"Teamwork makes the dream work" was the motto for the first night of the live playoff rounds. Finally, America gets its chance to vote on who moves on to the Top 12. There was no time for nerves or mistakes as the remaining four members of Adam's and Usher's teams faced off in night one of the three night event.
It was all about stamina as Team Usher kicked off the show with a performance of Sam Sparrow’s “Black and Gold" after a training session in a boxing ring (or maybe shameless early promotion for Usher’s upcoming acting gig as boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard … either way we will take it) the fierce four dominated the stage, setting the bar high for themselves and the remainder of the contestants.
Team Adam: Amber Carrington, “Stay” by Rihanna
Favorite Amber Carrington took the stage as the first performer of the night. Belting out Rihanna’s hit single “Stay," Amber took control of the stage as she made the song her own and impressed the judges. While rival coach Usher commended her for making the performance intimate, her coach Adam complimented her on captivating him, along with the audience.
Team Usher: Josiah Hawley, “Starlight” by Muse
Breath control was the mission as Team Usher’s “heartthrob” Josiah Hawley. Coach Adam took the time to compliment Josiah on his performance, but also his coach Usher for his unique training tactics that seem to make his team shine. During Josiah’s performance we also learned that coach Blake “doesn’t know crap about rock 'n' roll." This may pose a problem.
Team Adam: Sarah Simmons, “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan
Performing her “go-to” song, Sarah Simmons took the opportunity to get personal and perform a song that was close to her. With "Angel" dedicated to Sarah's late best friend, coach Adam chose a song that he knew would bring out the best in his team member. While coach Shakira could only think of one way to describe that performance (“increible” — that’s "incredible" in Spanish), Adam praised her ability to bring stillness to the room.
Sidebar: Did anyone wake up and try to order Blake’s “Special Latte”?
Team Usher: Cathia, “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston
It was a bold move for Usher, choosing the Whitney Houston classic for Cathia. Without an ounce of nerves in her body — maybe because they all came out during her waltz session with her amazing coach — Cathia belted out the hit, while making it her own. While the audience seemed to like it, this was a performance that didn’t seem to move any of the coaches. This is where the home votes matter.
Surprise! Coaches Usher and Adam graced the stage with their beauty … I mean talent ... as they performed Stevie Wonder’s classic “Superstition.” What's the number to vote for them?
Team Adam: Caroline Glaser, “A-Team” by Ed Sheeran
In the night’s most stripped-down performance, singer/songwriter Caroline Glaser looked to find her big moment. Caroline made the song her own, and gained top praises from the coaches. Blake “loved it," Usher found it “soothing" and her coach Adam loved her performance.
Team Usher: Vedo, Against All Odds” by Phil Collins
Taking on a Phil Collins classic that was unfamiliar to him, Vedo tried to find his true identity. Coach Usher picked a song with more of meaning and a slower tempo to showcase the singer’s natural talent. Vedo’s rendition left Usher 100 percent pleased.
After getting collective style tips from their coaches’ family store, Adam’s Angels took the stage. Performing the Florence + the Machine hit “Shake it Out,” all of the ladies on the team showcased their powerhouse voices (yes, even Caroline).
Team Usher: Michelle Chamuel, “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper
Singing to the mirror and connecting with herself in rehearsals helped Team Usher’s indie artist Michelle Chamuel dominate this performance. Blake called it the night's “breakout performance. Coaches Adam and Shakira added praise, and Michelle’s coach Usher couldn’t have looked happier.
Team Adam: Judith Hill, “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone
What's a better way to celebrate your birthday than closing out "The Voice" with one of the nights best performances?
Shaking the title of “Michael Jackson’s background singer,” Judith gave a strong performance of “Feeling Good.” Blake gave her the title of "Diva." Usher again kicked himself for not fighting harder for her, while coach Adam called her “beautiful and cool.”
Night one delivered a group of star studded performances. I hope the remaining teams (Team Blake and Team Shakira) took notes, and you wrote down those numbers.
Which contestants will you vote for? Let us know in the comments.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun