The top five contestants fought for a spot in the final three on “The Voice” Monday, with each contender getting two opportunities to show their vocal prowess.
Singing a song of their coach’s choice and and one to show appreciation of their supporters, the artists took advantage of the extra stage time and each tried something different.
Kristen Merlin started off the night, dedicating her energizing performance of Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead,” to her Massachusetts hometown.
A pleased Blake Shelton, and husband to Lambert, was impressed with her alternate approach. “Miranda sings that in a different way, but it worked for you,” he said.
Also recognizing Kristen’s originality was her coach Shakira. “She’s unique, if you hear her on the radio, you’ll say that is Kristen Merlin.”
Kristen returned later in the show with Coach Shakira’s pick of “Foolish Games,” by Jewel. Merlin showed a heartfelt connection to the somber song with teary eyes and ended on a long belted note.
“I’m not the only one with chills,” said Shakira. “I’m so happy with this moment, “ she said.
Usher agreed, saying Kristen’s emotional performance was a defining moment for her.
Team Usher's last remaining contestant, Josh Kaufman also showed two opposite sides of the vocal spectrum in his performances.
Singing John Legend’s “All of Me,” the soulful singer dedicated the romantic ballad to his wife and family and was accompanied by an orchestra.
When it came time for the judge’s comments, Adam once again admitted that he was wrong in not choosing Jake to stay on his team.
However, Usher put a positive spin on his fellow judges words by saying, “I think that you’re a genius for recognizing such an incredible talent,” he said, continuing with a simple, “I’m happy that America got to see this,” referring to his artist's performance.
Viewers also got to see another side of Josh when Usher picked One Republic’s “Love Runs Out,” a powerful, upbeat rock song that brought the audience to their feet.
The applause and cheers from the audience continued, cutting into Adam’s time to comment. “I can’t speak because the crowd was too loud,” he said.
Coach Blake couldn’t help but notice the family man’s confidence while performing. “It’s like he’s got the song by the throat,” he said, “You just have so much control and so much command on the stage. You’re a natural born killer singer man, you really are.”
Rocker chick Kat Perkins continued to show no fear by stepping far out of her comfort zone, singing pop song “Chandelier,” by Sia and soundtrack hit “Let it Go,” from the Disney movie “Frozen.”
Despite being in the bottom three for a consecutive two weeks, Kat embraced the pressure by breaking her rock’n’roll mold for both performances – and according to the judges, it paid off.
“I really think you do everything right,” said Blake. “You do the thing that you need to do to move forward, and I don’t know anybody that capitalizes on those opportunities more than you.”
Coach Adam showed his continued praise for his artist by noting that he “sounded like a broken record,” and simply said, “it doesn’t get better than Kat Perkins.”
Kat’s fellow teammate Christina, also followed the advice of their coach as she continued to take risks.
Christina sang “Hide and Seek,” by Imogen Heap with the help of a harmonizer that created complimenting pitches throughout the performance. Her subtle performance was a change of pace for the artist, and it received a little constructive criticism from the coaches.
Coach Usher said it wasn't until the very end when he connected with the performance.
Her second performance of “Some Nights,” by Fun. was a return to her musical comfort zone of belts and a slight varied melody from the original song, which ended in a balloon drop.
“It’s interesting that you chose this song,” said Blake. “This is the biggest departure of anything that you’ve done, man I loved it.
Adam’s comments referred to both to Christina and Kat, and how he’s proud of their desire to be original.
Seeming to take a jab at other contestants he said, “I think I’m just sick of the things that people do all the time on the show. I stand behind Christina and I stand behind Kat and I think we’re doing something refreshing and different.”
Lastly, Jake Worthington, Blake Shelton’s only remaining artist, showed a more mature side by singing two 80s hits that were not so typical for an 18-year-old.
He started his performances with “Good Old Boys” by Waylan Jennings – a song dedicated to his friends from home.
Blake, who was brought to his feet by the end, said, “I couldn’t be more proud of that performance, you’re somebody that needs to be on the radio for country music.”
For his final performance, Jake deviated from his country roots for the first time and closed out the show with acoustic pop song “Heaven,” by Bryan Adams and Jason Aldean.
Before he performed, audience and viewers saw rehearsal footage where Jake was nervous about the state of his vocal chords. But come show time Jake flawlessly finished the song, which was commended by Coach Usher who noted every artist falls to vocal chord stress sometimes and said, “he pushed through and gave it his all.”
Usher also performed his new song "Good Kisser" to kick off the top five elimination show.
The future of the semifinalists will be revealed Tuesday after viewers text, tweet, call and download in an attempt to send their favorite to the finals.
"The Voice" airs every Monday and Tuesday at 8/7c.