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‘The Voice’ Recap: Team John Stands Out During Top 20 Performances

The Voice season 17’s Live Playoffs kicked off on Monday, packing 20 live performances into a two-hour episode on NBC.   Coaches Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, John Legend and Kelly Clarkson each had five artists competing at this stage of the competition. Here are the top performers from each team, followed by a breakdown of…

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‘The Voice’ Recap: Team John Stands Out During Top 20 Performances

The Voice season 17’s Live Playoffs kicked off on Monday, packing 20 live performances into a two-hour episode on NBC.
 
Coaches Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, John Legend and Kelly Clarkson each had five artists competing at this stage of the competition. Here are the top performers from each team, followed by a breakdown of the rest of the performances.
 
Team Blake’s top performance came from Kat Hammock, who sang “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys. She made the song her own, and her standout tone was gorgeous on this particular song. It was an understated but stellar performance.
 
For Team Gwen, Rose Short gave the standout performance, singing Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done for Me Lately.” She sang the throwback hit with confidence and powerful vocals, particularly in her lower register.
 

 
Max Boyle sang “Falling Slowly” and proved to be one of the most original artists on Team Kelly on this night. He sang the song as if it were his own and made interesting choices. If he doesn’t get voted through, he’ll likely be Clarkson’s pick.
 
Team John’s Will Breman gave the most memorable performance of the episode, singing “Style” by Taylor Swift. His runs and range were impressive, but he also showcased so much artistry and creativity. Breman has the whole package.
 
As for the rest of the Team Blake performances, Gracee Shriver will likely stay in the competition, since she’s the only classic country singer left on Team Blake, and she played to her base by singing “American Honey” by Lady Antebellum. Ricky Braddy sang “Roll With It,” giving a soulful and entertaining performance, but it didn’t have any standout moments. Cali Wilson deserves credit for creativity, doing a slowed-down, soft rock version of Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” but her runs were a little sloppy and she had some pitch issues. She could be on the chopping block for Team Blake. Ricky Duran delivered a straightforward rendition of “Small Town” by John Mellencamp. His raspy voice was a good fit for the song choice, but he didn’t do much to make it his own, making for one of his least memorable performances.
 
On Team Gwen, Kyndal Inskeep could be on the chopping block after her performance of “10,000 Hours,” which lacked dynamics. Her vocals were solid, and she has an original sound, but she didn’t really deliver on the emotional front. Joana Martinez also went with a downtempo choice, singing “You Can’t Stop the Girl” by Bebe Rexha, but her performance had momentum and layers, including a few standout notes that she held. Myracle Holloway gave a strong performance of “Get Here,” similarly going with a throwback song like Short. Her performance was entertaining enough to likely get her into the Top 13. Jake Haldenvang sang “Turning Tables” by Adele, which allowed him to showcase his artistry, because the song choice was outside of his wheelhouse, but he made it his own and connected with the lyrics.
 

 
The rest of Team Kelly’s performances included Shane Q’s take on “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” in which he didn’t do much to make it special but still sounded strong. Hello Sunday, Team Kelly’s duo, didn’t give as good of a performance as they did in the Knockouts and Battles, but their rendition of “Hello” by Adele still had standout moments and gorgeous harmonies. Damali could be at risk after her performance of “You Say,” during which she seemed to struggle with control. Jake Hoot landing in the top 13 is almost a guarantee, given that country singers tend to do well on this show and he is a standout on that front. He sang “You Lie” by The Band Perry in the Playoffs, and he delivered on the vocal and performance fronts.
 
Team John overall had the best performances on Monday night. Khalea Lynee sang “Love Like This” and gave a solid R&B performance with a lot of intricate vocals. Alex Guthrie also delivered a soulful performance with his take on “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys. It was a strong song choice, and he delivered a captivating lyrical interpretation. Marybeth Byrd’s “Love Me Like You Do” by Ellie Goulding also stood out, and she made interesting vocal choices. Katie Kadan also knocked it out of the park with her performance of “Always Remember Us This Way” from A Star Is Born. The competition is tight for Team John.
 
Viewers will vote through eight artists — two from each team — on Tuesday night’s results episode. The coaches will also each pick one artist to advance, and a remaining artist from each team will compete live for the last spot in the Top 13.
 
This article originally appeared in THR.com.

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Art & Culture

Janelle Monáe Leads The Revolution In Stirring ‘Turntables’ Video

YouTube “We are in the middle of a revolution right? What’s a revolution without a song and a song without a revolution.” That’s the question the Grammy-winning artist Janelle Monáe posed to Entertainment Weekly when describing her latest single, “Turntables.” The song was released on and flips between cleverly rapped lines about “liberation, elevation, education” and a harmonic…

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Janelle Monáe Leads The Revolution In Stirring ‘Turntables’ Video

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“We are in the middle of a revolution right? What’s a revolution without a song and a song without a revolution.”
That’s the question the Grammy-winning artist Janelle Monáe posed to Entertainment Weekly when describing her latest single, “Turntables.” The song was released on and flips between cleverly rapped lines about “liberation, elevation, education” and a harmonic refrain with clear gospel influences. It’s Monáe’s take on a contemporary protest song, a call for a political sea change, in the vein of, say, Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” or Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power.”
Courtesy of Atlantic RecordsAnd on Tuesday (September), Monáe released a moving music video — or, as she calls it, an emotion picture — that solidified that message. The visual opens and closes with the singer walking along the beach in a beige trench coat and military cap. At times, she can be seen singing into a retro microphone before an American flag; in others, she moves through staged breakfast scenes, with a family reading through newspaper headlines as they mouth her lyrics. The visual flashes through archival and contemporary footage depicting inspirational figures past and present: Where one scene shows the model and activist Jillian Mercado at a photo shoot, another depicts a conversation with lifelong activist Angela Davis.
What rings true without is a hopeful cry for change and for equality, and a recognition of those who have been leading that fight for decades. Monáe wrote “Turntables” for the new Amazon Studios documentary, All In: The Fight for Democracy, that shines a light on voter suppression, particularly through the lens of Stacey Abrams’s failed bid for the Georgia governorship. “Right now, I am focused on turning the election in our favor,” Monáe told Entertainment Weekly, “and I hope this song can inspire those who are on the ground doing the work.”

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Joe Keery’s Reinvention, Mxmtoon’s Carly Rae Jepsen Collab, And More Songs We Love

Getty Images/April Blum The search for the ever-elusive “bop” is difficult. Playlists and streaming-service recommendations can only do so much. They often leave a lingering question: Are these songs really good, or are they just new? Enter Bop Shop, a hand-picked selection of songs from the MTV News team. This weekly collection doesn’t discriminate by…

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Joe Keery’s Reinvention, Mxmtoon’s Carly Rae Jepsen Collab, And More Songs We Love

Getty Images/April Blum

The search for the ever-elusive “bop” is difficult. Playlists and streaming-service recommendations can only do so much. They often leave a lingering question: Are these songs really good, or are they just new?
Enter Bop Shop, a hand-picked selection of songs from the MTV News team. This weekly collection doesn’t discriminate by genre and can include anything — it’s a snapshot of what’s on our minds and what sounds good. We’ll keep it fresh with the latest music, but expect a few oldies (but goodies) every once in a while, too. Get ready: The Bop Shop is now open for business.

St. Vincent ft. Yoshiki: “New York”

St. Vincent, the intuitive musical goddess that she is, must have sensed our collective need for another quarantine ballad. Enter “New York [Feat. Yoshiki],” a classical arrangement of the standout single from 2017’s Masseduction. An added string section courtesy of Yoshiki, a Japanese multi-instrumentalist, beautifully complements the song’s original piano instrumentals. What more can I say? “New York isn’t New York / Without you, love” just hits different in the middle of a pandemic. —Sam Manzella

Djo: “Keep Your Head Up”

Last year, Joe Keery (of Stranger Things fame) released a glossy solo album under the moniker Djo. It was titled Twenty Twenty, and its sparkling arrangements ended up being quite far removed from the overall vibe of 2020 the year, but who could fault him for his optimism? Keery has also long been a contributing member of Chicago psych band Post Animal, but Djo is simply Joe — and latest “Keep Your Head Up” feels like several Joes ripping open a vortex in the funk-time continuum. This is a groove, peppered with buzzy synths and icy falsetto and an honest-to-god sax part. It’s akin to Todd Terje doing Tame Impala, a lightheaded cocktail rush that feels both clubby and bedroom ambitious. Positively galactic. —Patrick Hosken

Mxmtoon ft. Carly Rae Jepsen: “OK On Your Own”

When Mxmtoon’s Maia said she recorded “OK On Your Own” for the girls and the gays, she wasn’t kidding. The mellow bedroom-pop bop soundtracks a journey of self-reflection after a breakup, complete with the soft ukulele instrumentals that put the 19-year-old singer-songwriter on the map. Is it revelatory? No, but with pop icon Carly Rae Jepsen lending her sugary-sweet vocals to the second verse, it doesn’t have to be. Now I’m just waiting for “Party for Two.” —Sam Manzella

Video Age: “Aerostar”

Pleasure Line, the third album from emerging indie pop quartet Video Age, delivers perfectly escapist ’80s new wave vibes for when you need to get outta 2020 for just a moment. “Aerostar” is its punchy center, a hip-twisting, shoulder-shuffling groove that delivers quirky robot dance commands (“Slide to the left, now! Shimmy to the right!”) over hoppin’ funk synths and a kickin’ drum machine. It all harkens to a simpler time, one where dance floors were actually a real thing. Oh, the ’80s! —Terron Moore

Ruel: “As Long As You Care”

About a year ago, Australian middle-part heartthrob Ruel told MTV News that for him, “songwriting is exaggerating to an extent.” On his latest, the technicolor, soulful “As Long As You Care,” his exaggeration is so seamless, you’d be forgiven for believing the 17-year-old is actually a time traveler. The neo-soul groove he rides propels everything upward, even as the sound cheekily looks backward. “As Long As You Care” has one amazing hook, coupled with sonic candy that makes his upcoming third EP, Bright Lights, Red Eyes (out October 23) one to watch. —Patrick Hosken

Alycia Bella ft. Boogie: “Cue the Sun”

Something magical happens two-and-a-half minutes into “Cue the Sun,” the exploratory new collab between striking R&B voice Alycia Bella and rapper Boogie. After piping in the aural equivalent of stage smoke via jazzy piano and gorgeous vocalizations — “It feel like being lost in the right direction” — Bella’s song enters a more sparkly realm for Boogie’s recitations. By the end, you’re lighter, like your mind’s been cleared of all the cobwebs. Cue the sun. —Patrick Hosken

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Who Are You Most Excited to See Perform at the 2020 ACM Awards? Vote!

The 55th Academy of Country Music Awards will welcome back Taylor Swift and present a new collaboration from the evening’s host Keith Urban and P!nk on Wednesday, Sept. 16. But which one of the highly anticipated performances are you counting down the hours to? Nine-time ACM Award winner Swift, whose latest studio album Folklore has topped the Billboard 200 for six…

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Who Are You Most Excited to See Perform at the 2020 ACM Awards? Vote!

The 55th Academy of Country Music Awards will welcome back Taylor Swift and present a new collaboration from the evening’s host Keith Urban and P!nk on Wednesday, Sept. 16. But which one of the highly anticipated performances are you counting down the hours to?
Nine-time ACM Award winner Swift, whose latest studio album Folklore has topped the Billboard 200 for six weeks, will come back for the first time in seven years to perform the country-leaning fan-favorite track “Betty.” Meanwhile, 15-time ACM Award winner Urban and Pink will come together for the world television premiere of their brand new collaboration “One Too Many,” which is from the country star’s forthcoming album, The Speed of Now, Part 1.

Billboard broke the news Monday (Sept. 14) that all five nominees for entertainer of the year — Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Luke Combs and Thomas Rhett — will take the stage to perform a medley of their greatest hits. Additionally, ACM’s freshly crowned new male and female artist of the year winners Riley Green and Tenille Townes, respectively, will also perform.

For the first time in the awards show’s history, the ACMs will be broadcast live from Nashville, with socially distanced performances from the Grand Ole Opry House, the historic Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Cafe.
The 55th ACM Awards will air live Wednesday, Sept. 16, at 8 p.m. ET (delayed for the West Coast) on CBS and CBS All Access. (The event is produced by dick clark productions, which shares a parent company with Billboard.)
So which of the performances can’t you wait to see? Vote below!

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