That seeming vocal gamble came up aces for Christina Grimmie, who brought the idea to sing Drake‘s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” to her coach, Adam Levine. He believed in her artistry and allowed her to take the risk. And in doing so, she set the pace Monday, accompanying herself on the piano and using the ballad to look and sound like a full-blown star.
“I’m amazed at the range and the control and the depth of her voice,” said Levine’s own mentor, Graham Nash, who was extremely impressed by Grimmie’s talent.
“At 20 years old, that’s insane,” Nash told Levine.
Blake Shelton joined the other coaches in agreeing that Grimmie was dazzling with her own unique take singing a male artist’s hit. “That sounded like your song and you created that. It was unbelievable,” he said.
Grimmie was not alone in turning up the heat – viewers will vote to send two more singers home this week.
Yet another singer for Team Adam, Delvin Choice, proved he was a contender with a masterful and imploring version of Texas blues singer Gary Clark Jr.‘s “Bright Lights.” Wearing a purple ascot, the South Carolina soul singer threw off fierce energy, working the stage in gospel fervor that left the crowd screaming and not letting up.
“Even if it’s not a gospel record, you bring out the gospel in it every time,” Usher praised of Choice’s performance, which featured a long pause before an electric throwdown ending.
“You just keep taking it to the next level,” Shelton said. “You just have such power and passion and it’s all greatness.”
Josh Kaufman stepped up strong once again for Team Usher on Kenny Loggins‘s “This Is It,” hitting the song’s plentiful high notes with ease and chasing back and forth between his rasp and his grooving falsetto.
“I think that these soulful renditions might be your sweet spot,” Shakira enthused. “You sing with such sincerity.”
Shelton told Kaufman that his stage rendition was as solid as a recording. “If I wasn’t looking, I would have sworn I was listening to a record. It’s that good,” he said. “It would have taken me a week to make a record of what you just did.”
Representing the show’s three remaining country singers, Audra McLaughlin shined through on Reba McEntire‘s “You Lie.” Dressed in a long white gown with a gold webbed neckline, she projected the newfound confidence that had her coach, Shelton, telling her during rehearsals: “You’re somebody we desperately need in country music.”
Usher called her performance “amazing,” praising McLaughlin for being “able to move a room without moving.” Noted Levine: “That was just a world-class performance. That was just as good as any vocal performance could be, ever.”
Kristen Merlin returned for Team Shakira to move away from her country genre and rise to the challenge of a more alternative tune, Passenger’s “Let Her Go.” Merlin was at once haunting and melodic, exuding sincerity and passion as she returned to the stage – a week after her live mic went dead – during the program’s first live rounds.
Merlin’s coach was wowed and on her feet. “You have grown so much in so little time. You are like an onion,” Shakira said. “You’re starting to peel your layers off and we’re starting to see what’s inside.”
Wearing a fringed black leather skirt and booties, Lewis evoked a bit of Tina Turner‘s soul-rock prowl and growl, commanding the song and soaring so much that Levine paid her the ultimate compliment.
“Anyone looking up – there used to be a roof in here, but it’s gone. Thank you for blowing it off, once again out of this atmosphere.”
The Voice returns Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, when the Top 10 is narrowed to a field of eight.