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'The Voice' recap: Michelle Chamuel shines in first playoff round

Michelle Chamuel performs during the first round of

Michelle Chamuel performs during the first round of "The Voice" playoffs. (May 6, 2013) Credit: NBC / Tyler Golden

“The Voice” has finally moved into the live rounds, where the audience starts to vote for the show’s next winner.

“Teamwork makes the dream work,” says Usher, who brought his team (in matching Team Usher sweats, no less) to a kickboxing gym to train. He has them sing while they exercise to build their endurance, which may be one of the best suggestions a coach has ever made on a singing competition.

Adam Levine, on the other hand, took his team to his family’s boutique for a meeting with his stylist.

Here’s how the night turned out:

Their group performance of Florence and The Machine’s “Shake It Out” was weird, with the repetition of “Shake it out” pitched too high for the group to deliver with any sort of power. That seemed like a coaching error, despite Adam’s abilities to assemble the strongest team.

JUDITH HILL, “Feeling Good”: The biggest problem Judith Hill has, at this point, is managing expectations. As the de facto front-runner from the beginning of the show, she doesn’t have the chance to surprise the audience with her ability any longer. Greatness is expected. Her take on “Feeling Good” was good, but she’s going to need to do more to keep advancing.
SARAH SIMMONS, “Angel”: “Do that,” Blake Shelton tells his team after her performance. Sarah Simmons had a deep connection to the Sarah McLachlan song, making us feel like she wrote it herself about her friend who was killed in an accident. That’s more important than any slight technical glitches caused by her emotions.
AMBER CARRINGTON, “Stay”: The Rihanna ballad is incredibly hard to sing, because of its range and because there’s nowhere to hide. It’s all about the delivery. Amber did OK, holding her own, but not much more. Her coach loved it, though. “You had me for every second,” Adam says.
CAROLINE GLASER, “The A Team”: The girl with the quirky voice gets the quirky Ed Sheeran’s hit “The A Team” and handles it OK. (Seriously, how can Blake Shelton not have heard the original?) The song doesn’t have any massive moments, which leaves Caroline to impress with her delivery and she didn’t quite manage that.
TOP TWO: Judith, Sarah (*actually Judith, Amber)

As good as his coaching may be, Usher had his team sing Sam Sparrow’s “Black and Gold,” which didn’t really give any of them a chance to shine.

1. MICHELLE CHAMUEL, “True Colors”: The biggest moment of the night was Michelle’s version of the Cyndi Lauper classic, showing her impressive vocal and emotional range. “It was a breakout moment,” Usher said. “You made a connection to the world that they’ll never forget.”
2. JOSIAH HAWLEY, “Starlight”: The male model from Arkansas continues to surprise in his performances. This time, he handled the strenuous Muse song with ease and cool. Sure, he’s not going challenge Matt Bellamy in the vocals department, but he does have the whole rocker package. “I guess the world’s gonna lose a male model over this,” Blake Shelton says. “And I guess I’m gonna have to fill in.”
3. VEDO, “Against All Odds”: Vedo had his moments with the Phil Collins ballad, which he had never heard before. (He had never even heard of Phil Collins before.) He had some issues, notably swallowing a word due to nerves near the end, but was good enough to likely get through.
4. CATHIA, “I Have Nothing”: It takes guts to do a Whitney Houston song on “The Voice,” but Cathia fell short in a few places – usually in the run-ups to the big notes. And, shockingly, Usher actually called her on it. She’s in trouble.
TOP TWO: Michelle, Josiah (*actually Michelle, Vedo)

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