'The Voice' recap: Grimmie a gimme to be the voice?

Christina Grimmie. (Courtesy NBC)

Christina Grimmie. (Courtesy NBC)

Jason MacNeil, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:58 AM ET

The Voice's final week had three possible winners, but after the two-hour pressure-cooker Monday night it appeared Christina Grimmie had the edge.

With each finalist having fans vote for one song they'd perform, Christina Grimmie opened with Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball. Although the pacing was a hair off, Grimmie let loose during the closing as pyrotechnics went off behind her. Adam Levine loved it and Blake Shelton said the song as an “opportunity to hit all those big notes.” Meanwhile Shakira said Grimmie had an “insane” upper register.

Grimmie's second song was another interesting choice: Can't Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley. And from the first lyric Grimmie drew the audience in by slowing it down to a majestical-cum-hymnal crawl. The arrangement moved to its traditional feel as she unloaded a special high note which should separate her from the pack. Shelton and Usher enjoyed the arrangement's twist with Shakira stating it was “flawless.” “I think this is yours,” Levine said as Grimmie teared up.

Elsewhere Josh Kaufman shared studio time with Usher for a duet of The Police's Every Breath You Take. The live version was as vanilla and insipid as the studio clips, decent but lacked any bite or, well, sting. Marginally better was Shakira and Blake Shelton performing Medicine off Shakira's latest album. Later Usher and Levine covered D'Angelo's Untitled (How Does It Feel) that Usher milked more soul from despite a closing battle of falsettos.

Country singer Jake Worthington's take on Don't Close Your Eyes by the late Keith Whitley was spot on. Worthington's voice was great on the old-time country ballad and brought to mind George Strait or Tim McGraw. Usher praised the song while Shakira said he gained credibility over the competition.

Worthington's second tune was Richard Marx's Right Here Waiting. The ballad, similar to the song he did last week (Heaven by Bryan Adams), began with two gates opening with his initials on them. Unfortunately it seemed far too deliberate as Worthington's brief moments to shine were far from memorable. “You were in jail when it started...then it opened and the bull came out,” Usher said referring to the theatrical props on stage.

Kaufman's first song which mattered Monday night was Stevie Wonder's Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours. The singer was noticeably strong, just as noticeable as his hat that went missing for a few weeks. A full ensemble of horns and backing vocalists pushed Kaufman to new heights for a rousing finish. Levine said Kaufman heard a bit of contestant Delvin Choice in the performance which Kaufman acknowledged.

Closing the show was Kaufman's final song choice: Adele's Set Fire To The Rain. The rather dramatic tune pushed him in rehearsals, leaving Usher to knock over a lyrics stand to show how much he needed to pour himself into it. Again candles and flames added little to his cover which was a stretch. Kaufman ended on his knees to sell the song and might have left with a puncher's chance at overtaking Grimmie.

Some of the songs having no influence on the final votes were generally well-received. Levine and Grimmie opted to try Gotye's Somebody That I Used To Know. The quirky but catchy single ran circles over Kaufman and Usher's tune with both singers connecting to the song. Later Shelton and Worthington joined forces for Hank Williams Jr.'s A Country Boy Can Survive.


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