Fellow coach Adam Levine can mock Blake Shelton's drawl and boots all he wants, but there's no denying it: Shelton is having a hell of a season on The Voice. Between teenage standout Aliyah Moulden, throwback performer TSoul, and classic country singer Lauren Duski, it's easy to imagine Shelton emerging with a sixth victory. And lest viewers forget what musical talent Shelton possesses, last night the country star impressed with a raw, impassioned performance of his single "Every Time I Hear That Song."
Taken from his newest album, If I'm Honest, the tune, co-written by Aimee Mayo, Chris Lindsey and Brett and Brad Warren, is classic Shelton at his finest. The idea is that a song can still teleport you to that sidewalk corner, that fortuitous barstool encounter, that glance – "There's a soundtrack in my mind / That takes me back in time," he sings, capturing the bittersweet sentiment perfectly. On the Voice stage, singing under a red industrial set (slightly reminiscent of the song's video), Shelton rustled up memories that may be better left on that barstool. Throughout, his voice's slight hoarseness surfaced at emotionally fitting moments, giving the live rendition a nice dash of added pathos.
Meanwhile, during the competition, country frontrunners Lauren Duski and Brennley Brown brought their best to the stage as they vied for a spot in the Top 8. Performing Wynonna Judd's 1993 hit single "Tell Me Why," from the eponymous album, Duski looked more relaxed than ever in a laid back, playful take on the uptempo tune. Beaming with pride, coach Shelton boldly stated, "You are the missing piece in country music right now," before adding that it's "so exciting to be swept up into her momentum."
Saving one of the strongest contestants for last, 15-year-old Brennley Brown performed Martina McBride's CMA-nominated "Anyway," and once again dazzled the crowd. It was a relief, considering her rehearsal hadn't gone that well. "I think you need to investigate [the lyric] 'Do it anyway.' . . . It felt like playing the role too much; let it be about you," advised coach Gwen Stefani during practice. "If she's really thinking about this song like she's talking about herself, then it becomes more real. And that's just gonna make her become a true country artist, which is somebody who wears their heart on their sleeve," said Stefani, assessing her team member. Ultimately, Brown took her mentor's counsel seriously, with quieter verses flying into soaring scales that were as wholeheartedly convincing as they were technically impressive. Last season, runner-up Billy Gilman also covered McBride's emotional ballad.
Also of note, Team Blake's 15-year-old Aliyah Moulden took on Labrinth's 2014 song "Jealous," which was written in Nashville. Having lost her father at a young age, the young artist was visibly moved to tears by the end, barely able to get out the final notes.
Two more singers will be sent home during tonight's live eliminations. Maren Morris is set to perform her current single "I Could Use a Love Song," and pop singer Charlie Puth will debut his new song "Attention."