Adam Levine beamed for just about an hour straight Monday night on "The Voice" live semifinals, and you couldn't blame him — with a team as strong as his heading into the finals, who wouldn't?
The reasons are plenty. Not only is Team Adam still three members strong, while Teams Blake and Christina are each down to just one singer apiece (and CeeLo's long empty), but even the members who might once have been his weakest seemed Monday to be bouncing back with a vengeance.
And Tessanne Chin, the powerhouse Jamaican pop singer whose vocal chops are matched only by her simpatico charm, managed to top even her reliably stunning performances.
Not to be outdone, however, were the lone denizens of Teams Blake and Christina, even if they did struggle to compete with the three Adam proteges left standing.
The night's performances kicked off with one by James, who narrowly escaped elimination last week thanks to the Twitter instant save. Adam assigned him to sing U2's 1989 anthem of yearning "With or Without You" — calling it "one of my favorite songs" and saying it has "that bravado [James] really likes."
James took Adam's advice on how to perform the song ("think anthemic!") to heart, giving a rendition that matched Bono's vocal power and restraint but stripped out his Irish dramatic flourishes. As he wrapped up the song, his coach was grinning unabashedly.
"I don't even care about the competition at this point," he said. "James, that was even beyond what I thought you could do."
His teammate Will Champlin was up next, tackling the feel-good, inspirational song "Carry On" by the indie pop band Fun., looking starkly different without his thick-rimmed glasses — and with a light-hearted smile, perhaps inspired by his coach's, but to his coach's mind inspired by his infectious performance.
"I don't think I've ever seen this happen with you before. Look at that smile!" Adam remarked, despite Will's sheepishness. "I don't see that smile very often, and that delights me." Blake echoed the praise and predicted that "letting your heart open up a little bit" would "go a long way" for Will.
Next up, Jacquie Lee — Team Christina's 16-year-old belter — was singing the Sarah McLachlan ballad "Angel," and although it was a prettier and more subdued song than the fiery teen was used to singing, she managed to let loose toward the end and imbue it with some of her trademark bluesy riffing.
"You showed the most dynamic and the best vocal performance that you actually ever have on this show," her proud coach told her, after a string of "wow" remarks. "Honestly, you straight up won tonight in my heart."
"It was wonderful, and just when I'm thinking I'm jaded," CeeLo admitted. "I was affected by that performance tonight. Great job."
Blake's only singer left in the running, the resilient bearded folk-rocker Cole Vosbury, was tasked Monday night with singing — what else? — a country hit, the Garth Brooks song "Shameless," in what might have been an effort to replicate Team Blake's success last season on the strength of straight country artists.
The gravelly rendition of the song won over Cole's former coach CeeLo. "What you do is very special, because every song that you perform, you perform it like it's yours," CeeLo noted.
That meant the last performance of the night, a slot that boded well for vote-getting, belonged to Tessanne Chin, who rendered her coach Adam somewhat speechless with her take on "Bridge Over Troubled Water" — an unusual song for her talents, but one that she managed to close with an undeniably powerful final note.
Her song came as she acknowledged that her emotions were running high heading into the show's finals. Her coach, after a few moments of stunned and inarticulate bumbling, acknowledged the personal struggles she was facing as he praised her performance.
"That's probably the most flawless and graceful performance I've ever heard on this show," Adam told her, before she mouthed "I love you, Mom" at the camera as the show ended.