"The Voice" 2014 continued April 8 on NBC as the five surviving members of team Blake Shelton took part in one last round of playoff action. By night's end, two contestants were eliminated while the remaining three claimed coveted berths in the season six live shows.
Aspiring country singer Audra McLaughlin kicked off the hour-long broadcast with a stirring rendition of Martina McBride's inspirational hit "A Broken Wing." Usher called her talent "effortless" and Shakira appreciated that she'd successfully delivered a truly believable performance. Adam Levine called her "spectacular" and predicted that if she could release her inner "unleashed beast of a performer," she would be "unstoppable." Blake recalled her spectacular blind audition performance and praised her for continuing to grow and bring her best to the competition each time she hit the stage.
Dad and former garbage man Ryan Whyte Maloney was next in line with Shinedown's "Second Chance," while Blake termed a risky choice for the big-voiced performer. Usher likened his ability to hold notes to that of only Adam, and called it "a breakout moment." Shakira called him "one of the biggest surprises on the show" and thought he did well, though she did note that it "wasn't perfect." Adam opined that though he still has "rough edges," he's heading in the right direction professionally. Finally, Blake said he was "overwhelmed" with Ryan's progress.
Third to perform was 16-year old pop artist and high school junior Madilyn Paige, who offered up a lilting, haunting spin on the Zedd mega hit "Clarity." Usher, who served as her original coach, praised Blake for helping her to find "a different approach" to singing that will inevitably make her a more "well rounded" performer. Shakira appreciated her approach to the tune and encouraged her to hone her unique tone, while Adam told her to stop trying to sing well and "let go." Blake said he was "confident and proud" that he'd opted to steal her during the previous round.
Country singer Jake Worthington followed with a crowd-pleasing take on Jake Owen's "Anywhere with You," which he sang in honor of his girlfriend, who he called "the only girl who's treated me like a skinny guy." Shakira gushed "I can't be objective with you because I love you so much" and "I think you're a star." Usher asked Jake to critique his own performance, and the affable cowboy admitted that he'd made a few mistakes, but Usher told him to be confident anyway. Adam loved his honesty, and said he was "so happy to see how far you've come." Blake again thanked him for being authentic, and Jake replied that it meant "the freakin' world" to him and his family to have his integrity validated.
Closing out the performances was super diva in training Sisaundra Lewis, who absolutely owned the Billy Joel classic "New York State of Mind." Usher said he was "blown away" by her "amazing" talent and asked why she'd chosen country guy Blake as her mentor. Shakira praised her for her elegance and hoped Blake would choose her to advance to the live shows. Adam called her "ridiculously amazing" and Blake said she makes him "rethink coaching" because he talks to her from his heart and not his mind.
With all five performances in the books, Blake was faced with the daunting task of choosing the three acts who would advance to the live shows. He called it "the toughest decision" he'd had to make over his six seasons on the show. The first act to advance was Sisaundra, who he praised for her ability to perform well and tell a story all at once. Audra was next to claim a spot in the live shows, leaving three hopefuls to fight for the single berth remaining. All three of the remaining hopefuls thanked Blake for his help, but it was Jake who delivered the most heartfelt message of gratitude as he tearfully thanked all four mentors for their time. After a long pause, Blake went with his heart and selected Jake.
"The Voice" 2014 resumes April 14 on NBC with a second night of final playoff action.