What happens when a 20-year-old female YouTube sensation and Top 10 The Voice finalist chooses to cover R&B sensation Drake?
That seeming vocal gamble came up aces for Christina Grimmie, who brought the idea to sing Drake's "Hold On, We're Going Home" to her coach, Adam Levine. He believed in her artistry and allowed her to take the risk. And in doing so, she set the pace Monday, accompanying herself on the piano and using the ballad to look and sound like a full-blown star.
Twitter took center stage Tuesday night during The Voice's adrenaline-fueled live results show kickoff, which featured new twists that confused even one of the coaches.
The somewhat controversial Twitter instant save returned for a second season, but with an added feature: The artists in the bottom three would have one last chance to save themselves by performing another song, just before another online vote.
The show kicked off calmly, as host Carson Daly revealed the names of the contestants who were moving on to next week, coach Shakira performed a single off her new CD, and coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton performed with their teams.
But things got interesting about two-thirds of the way through the hour-long show when it was revealed all of Levine and Shelton's artists were saved – what is their recipe for success? – leaving Team Usher and Team Shakira vulnerable for elimination.
Gwen Stefani's move to The Voice next season is not a done deal yet. But there's no doubt she'll be more than welcome to take a swiveling seat next to perennial judge Adam Levine.
"If there's any truth to the rumors, I'd just be really excited because I'm a huge fan," Levine told reporters after Monday night's live show kickoff. "She's a wonderful human being. I love her to pieces. So talented."
Host and producer Carson Daly also heaped praise on Stefani, but seemed to want to manage expectations about whether she'll be the one to replace Christina Aguilera.
"She would be great," Daly said. "These things are tough to work scheduling-wise. I don't know where we're at with it."
Country singer Kristen Merlin was made fully aware Monday night that The Voice competition is now live.
Performing as one of season 6's Top 12 finalists, Merlin's mic dropped out for more than a few seconds, leaving her to continue – and exhibit some admirable "show must go on" professionalism – after she had only delivered a little more than half of a touching and intimate version of Sugarland's hit "Stay."
The judges were on their feet and Adam Levine was effusive after Merlin jerked out her ear monitor, took hold of a new mic from a stage manager and continued like nothing went wrong.
No doubt about it, changes are coming to The Voice.
Following news that Pharrell Williams will take CeeLo Green's chair, reports say that Gwen Stefani also appears to be joining the singing show as a coach for season 7.
Making their Grand Ole Opry debut Saturday night, The Swon Brothers chose to honor both family and a country music legend as they stepped to the stage for the Opry's first "Swoncert."
Before playing their debut single, “Later On,” the former season 4 The Voice stars kicked off their performance by singing a bit of George Jones's "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes." Midway into the song, however, the moment quickly became about their parents, whom the brothers called to the Opry stage in appreciation, noting their sacrifices to help the Oklahoma singers achieve their musical dreams.
All eyes were on Team Usher Tuesday when his five singers stepped up to The Voice mic and delivered gutsy performances that mostly shined, but left the Grammy-winning R&B singer with a tough choice on the final night of the playoffs.
The one contestant who made it easy on him? Bria Kelly, who at just 18 managed to nail the Rolling Stones classic "Wild Horses" with a performance so polished it could rival seasoned singers twice her age.
"I've stolen everyone that you sang against," declared coach Blake Shelton. "Looking back, maybe that's because you made people step up."
It takes a lot of musical skill to draw Usher's envy, but South Carolina artist Delvin Choice did just that Monday as the second night of playoff rounds continued on The Voice.
Singing Al Green's soul classic "Let's Stay Together," Choice showed range and ease as the Team Adam singer effortlessly performed shimmering vocal runs, turning up the heat for his competitors in a major way.
"I am jealous," Usher, himself a master of the falsetto, said of Choice, who auditioned in season 5 but failed to turn any chairs. This time, however, Choice was back with force, creating a vocal moment Monday that Adam Levine dubbed "terrifying."
Blake Shelton typically exudes coolness under pressure. But The Voice coach admitted he wasn't feeling so self-assured Tuesday night as he was forced to send home two singers on the first night of the playoff rounds.
The country star found himself in the hot seat as he had to make the "toughest decision in six seasons" on the show.
Philadelphia college student Audra McLaughlin kicked things off with a powerful version of "A Broken Wing" by Martina McBride.
She might be from another galaxy, but Team Blake's Sisaundra Lewis proved she's got the "sick, sick, sick" talent to earn her an extended stay.
The Voice's second round of battles continued Tuesday with a masterful performance by Lewis, a former vocal director for Céline Dion (yes, really), and Biff Gore, a father of six coach Blake Shelton stole from Team Usher.
The duo's showstopping rendition of James Brown's "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World" brought all four coaches to their feet – and they became effusive with their praise.