'The Voice' Season 4, Episode 19 Recap: Team Adam's Sarah Simmons Gets Seriously Sexy
The Voice – Season 4, Episode 17 – The final twelve contestants perform live to determine who sticks around for the top ten. (NBC)more pics »On Monday night's episode of The Voice, the final ten contestants performed live once again to determine who moves forward in the competition next week. The two contestants who fail to captivate America will be sent packing, but it doesn't seem like any of the finalists are letting the pressure affect their performances. Everyone's solid — it's just a question of who's got that elusive "star material." What say you, America?
The evening kicks off with a live performance from Maroon 5's performance of "Love Somebody." It's nice and gimmicky, with all the band members sporting white clothing and white instruments to provide a solid backdrop for blue ink-like projections. Deep. Apparently it's a play off the band's most recent music video, which features a nearly-naked Adam Levine splattered in paint. Note to self: Check that out later.
Now comes the part where Carson Daly grills the judges on what their tactics are at this stage in the competition. Adam says he's not worried about the politics of the show, he just wants his contestants to be the best that they can be. Shakira brags that she's had the chance to work with the "sexiest coach in the history of The Voice" (that would be fuzzy raptor Cee-Lo Green). Usher says something about the glass being half full. And Blake is the voice of levity, reminding the world that Oklahoma is currently in a state of post-tornado hell.
TEAM BLAKE: Holly Tucker
First up is Texas native Holly Tucker, who knows she needs to share more of herself in her performance (lady needs some personality). After learning how to "center" herself in rehearsals with Sheryl Crow and Blake, Tucker seems excited to sing the gospel standard "How Great Thou Art" and reveal more of herself. Her performance is pretty, inoffensive, and very, very Texas. There is nothing wrong with it. Usher applauds her on the "statement" she's made, but said it was a departure from his expectations, vocally. Shakira, who is sporting a curly mane that screams "Christina Aguilera circa 'Lady Marmalade,'" says it was "heavily," applauding her on her control. Blake says he's never heard Holly sound so strong, and notes that it's great to hear a hopeful song during such a traumatic time.
TEAM ADAM: Judith Hill
Now it's time for Adam Levine's star player Judith Hill to take the stage. She's singing Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel," but seems terrified that people will think she's taking advantage of his memory. For those not in the know, Hill was actually set to get the career break of a lifetime when she was chosen to sing a duet with Michael Jackson during his "This Is It" dates in 2009. After his death, however, she ended up singing at his memorial service. Hill starts crying during rehearsals, but by the time she takes the stage in a big burgundy jumpsuit, she's got her game face on. It's refreshingly fun compared to all the heavy stuff Judith's brought to the table so far, and Judith matches the whimsical feel of the song with a hairstyle that could've easily been crafted by Edward Scissorhands himself.
(NBC)Afterwards, though, Judith sort of looks like she's going to throw up (at this point in the season, this is common). Still, the judges rave, and Usher confides that he misses Michael, too.
TEAM BLAKE: The Swon Brothers
The Swon Brothers were last week's big winners, scoring an iTunes hit with their tribute to the late George Jones, "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes?" This week they're going for something a little more radio-friendly with Randy Houser's "How Country Feels." It's solid the whole way through, although it's pretty clear that Zach (who has the uncanny ability to make his face look like the infamous mask from Scream) is the big voice in this operation. Before the judges weigh in, the Oklahoma natives confirm that their family is fine, and that the tornado tragedy is helping to put things into perspective. Shakira says these two just make her feel good. Blake says he's thrilled that people are starting to recognize them as great singers and great artists, and that the world is finally starting to see their star potential. They are, as Carson notes, the only duo to have gotten this far in the show's history.
TEAM ADAM: Amber Carrington
Adam Levine is excited for Amber Carrington to sing Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway," since he thinks Carrington has the chops to be one of those superstars with the talent to "bridge the gap" between country and pop. The big network makeover has done her very well, by the way. During her performance it's clear that she's a lot more comfortable with those big belty notes, but she still manages to get the audience waving their hands in dopey approval. Blake Shelton, Usher, and Shakira all have nothing but boring, nice things to say. "I think the fact that a Kelly Clarkson song is in your wheelhouse means you have an incredible voice," Adam says, calling her a chameleon and opening the door for Blake to comment on her hair extensions.
TEAM SHAKIRA: Sasha Allen
Shakira's working with Cee-Lo Green this week, since her regular dude Joel Madden is busy in Australia. The first contestant up at the mic is seasoned vet Sasha Allen, who gets Shakira air-drumming to her rendition of Emeli Sandé's "Next to Me," so the expectations are high. Sasha, who was the last contestant saved in eliminations last week, does a bang-up job — the song choice is perfect, the hair is voluminous, and Shakira's fist is pumping with joy. Adam Levine says he's thrilled to see Sasha kick butt at a pop song, Blake Shelton agrees and notes that Shak had "some sort of a fit," and Usher says Sasha is "an incredible artist" who put her "own texture" on the song. Shakira giddily insists, "I'm so happy! I'm so happy!" and she is not telling lies. "I'm so freaking proud of you!" Shakira giggles.
TEAM USHER: Josiah Hawley
Usher and his pal Pharrell Williams are working with Josiah Hawley on a cover of Coldplay's "Clocks." Usher explains that he wants to see Hawley "tell a story" a la Chris Martin. He also tells him to leave his model identity behind (Woo!). Pharrell, who sports a hat covered in daisies, notes that Josiah sounds "intimidated" by the song's bridge. Josiah's performance is self-assured, perhaps unreasonably so: He has a hard time with that falsetto switch (the bridge doesn't prove problematic after all). Shakira, who struggles to speak over screaming ladies, says, that Josiah did a great job, but "when it comes to Coldplay, they have such a distinguishing sound … that any attempt from us mere mortals to evoke the magic … is almost like Mission Impossible." Adam agrees about the song's difficulty, noting that there were some moments in which Josiah sounded uncomfortable. Usher insists that Josiah's personality "is continuing to grow," and that he plans to "continue to nurture that voice." IF WE LET HIM STICK AROUND, THAT IS.
TEAM BLAKE: Danielle Bradbery
Now it's time to hear from 16-year-old Danielle Bradbery, who's had bonkers success on iTunes. In rehearsals, Sheryl Crow tells her what's missing from her performance of Jo Dee Messina's "Heads Carolina, Tails California" is "that connection," something personal shared with the audience. Blake jokingly tells Bradbery she has to keep going strong since she's his "retirement." The performance has the same shining effortlessness that each of Bradbery's performances has thus far. Usher is charmed, joking. "I'll go to Carolina or California with you," before noting that Danielle has "made country cool once again." Blake says he could "go on and on about Danielle," but settles for saying that it's great to hear her just delivering a country song in a straightforward, meaningful way, since everyone already knows that she can hit the notes.
TEAM SHAKIRA: Kris Thomas
Shakira has selected Miguel's "Adorn" for her contestant Kris Thomas, who is the only male R&B singer left in the competition. Shak says she wants to see Thomas do something upbeat for once, although Thomas notes that the song's lyrics run completely opposite what's going on in his personal life (a lengthy on-and-off relationship that sounds messy and un-sexy). Shakira's temporary helper CeeLo insists that all Thomas needs is "some swag" to set him apart from the rest of the competitors. Kris manages to make it through the song without nearly decapitating anyone, and hits a heavenly note in the last moments. It's great, if lacking in spontaneity. Adam says he wishes that Kris would think less and have more fun (get sexy with it, Kris!). Usher agrees, saying that Kris is an "incredible vocalist" even if he wasn't moved by the song choice. Shakira insists that the song was PERFECT, and is like, "Guys, give him a break." She seems stressed. Usher is trying to interrupt her but her hair acts as a shield. Usher then upstages Shakira's speech by hiding behind his chair, because he is the center of the universe.
TEAM ADAM: Sarah Simmons
Now it's time for Sarah Simmons to rock out. The singer has, until now, made an art out of heavily emotive performances that play off her ability to switch from a charming, delicate falsetto to a hard-edged tear, but now she wants to get sassy — and that she does, to Jessie J's "Mamma Knows Best." She opens with a rousing hard rock run and keeps the attitude going throughout, even pseudo-flirting with members of the band as she struts around on stage. Yeah: This woman needs a spotlight. Blake is practically speechless, maybe because Adam is scream-shouting "HA!" at him. Blake eventually muses that Sarah has "turned sexy," and that's she's pure "rock and roll." Usher jokes that he got some of Sarah's sex vibes thrown his way (you would think that, Ursh). Adam says, "I love hearing Blake wet his pants over you," which is basically the ultimate compliment… right?
TEAM USHER: Michelle Chamuel
Last, but certainly not least, is my personal favorite Michelle Chamuel, who is hoping to show off her impressive pipes with a performance of Pink's "Just Give Me a Reason." In rehearsals, Pharrell Williams insists that he's been in the industry two decades, and he knows how to recognize "genius monster singers that are going to have long careers," and considers Chamuel among them. She starts off a little too soft in the intro, but doesn't miss any notes — she's just hard to hear. But once she hits the second half of the song, she's got Usher out of his seat and pumping his arms. Adam gushes that all the coaches love Michelle, as they should. Blake compliments Michelle on her ability to squat and sing. Usher grins really wide and insists, "I'll say that was the performance of the night," since "it's just you."