Part three of The Voice's knockouts delivered some of the most rocking performances of its rapidly intensifying Season 12 Monday. And though the finale is still weeks away, two artists made viewers and coaches alike take special notice — and start speculation that they'd be vying for the top prize.
The first performance that nearly made viewers fall out of their chairs came from Team Alicia's matchup between Jack Cassidy, singing "Unsteady" by the X Ambassadors, against Vanessa Ferguson doing Gladys Knight's soul classic "If I Were Your Woman." Now, Jack is talented, for sure, but he heeded Alicia's message to sound a little bit more...well, unsteady probably too well, as he flailed around in pitch and strength before he found footing. But the truth is that no matter what he did, he'd have frankly been no match for Vanessa, who opened up her mouth and summoned enough force to power a train headed to Georgia. What confidence! What poise! What very good Janelle Monae cosplay!
Her performance all but guaranteed we'll see her in the finals — and it certainly helps that she's no joke on the piano. Speaking of badass performers who play instruments, another thrill came from Jesse Larson on Team Adam. Singing "The Letter" by Joe Crocker, the soulful teddy bear growled and howled while shredding his guitar like one of the greats — and sounding a little like CeeLo.
As cute as her take on Britney's "Toxic" was, Davina Leone was no match for him, and so she blew her goodbye kisses. More importantly, we got to glimpse at a future full of insanely good Jesse performances — and a likely spot among the last few artists remaining as we get ready to crown a winner. What did you think of his and Vanessa's performances?
Here's how some other matches went down, and who got eliminated:
Team Blake Shelton
The matchup: Andrea Thomas singing "Cry" by Faith Hill vs. Lauren Duski doing "When You Say Nothing at All" by Allison Krause and Union Station
How'd it go? Andrea got off to a slow, moaning kind of start and relied on her high note/"Mariah thing" as Blake calls it, to give the latter part of her performance some oomph. Lauren, meanwhile, floated through her song with strong, simple finesse.
Moving on to live playoffs: Lauren
The matchup: Aliyah Moulden "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood vs. Caroline Sky singing "At Last" by Etta James
How'd it go? Blake warned Aliyah during her rehearsals that this is a deceptively hard song to sing. She did okay at it; it sounded like the equivalent of putting on your mom's heels, stuffing them with paper and struttin' around like you're grown but not really convincing anyone. That's more than we could say for Caroline whose "At Last" had us anticipating the moment she would not be singing, at last. Though she found her groove in sections, she was overall warbly and off-key.
Moving on to live playoffs: Aliyah
Team Gwen Stefani
The matchup: Brandon Royal singing Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" vs. JChosen singing "Without You" by David Guetta and Usher
How'd it go? Brandon put a very good, very soulful spin on Bob Marley, but JChosen's tender, pure and controlled turn won coaches over.
Moving on to live playoffs: JChosen
The matchup: Stephanie Rice cooing "Safe and Sound" by Taylor Swift ft. The Civil Wars vs. Troy singing "Chandelier" by Sia
How'd it go? How lovely is Stephanie? This uber-mellow song showcased the soft, magical quality of her voice and her control, too. Still, Troy's bold, unusual choice of song showed a depth of range and confidence..and it didn't hurt that he sounded great doing it too.
Eliminated: Troy Ramey
Moving on to live playoffs: Stephanie
Which of Monday's performances was your favorite?
The Voice airs Monday and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC.