The top 6 contestants on The Voice all upped their game this week, for a chance to make it into next week’s semifinals.
Each contestant performed twice this week, once for the moms in their lives, and once just for us.
Singing for Mama
After almost going home last week, India Carney had to pull out one hell of a performance this week. She did so, taking on this year’s Academy Award winner for Best Original Song, “Glory,” By Common and John Legend. India is an incredible vocalist, but her greatest weakness had always been connecting with the audience emotionally. This performance began to show a change in her, as the song’s message, and her mom in the audience, finally drew some genuine emotion from India.
Koryn Hawthorne knows how to put absolutely everything she has into every single song she performs, and this week was no different. She dedicated R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” to her mom, who has been through so much, but has only become stronger, and been a great mom to Koryn along the way. Koryn was obviously emotional, right from the very beginning, as just about anyone singing to/about their mom would be. She showed off what a powerful vocalist she is, though at times went a little bit overboard with the vibrato.
If there’s anything we learned from this episode, it’s that when they make a movie of The Voice season 8, Kimberly Nichole’s mother, Gloria, will be played by Octavia Spencer. We definitely know now where Kimberly gets her talent and charisma from. Since Gloria was once a performer herself, Kimberly chose Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” for her performance. And while it might not be what you’d expect her to choose, Adam pointed out that Kimberly can really perform anything and knock it out of the park.
Sawyer chose “Shine On,” a song that’s very close to both himself and his mother. She used to sing the song to him when he was little, so obviously it was very poignant that he chose the song to dedicate to her. It also just so happened to be the perfect mellow song for Sawyer to make his own. It’s impossible to not like Sawyer, and he impresses with each performance, but is he really growing and improving each week?
Joshua Davis dedicated the Beatles’ “In My Life,” to the most important mom in his life: his wife, and mother of him two children, Ann. The song reflected their relationship, in that of all the places he’s been, and the experiences he’s had, she is still the most important person he has in his life. It was a beautiful performance, made all the more poignant, because he was singing it directly to his wife. Joshua Davis makes us swoon, because doesn’t everyone want someone to love them like that?
Meghan freaking Linsey. Very few have even attempted it, and even fewer have nailed it, but Meghan Linsey was brave enough to sing a capella for the night’s final performance. And even more impressive? She sang “Amazing Grace.” It was a beautiful performance, and just about as perfect as it could be. She was emotional, and passionate, and gave the song the gravitas it deserves, even for a reality show performance. And in case it wasn’t clear that Meghan was taking us to church, maybe the enormous white columns and spectacular organ were a clue.
But wait, there’s more!
Joshua Davis had a big week last week, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t have to step it up this week. He chose U2’s “Desire” for his performance, because he liked the early rock n roll vibe, and its attitude. He’s not a powerhouse like most of his fellow contestants, so he has to find unique ways to set himself apart. He did so this week by putting on one hell of a jam session with the always-excellent Voice band. Josh almost ran the risk of being overpowered by the band, but it was worth it, because he showed us how much fun it is to watch a Joshua Davis performance, and how great it would be to see him in concert.
Meghan Linsey may have been part of a country group, and she may be on Team Blake, but she is a soul artist, and this week she set out to prove that. She sang James Taylor’s “Steamroller Blues,” which was her “tip jar song”” when she was playing all the classic venues in Nashville. Not only did she very thoroughly know her way around the song, but she showed us just how much soul she’s got. It was sassy, it was bluesy, and it was everything we’ve loved about Meghan all season. Blake couldn’t stop cheering, and after saying she sang the crap on it, he went on to clarify that it was like a ketchup packet that she stepped on the end of.
For her second performance, Kimberly decided to really let out her inner rockstar, even telling Christina in rehearsals, “I’m going psycho.” It’s hard not to go psycho when singing Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana,” because it’s just that great of a song, and it finally gave Kimberly the opportunity to melt our faces off. This performance also marked the return of Kimberly’s tiny sassy tutu skirts, which have been sorely missed.
Koryn took a huge risk this week performing Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” Not only is it a super difficult song, but it’s been covered many times over. Koryn chose the song to encourage her baby brother to follow his dreams, but she serves as an inspiration herself, as a 17-year-old who is already living out her dreams. Koryn has an awesome voice, there’s no question. However, there is one moment everyone always waits for in this song, and Koryn copped out of it. Sure, she inserted a beautiful run in its place, but one can’t help but be a little bit disappointed.
India made some great song choices this week, picking Sam Smith’s hit “Lay Me Down” for her second performance. It’s a simple, straight-forward, beautiful song, one that would really lay out everything India did on display. She delivered a beautiful performance, one that stayed true to the original, while also featuring her own special touches. She continued to demonstrate a great connection with the audience, so here’s hoping India’s finally gotten over that hurdle.
After playing it pretty safe in his first performance, Sawyer broke out of his comfort zone a little bit with his performance of The Commitments’ cover of Al Green’s “Take Me to the River.” It’s a more upbeat song than we’re used to hearing from him, and he even volunteered to leave the guitar behind for this performance, and go visit with the audience. The backup dancers were a little bit overwhelming, but everything else about the performance ended up being a great fit for Sawyer. He didn’t seem uncomfortable at all without his guitar, and had a big smile on his face for the entire performance.