The Voice Competition Tightens, with Oklahoma Disaster on Everyone's Mind
05/21/2013 AT 08:30 AM EDT
As rescuers searched for survivors of Monday afternoon's Oklahoma tornadoes, Voice host Carson Daly offered a shout out of support to all affected by the tragedy.
Oklahoma native Blake Shelton said his family is safe but that the violent, massive storm made it hard to focus on the competition.
"They are going through hell right now," Shelton said. "It's bad news. [But] I've got a job to do and the team is counting on me."
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Baylor University student Holly Tucker poignantly opened the show with the gospel standard "How Great Thou Art," a testament to her Christian faith.
"How strangely appropriate that song was for tonight – about faith and hope and strength," Shelton said. Shakira lauded Tucker's rendition as "angelic."
Despite the sadness, it was a night owned by Sarah Simmons of Team Adam, who rocked the house in a shimmering silver fringed skirt and black boots. Performing Jessie J's hit "Mamma Knows Best," she thrashed the song, prowling the stage caught up in the ferocity of the lyrics.
This sent judge Adam Levine to his feet as the audience cheered wildly.
The other coaches loved it, too. "Oh my gosh!" Shelton exclaimed. "That is just rock. You just radiated sexy tonight. You turned a musical corner, too. You can't fake what you did. That was rock and roll!"
Usher even said he was more than a little bit turned on. "If you got it, you got it. You even threw a little bit of energy over here," he teased. "I was like, 'Oooooh, baby!' "
Simmons was followed by another moment of female empowerment as Michelle Chamuel shined once again with Pink's "Just Give Me a Reason." It proved a huge crowd hit and showed off Chamuel's individualism and style.
Said Pharrell Williams, who advised Usher this week: "I know genius, monster singers who are going to have long careers and you are one."
The show's youngest contestant, Danielle Bradbery, showed off country sweetness, wearing white cut-off shorts, boots and braided blonde hair. Her happy rendition of Jo Dee Messina's "Heads Carolina, Tails California" energized the crowd, which has thus far been drawn to not only her adolescent joy but her mature voice.
"If I close my eyes, I can't believe you are 16," adviser Sheryl Crow told her at rehearsal.
Levine called Bradbery a "superstar," while Shelton joked, "I was No. 1 on iTunes until she came along" – referring to his protégé's single's success last week.
Of the guys, the Swon Brothers showed their easy fit as country artists as they sang a pitch-perfect rocking harmony on the Randy Houser hit "How Country Feels."
"It feels good," said Shakira. "You lighten my mood," she said. Added Levine: "That was a lot of fun."
The sibling duo, who are also Oklahoma natives, said what had happened in their home state was not lost on them even as they mustered an upbeat performance for the competition.
"It is hard to enjoy a night like this when that stuff is going on. It lets you know what is important," said Colton Swon.
The show continues Tuesday night with viewers casting votes that will send two more contestants home on the way to next week's top 8.