If Monday night’s episode of the NBC singing competition The Voice had a theme, it would probably be “Battle of the Divas.” The Top 10 live show featured stellar performances from four female powerhouses: 17-year-old Koryn Hawthorne stunned the audience with a deeply personal interpretation of Ed Sheeran’s “Make it Rain,” former country singer Meghan Linsey brought the house down with a sassy, swampy version of Marc Broussard’s “Home,” R&B phenom Kimberly Nichole turned in a spirited rendition of “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” by Etta James, and classically-trained chanteuse India Carney did some serious justice to “Run to You,” the ballad made famous by Whitney Houston.
“This is not the episode of The Voice that you want to slip up, even a little bit,” remarked coach Blake Shelton, fresh from co-hosting the ACM Awards in Arlington, Texas, the night before.
Unfortunately, the competition’s only remaining country singer, Team Blake’s Corey Kent White, did slip up on his cover of George Strait’s “Untouched” — and it may have cost him some votes.
“We have to talk about it, the lyric flub out there,” Shelton said, laying it on the line. “Country music fans – you didn’t get away with it because they know.”
Team Blake’s mentor this week was Scott Hendricks, Nashville label exec, Shelton’s longtime producer and — most importantly to White — a fellow Okie (other guest producer/mentors were Team Christina’s Mark Ronson, Team Pharrell’s Ryan Tedder and Team Adam’s Dave Stewart) .
“If you go to Oklahoma State, there’s three names in music that you’ve got to know: Garth Brooks, Tim DuBois and Scott Hendricks,” declared the 20-year-old junior.
While White was proudly proclaiming his Sooner State roots, teammate Meghan Linsey had Louisiana on her mind with her choice of “Home,” which became an anthem in New Orleans during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“I grew up really close to the bayou in this tiny town of Ponchatoula. They’re famous for their strawberry festival, crawfish boils and alligators sneaking in my pond and eating my dogs. This song is about where I grew up,” explained the Southern soul singer.
Linsey’s searing take on “Home” evoked the raw, yet perfectly controlled, vocals of Bonnie Bramlett, prompting rival coach Christina Aguilera to state, “I think that’s the best performance you’ve done on this show yet. That was killer.”
Like Shelton, Aguilera had also just flown back to Los Angeles from the ACMs, where she performed a pair of pop-country mash-ups with Rascal Flatts: “Riot,” from the trio’s current album, Rewind, and “Shotgun,” a ballad Aguilera will also perform on ABC’s Nashville. The five-time Grammy-winner is currently guest starring on the series as a pink-haired pop sensation named “Jade St. John.”
Meanwhile on tonight’s episode of The Voice, the Top 10 will be pared down to the Top Eight. Arguably most in danger of being cut are Texas songbird Deanna Johnson and Michigan dad Joshua Davis, the remaining two contestants on Team Adam.