Reality TV

The Voice 8 – Live Blog and Recap – Live Top 6 Performances (VIDEO)

Welcome to the live blog and recap for The Voice 8, “Live Top 6 Performances”! Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Pharrell Williams and Christina Aguilera take their teams into battle as America decides who advances!

But what will the finalists sing? Check out the song spoilers with iTunes links below:

Team Adam Levine
Joshua Davis, “In My Life” by The Beatles (iTunes)
Joshua Davis, “Desire” by U2 (iTunes)

Team Pharrell Williams
Sawyer Fredericks, “Shine On” by Daisy May Erlewine (iTunes)
Sawyer Fredericks, “Take Me To the River” by Al Green (iTunes)
Koryn Hawthorne, “Dream On” by Aerosmith (iTunes)
Koryn Hawthorne, “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. (iTunes)

Team Christina Aguilera
India Carney, “Glory” by Common and John Legend (iTunes)
India Carney, “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith (iTunes)
Kimberly Nichole, “Dirty Diana” by Michael Jackson (iTunes)
Kimberly Nichole, “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty (iTunes)

Team Blake Shelton
Meghan Linsey, “Steamroller Blues” by James Taylor (iTunes)
Meghan Linsey, “Amazing Grace” (iTunes)

Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be posting results, videos, commentary, and more as the night rolls on.

The Voice 8 - Live Blog and Recap - Live Top 6 Performances (VIDEO)

Credit: NBC

Let’s get this show on the road!

RECAP

-So everyone is singing twice tonight, with one of those songs being a special Mother’s Day dedication. And we waste no time with group numbers at all. We get right into it…

TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA: INDIA CARNEY opens the show!

-India is dedicating “Glory” by Common and John Legend to her mother, Karen, who sits in on rehearsal. Karen feels it’s a song that acknowledges how the world can be doing better than it’s doing, which is an insightful observation about the song. India gains inspiration from her mother…and also from her a cappella group, as it gives her an idea on how to perform Common’s part of the song without rapping. Christina is exceedingly proud of how far India has come, and gives her a big hug in a charming little moment. I really like India as a person. I mean, I like her as a performer too, but I often waver from week-to-week on just how much. Still, this should be a great song for her.

-This is a lovely performance, although not necessarily her best. The vocal is somewhat inconsistent as there are a few breaks in her voice, although I’m not sure if that’s her or if it’s the audio setup. Still, it takes on a certain epic quality once the choir comes out, and India cuts out the vocal gymnastics and just gives all her power to the vocal. Her mother singing along in the audience is downright adorable.

-Pharrell hopes Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds is watching, because he thinks Babyface could write some great music for her, and that’s the biggest compliment he can offer. Adam thinks now is the time to be an artist and get through to people, and he feels India just showed some amazing timing. Blake admits he didn’t know the song (Adam: “What a surprise!”), but was impressed that India managed to reinvent the rap portions, such that he couldn’t imagine the song being rapped. Christina agrees, saying it’s hard for an artist to figure that out melodically when she’s turning spoken words into sung vocals. But she feels India made it her own. I have nothing to add other than to say that India is positively radiant tonight.

WATCH AND DISCUSS: India Carney sings ‘Glory’ on The Voice 2015 Top 6 (VIDEO)

TEAM ADAM LEVINE: JOSHUA DAVIS is up next!

-Joshua is singing “Desire” by U2, as he feels this will be his chance to really show another side as an artist, while still remaining true to himself. Adam feels Joshua has a lot of momentum, more so than any singer in the competition, since he had his breakthrough moment just days ago. Honestly, I’m not entirely sold on this song choice for Joshua, but at least it’s not a rock-driven track, since that’s the absolute last thing Joshua needs to be doing. This has more of an easygoing, New Orleans-type feel in its arrangement.

-This is Joshua’s best uptempo performance, which I suppose isn’t saying much when the alternative is “Hold Back the River”. I mostly enjoyed this due largely to how much fun Joshua is clearly having, rocking out with the band. Once again, this felt a lot like a group of musicians playing in the Big Easy, so much so that I would imagine Harry Connick Jr. would be losing his mind over it. I ended up liking this song choice far more than I thought I would. Hopefully, the big production helps this remain more memorable by the end of the night.

-Pharrell says this performance “was even more better” than last week, applauding the production, praising the song choice, and noting how much fun Joshua was having up there. Adam says Joshua is the first person he’s seen at this stage in the competition put on such a level of comfort and fun, noting he’s simply all about making music and having a good time. He hopes America keeps Joshua in the competition. No real surprise there.

WATCH AND DISCUSS: Joshua Davis sings ‘Desire’ on The Voice 2015 Top 6 (VIDEO)

TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: KORYN HAWTHORNE is up next!

-Koryn’s mother is thrilled to be going through this with her daughter, since not every parent gets to be with their child as they experience this sort of life-changing process. Her mother cries while watching her sing Koryn’s Mother’s Day dedication, “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M., which Koryn feels represents her mother’s struggle, and how much she sacrificed to help her get here. Koryn notes her mother is a teacher, which is actually pretty apt since it’s Teacher Appreciation Week. Pharrell says it’s a beautiful thing to see the rapport mother and daughter have, as Koryn’s mother builds her daughter up and supports her through everything. This was a really touching little segment, and while this is another case where I’m not so sure about the song, I find myself rooting more and more for Koryn with each week.

-I thought this was great for about 75% of the track. But as the song starts to near the end, Koryn sort of loses the pitch and ends up in this really weird, unpleasant key that doesn’t work with the music at all. But she quickly recovers just in time for the big chorus to join her. By the end of it, Koryn had won me back, and I think a lot of those pitch issues had to do with getting caught up in the emotion of the song. Seriously, she was pouring it ALL into this. I respected the hell out of this vocal, even though I didn’t love it.

-Blake thinks Koryn must be an incredible actor to deliver all that emotion. He then notes that it’s amazing Koryn’s mother looks 19 when Koryn herself is only 17 (Blake is deceptively smooth, man). Pharrell then declares that Koryn is the very embodiment of an inspirational singer, as we begin flying through this show at Warp 9. Not that I’m complaining, necessarily. I’m loving the complete and utter lack of filler so far.

WATCH AND DISCUSS: Koryn Hawthorne sings ‘Everybody Hurts’ on The Voice 2015 Top 6 (VIDEO)

-No sooner do I praise the show for its lack of filler than we get Carson in the Sprint Skybox with the finalists’ mothers, and a video package detailing their makeover. Ah well, as long as we’re getting it all out of the way now.

TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA: KIMBERLY NICHOLE is up next!

-Kimberly’s mother, Gloria, loves Christina Aguilera and is stoked to attend rehearsal. She did a lot of singing in her day, and she and Christina commiserate about their experiences. Kimberly feels blessed to have her mother with her on this ride, and is showing her appreciation with “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty. Of course, when Christina decides to show off with some vocal suggestions (look, I’m sorry. I know I’m 100% in the wrong here, but I just can’t see it as anything other than showing off, because she does this damn thing every single freaking week, even when it’s completely and utterly unnecessary), Gloria actually interjects with some runs of her own. Dude, she should totally audition next season. If we can get Jason Castro’s brother and Colton Dixon’s sister on multiple seasons of Idol, I don’t see why Kimberly’s mother shouldn’t be able to audition for The Voice.

-Kimberly doesn’t change one lick of the arrangement, but she doesn’t have to, since this ends up sounding like a church-infused vocal just the same. I know rock singers can be soul singers too, but it’s rare that I see that blend as brilliantly blended as they have been with Kimberly. I get serious Fantasia Barrino vibes from her, and it has nothing to do with the short haircut. They have a similar power and force to their vocals, particularly towards the end of a song, as Kimberly just lets loose towards the end — as she did here. Yet the most memorable part of all of this is the end, as Kimberly shouts out, “I LOVE YOU, MOMMY!” Oh, she’s just precious.

-Adam continues to be impressed by the depth of Kimberly’s skill, praising her for taking a Tom Petty song and making it her own. Christina, meanwhile, notes that Kimberly fills her heart with joy. Yeah, we’re rushing through the critiques, and part of me wishes we could do it this way every single week. I mean, do the coaches even really need to judge? Their role is mostly fulfilled by coaching anyway! Then again, if I’m NBC, and I’m paying these people $15 million (or whatever the loving hell they’re making), I’d probably want them to do more than just show up for a coaching session here or there.

WATCH AND DISCUSS: Kimberly Nichole sings ‘Free Fallin’ on The Voice 2015 Top 6 (VIDEO)

TEAM BLAKE SHELTON: MEGHAN LINSEY is up next!

-Meghan is singing her “tip jar song”: “Steamroller Blues” by James Taylor. She recalls all the times she played this song in public while passing the tip jar around, and it’s kind of shown how far she’s come that she’s now doing this on The Voice. I guess iTunes is the virtual tip jar? She runs through the track, and Blake is a bit worried about her pitch, noting that she’s probably done this song so much she’s on autopilot. But he’s confident she’ll be able to work it out. Of particular note, the interstitial video clips of Meghan in the sunlight are downright stunning. I don’t know what it’s been about the past two weeks, but I’m developing a bit of a crush where none existed before.

-This is a smoky and cool vocal that — big shock, I know — actually sounds bluesy. It’s one of her more gritty, intense vocals, although I think it kind of gets away from her towards the end. She seriously oversings it, but in that overdramatic way that I think the coaches really like. I mean, I thought it was crazy over-the-top, and should probably get her a warning about pitch, but I know it’s not going to. But overall, I liked the package of the performance, for the most part. The band was on point, in particular.

-Christina thought that vocal was crazy, and praises Meghan for what she accomplished. Pharrell thought Meghan was great, calling her a true representative of Nashville, and saying that everyone in Nashville needs to vote for her. Blake simply notes that Meghan sang the crap out of the song, running out of superlatives for how she tore that song apart. Pharrell simply reiterates that Meghan really needs (and deserves) Nashville’s support. I wasn’t crazy about this performance, but I don’t think she’s in any real danger of going home.

WATCH AND DISCUSS: Meghan Linsey sings ‘Steamroller Blues’ on The Voice 2015 Top 6 (VIDEO)

TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: SAWYER FREDERICKS is up next!

-It means a lot to Sawyer that his mother, Kirsten, is getting to know for Pharrell, and it also has the effect of setting Kirsten at ease. She feels glad to know her boy is in good hands, although she misses him back at the farm. Sawyer will be singing “Shine On” by by Daisy May Erlewine, a dedication to his mother, since she would sing this song to him when he was young. Pharrell is thrilled that Kirsten is getting to experience this moment, and she is noticing how much Pharrell has brought Sawyer out of his shell. During this package, she explains that they had to sell their home in Connecticut and move upstate, and it’s a pretty emotional story that helps illustrate how much Sawyer means to her. She adds that she’s glad America is getting to see who her son really is. Poor Mama Fredericks, if he wins, he’ll be home even less.

-This is one of my favorite Sawyer performances this season. It’s not his best vocal, but it’s his most heartfelt, emotional track. It’s like he’s singing directly to his mother, and I have no shame in admitting I got goosebumps watching this. I don’t know that it’s necessarily going to be an iTunes hit (I think his second song has a better chance of charting higher), but I think he’s definitely going to sell a bunch of copies of this, because this was genuinely touching.

-Adam says it was one of his favorite performances of the night, noting it was difficult but also incredibly emotionally engaging. Blake says no matter how many artists come through here, each person is able to do different things. But it’s hard to put into words the thing that Sawyer does, since it’s simple but also just so real. Pharrell praises Sawyer, and tells America that everyone should vote for Sawyer. I don’t think you have to remind people to vote for this guy, Pharrell, although I’m sure it doesn’t hurt. But this kid isn’t going anywhere but ahead to the Top 5.

WATCH AND DISCUSS: Sawyer Fredericks sings ‘Shine On’ on The Voice 2015 Top 6 (VIDEO)

TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA: KIMBERLY NICHOLE is up next!

-Kimberly is singing “Dirty Diana” with Michael Jackson, a song Christina is quite familiar with. Of course, Kimberly loves the song because she’s done it plenty with her band in New York, noting that it allows her to let loose. She adds that the song is downright “badass,” and I certainly won’t disagree with her there. Christina is surprised to find that Kimberly is doing the high note at the end, but she encourages Kimberly to go for it, giving her tips on how to prolong the note in the most effective way. I’ll be shocked if this isn’t one of the better performances of the night.

-The most badass performance of the season. SO MUCH SWAGGER! Kimberly is the home to impenetrable swag. I have no idea how anyone is supposed to front on 1) this vocal, 2) those crazy, dirty, hip-gyrating, back-bending dance moves, 3) that conclusion, where she ends up on her knees, then on her back, shouting out that killer high note directly into the mic like a total rock goddess. Then, just as suddenly, she snaps back to being the uber sweet Kimberly, giving that “aw shucks” smile to the coaches. This was ridiculous, and I loved every single moment of it.

-Pharrell says 12-15 million people just watched Kimberly rock out, and she should be proud of what she’s accomplished. Christina says that every time Kimberly performs, she knows it’ll be electrifying and that she always takes viewers to another planet, but this was on another level. She literally runs out of things to say, closing by declaring how much fun she has watching Kimberly. This was my favorite of the night, and it’s not even close so far.

WATCH AND DISCUSS: Kimberly Nichole Gets Badass With ‘Dirty Diana’ on The Voice 2015 Top 6 (VIDEO)

-Back from break as Christina announces that her Season 5 team member, Jacquie Lee, will be on-hand to perform her new Sia-written single. (That was THREE SEASONS ago?!) Carson adds that fellow finalists Avery Wilson, Vicci Martinez and Season 7 winner Craig Wayne Boyd will perform tomorrow. So…alum-stacked show.

TEAM ADAM LEVINE: JOSHUA DAVIS is up next!

-Joshua gives his wife/mother of his children, Anne, the credit for pushing him to do “Fields of Gold” last week, and notes that he’s doing “In My Life” by The Beatles as his dedication to her. She cutely recalls seeing him playing guitar while they were both in college, and knew she had to meet him. She did, and the rest is history. Joshua says the hardest thing about this process has been being away from his family, but he’s doing this all for them anyhow. He sounds fantastic in rehearsals, and I’m anxious to see how he does with this out on the big stage.

-I actually liked this far better than “Fields of Gold,” as his vocal here was absolutely flawless, as much as his guitar skills were impeccable here. I just adored this arrangement, and though Joshua delivered his real moment of the season, and I think he’s slowly building a case for his spot in the finals. If nothing else, he’s redeeming Adam on what’s been a really lopsided season for him.

-Blake is impressed, and lets Joshua know how good he is, while also noting how badly out of rhythm the crowd was with the clapping (which Adam verifies, playfully chiding the audience for their lack of rhythm). Adam says Joshua’s performance was absolutely mesmerizing, and adds that he’s a total class act. I totally believe that. Joshua seems like the most normal, down-to-Earth dude this show has had, maybe ever. And that speaks volumes on a show where everyone is down-to-Earth, normal, and likable (seriously, if we’ve had any jerks or pompous ass contestants in all eight seasons of this show, I don’t remember them).

WATCH AND DISCUSS: Joshua Davis sings ‘In My Life’ on The Voice 2015 Top 6 (VIDEO)

TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: KORYN HAWTHORNE is up next!

-Koryn is going to be singing “Dream On” by Aerosmith, and she notes that she’s living the dream right now on The Voice, a soundbite Pharrell loves and asks her to repeat. Personally, my dream is that no one ever sings this song again on a television singing competition, but that’s neither here nor there. Koryn notes that she’s missing her 1-year-old brother, Noah, growing up. But she’s hoping her experience here will one day prove to him that he can follow his dreams. Pharrell seems pretty confident in Koryn’s ability to tackle a heavy, rock-driven track, although I worry she’ll be fighting the band the whole way through, as the Volume Wars enter another cycle. But I guess we’ll see soon enough.

-This was a rare time where I noticed a strangely distraction vibrato in Koryn’s voice. Normally, her tone is much more even and confident than it is here. Of course, I say that, but then she immediately launches into the chorus again, and this just comes ALIVE. This could be the most an artist has surprised me in the entire competition. Instead of trying to be a rock singer, she made the song work for her, skipping over Tyler’s ear-piercing high notes and digging deeper with her smooth, R&B tone by delivering something that sounds almost like gospel. I was genuinely impressed by this, even though I’d gladly make a donation to the Please Let’s Never Hear This Song On A Singing Show Again fund.

-Christina praises Koryn for delivering a performance that took her outside her comfort zone, as she continues to push herself, the farther she gets in the competition. Pharrell asks the audience who was inspired by Koryn’s performance, and receives a big cheer in response. He feels Koryn is an inspiration, and pleads with America to continue voting for her. I’m genuinely befuddled on who’s going to be in danger tomorrow night, but even with solid performances like this, I’m still thinking Koryn will land in the Bottom 3. Whether or not she can sing her way out of it depends on who’s there with her. Should be a lively results show, if nothing else.

WATCH AND DISCUSS: Koryn Hawthorne sings ‘Dream On’ on The Voice 2015 Top 6 (VIDEO)

TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA: INDIA CARNEY is up next!

-India relives her close call from last week, saying it came down to just two votes. She gives a ton of credit to support from her school, as they’re always putting out the call to “Vote for India.” India will be singing “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith, which she’s always viewed as a love song. Christina thinks it’s a great choice, and says that if ever there was a time for America to rediscover a singer, it’s now, for India. She suggests India add some vibrato on it, which I actually think is a bit of a mistake, but India actually sounds damn good on it, so I guess I’ll shut up now.

-I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think this song may have actually been too big for her. The vocal seemed to get away from her in places, as the evenness of her tone wavered on the bigger notes. That said, she had some really good moments in here, particularly once the band kicked in and the tempo picked up. She has a great knack for making every performance a piece of theater. This felt dramatic, but not overly so, and it resulted in a performance that held attention. Even though I didn’t love the vocal, I still thought this was a smart song choice.

-Adam calls this India’s best performance in the competition, and says she’s reestablished herself as a frontrunner in this competition. Meanwhile, Christina agrees with Adam 100%, saying that India really has come back into herself this week.

WATCH AND DISCUSS: India Carney sings ‘Lay Me Down’ on The Voice 2015 Top 6 (VIDEO)

-Naturally, we’re in rush mode, so we keep things going…

TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: SAWYER FREDERICKS is up next!

-Sawyer is going to be singing “Take Me to the River” by Al Green (The Commitments version), a song he used to listen to when he was young. Well, younger. But Pharrell feels something is off, and tells the band they need to make it like a cross between The Black Keys and CCR. Sawyer agrees, and even starts producing the track alongside Pharrell. He’s leaving the guitar behind on this one, so it should be an interesting departure from Sawyer’s norm, if nothing else.

-Sawyer sounds very good here, although there’s something that feels completely and utterly wrong about him being surrounded by dancers in checker-patterned dresses like he’s Robert Palmer or something. Still, I enjoyed this because Sawyer looks at home up there, even now, while he’s doing something so far from what he normally does. He also looks like he’s having a lot of fun, which counts for a whole lot when you’re doing something as silly as this. Because this is a pretty silly performance, yet it’s just such a blast to watch. I wouldn’t suggest Sawyer do this every week, but it’s a nice little departure from expectations, showing that he does have versatility as an onstage performer.

-Blake says he never noticed how still Sawyer stands until all those dancers were put around him. But he says as long as Sawyer keeps singing like that, it doesn’t matter. “It doesn’t freakin’ matter!” he reiterates. Pharrell asks the audience if Sawyer worked the stage, and they go absolutely nuts for him. “Everybody at home in America, do what feels right! Vote for this guy!” he says. Again, I don’t think his fans need to be reminded. I’d be shocked if he wasn’t winning every week in a landslide (the iTunes charts are the only thing suggesting this is even close).

WATCH AND DISCUSS: Sawyer Fredericks sings ‘Take Me To the River’ on The Voice 2015 (VIDEO)

TEAM BLAKE SHELTON: MEGHAN LINSEY closes the show!

-Meghan is singing her mother’s favorite song as her dedication: “Amazing Grace”. Meghan breaks down when recalling how much struggle her mother, Roberta, has been through, growing up living on dirt floors and putting herself through nursing school. Meghan says her mother is the reason she sings, having inspired her as a woman. For her part, Roberta is proud of Meghan for how she continues to persevere. During rehearsals, Blake suggests that Meghan start off the entire first verse a cappella, then having the organ kick in on the second. It’s a risky move, but I actually think Meghan has the voice to be able to do the entire thing a cappella, if she wanted to.

-You know, I think Meghan actually could have gotten away with singing the entire song a cappella. It’s downright gorgeous, and has a timeless quality to it that exists independent of any style or location. That is, until the organ kicks in, then it mostly sounds like the hymn it was originally written to be. Come to think of it, it takes on a sad, funereal quality that isn’t as uplifting as it might have otherwise been. But the organ is so minimal that Meghan still retains an ethereal quality to this. It becomes downright holy once we get the choir backing her up on harmony (in fact, I’d much rather have had the choir playing the role of instrument, instead of the organ). But I really do think just having it a cappella or with simply choral backing would have made this downright legendary. Still, gorgeous either way.

-Christina wonders if Blake may have just won the season with that, while Blake himself notes that “a new sheriff is in town”. Meghan gets a giant hug from Blake as we head off the air, and I feel like the production team did the stylists a disservice by not getting a better shot of that broad, sweeping red gown Meghan was wearing. Total class.

WATCH AND DISCUSS: Meghan Linsey sings ‘Amazing Grace’ on The Voice 2015 Top 6 (VIDEO)

-And that’s a wrap! What did you think of tonight’s show? Sound off in the comments! Until tomorrow night’s results show, thanks for reading and hanging out!

For more on The Voice, such as performances, polls and more: The Voice

And for future updates on The Voice, follow me on Twitter: @NickRomanTV

GOODNIGHT!

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