‘The Voice’ Recap: Michelle Chamuel, Swon Brothers Shine In Performances
The Voice’s final performances aired Monday night, with all three finalists shining in their own right.
But before the contestants could perform, all four coaches – Adam Levine, Shakira, Usher and Blake Shelton – came up to sing “With A Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles, and pumped up the audience.
The first contestant performance of the night belonged to The Swon Brothers (Zach and Colton Swon). Performing “I Can’t Tell You Why” by The Eagles, they took a risk with a non-country, falsetto performance. They held their own, though, never pitchy or breaking. The emotional connection to the song – a signature of theirs – was palpable as Coach Shelton sang along.
As they ended, Shakira waved a “Go Okies!” flag to show her support. Levine explained that The Swon Brothers had told him the song was for him because of his connection and influence from The Eagles, and he approved of the performance. “You guys did an incredible job,” he told them. Shelton couldn’t contain his pride. “The reason that people can’t put their finger on exactly what it is they love about you guys – because you’re constantly evolving, constantly trying something new.”
Next came Michelle Chamuel’s reprisal performance of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble.” Before she began, Usher explained in a video that he felt that performance was a pivotal moment in Chamuel’s time on The Voice. Chamuel performed with energy, strutting across the stage as she sang the pop song-turned-rock ballad. She even walked down to the coaches and sang directly to them. When it came time for feedback, the coaches had a hard time speaking over the roaring crowds. When given the chance to speak, many of them agreed that Chamuel had an energy on stage that couldn’t be fabricated.
The following performance was a duet between finalist Danielle Bradbery and her coach, Shelton. Preceding the performance was a sit-down with Bradbery’s parents and stepparents, where Shelton saw that she had a strong support system at home. The two of them then performed Patty Loveless’s “Timber, I’m Falling in Love” on a goofy and colorful set. With matching harmonies and a light-hearted performance, they got the crowd excited.
Shelton wasn’t done with his contestants yet – just as Usher chose a pivotal song for Chamuel, Shelton chose one for The Swon Brothers – “Danny’s Song” by Kenny Loggins – saying that the performance proved to people that they truly deserved to be in the competition.
Shelton wasn’t lying. Stronger than their initial performance of the song, The Swon Brothers delivered a heartfelt and emotional rendition with strong harmonies. Levine and Usher agreed that they did the song justice, and that they, as listeners, were able to get lost in the song. Shelton told them he was sure that back in Oklahoma some radio stations would be playing it, because they took it from classic to modern. “You took that song, you reinvented it. You introduced it to a new audience,” Shelton said.
The next performance was Chamuel again. There was yet another video from Usher, but in this one he praised her work ethic, talent, and discussed the friendship and connection they had formed as artists. “I found my diamond in the rough,” he said. “Who would’ve ever thought that a quirky girl with glasses would’ve taught me something?”
Chamuel performed “Why” by Annie Lennox. A slower and more emotional song than she usually performs, Chamuel still managed to infuse the grit and power people have come to know her for. She connected with the audience and didn’t lose herself among the dozens of background singers who joined her on stage. When it came time for the coach’s reactions, Shakira again showed her support for the remaining contestants, this time wearing fake glasses that matched Chamuel’s. Despite the goofiness, she had high praise for the singer. “That was beautiful,” Shakira said. “When you have humility on one side and talent in the other hand, that is the perfect combination; that makes the perfect recipe for long-term success.”
Before The Swon Brothers could get in their final performance, Shelton sat down with their parents. With them, Shelton learned that music was truly a part of their upbringing. Their mother revealed to him that as punishment, their father would send them to their room and not let them leave until they’d written a song. The Swon Brothers and Shelton performed together next. Singing Brad Paisley’s “Celebrity,” the three men clearly had a fun time onstage with the upbeat country song. They got the audience on their feet with their strong harmonies and bouncy beat.
Bradbery was next, performing the song Shelton deemed her defining moment – “Maybe It Was Memphis,” by Pam Tillis. With more power than her initial performance of the song, Bradbery connected with the audience and delivered an emotional reprise. With the control and pitch-perfect tone the coaches have praised her for since the blind auditions, Bradbery proved that she deserved to be in the final three – but Levine decided she would probably win it all. “I think Danielle’s the winner of this thing,” he said.
Next was a surprise performance by the top three, joined by contestants past. The top four contestants from each of the coach’s teams joined the final three, singing an emotional and fun rendition of “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Screens behind them showed clips of the coaches and contestants from the past season – from the blind auditions to last week’s episodes.
After the group performance came Chamuel’s final performance, a duet with Usher – “One,” by U2. Before the performance began, Usher sat down with Chamuel’s mother and cousin, where he found out that Chamuel’s mother was a refugee from Egypt. Chamuel explained that she felt that her mother’s decision to leave Egypt meant that she was able to live the American Dream. Usher also discussed the friendship he and Chamuel have developed, saying that he’s not a teacher anymore. “I can just be supportive of the incredible individual that Michelle was raised to be,” he said.
The duet, which was risky given Chamuel’s signature gritty rock voice and Usher’s distinct soulful tone, was a surprising success. Their friendship was clear on stage as they worked off each other in a fun and emotional performance – Usher even took the chance to mirror Chamuel’s signature crouch at a pivotal moment in the song.
The final performance went to Bradbery, who sang Sara Evans’ “Born to Fly.” Shelton explained that he picked the song for Bradbery because the one thing she hadn’t done yet was a fully up-tempo song. Though you could see in her movements her efforts to keep up with the wide-ranging song, she kept up well and made the performance fun for the audience. “You are such an important person to music,” Shelton said. “I can’t say enough about you, Danielle.”
Tuesday night is the finale for The Voice – and, incidentally, coach Shelton’s birthday. Will he celebrate his birthday with a winner? Tune in and follow us to find out.