After last week’s brutal round of cuts, the top 12 artists of The Voice’s ninth season took the stage Monday night for another shot to sing live for America’s votes.
Kicking off the night was the youngest artist left in the competition: Braiden Sunshine from Gwen Stefani’s team. He sang “Renegade” by Styx, which allowed him to show off the power he can put behind his voice. Sunshine has shown a lot of versatility in the competition — he has gone from Nina Simone to Styx, and he nails it all. “This kid can do anything,” Blake Shelton said, encouraging him to try out country next.
Next up was Amy Vachal, whom Adam Levine saved last week. Levine asked her to sing a rendition of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” Monday, and she trusted him and took the risk. The arrangement highlighted the jazzy side of her voice, and it was ultimately a very smart move for her to sing such a popular song and then make it her own. She accompanied herself on the guitar in a seductive, impressive performance — one of the most original of the night. It was very memorable and could put Vachal on the track to win the season. “I thought it was gorgeous,” Stefani said.
Pharrell Williams‘ save from last week, Mark Hood, performed next, singing “Against All Odds” by Phil Collins. It wasn’t the most exciting song choice, but Hood certainly still belongs in the competition, and Pharrell made the right decision by saving him last week. He gives consistently dynamic performances that impress all of the coaches. “You’re one of my favorites,” Stefani told him.
Country singer Emily Ann Roberts was up next. She sang “Blame It on Your Heart” by Patty Loveless, which was definitely a good fit for her voice. She’s an impressive country artist, but Roberts has yet to really show that she has that extra something to make her a formidable opponent in the competition. The coaches liked the song choice, but will it be enough to get America’s attention?
Team Gwen’s Korin Bukowski, whom Stefani saved last week, was up next. She sang “Titanium” by Sia and David Guetta, which was a very strong song choice for her. It was the most fun and different performance she has ever done. It’s a hard song to sing, but Bukowski had the range for it. She finally seems to have completely gotten over her initial nerves, and it’s becoming clearer that she is a strong player in this competition. As Stefani said, her journey has been incredible.
Up text was Team Blake’s Barrett Baber, singing “Right Here Waiting” by Richard Marx. His voice sounded strong, but he still sometimes struggles with connecting with the audience. He’s a great singer, but he isn’t the best performer in the competition. He still needs to let his guard down a bit. But as his coach highlighted, he is very impressive vocally.
Madi Davis from Team Pharrell performed “Who Will Save Your Soul” by Jewel. The performance had really strong dynamics that made it very different and exciting. The boldness of her voice came through. Shelton said Davis has snuck up on him in this competition. Like Bukowski, she has had an impressive journey, and her improvement over time has been very noticeable.
Team Gwen’s Jeffery Austin sang “Let It Go” by James Bay, and while his vocals were strong, it sounded so much like the original recording that it just didn’t seem like it had enough of Austin’s own style and personality in it. His performance last week was definitely much stronger, but the coaches still praised Austin’s voice.
Shelby Brown from Team Adam took the stage next, singing “In Color” by Jamey Johnson. Even though she isn’t on the country team, Brown might be the most original country vocalist in the competition. She didn’t have a perfect performance tonight. In fact, at one point, she got a bit ahead of the band, but she recovered and handled the mistake with grace. Both Shelton and Levine praised her ability to deal with the error.
Next, Team Pharrell’s Evan McKeel sang “This Is It” by Kenny Loggins. He worked the stage, and it was very clear that he was having a great time as he was singing. Pharrell pointed out that it was very obvious that he was singing from his heart. “I want America to vote you through, because you deserve it,” Pharrell said.
Early frontrunner Jordan Smith from Team Adam went next, singing “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” It was an odd choice for Smith, who usually sings pop songs. Even though he sounded great, it’s hard to put on a show with a hymn. He put a lot of power behind it, and the fact that he was playing the piano didn’t distract from his vocals, but it just didn’t set off the spark in the same way that his initial Blind Audition performance of “Chandelier” did. Still, he received a standing ovation from all four coaches, so it’s very likely that he’ll stay in the competition. He left the coaches struggling for words because they were so moved by the emotion behind his singing.
Team Blake’s Zach Seabaugh closed out the night with “My Love,” which showed off his impressive range. As Pharrell said, he hit both the high and low notes. “You’re so natural,” Stefani said. Indeed, he looked very comfortable on stage, and the performance was very professional. Levine pointed out that Seabaugh showed a different side Monday tonight, and even though he prefers the more Elvis side of Seabaugh, he appreciated his range.
Tomorrow night, the results from tonight’s voting will be in and one artist will be cut from the competition. Who earned your vote tonight?
This article originally appeared in THR.com.