Image credit: NBC
BORN TO FLY After an unbroken string of coach-acclaimed country performances, 16-year-old Danielle Bradbery sang her way to victory (and a huge trophy).
Given the chance to reunite past performers, Danielle calls on Amber, Caroline, and Sarah to sing Carrie Underwood's "All-American Girl," which is a nice gesture accompanied by nice, matchy-matchy red dresses and an arrangement that sounds like Carrie's original chart-topper but not. And all that clapping has got to go. Was it even louder than usual? I put down "foot-claps" in my notes. (Burning question: Why did Sarah skate onto the stage, apparently late for her group number?)
Finally, it's time for a video America can agree on: more Voice confessionals. Technically, it's the "best of the rest," but did you know that
the cute one of The Swons got a perm once? And also Usher and Michelle share joint custody of two puppets and Shakira thinks Adam has pretty ears and Usher has a problem with ripping his pants.
Bruno Mars appears from the past, accessorized with sparkles, to perform his newest single, "Treasure," as if he has literally just stepped out of his music video. With the lights and the synchronized male swiveling, it's fun-distracting instead of distracting-distracting.
After a lengthy introduction about how much The Swons like classic rock, etc. etc., they take the stage with cooler-than-you-old-guy Bob Seger, on "Night Moves." Their guitar playing is clutch -- and The Voice wants you to know it! Note the loving pan. Though the voting is already tied up, their Seger duet is smart. Each time The Swons wrap their voices around a non-country song, it grabs more non-country fans. At the start of the live rounds, I worried that their happy-hour shtick would get narrower each week. It's actually made them more comfortable. Bonus: "Night Moves" is referenced by my second-favorite episode in my second-favorite season of The O.C.
The last judge to get commemorated via video is Shakira, and the producers want us to know that she is smart and also that that is kind of weird (and funny! and cute!) because English isn't her first language. The whole thing is uncomfortably cross-wired but blessedly brief.
NEXT: WHAT THE HELL, CHER