'The Voice' recap, audience power ... finally

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Nicholas David performs on Monday.

After the disappointing culling last week, we're down to the final 12, and from here on out, only audience votes will help our favorites move through -- no more coaches' saves.

I'm running out of things to say about these musicians, so here's how it works this week: vote for your favorites. If they make the cut, they make the cut. If they don't, they don't, and since this is entirely in your hands, dear audience, it's entirely likely that a coach will NOT have a representative in the final rounds. Feel the pressure? Good.


Team Blake

Michaela Paige — Mohawk-free and barely recognizable, sang Pink's "Blow Me One Last Kiss." It blows my mind how young and self-assured Michaela is; she was born to be on stage. Adam called her performance "elegant and graceful," which I guess are good words to describe a rendition of a Pink song?


Cassadee Pope sang "Behind These Hazel Eyes," and I feel like the producers are just grasping at straws to keep these contestants interesting, as we learn more about them. For example, Cassadee said she thought of her father when she sings this song, and she thought that maybe, being on "The Voice" would prompt her absent father to reach out to her. It hasn't happened.  After a toneless start to the song, Cassadee kicked it into high gear, and the coaches applauded her for finally connecting in a way that made them see "who she really is."

Terry McDermott closed the night (yes, we are going out of order here, I'm sorry) with "More Than A Feeling," and while this was AWESOME, the classic rock is starting to wear thin for me. Like, trying something — anything — else. But Blake applauded Terry for knowing who he is, and sticking with it.

Team Christina

Dez Duron was first up with Lauryn Hill's version of "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," and oh, heavens. He sounds like Michael Buble but looks like an extra Backstreet Boy, and he knows it. He looks so at ease among screaming girls. And was that a crushed velvet blazer with leather lapels? Yes. Yes, it was. And if Cee Lo says you have natural sex appeal, you know it must be true.

Sidenote to highlight the adorable that is Blake Shelton: As he gushes over how much he loves the Frankie Valley song, and Dez's R&B spin on it, Christina pipes up: "It's Lauryn Hill." "Oh, that's who did that version," Blake muses. "I'm an old bastard, look at me."

Adriana Louise sang Carrie Underwood's "Good Girl," and was this supposed to be a country song? A theme of tonight: contestants struggling with what appear to be the easiest notes in the world, and killing it on the tough ones. After musically assaulting Adam — who played along with all theatrical aplomb — Adriana received praise for her performance. "I can't believe America didn't vote her through," said President of All Things Obvious Blake Shelton. I can believe it, Blake.

Sylvia Yacoub appeared to have taken Christina's advice on "My Heart Will Go On" by "making it more Beyonce." (That is not the answer to everything, Coach Christina.) Like another one of Christina's team members, Sylvia attacked the song rather than just singing it. Seriously, Team Christina, not every song needs to be a musical firestorm.

And Christina, that beacon of guidance, gushed that once, she had to sing a Celine Dion song with Chris Mann, and she was "sick as a dog and worried I couldn't hit the notes," so she understands how difficult this song it. NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT YOU, CHRISTINA.


Team Cee Lo

Cody Belew sang Tina Turner's "The Best," and the night of questionable fashion continues with sequined lapels and loafers without socks. As the producers grasp at straws to make these people interesting, Cody's sob story actually struck a chord: a stutterer, he had to go through speech therapy in college after being depressed in high school. "God didn't give the gift of speech, but he gave me the gift of song, and I'd rather have the later," he said. The performance was wonderful — Adam likened Cody to Prince, just bouncing around on stage.

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Trevin Hunte sang "When A Man Loves a Woman," and I think the coaches are running out of good things to say about him, too: Cee Lo kept referring to "the miracle" of Trevin and described him as an angel. "You're going to be a blessing to so many lives," he said.

America, Cee Lo has spoken. Make sure Trevin is the final four, or I'm sorry, I won't be able to look you in the eye.

Nicholas David sang "The Power of Love," and every single time he gets on that stage, he gets more relaxed, more comfortable, and owns more and more of what he does. Adam said that it sounded, once or twice, like Nicholas was "trying to catch up" with the song, but Blake said he liked that: "Every time you're on stage, you're doing something different."

Team Adam


Amanda Brown tried her hand with Florence + The Machine's "Spectrum," and while it was incredibly glamorous, it felt too stiff of a performance for her. I say that, noting all the appropriate, sweeping gestures Amanda did, channeling Flo. Amanda made the song her own, with her voice less breathy but just as sensual as Flo's. Blake said he loved all the different sounds to her voice, while Queen Buzzkill Christina said she still didn't get what Amanda wanted to be as an artist.

Bryan Keith, who I don't think we've ever seen without his hat, sang "Back to Black," because he "wanted to bring an old feeling back to rock." It worked. There was less of a tragic note to Amy Winehouse's song when Bryan sang it, but still as defiant. It was raspy, and Sinatra-y, and sexy and sad. Adam described Bryan's performance as his breakout moment.

Melanie Martinez finally admitted her hair was inspired by Cruella DeVil. Oh, and she sang "Cough Syrup" by Young the Giant, and actually, I fell in love a little bit. This was the best we've seen from Melanie, and I wish we had gotten to see it sooner. Her performances before were earnest, but twee and bemused and this was earnest. Call this my Melanie Moment. I'm sold.