Judith Hill Pays Tribute to Michael Jackson on 'The Voice' - Rolling Stone
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‘The Voice’ Recap: Judith Hill Pays Tribute to Michael Jackson

Pop star’s former duet partner sings ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’

Last week, the power shifted completely to viewers of The Voice, whose votes eliminated Vedo and Garrett Gardner. This week, the top 10 once again sang for survival, with the bottom two, regardless of team, getting the boot tonight.  

We have a feeling Blake Shelton’s team has little to worry about, though, as he was quick to point out that the Swon Brothers had a Number Four-ranking country song on iTunes last week and Danielle Bradbery sold 50,000 singles in one week. They also just so happened to be the top two charting contestants on iTunes’ top 100 songs the day after last week’s performances.

‘The Voice’: Rolling Stone’s Complete Coverage 

Last week, the Swons had a breakout moment with “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes” by the late George Jones. And they kept the momentum going this week with Randy Houser’s “How Country Feels,” which wasn’t perfect, but certainly offered a raucous good time. No matter what happens from here on out for them, they are now officially the longest lasting duo in Voice history. (In Season One, Cee Lo Green’s Thompson Sisters made it to the first round of live shows before being eliminated.)

Meanwhile, Danielle did a solid job once again, too, with Jo Dee Messina’s “Heads Carolina, Tails California,” which didn’t quite show off her vocal range. But that was apparently exactly what Blake was going for, saying, “There’s no need to beat people over the head with hitting these huge notes, we know she can do it.” And she was finally dressed more appropriately for a 16-year-old, though her Daisy Duke-style short-shorts gave us pause. Still, heading in the right direction, folks.

Rounding out Team Blake was Holly Tucker with the Christian hymn “How Great Thou Art,” which Blake called “strangely appropriate” in light of the tornado tragedy that just unfolded in Oklahoma, even though the song had been chosen days in advance. Adam Levine praised her “pristine and beautiful” voice and “the grace” with which she delivered the song.

Speaking of Adam, two of his contestants hit it out of the park. The first was Judith Hill, who did a stellar rendition of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.” The other was Sarah Simmons with Jessie J’s “Mamma Knows Best.”

At first, Judith was reluctant to sing the MJ song Adam picked for her, breaking down and crying over the fact that she missed her one-time duet partner and saying she was afraid people would think she was taking advantage of him. But we’re so glad Adam didn’t back down, as Judith easily delivered the best performance of the night.

Starting off with a slow, jazzy feel, the song soon built into a funky take on the pop classic. And she looked great in a ruffled one-piece jumpsuit and a seriously gravity-defying hairdo. When she started crying after the song ended, Usher admitted he felt her pain: “I miss him, I miss him so much,” he said amid praise for the performance. And Adam lauded it as a “celebration” of Jackson’s legacy. And indeed it was.

Sarah’s song choice was also a good one, turning her into a rousing rocker chick that Blake thought “radiated sexy.” While we definitely agree her gritty vocals were spot on, we couldn’t help but be distracted by her unflattering outfit. Her lower half dripped with a long, shimmering silver skirt mismatched with black knee-high boots.

Another standout of the night was Team Shakira contestant Sasha Allen, who nailed what was probably the best song choice she’s had the whole season, Emeli Sandé’s “Next to Me.” The song perfectly suited her dramatic voice, and she looked “fabulous,” according to Shakira, in a form-fitting striped top and belted skirt.

In terms of disappointments, we once again thought Usher picked a mismatched song for Michelle Chamuel, who tackled Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason.” Don’t get us wrong, she was great. But Usher keeps wanting to showcase her voice, which makes sense on a show called The Voice, but he’s missing the point that what’s great about her are her quirky, high-energy performances. If it comes down to vocal chops alone, she won’t stand a chance against the likes of Judith or even Sarah. But she’s an overall great entertainer. Long story short, we just wish Usher would pick better tracks.  

We were also a little disappointed with Amber Carrington’s performance of Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway.” It was decent, but she sounded a little shaky and out of tune in the beginning – it’s a tall order to tackle Kelly. There was also a distracting wind machine that got turned on mid-song, blowing her hair and skirt around just a tad bit too much for our taste. But we’re sure she’ll be safe.

Most likely in jeopardy this week are Kris Thomas from Team Shakira, who did a smooth-voiced albeit dull rendition of Miguel’s “Adorn,” and Team Usher’s Josiah Hawley, who slaughtered Coldplay’s “Clocks” by relying on too much rasp, runs and vibrato.

And we’re not alone in our critique, it seemed like all the coaches were gunning for these two guys, too. At one point, Usher even seemingly ticked off Shakira by questioning her song choice for Kris, to which she barked, “the song was perfect.” Poor Usher then jokingly ran and hid behind his chair, which barely warranted a smile from Shakira.

Now it’s your turn to weigh in: who do you think is going home this week?

Previously: Vedo, Garrett Gardner Voted Off


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