasoned performer, putting a lot of power behind her vocals. “That’s your best performance yet,” Shelton said.
Team Blake’s TSoul was up next, singing “Knock On Wood” by Eddie Floyd. He said it’s the perfect song for this moment. TSoul’s throwback style sounded great on the song, and Shelton compared him to Bruno Mars. TSoul exhibited strong artistry. “The energy that you brought to that stage just now, if people out there didn’t like that, there’s something wrong with them,” Shelton said.
Team Blake’s 15-year-old Aliyah Moulden chose to sing “Mercy” by Duffy, which was a great choice for her voice. Moulden’s full voice is striking, and this song really let her shine. Shelton said she has real star potential. “That’s the best I’ve seen you sing so far on this show,” he said.
Lauren Duski closed out the Team Blake performances with “Someone Else’s Star.” It was right at the breaking point of her voice, but she kept the vocals strong throughout. It just wasn’t the most memorable performance of the night. Levine said she was one of his favorites this season, praising her poise. Shelton said she was going to get a tidal wave of support from country fans.
Chris Blue got the Team Alicia performances started with Rihanna’s “Love On The Brain,” continuing the night’s trend of modern songs with throwback sounds. Blue sang the song in its original key, blowing Keys’ mind in rehearsal. It was one of the strongest performances of the night, with Blue showcasing unbelievable range. Stefani called him mesmerizing. “It’s so natural and incredible,” she said.
Anatalia Villaranda was up next, singing “Stand By Me,” and Keys helped her create an arrangement that would allow her to put her own twist on it. Villaranda put on a fun show, making the classic feel fresh and connecting with the audience. She made Keys proud.
Cassidy, Keys’ comeback artist, followed with “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” by Elton John. Keys told him he needs to step up his game for this performance if he wants to stick around on the show. Cassidy finally performed at his fullest potential, but he still struggled to stand out up against the rest of Team Alicia.
Vanessa Ferguson chose to sing “Lean On,” reiterating that she can sing just about anything and make it her own. Keys worked with her to make a great arrangement of the radio hit. It was the most innovative performance of the night, and Ferguson proved that she’s a one-of-a-kind artist. Even Levine gave her a standing ovation, saying that she has the full package.
Blending the various genres she drifts toward, Ashley Levin chose to sing “I Can’t Stand The Rain.” She gave a solid country-soul performance, having fun with it and nailing the lower parts of the song. Keys pointed out that it’s not an easy song to sing but that Levin delivered.
Closing out the performances for the night, Stephanie Rice sang “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, playing keyboard. Rice put the arrangement together herself, showing off her impressive artistry. It was a great way to end the night, with Rice turning in an emotional and beautiful performance. “You are a pure, beautiful artist,” Keys said, adding that she is authentic.
Next, Carson Daly brought out Team Blake to announce the results of the real-time voting. Duski and Moulden were voted through to the top 12. Shelton chose TSoul to join them. Rose, Joy and Temple went home.
Daly then announced voting results for Team Alicia. America voted to save Blue and Ferguson. Keys chose Rice to join them in the top 12. Levin, Cassidy and Villaranda went home.
Team Gwen and Team Adam take the stage tomorrow for more live performances. Get ready for more real-time voting. Who got your vote tonight?
This article originally appeared in THR.com.