The semifinals kicked off on The Voice tonight, with the top five performing twice for America’s votes. Their first songs were chosen by their respective coaches, and the artists made their own picks for their second performances. The remaining artists also made treks back to their hometowns earlier this week.
Joshua Davis’ coach Adam Levine chose “I Can’t Make You Love Me” for his first song, which Davis sang gorgeously. Unfortunately, some of the faces he made were a bit distracting as he was singing, but it was a warm and soft performance that was reminiscent of his early days on the show. For his second song, Davis did a country version of “When I Paint My Masterpiece.” Whereas his first performance highlighted what he does best, this second one showed a different side of Davis — it was refreshing to see him finally displaying some versatility.
Koryn Hawthorne sang U2’s “One,” and the song choice — made by her coach Pharrell Williams — was perfect for her lower register. Hawthorne has a voice suited for most genres but really shines when it comes to rock, and a U2 hit was the perfect way to showcase her rocker abilities in an understated way. Next, she sang “Mary Don’t You Weep,” and it was another one of the night’s standout performances. Hawthorne is a powerhouse vocalist, and she also is the artist who has shown the most improvement over the course of the season. Her journey has been incredible, and she belongs in the finals.
For Meghan Linsey, Blake Shelton chose “I’m Not the Only One” by Sam Smith. It’s overused on singing competitions, but Linsey managed to make it her own, and the artistry of her performance almost had the feel of a music video. Everything about Linsey is so tight without feeling manufactured. For her second song, she picked “Tennessee Whiskey,” a perfect fit for her raspy voice. “You never cease to amaze me,” Christina Aguilera said.
Singing “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles, India Carney from Team Christina gave a mesmerizing first performance — one of the best of the night. “I’m going to be shocked if you’re not in this finale,” Shelton said. For her second one, she sang “Earth Song” by Michael Jackson, and it was yet another powerful and technically strong performance that highlighted all of her strengths and ended spectacularly. “You were a superstar tonight,” her coach, Aguilera, said.
For Sawyer Fredericks, Pharrell chose “For What It’s Worth” — it was a more upbeat and soulful choice for Fredericks, who got to show off his performance abilities. He closed out the night with a rendering of “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri, and it was definitely more in his wheelhouse than the first song. While he didn’t work the stage as well as he did in the first performance, his vocals were as strong as ever.
Everyone seemed to have a strong sense of their personal strengths tonight. All of these artists have what it takes to be in season eight’s finals, and the results will definitely be close. One artist will go home tomorrow, and the finalists will be revealed. Who are you hoping edges out the competition?
This article originally appeared in THR.com.