Oliv Blu performs;Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo BankMonday night kicked off “fan week” on The Voice, with the top 13 artists competing for America’s vote by performing songs chosen by fans. Each artist was advised by their respective coaches Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton.
Here are the highlights of Monday night’s show.
Team Blake fan favorite Gyth Rigdon led off, covering “Nobody but Me,” a song by none other than his own coach, Blake Shelton. It was a thrill for Gyth, who told Blake his was the first ever concert he attended. After his performance, Blake told him he couldn’t believe Gyth was undiscovered prior to The Voice.
Kim Cherry, Team Blake’s rapping and singing secret weapon, showed off more of her rhyming skill with Salt-N-Pepa‘s “Whatta Man.” Kim’s growing fan base even includes the group that she’s covered twice during the competition, TLC, who tweeted their support for Kim. Kelly said that the performance went exactly how she expected, but that she would love to hear Kim sing more.
A native of The Philippines, soul singer Jej Vinson has seen tons of support expressed for him throughout the Filipino community around the world. Fans introduced his performance of “Close,” by Nick Jonas featuring Tove Lo, from Jej’s favorite Filipino restaurant in Glendale, California. Both Kelly and Adam said they believed Jej was making it all the way to the finals.
Another Team Blake artist, Texas country singer Andrew Sevener, drew a contemporary country song: “She Got the Best of Me” by Luke Combs. John felt Andrew’s tremendous energy but thought he could use “a little more finesse.” Blake though saw that as part of Andrew’s charm, saying it looked like Andrew was having “the time of his life” on stage.
Blake saved Oliv Blu last week because “she brings something different.” Fans gave her something different to sing, the Sade classic “Smooth Operator,” a song Oliv said she never tackled before. Her twin sister introduced her performance, which was full of style, both in song and appearance, as noted by John afterward. “This is not only the voice, this is the hair, this is the look — it’s everything,” said John, who regretted being Oliv’s former coach.
Country singer Dexter Roberts, representing Team Blake, was given a touching introduction by his friend and fan, Abby, who has cerebral palsy. Dexter performed the early 2000’s Tim McGraw hit “Something Like That,” which Kelly noted is a song that explains the country lifestyle.
Team Legend soul singer and educator Shawn Sounds said being coached by John “is life.” During their rehearsal, John explained that the song Shawn was given, “A House Is Not a Home,” while written by Burt Bacharach for Dionne Warwick, truly belonged to R&B legend Luther Vandross, who recorded it for his debut album. Rocking a sequin jacket and exquisite Mariachi bow tie, Shawn lit into a performance that Adam and John agreed was the best of the night.
Representing Team Legend, Celia Babini had maybe the heaviest lift of the night, covering the Academy Award-winning Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper song “Shallow,” from A Star Is Born. Celia acknowledged as much, calling the song “iconic” and saying it was a “huge honor” to perform. Celia was introduced by one of her “Babini babies,” a fan from Orange County, and she closed her performance stage diving backwards into a crowd of people. John echoed the song’s chorus while praising Celia, telling her that she really “dove into the deep end.”
R&B singer LB Crew, who made it back on Team Adam from The Comeback Stage, covered Boyz II Men‘s “I’ll Make Love to You.” Adam called LB a kind, good human who “always brings it” in his songs.
Team Adam pop singer Mari, whom Adam saved last week because of her preparation and style, got to show off her R&B background with “Foolish,” by Ashanti, a song no one on The Voice had ever sung. Mari’s innate sense of style is also evident to her fans, many of whom draw pictures of the singer and post them online. One such illustrator, a fan from Taiwan, introduced her performance. Following it, her coach, Adam, called Mari “a superstar.”
Just two weeks ago, Carter Lloyd Horne got his braces removed. No braces equals more prom invites, Carter telling Blake during his rehearsal that his DMs have at least 100 from fangirls across the country. He took on the challenge of singing James Bay‘s “Let it Go,” a vulnerable ballad that Carter viewed as out his comfort zone. Blake admitted after the performance that when fans pick songs on the show he gets nervous, but felt that Carter rose to the occasion.
Team Kelly crooner Rod Stokes brought his lovely wife to rehearsal. The two met at church, and she was present during his performance of Percy Sledge‘s “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Blake told him that as the competition moved along, he could see Rod gaining more and more momentum.
The show’s final performance belonged to Team Legend powerhouse Maelyn Jarmon. The NYC waitress by way of Texas, who’s deaf in one ear, has been receiving a ton of support from fans with similar hearing impairments who love that she’s overcoming that obstacle to sing. At her rehearsal, Maelyn said she loved redoing song by male artists, like covering Sting for her blind audition. Good news for her then, as fans chose Coldplay‘s “The Scientist” for her to perform.
Maelyn said she hoped not to cry but nearly did toward the final notes of the song. John said her voice reminds him of Celine Dion and Joni Mitchell, that it has a “strong emotional core” and most importantly, that she’s the best singer in the competition. “That skill level is not normal,” said John to rapturous applause.
The Voice returns Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, where five singers will be eliminated.
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