See 'Voice' Hopefuls Cover Reba McEntire, Billy Dean - Rolling Stone
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See ‘Voice’ Hopefuls Cover Reba McEntire, Billy Dean

Plus, one contestant wows with a Muscle Shoals classic

Aliyah MouldenAliyah Moulden

Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU/Getty

Last night’s episode of The Voice offered viewers a strong presence of country-related hits (along with a few snoozes), including a couple of standout performances from Blake Shelton’s team members Aliyah Moulden and Lauren Duski.

Performing second in the two-hour long show of the season’s top 11 contestants, 15-year-old Aliyah Moulden took on Reba McEntire’s “Take It Back.” The 1992 hit single off of her album It’s Your Call, offers a sassy, soulful vibe that coach Shelton said is “tailor-made for [her] voice,” though he warned Moulden during rehearsal to bend notes a little faster.

The fun, lighthearted performance highlighted both her deeper chest voice and crowd-pleasing spunk, though, admittedly, some parts felt a little bland. The coaches, however, were blown away, with Shelton commenting, “America is falling in love with you…they are becoming invested with you as an artist because you are [improving] week to week. America, she is 15 years old!”

Later on, fan and coach-favorite Lauren Duski dazzled the crowd with Billy Dean’s classic “Somewhere in My Broken Heart,” a 1991 chart-topper off of his debut album Young Man. After Duski beamed to Shelton over the fact that Lee Ann Womack tweeted at her following last week’s performance of “Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good,” the duo got down to business in rehearsal. For Duski’s interpretation of Dean’s song, they settled on keeping instrumentals simple, with only acoustic guitars and a small string section. “This is an incredible opportunity for Lauren to showcase how beautiful her voice really is,” Shelton commented, urging her to milk notes a little more so the song could breathe. Watch below.

Duski’s confidence was evident as she gave the song a hopeful aura, thanks to her earnest delivery and her soaring, airy voice. “I will keep my love unspoken / Somewhere in my broken heart,” she sang as the crowd erupted in cheers, ultimately bringing Shelton to his feet by the performance’s conclusion. “You’re gonna be in the finale,” conceded fellow coach Adam Levine. “You have what it takes, and you do it effortlessly, in such a classy, simple way.” Shelton, running out of ways to say how great she is, commented, “I think the things we’re all starting to realize about you is you’re special, you’re different. Your voice sounds classic but it doesn’t sound like anyone else…we all realize that you’re a star.”

Meanwhile, on Team Gwen Stefani, 15-year-old Brennley Brown continued to amaze. This time she sang Joni Mitchell’s “River” from the 1971 album Blue with a folk-tinged, country spirit. Also of note last night was R&B-leaning Chris Blue’s emotional take on Percy Sledge’s 1966 Muscle Shoals classic, “When A Man Loves a Woman.” Watch it below.

The Voice returns tonight, Tuesday, May 2nd at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC.

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