Whether it was a different song choice or style, all top 10 finalists on "The Voice" took risks Monday in an effort to prove they have what it takes to make it to the end.
Team Adam’s resident rocker Kat Perkins started off the night by channeling her idol Stevie Nicks to perform “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac. Kat showed off her virtuosity, managing to sneak in her typical high notes at the end, but her emotional rendition also brought her to tears. The judges applauded her vulnerability. “It’s important to start seeing those dimensions,” said Usher.
Pop artist Tess Boyer, who was saved from the bottom threeand made it into the top 10 thanks to Twitter votes last week, showed off a more alternative side Monday, singing Paramore’s “Ain’t it Fun.” Her coach Shakira loved the fact that, as she said, “we saw a side of you that we never saw before.”
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Up next was Team Blake’s Audra McLaughlin, who took on Reba McEntire’s ballad ”You Lie.” Audra belted out the song to a cheering audience, in what Adam described as “a world-class vocal performance” and one Shakira predicted would land her in the top five.
Team Usher’s soulful singer Josh Kaufman followed her, showing off his range on Kenny Loggins' “This Is It.” The judges were uniformly blown away by the performance, and Adam again kicked himself for having let Josh go from his team. “I could have sworn I was listening to a record," Blake said. "It’s that good, and it’s that perfect.”
Although everyone made an effort to show their versatility to the audience, the most striking departure from expectations may have come from 20-year-old powerhouse Christina Grimmie, who transformed Drake’s hip-hop hit “Hold On, We’re Going Home” into a moody piano-backed number. All of the judges had positive feedback for Grimmie. “There’s no ceiling for how proud I am," her coach Adam said.
Jake Worthington was next to take the stage, and his performance of "Run" by George Strait brought his coach Blake to his feet. Blake told the 17-year-old country artist that he represents everyone from Los Angeles to New York City, along with all of the people in between. Shakira noted Jake's progress on the show, particularly after he'd failed to turn a chair at blind auditions last season.
Next, Team Usher’s Bria Kelly sang Avril Lavigne’s “I’m With You," in what she admitted was a step outside of her comfort zone. Bria was ready to show more emotion in her performance, but coaches Adam and Blake had more constructive than positive feedback, telling her that the performance was possibly too different for her.
Team Adam's powerful modern soul singer Delvin Choice came next, belting out “Bright Lights” by Gary Clark Jr. in a dynamic performance that the audience and coaches appeared to enjoy equally. “The soulful essence of who you are is all over every note you sing," Usher told him. The performance wasn't without a gaffe from host Carson Daly: When the music cut out toward the end so Delvin could sing a capella, Carson took it as his cue and was caught on camera walking onstage.
Team Shakira's country singer Kristen Merlin, though, didn't have any such problems Monday, a relief for the singer after her microphone had gone dead mid-performance last week. Monday, Kristen took on a different genre and sang “Let Her Go” by Passenger. Shakira praised her versatility and went metaphorical with her feedback, comparing Kristen to an onion. “We’re starting to see what’s inside.”
Closing out the performances Monday was mother of three Sisaundra Lewis, who was performing Steve Perry’s “Oh Sherry" in a departure from her usual style, and her comfort zone. “It’s not something you would ever suspect from Sisaundra, and that’s why we’re doing it," explained her coach Blake before her performance. That performance “blew the roof of this place," Adam said, after Sisaundra closed out the show on a high note, the audience on its feet.
Whose risk-taking paid off and whose didn't will become clear Tuesday, when two members of the top 10 will be eliminated and another eight sent further along in the finals, on the strength of viewers' votes.
"The Voice" airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c.