The stakes are at an all time high, says Carson Daly, and wouldn’t you know it, they really are this time! Week by week, America has watched some of the best contestants in The Voice history bring it like it’s never been brought before.

No singer and, more importantly, no coach is safe this season — Cee Lo is leading the pack with three singers in the ring, Adam and Blake have two, and our poor girl Christina Aguilera is hanging tough with just one. With odds like that, tensions are high and so is the energy, so let’s get to it!

But first, a strange hip hop meets pop performance of 50 Cent and coach Adam Levine’s new song, “My Life.” No better way to remind the world that you’re still rapping than on The Voice stage, so kudos to Fi-dee’s people.

Amanda Brown: “Someone Like You”

Team Adam’s Amanda Brown, the background singer who’s taken her place in the spotlight, was all about celebrating her independent woman status tonight. With Adele’s “Someone Like You,” Amanda and coach Adam were hoping to capture that same magic she had with “Dream On” a few weeks back.

Well for one, girlfriend always kills it in the wardrobe department, and tonight was no exception. Donning an all black, rocker-meets-vamp bustier and patterned pants, she delivered a dynamic vocal performance that changed up the sometimes stale competition staple.

While Christina thought it fell short of that “breakout moment,” Cee Lo admired that she was still brave enough to take the risks.

Adam rightly pointed out that the coaches are always extra hard on her because she’s already set the bar so high-it must be super difficult to do better than ah-mazing all the time, but she does manage to rise to the challenge every time.

Cody Belew: “Somebody to Love”

“Are you, like, super duper excited?!” asked coach Cee Lo of our favorite Voice singer with sass, Cody Belew. And knowing that Cody was singing Freddy Mercury’s “Somebody To Love,” that’s pretty much how we felt when he stepped on stage.

Flanked by a gospel choir and appearing on a platform of stairs, Cody was so perfectly suited for this dramatic over the top song. But somehow, even though he ended up writhing and rocking on top of The Voice piano (um, is that even allowed?) — the performance had a subtle, restrained aspect that really complimented the stage theatrics.

Blake Shelton could hardly believe how far the Arkansas farmer had come since his first blind audition — several “quantum leaps,” according to coach Cee Lo, if we wanted to get technical. Meanwhile, Christina just wanted him to be her drinking buddy (high praise indeed!).  

There comes a point in most singing competitions where the number of filler performances begins to outweigh the decisive ones, and that’s exactly where we’ve arrived tonight. And while Cassadee Pope, Dez Duron, Melanie Martinez, and Terry McDermott did the best they could with their group sing along of All American Rejects’ “Move Along,” the song was doing no favors for any of their voices, so it’s best to politely, er, move along.

Terry McDermott: “Over”

Since it worked so well for Blake’s other charge, Cassadee Pope, Terry McDermott’s decision to sing a diddy by the “little known country singer” seemed like a no brainer. Taking on the judge’s ballad “Over,” Terry showed us a more soulful side of his usual fist pumping rock persona.

Adam Levine went straight for the easy shot, telling Terry that he finally understood “what that song was supposed to sound like,” and Blake told him he sang it exactly like it was supposed to be done.

The slower, less obvious tune gave us a heartfelt show, but honestly, given the choice, we’re suckers for that glam rock vibe Terry’s mullet was so clearly made for.

Melanie Martinez: “Too Close”

Ah, teenage heartbreak is the worst. Add a nationally televised performance that very well may change the course of your life, and it’s downright torture. But, somehow, young Melanie Martinez managed to channel her recent high school heartache into inspiration for her song this week.

Singing “Too Close” by Alex Clare, the folksy talent was well suited to the slightly ghoulish melody, as was the adorably kitschy wooden stage and accompanying tambourine bass line.

Christina thought the performance, though pleasant, didn’t “go anywhere,” while Adam thought the unlucky dude who broke Melanie’s heart was probably “kicking himself” right now. Either that, or he’s busy leaving her increasingly frantic “I’m sorry” voicemails and texts.

Dez Duron: “U Smile”

As the last man standing for Team Christina, Dez Duron was definitely feeling the pressure tonight. But once again, Dez was ready to deliver another fever-inducing performance that would have the tweens and, well, us adults, squealing like the fangirls we all are.

Taking on Justin Bieber’s “U Smile,” Dez was singing about an octave lower than the original tune, so while it took a second to get used to, once we did, it was easy to slide into the rhythm.

Cee Lo thought it wasn’t his best performance, but coach Christina was busy cheering on her “complete package,” aka her only package, and Adam gave props to the dude for having “no backup plan.” Which is apparently a good thing in the entertainment business?

Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC © NBC Universal, Inc. Photo: Trevin Hunte Sings on The Voice Live Shows, Nov. 26, 2012

Trevin Hunte: “Greatest Love of All”

While his foray into pop music last week was all well and good, we’re glad Trevin Hunte is back to what he does best. And singing the late great Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love Of All,” Trevin did just that, delivering the kind of emotional performance he’s become known for.  

What we love most about Trevin isn’t only his voice, it’s the sincere and humble way the sensitive singer always presents himself — he’s just a “good dude” as Blake eloquently put it.  

Adam was ready to book him in this life and the next, saying, “When I die, I hope this is heaven,” and Christina rightly recognized a fellow “monster talent.”

After a surprise Sprint Skybox visit from Terry McDermott’s family, which elicited an adorably genuine reaction from the rocker, and an enjoyable group performance of Journey’s “Any Way You Want It” that frankly gave us the Amanda Brown we were looking for in her earlier solo effort, we got back to the make or break singing.

Nicholas David

If any of the contestants deserve a guest appearance from one of the R&B forefathers, Bill Withers, it was Nicholas David. The cool dude, who just found out that he was going to be a father again, was left open mouthed in the presence of the music legend, but clearly took a page out of his soul playbook for his performance tonight.

Donning an old school vibe and enlisting an old school backup band, Nicholas gave us a true to form rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” delivering a new spin on the old classic.  

After some random and borderline jokes by Blake, the coaches agreed that Nicholas was doing something no one else in the competition was, and on his own terms to boot.

Cassadee Pope

Closing out tonight’s performances was the girl on top, Cassadee Pope. After leading the iTunes charts with last week’s “Over You,” Cassadee picked up the pace this time with Michelle Branch’s “Are You Happy Now?” A smart choice for the former “Hey Monday” front woman, given the similarities between her and Branch’s vocal styles, the edgy tone took the singer’s already impressive resume to an even higher note.

The coaches all loved the smoky windblown performance, save for the bitter and off topic bashing of the famed Los Angeles venue, “The Roxy,” by coach Adam — all for not giving him a dressing room back in the day. #rockstarproblems.

So what did you think of tonight’s performances? Who do you think should go home tomorrow?


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