Part one of The Voice season 16 finale began Monday night, with the four finalists singing for America's vote.
Coaches Kelly Clarkson and Adam Levine have no artists left in competition, so the finals came down to Team Blake Shelton's three country artists -- Dexter Roberts, Gyth Rigdon and Andrew Sevener -- and Team John Legend's Texas songbird, Maelyn Jarmon. Each artist performed a cover song, a duet with their coach, and an original song.
The show began with Maelyn performing the original song, "Wait for You." She said her song choice was inspired by her boyfriend, with whom she's been out of touch because of the competition. Her live performance had Adam repeating his Maelyn-specific mantra afterward that she should win the competition, and that it has nothing to do with his love of hating on Blake.
The first coach and artist duet was between Blake and Andrew Sevener, who performed "All Right Now," by Free.
Alabama country artist Dexter Roberts performed a cover of Randy Houser's "Anything Goes," a song that allowed Dexter to pour his emotion into his powerhouse vocals. Kelly was won over, saying that the song put Dexter in the vain of soulful country.
The next duet, between Blake and Gyth Rigdon, was a cover of the Travis Tritt version of "Take It Easy," by The Eagles.
Andrew Sevener's original song was "Rural Route Raising," a choice Kelly liked because it skirts the line between old and new country. John joked that despite being a city slicker he could appreciate country music, saying Andrew had been "in a zone" his last few performances.
Next, John and Maelyn performed a sublime duet of the Nat King Cole classic, "Unforgettable." Maelyn talked about the similarities between Cole and her coach, and John shared that, growing up, he won a local Star Search competition covering the song.
Gyth Rigdon's cover performance was of the late Earl Thomas Conley's "Once in a Blue Moon." During rehearsal, Blake said he wasn't afraid of Gyth covering any song, so long as he felt connected to it. Conley passed away in April of this year and following Gyth's performance, Blake said Earl's family would be so proud of the moment. "Way to honor a country music hero," declared Blake.
Dexter Roberts chose his original song, "Looking Back," because it put him at home vocally. But Kelly didn't focus on his voice, saying she loved Dexter as a person just as much. Adam said Dexter's performance was his "strongest look," and Blake called him the most ready of all the finalists to go make an album.
Andrew Sevener had prior success covering a rock song in the competition, which is why he performed Hinder's "Lips of an Angel." John said that while he's obviously partial to Maelyn, he'd pick Andrew from the remaining Team Blake artists. Blake said that the night belonged to Andrew.
The last duet, between Blake and Dexter Roberts, was Brooks & Dunn's "Hard Working Man."
Gyth Rigdon's original song, "Proof I've Always Loved You," was unique because he actually wrote it. He said he penned it a number of years ago after meeting his eventual wife, and the performance proved to be a stirring tribute to their love. Blake said that Gyth performing his own song raised him to another level.
Maelyn closed out the show with a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", her elegiac voice soaring over the audience. Maelyn had a connection to the song, having sang it at a karaoke bar with her father when she was a struggling waitress in New York. She recognized that despite the song's title, the lyrics are about longing and regret. Afterward, Adam described Maelyn as an "angel from heaven." John said he felt transported and that it was all the things we want music to be, imploring America to vote for Maelyn.
The winner will be announced on Tuesday night's The Voice season finale. which begins at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. Taylor Swift, Jonas Brothers, Brandon Urie from Panic! at the Disco, Halsey, BTS, Khalid, Travis Tritt, OneRepublic and Hootie & the Blowfish are scheduled to perform.
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