The Top 13 artists of The Voice season 17 sang in another evening on live performances Monday on NBC. The singers were tasked with dedicating a song to something or someone important from their lives. Coaches Blake Shelton, John Legend, Gwen Stefani and Kelly Clarkson were on hand for reactions, but the voting is now officially in complete control of viewers.
Up first was Joana Martinez from Team Gwen, singing Gloria Estefan's “Get on Your Feet,” which she dedicated to her hometown of Miami. Stefani encouraged Martinez to really play up the performance aspect of the song, and she did just that. Martinez had solid stage presence, and even though it was a much different song choice for her, it showcased her versatility.
Team Blake's Ricky Duran was up next, singing Ray LaMontagne's “You Are the Best Thing,” which he dedicated to his girlfriend, who recently had a stroke. The song was definitely in his wheelhouse, and Duran sang it well, but it wasn't the most memorable performance of the evening. Legend praised him for her naturalness, and Shelton was pleased with the performance.
Singing “Unaware” by Allen Stone, Team Kelly's Max Boyle dedicated his performance to his niece and nephew. Boyle was a steal from Team John, and he is fitting in nicely on Team Kelly. He turned in a vocally complex performance that highlighted his falsetto, range and musical instincts. Clarkson said Boyle nailed it.
Myracle Holloway of Team Gwen sang Whitney Houston's “I'm Your Baby Tonight” and dedicated it to her late grandma. Stefani encouraged Holloway to stick to the original melody, which she ended up doing. It could have actually used more runs and ad libs to make it more her own, but she sang it beautifully.
Team John's Will Breman next sang “I Won't Give Up” by Jason Mraz and dedicated it to his mom. He gave a vulnerable and dynamic performance. Breman connected to the emotions of the song and showcased all of his strengths. Legend praised his passion.
Team Blake's Kat Hammock dedicated her performance of “Danny Boy” to her grandparents. It was a melodic performance, and she had some pitch issues, but the song choice was interesting, and Stefani said she thinks Hammock will get a record deal.
Team John was back up with Katie Kadan singing “I'm Going Down” by Mary J. Blige, which she dedicated to her fellow single girlfriends. Her phrasing was good, and she delivered on the emotional front. It made for one of the most memorable performances of the evening and was definitely Kadan's personal best.
Cali Wilson of Team Blake followed with a performance of Kacey Musgraves' “Butterflies,” dedicating it to her girlfriend. Wilson was Shelton's save last week, and she proved she was worthy of saving with a terrific performance that played to her strengths.
Shane Q from Team Kelly next sang “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts, playing to the country fans of the show. He dedicated the song to his mom, and he connected well with the lyrics. He has been on a steady upward trajectory on the show, and Clarkson has refined his performance skills.
The season's only duo, Hello Sunday from Team Kelly, sang “Mama Knows Best” by Jessie J and also dedicated it to their parents. The pair had won the instant vote last week, and they showed up with an energetic performance, delivering their gorgeous harmonies and making their coach proud.
Team John's Marybeth Byrd next sang “Go Rest Ye High on That Mountain,” and she dedicated it to her late grandfather. Her rehearsal and performance were both emotional, but that made for rich vocals and a captivating experience. It was another standout performance of the evening.
Team Kelly's Jake Hoot sang “Danny's Song” in a performance dedicated to his daughter. His phrasing was original, and the performance had momentum. It was his personal best performance, and the effects of Clarkson's coaching were clear.
Rose Short of Team Gwen closed things out with her performance of “I Turn To You,” which was dedicated to Stefani herself. Short made the song her own and sang with a lot of power. It was a strong note on which to end the evening.
Overall, Team John turned in the best performances of the Top 13. Clarkson still had an advantage with one extra slot in the Top 13, thanks to Hello Sunday winning the instant vote last week.
Results from Monday night's performance will air Tuesday night.
Mike Darnell was in London this week to help Warner Bros International Television Production impress international buyers as part of the UK Screenings. He talked up new shows, including Ellen’s Game of Games, and Warner’s monster franchises, not least The Bachelor, which is poised to go all A Star Is Born with its latest spinoff The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart.
Darnell knows that if he can get a show away in the U.S., it makes the job of his international colleagues that much easier, but it was the contrasting fortunes of The Bachelor and Love Island in America and Britain that got him thinking when Deadline caught up with Warner’s president of unscripted and alternative television.
The Bachelor returned to ViacomCBS’s UK network Channel 5 after a seven-year hiatus in 2019, but it struggled to make an impression. By contrast, Love Island has been extended to two seasons a year on ITV2 and its winter edition is entertaining more than 3M viewers a night — six times The Bachelor‘s audience. Over in the States, it’s the opposite story: ABC’s The Bachelor is the long-running and dominant force, while CBS premiered Love Island to a mixed reception last year, although it did renew the dating show for a second season.
Darnell has a theory that the two shows can’t co-exist in the same market. “It does appear that Love Island has taken over the space in the UK. I notice that Love Island didn’t really work over in the U.S. and it feels like maybe the two, once one is established, it’s hard to get a foothold [for the other],” he said. And on the prospect of Love Island putting down roots beyond a second season, Darnell was not convinced. “I’m just going to be really honest. I love CBS and I work with them, but I think based on those numbers last year, it will have to grow an awful lot to continue,” he added.
Listen to Your Heart is the latest in a conveyer belt of Bachelor franchise extensions, which makes it all the more remarkable that Darnell is yet to expand The Voice universe for NBC. There are other iterations of the format overseas, most notably The Voice Kids, but NBC has yet to be persuaded. Darnell remains enthusiastic about getting a kids’ version off the ground.
“I would love to do a Voice Kids in the U.S. It’s going to be ultimately NBC’s decision — it’s been talked about here and there, but we’re still not there with them. Voice Kids has done well everywhere, so I’d like to see one in America,” he explained.