Tyler Golden/NBC
November 27, 2012 09:30 AM

With the competition as fierce as ever Monday night on The Voice, coach Cee Lo Green predicted what would set the top eight apart.

“It’s just about song choices at this point,” he said.

And while some of performances had rough edges, the contestants made it their night to step out of their comfort zone with surprising song choices – to mixed reviews.

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Ladies’ favorite Dez Duron set out to prove he could go the pop route with Justin Bieber‘s “U Smile.” Green and Adam Levine didn’t go overboard with praise. But Duron’s coach, Christina Aguilera, was floored. “You killed it, killed it, killed it, killed it,” she said.

Aguilera was less fond of Melanie Martinez, who put her trademark quirky spin on Alex Clare’s “Too Close.” The song had special meaning, as Martinez channeled her own breakup through the song.

Aguilera thought it “didn’t really go anywhere,” but Martinez’s coach, Levine, disagreed. Whoever broke her heart probably “feels like an idiot right now,” Levine assured her.

The coaches were wary of Team Levine’s Amanda Brown performing an Adele hit, as few performers on the show have been able to pull off the British singer’s sultry sound. But Brown took a solid stab at “Someone Like You,” offering a rock-inspired take on the lost-love anthem.

Following Cassadee Pope’s lead from last week, Terry McDermott opted to sing another song by his coach, Blake Shelton. McDermott, known for his high-pitched vocals, hoped his performance of Shelton’s “Over” would show off a broader range.

The coaches agreed that the risk had paid off. “So that’s what that song’s supposed to sound like,” Levine said, teasing Shelton. But Shelton practically agreed. “You just performed that song the way I always wish I could,” he told McDermott. “You just became the real deal.”

The Voice returns Tuesday with eliminations.

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