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'The Voice' playoffs end and the Top 12 finalists are announced

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Last night was the final night of the playoffs on “The Voice” (originally airing Apr 15, 2014). This episode focused on the five remaining members of Team Usher as they each took the stage to sing for their survival on the show. Before the night was out Usher chose three singers to move on and the Top 12 that will go to the live voting round was determined.

Up first was T.J. Wilkins who chose to sing “Tell Me Something Good” by Chaka Khan and Rufus. He gave a smooth, confident performance that set the bar for the night pretty high. The coaches were impressed with him and had nothing but kind words. Following him to the stage was Melissa Jimenez. We found out that she had actually met Usher before. During a show at Madison Square Garden he pulled her up on stage. She did Beyoncé’s “Halo” and did a fine, if not sometimes flawed, job of stripping it down and making it her own. The coaches were all impressed at her courage for taking on the song. They had a few criticisms, but overall seemed to like her.

As the playoff round reached its midpoint, Stevie Jo got his chance to sing. He went deep into his soul/blues roots and did B.B. King’s “The Thrill is Gone.” He seemed a little lost at the beginning, but picked up steam as the song went on. It’s possible that this was just too much song for him, but he still did a pretty good job. The coaches enjoyed it. Blake got a laugh when he described Stevie’s performance style as looking like he is sneaking up on a rabbit.

The fourth singer to hit “The Voice” stage was Bria Kelly. She is only 18, but has a big, mature voice and decided to put it to work performing doing The Rolling Stone’s classic “Wild Horses.” That is a huge choice. Many a singing show contestant have crashed and burned trying to do The Stones. She started a little slowly, but then she tapped into underlying anger of the song and hit her stride. It was a flawed performance, but she showed that she has a voice that could take her far in this show if she chooses the right songs. The coaches announced themselves as fans and were impressed with her voice.

Last up for Team Usher was Josh Kaufman who chose “It Will Rain” by Bruno Mars. Usher suggested he add a little gospel flavor to the song and Josh took us to church with an emotional performance that brought the house down. The coaches had nothing but great things to say about him. Blake even proclaimed him as one of the best singers on the show.

It was then Usher’s turn to make some hard decisions. The five singers were brought on stage. Usher complimented them all and said this was a nearly impossible decision. The first artist he decided to keep was Bria Kelly. Next Usher chose Josh Kaufman. The third and final artist selected to go to the live shows was T.J. Wilkens.

With the playoffs over, the Top 12 are set for next week’s first live shows. The power now switches to the audience who will get to vote for their favorites.

“The Voice” Top 12 are:

Team Shakira
Tess Boyer
Kristen Merlin
Dani Moz

Team Adam
Delvin Choice
Christina Grimmie
Kat Perkins

Team Usher
Bria Kelly
Josh Kaufman
T.J. Wilkens

Team Blake
Sisaundra Lewis
Audra McLaughlin
Jake Worthington

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