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On Monday’s episode of The Voice (Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on CTV TWO and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV) we didn’t hear much from coaches Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, John Legend and Adam Levine, but underrated host Carson Daly got his time to shine as he sped through 24 live performances in a two-hour show. With zero commentary allowed following each performance, the episode felt jarring, with sensitive ballads leading into high energy pop songs with no room for emotional respite in between. Turns out, there is an upside to Adam’s constant harassment of Blake Shelton. It gives our nerves a much-needed break between performances.

Monday’s performances will help decide who will make it to next week’s show, with Tuesday’s elimination cutting half of the 24 contestants. Brutal. This week’s performances were a huge step up from the Live Cross Battles, with the evening reminiscent of the consistent quality of work that we’ve seen in past seasons of The Voice. Singers we thought should have gone home showed a huge improvement and those who were leading the pack going into Monday’s show are still at the top, but the distance between the 24 contestants is no longer so stark.

Before we bid farewell to half of the remaining contestants, let’s revisit who we think earned their spot in the safe zone ahead of Tuesday’s elimination.

BEST OVERALL PERFORMANCE: LISA RAMEY

In. It. To. Win. It. Yas kween. No one is hustling, working, and enjoying themselves more than Lisa Ramey. The professional singer is a shining example of someone who is smart enough to know that you never waste an opportunity or a second chance. Lisa looks years ahead of every other contestant when it comes to stage presence. She’s even got most of the coaches beat. Lisa has consistently made good song choices and her decision to cover The Band’s “The Weight” and slightly rework the song was a smart move and opens her up to a wider audience. Plus, those gold boots. We see you, girl.

BEST VOCAL PERFORMANCE: MAELYN JARMON

When it gets to the time in the competition when the coaches sing with their team, the talent divide between the professional coaches and the amateur contestants becomes evident. The singers on The Voice are all hugely talented, but Clarkson, Shelton, Levine and Legend are all pros for a reason. When Maelyn Jarmon eventually performs with coach John Legend, it’s going to look like two pros performing together on stage. And he has a freaking EGOT.

BEST STAGE PRESENCE: SHAWN SOUNDS

We know it’s not that difficult to make a joyful moment out of a Stevie Wonder song, but it is that hard to make it joyful and sound and look amazing. We have so much fun watching Shawn perform because he has so much fun performing. Also, he’s really good at it. That helps too.

BEST COUNTRY: GYTH RIGDON

Like, this dude is gonna win, right? He’s gonna win. Viewers love country and while we feel like some singers get much further in the competition than they should simply because of their genre, Gyth isn’t one of them. This cowboy is more talented than a deer skating on an ice pond. That could be a saying, right?

BEST REMIX: PRESLEY TENNANT

We should be used to Presley having one of the strongest performances of each round this season because she’s done it consistently, but we’re still surprised each time. Contestants live and die by song choice on The Voice and we like that she covered Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson’s “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart.” The song wasn’t a huge hit and Presley could have easily performed it as-is without most viewers being able to compare her to the original, but Presley rearranged it anyway so that she could show off every stunning nook and cranny of her range. Maybe there’s more to Presley’s voice that we didn’t hear on Monday night, but we find that hard to imagine. She is only one person, after all. We’re pretty sure.

BEST DARK HORSE: KIM CHERRY

We loved Kim Cherry’s performance of Alessia Cara’s “Here,” but we were second-guessing Blake when he saved Kim following her performance of “Poison.” Our bad. Kim’s performance of TLC’s “Waterfalls” was so strong vocally both during her singing and rapping (she spits fire) that we’re starting to redo our mental list of this season’s final four. Kim Cherry could be the dark horse front runner. You go chase that waterfall, Kim.

 

STANDINGS GOING INTO THE LIVE SHOW

TEAM LEGEND (6)

Maelyn Jarmon

Celia Babini

Lisa Ramey

Jimmy Mowery

Shawn Sounds

Jacob Maxwell

TEAM ADAM (4)

Betsy Ade

Domenic Haynes

Mari

Kalvin Jarvis

TEAM KELLY (6)

Matthew Johnson

Rod Stokes

Presley Tennant

Jej Vinson

Rebecca Howell

Abby Kasch

TEAM BLAKE (8)

Kim Cherry

Oliv Blu

Selkii

Dexter Roberts

Kendra Checketts

Carter Lloyd Horne

Gyth Rigdon

Andrew Sevener

 

 

 

Watch The Voice Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on CTV TWO and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV. Catch up with new episodes online the day after broadcast.