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'The Voice' recap, the Top 10 finally perform

By Tionah Lee

For the Baltimore Sun

12:39 PM EST, November 19, 2013

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Last night’s episode shaped up to be one of the most important yet.

After losing top contenders last week, America voted in its top 10. It was their night to shine, meaning song choice, performance, and pre-show preparation was the key.

Coaches Adam and CeeLo sat down with their teams and families to discuss what inspires them, and what brought them to this particular moment. Coach Blake initiated the buddy system, giving it a “around the camp fire setting” with his team and their guitars. Christina felt yoga was the best show-pre method. Which coaches rituals worked best? 

The show kicked off with the top 10 performing The Mowgli’s “Say it, Just Say It.” Then once again … it was every man (woman) for themselves.

Team Blake: Austin Jencks, “Your Love” by the Outfield

In the night’s first performance, it was time for emotional rocker Austin Jenckes to show if he indeed had the power (Blake’s joke, not mine). Austin and Coach Blake felt it would be best if he picked up the pace a little and performed something that would be familiar to the audience and the coaches. Austin performed his rendition of the Outfield’s classic “Your Love” setting the bar high for the remainder of the night's competition. Coach Christina thought he did a “super-great job” and Austin’s coach Blake deemed it the breakout performance that he needed.

Team Christina: Jacquie Lee, “Clarity” by Zedd

Changing the dynamic of her performance, Jacquie Lee and Coach Christina felt it was time to showcase a more vulnerable side. Stripping down “Clarity” by Zedd, Jacquie delivered a performance that showed her voice in another range and tone, and gave her Jersey-strong image a break. While coaches Adam and CeeLo commended the young star on her ability to change her style and give a amazing performance, Coach Blake wanted to see the edgier side of her. Jacquie’s coach Christina disagreed calling her performance “dynamic and emotional.”

Team Adam: Will Champlin, “Love Me Again” by John Newman

Taking it across the pond, Will Champlin and his coach, Adam, decided it was the right moment  to introduce the audience to a song that hasn’t quite made its way to US ears yet. Adam felt Will could deliver this performance and blow America away. Although it would be nice to see Will take a risk and perform something outside of his element, the coaches all agreed that he nailed the performance on the head. Coach Christina called him “Satan” (due to his fiery performance and red blazer) and Adam loved seeing his vision of the performance come to light.

Team CeeLo: Caroline Pennell, “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by John Denver

After speaking with Caroline’s mother and father, CeeLo noticed that young Caroline is on a journey of her own. Caroline is away from home competing on "The Voice," and after will be attending college. Caroline decided this week she would choose her own song — what perfect way to sing about her journey than to perform John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane"? Although the song is a bit older than her, Caroline shared that it is one of her favorites and the most relatable song she has done so far in the competition. Coach Adam connected with the performance emotionally and Caroline’s coach CeeLo loved connecting with her through the performance, and watching her live her dream on the stage.

*collective awwwwww*

Team Blake: Cole Vosbury, “To Be With You” by Mr. Big

After nailing his performance of the R&B hit last week, it was time for Cole to go back to his roots and perform a song that would reflect his traditional artistry a little more. Never backing down from a challenge, Cole and Blake decided he would perform “To Be With You” by Mr. Big. Again, Cole delivered an awesome performance, singing in a voice that you wouldn’t imagine coming from behind that beard, and according to Coach Blake, wouldn’t leave him single for much longer! Cole’s former coach CeeLo is still mad that he is no longer on his team, while his present coach Blake, believed he sang the “daylights outta that song.” Did Cole really just move up in the competition?

Team Adam: Tessanne Chin, “If I Were Your Woman" by Gladys Knight

Just when you thought that no one could ever perform one of The Empress of Soul’s hits … Tessanne Chin proved everyone wrong. Trusting her coach Tessanne’s song for the week was the Gladys Knight classic “If I Were Your Woman.”  After expressing that the song was kicking her ass in rehearsal, coach Adam reassured her that she could deliver this song, and she did! In a flawless performance that showcased her range, tone, and performance ability all four coaches agreed that Tessanne is the one to beat. Not only did she gain the approval of her coach who said she solidified herself as a major contender in the competition, Tessanne also impressed the fastest man in the world Usain Bolt, who gave her a standing ovation, and loved that she is representing Jamaica.

Team Blake: Ray Boudreaux, “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne

It is Ray Boudreaux and his coach Blake’s mission to put swamp-pop on the map. After sitting around with the rest of his team, Ray learned that none of them were familiar with his style of music, and that it was again time for him to show everyone why swamp-pop is the next best thing. Blake felt the perfect way to showcase this un-heard of genre was to perform the Ray LaMontagne classic “You Are the Best Thing.” Ray B. made the song his own, by blending a little bit more soul to his vocal performance, but still giving it the bluesy edge. Christina felt Ray has showed the most growth, CeeLo finds him sincere and consistent, and Ray’s coach Blake felt it was simply “awesome.”

Team Adam: James Wolpert, “Without You” by Harry Nilsson

It’s no secret that James dropped out of college, but we never knew how his parent’s felt about the decision until now.  After speaking with his mother and father, Adam learned that they were both less than thrilled to see him leave school, but have become happy with his decision to pursue his dream.  Adam chose “Without You” by Harry Nilsson for James to perform.  Taking on his song, James knew he had to nail it, because it was such a familiar classic. Coach Christina commended his voice and outfit choice, while coach Adam felt satisfied after the performance.

Team CeeLo: Kat Robichaud, “We Belong" by Pat Benatar

After facing elimination for two weeks in a row, Kat Robichaud needed a song and performance that would keep her out of the bottom for the rest of the competition. Proving that she indeed has nine lives (CeeLo’s joke…not mine) Kat wanted to up her performance, and give America something to vote for. Kat performed the Pat Benatar hit “We Belong” complete with background dancers and a piano. While it wasn’t up to par with the performances of her fellow teammates, the coaches felt she delivered something fresh. Adam admitted that this was the Kat he has been waiting to see, and CeeLo was really proud of her.

Team Christina: Matthew Schuler, “Beneath Your Beautiful” by Labrinth ft. Emeli Sande

Matthew Schuler not only mastered the art of yoga, but the art of putting your all into a performance. After stunning the coaches and America week after week, it was time to see a softer side of Matthew that hasn’t been showcased before. Christina picked the Labrinth and Emeli Sande song “Beneath Your Beautiful” for Matthew to sing, and Matthew decided to dedicate the song to his future wife. After blowing away all of the coaches, Adam felt he would have no problem finding a wife after that performance, and Christina was blown away.

Who is worth your votes? Two more contestants face elimination this week, and only you can prevent your favorite from going home.