The Voice top 5 contestants had lots of hometown support this week, as they performed twice each, along with a special performance from advisor Nate Ruess.
This season’s guest advisor, Nate Ruess, took the stage to perform his new solo single “Nothing Without Love.” In case you had trouble remembering the song’s title, there was a helpful neon sign on the stage behind him to help you. Nate has one of the most unique and recognizable voices in popular music, but because of this, it’s hard not to hear “We Are Young” in everything he sings. “Nothing Without Love” is catchy, sure, but it’s not much of a standout single, Nate’s voice aside. You can’t help but wish that he had just chosen to cover “Without Love” from Hairspray instead.
Adam chose the Bonnie Raitt classic “I Can’t Make You Love Me” for Josh’s first performance of the night. It was a great choice for Josh, not only showcasing the beautiful gravelly rasp in his voice, but also the tenderness of his delivery. It was so sweet, and so moving, that we couldn’t help but get a little emotional, even though we know he’s happily married. You CAN make us love you, Josh! You already have!
Koryn chose Pharrell’s selection, “One” by U2, in the hope that Koryn would have another big moment. “One” is a song about social injustice, a topic close to the heart of many Americans, and Koryn gave a very moving performance. She has a beautiful and unique voice, but her greatest strength is exactly what fellow contestant India Carney is lacking: her emotional connection with the audience. You can’t help but be moved by her performances.
Meghan Linsey started her first performance off looking like she was gazing forlornly out of her bedroom window, like in many a dramatic teen movie. But all staging aside, Sam Smith’s “I’m Not The Only One” was a great choice for Meghan, because as Blake wisely pointed out, the best thing you can do for Meghan is to just “hand her a song she can pour herself into emotionally.” She may have pushed her voice a bit too far at a few points, but she sure sold the song.
Christina chose a real “singer’s song” for India with “Gravity” by Sarah Bareilles, and felt India would be able to rise ABOVE the occasion, which we didn’t know was even possible. It was a good choice, however, because India wasn’t able to rely on her belting. It was a very understated performance that showed off the purity of her voice, and her technical prowess. She is still trying to connect with the audience, and this performance was another great step in that direction.
Team Pharrell is all about messages this week, further demonstrated by Sawyer’s performance of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth.” It’s a classic song that you can’t help but enjoy, and the perfect folksy fit for Sawyer. Oddly enough, there was something very ‘90s about this rendition, and it sounded a lot like early Our Lady Peace (remember Our Lady Peace?). For a song with a serious message, Sawyer gave his standard happy-go-lucky delivery. There really is something happening here with Sawyer.
Joshua Davis chose The Band’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece” as a dedication to his hometown of Travers City, MI. It was an enjoyable performance, if not his most memorable. What really stood out with this one was how different it was from what we’re used to hearing from Josh. It was a little bit folksier, which Sawyer has pretty much cornered the market on. But here comes Josh, giving Sawyer a run for his money.
Who is this Koryn Hawthorne? We’ve been lead to believe that she’s just a regular teenage girl, but there’s no way that’s possible. Because no regular teenage girl can sing an Aretha song the way Koryn absolutely killed “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep.” We’re not exactly sure how this was a dedication to her hometown, other than perhaps to say, “Hi guys, I used to walk the same streets as you and LOOK AT HOW AWESOME I AM!” After all, her denim-vested high school principal did tell Koryn, “Your greatness is our greatness.”
Meghan chose “Tennessee Whiskey” by George Jones for her hometown dedication to Nashville, the city that has shaped her career. It was your standard Meghan performance, with a whole lotta soul, but the most exciting part of the performance was the flames in the background that grew with the intensity of Meghan’s vocals. Meghan can control fire with her voice. We should vote for her, or else!
India Carney dressed as the dancing girl emoji for her final performance, singing Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song.” It was a powerful performance of a very powerful song. It didn’t hurt that she had a Beyoncé wind machine to help her out, but then again, we could all benefit from such things. It was a very dramatic performance, and India sounded great.
Oh, Sawyer. Here we thought you were so sweet and innocent this whole time, singing your nice folk songs and playing your guitar and making everybody smile. But then you had to go and pull out Christina Perri’s Twilight love theme, “A Thousand Years.” You sneaky little snake, way to go for the gut. Aside from the popularity of the song itself, it was also a great arrangement for Sawyer. We were barely even distracted by the music box ballerina performing behind him.
Tune in Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on NBC to find out the results of America’s vote.