As The voice Season 21 Live Playoffs continued quickly on Monday, with the top 13 semifinalists making dedications to their loved ones, providing an emotional two-hour episode. But it was Jershika Maple’s epic cover of the Christian pop duo For King & Country’s “God Only Knows” that picked up the most heartstrings – and of course the most Kelly Clarkson tears – when the Team Legend Texan soul singer paid tribute to the elementary school teachers who changed her life.
“In 4th grade, I had a learning disability, and it was here that I discovered I had dyslexia,” Jershika revealed. “I actually had to repeat 4th grade and managed to see my friends move forward and I was teased and bullied. I was ashamed. … Luckily God came through and I met my teachers. Rita Gatson was my 4th grade teacher. She noticed me. And so did my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Taylor, the subjects are funny. I joined the chess club. I did things that I never thought I would do. That’s why this song is ‘God Only Knows’. He literally saved me because he knew those teachers wanted to see something I could not see. “
Jershika certainly made Ms. Gatson and Mr. Taylor proudly took The voice to the church with his crunchy, robust performance that made Kelly call her a “beautiful majestic messenger.” But Kelly did not cry just because she was touched by Jershika’s powerful performance. You can see Kelly had been Jershika’s original coach, but had eliminated Jershika during the Battle Rounds, allowing John Legend to strike after Steal. Jershika has since become a frontrunner in season 21 under John’s guidance, and this week he rejoiced: “I’m so grateful that Kelly made such a big mistake and let you go! You’re just one of the best artists in this competition. ” And Kelly totally kicked herself and admitted that she was trying to “take it together” and moaned, “I’m such an idiot. I should never have let go of you from my team. But I hope you come back and kick my buttocks. “
Jershika will most likely sail on to next week’s top 11. But who else will join her. Let’s review Monday’s other 12 performances:
Paris Winningham, “What’s Happening” (Team Blake)
By dedicating the Marvin Gaye classic to his grandmother, who died last year, Paris made a silky-soft, sincere version that started slowly and steadily but effectively rose eventually. This time it was Paris’s former coach – John – who regretted letting a participant go.
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Jeremy Rosado, “Because You Loved Me” (Team Kelly)
Does he stick to the traditional power ballad he does best, this past one American idol the participant dedicated the awful Celine Dion song to her sick father. Kelly admitted she would not have advised anyoneto sing Celine, but Jeremy managed it with ease. That being said, this old-fashioned song choice was a lot Idol Season 3 and I feel like Jeremy is on the plateau. He needs to be more contemporary to keep his momentum going.
Ryleigh Plank, “Rhiannon” (Team Ariana)
When Ryleigh dedicated the airy Fleetwood Mac song to his sister, whose name happens to be Rhiannon, Ryleigh went back to his dark side (after a few weeks of uptempo-pop) and convincingly channeled some Stevie Nick’s witch-woman magic. Ryleigh is still my favorite contestant this season.
The girl named Tom, “Dust in the Wind” (Team Kelly)
Last week, I thought this sibling trio’s bland Radiohead cover lacked anxiety – so I had pretty low expectations for this corny Kansas cover. But somehow their family’s harmonies transformed the melody they dedicated to their grandmother into something John aptly described as “magical” and “breathtaking.” If Girl Named Tom goes ahead in the competition, which they probably will – Kelly actually thinks they have a “solid chance of winning the show” – they should completely stick to the 70s fare. In fact, a Fleetwood Mac cover from them would probably be great.
Shadale, “Life is a Highway” (Team Legend)
I appreciated that Shadale chose this Tom Cochran 80s rock hit for his truck driver father, but it was a strange, off-brand choice for the normally passionate balladist – especially at this important point in the competition, where so many other contestants were making Kelly cry with their emotionally charged ballads. Shadale had great energy as always and rocked it out, but I fear this one-time song choice may become her regret.
Hailey Mia, “I’ll Stand By You” (Team Kelly)
I did not think this 14-year-old could channel the almighty badass Chrissie Hynde, but Hailey is an old soul. She intervened in the pathos of the ballad and built the drama masterfully with a performance at perfect pace. Kelly, of course, cried again – and predicted once again that her contestant would make it to the finals, even though it might have been too optimistic.
Wendy Moten, “Blue Bayou” (Team Blake)
Wendy also dedicated what Blake Shelton called a “tasteful” performance to a beloved teacher, beautifully demonstrating his genre-jumping versatility on this lamenting Linda Ronstadt classic – as one would expect from a professional background singer who has worked with everyone from Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride to Michael Bolton and Michael McDonald.
Jim & Sasha Allen, “Your Song” (Team Ariana)
Sasha had laryngitis last week, which was probably why this father / son duo “Hey Jude” was so messy. This week’s Elton John cover was certainly an improvement, but overall it was still weak. Now that it’s down to the cord now, I can not imagine Jim and Sasha will advance after this – but then again, they was one of the two loudest voices on Team Ariana even last week after “Hey Jude” debuted so anything could happen.
Lana Scott, “Humble and Friendly” (Team Blake)
I was expecting Lana, the only straight-up country singer left this season, to be a shoo-in last week – but she had to be rescued by Blake when she was does not one of the two loudest voices on his team. So she was smart to make some sentimental Tim McGraw this week, performing one of her father’s favorite songs. I definitely think this lovely, nuanced performance will be enough to get her through to the next round.
Gymani, “Made a Way” (Team Kelly)
This gospel performance, complete with chorus, had the power and flair to get the attention of more conservative viewers, but Gymani’s growl gave it a much-needed edge. This was a total-pack achievement.
Joshua Vacanti, “You Will Be Found” (Team Legend)
Obviously one Dear Evan Hansen The song was a perfect choice for this theater kid who allowed him to stay on the track – a track that, as John noted, is entirely his own this season. Joshua got the votes last week because there is no one like him in the show and I think that after this passionate effort, he could reach very far (admittedly further than I had once anticipated). And I think he’s probably going to Broadway shortly after his Vote race ends.
Holly Forbes, “The Dance” (Team Ariana)
Holly has been a frontrunner for most of this season – her Blind Audition was aggressively promoted – and although I think all that hype was deserved, this muted Garth Brooks cover was an anti-climactic song choice for this week’s pimp space. That said, she’s one of season 21’s best singers, so I’m sure she will be safe this week.
So now it’s prediction time. On Tuesday’s live results show, 10 artists will advance via the public vote, and then the bottom three will perform for Instant Save, where two of these contestants will eventually go home. I predict the bottom three will be Shadale, Jim & Sasha Allen and Hailey Mia – and if that’s the case, Shadale is likely to win Save by a landslide. See you.
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