The Voice Week 7 Recap: See The Performance That Blew Rihanna Away

Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
Welcome to the second and final week of the knockout rounds. Guest-adviser Rihanna was in fine form again tonight, doling out thoughtful notes to all of the contestants. Plus, she says things like this: "You are not an old man, I want you to feel sexy" (Trying to evoke some swagger from James Dupré). And also, this: "That's the star power twinkling in your stomach" (Soothing Shelby Brown's pre-performance jitters). This week, we're finally starting to see the coaches' final teams take shape. And damn are they lookin' good! What's most exciting is that from week one until now, the performances have steadily become more and more impressive. Here's a look at tonight's stellar knockout rounds, with videos from the standout performances.
Round One: Shelby Brown vs. James Dupré — Team Adam
Songs: "Jesus Take The Wheel" by Carrie Underwood & "Sure Be Cool If You Did" by Blake Shelton
Performances: They both kicked ass, sounding as good as any male and female country artists on the radio today — at least to my untrained country ear. And Shelby, 17, slayed Underwood's epic chorus. Dupré was flawless, but listening to the romantic lyrics of Shelton's song, I couldn't help but think that Shelton must've felt a twinge of heartbreak — listening to a song he wrote when he was happily married to now-estranged wife Miranda Lambert.
Winner: Shelby Brown
Round Two: Mark Hood vs. Siahna Im — Team Pharrell
Songs: "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King & "Back to Black" by Amy Winehouse
Performances: Im, 15, is most definitely an alien. There's no other explanation as to how such a powerful voice could come out of that tiny little body! She noticeably screwed up a few notes, though. Hood got better and better as he went along. And he's one of the few full-body performers on the show.
Winner: Mark Hood
Round Three: Jeffrey Austin vs. Kota Wade — Team Gwen
Songs: "Turning Tables" by Adele & "Barracuda" by Heart
Performances: Austin delivered his heartbreaker with an emotional intensity to match Adele's, by no means an easy feat. Plus he's got the rich tone of a deeper-voiced Sam Smith. Props to Kota for choosing one of the most vocally challenging songs ever! She excelled in the personality department, but her edgy delivery was a little too rough at some points.
Winner: Jeffrey Austin
Round Four: Emily Ann Roberts vs. Nadjah Nicole — Team Blake
Songs: "Cowboy Take Me Away" by The Dixie Chicks & "A Woman's Worth" by Alicia Keys
Performances: Emily Anne was right in its comfort zone with this song. Her delicate country croon with just a touch of bluegrass was confident and seemingly effortless. And Nadjah was amazing, nailing even the crazy-high falsetto notes. And like Gwen mentioned, she's mesmerizing to watch. Girl's got star quality!
Winner: Emily Ann Roberts (I really thought Nadjah would win! Guess Blake can't say no to a country girl after all.)
Round Five: Evan McKeel vs. Tim Atlas — Team Pharrell
Songs: "Dare You To Move" by Switchfoot & "Torn" by Natalie Imbruglia
Performances: Pharrell's two alt-indie guys don't have the biggest voices in the competition — but the vulnerability and subtleties in their voices are what make them standout. Atlas in particular has one of the most unique voices I've ever heard, and I'm in love with it.
Winner: Evan McKeel
Round Six: Regina Love vs. Riley Biederer — Team Gwen
Songs: "Midnight Train To Georgia" by Gladys Knight & The Pips & "XO" by Beyoncé
Performances: Riley truly added her own special touch to Beyoncé's love song, which is crucial considering no one does Bey better than Bey. She also showed off her awesome versatility. Meanwhile, Love stunned Rihanna silent in rehearsals, and then blew the roof off the place in her performance. The woman is a true powerhouse. And her passion is palpable — she made Gwen cry!
Winner: REGINA LOVE FOR THE WIN!!!!! Phew. But then... Who knew Pharrell had one steal left?! He grabbed Riley with his final save.
You can see the rest of the performances here.

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