The themes of redemption and revenge were in the air last night on The Voice's 12th season, with covers ranging from Joe Cocker's "The Letter" to Bob Marley's "Redemption Song." Perhaps no performance made this more apparent than 15-year-old Aliyah Moulden's scorching rendition of Carrie Underwood's 2005 chart-topper "Before He Cheats."
During rehearsal, Moulden's coach Blake Shelton admits that he's surprised by her bold song selection. "Not only is it country, it's a hard country song to sing," he says. "But this kid has a huge range and she's just gotta figure out a way to get her nerves under control."
Once Moulden hits the stage, her powerful performance brings out a previously unseen sultry sound along with her impressive stage presence. She sings from the heart, though maybe not experience – she admits pre-show, "I've never had a boyfriend, but I have taken some high school drama classes" – and leans into the song with her deep, rich vocals and confident runs. Though the performance isn't without flaws, Moulden's gorgeous falsetto at the end makes up for any sour notes.
"That was your best performance yet," says Shelton of Moulden's performance, echoing girlfriend and coach Gwen Stefani's earlier sentiment. Though it was a tough decision between Moulden and knockout round competitor Caroline Sky, who sang Etta James' classic "At Last," he ultimately settles on the 15-year-old girl wonder, who will advance to the live shows.
Earlier in the show, 25-year-old Team Blake member Lauren Duski performs "When You Say Nothing at All," written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz, and made famous by Keith Whitley and a later recording by Alison Krauss. Opting for a more subtle performance style, Duski's soothing, soulful voice captures all four coaches' attention, with her injection of pathos having a noticeable impact. Shelton pits Duski against Andrea Thomas, a former backup singer for Carrie Underwood, who sings Faith Hill's 2002 single "Cry." Watch both performances below.
"It's interesting because [Duski] is a little bit bashful. The honesty and the comfort that you feel is who [she] is as a human being; that's the artist she is when she's on stage," comments Shelton. "Alison Krauss is gonna watch this thing and [go] 'Oh my God, that's unbelievable.'" In the end, he decides on Duski, and with no other coaches swooping in for the steal, Thomas is eliminated from the show.
The Voice returns tonight, Tuesday April 11th at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC.