Last week, Entertainment Weekly hung out in the recording studio with The Voice top five contestants and got a sneak peek as to what Will Champlin, Tessanne Chin, Jacquie Lee, Cole Vosbury, and James Wolpert will be performing on the show tonight. Unfortunately, we can’t spill the beans as to what each contestant will be singing tonight — song choices must be kept under wraps until the live performances — but we did get a chance to speak with contestants about the thought process behind their songs this week.
Read on to find out what The Voice finalists had to say about what songs they’ll be performing when The Voice airs live at 8 p.m.:
This week, Champlin will tackle yet another powerhouse alt-rock anthem, but while the Team Adam contestant has showcased his musical skills by playing both guitar and the piano on The Voice stage before, this week, he will focus on singing and singing alone. “We actually thought we were gonna go in there and do [another song by the same band] and then as we were going through it, and Adam said, ‘Hold on a sec, is this the right song? I thought it was [the other one],’” Champlin said. “The other song would have been way too choral for me to showcase my own personality into it as opposed to this, and there are great lyrics to the song we’ve picked.” The season 5 contestant also said that though Adam’s song choice for him this week “took a minute to grow” on him, it’s actually one of his favorite songs that he’s gotten assigned so far.
The Voice‘s resident powerhouse singer, Chin will be tackling yet another epic classic during tonight’s live show. While she says she was originally nervous about tackling such a classic, Adam was determined to see her follow through with the song choice. “[The song] was definitely Adam’s pick!” she said. “At one point, I was like, ‘Are you sure?’ But he had that determined look in his eye that he gets…nothing I say will go through when he has that look. But I think it’s a great song, it’s an epic song, and it’s a classic, and I’m glad that he trusts me with that.”
The Jamaican-born singer describes her song choice this week as “a powerful song” that’s “particularly moving” for her. She also divulged that there was a moment that occurred in her personal life right around rehearsals that really helped her relate to the song a bit more. “It’s not really my story to tell, but the long and short of it is, right before rehearsals, I found out some really sad news, and the song just had a lot of connection to do with that particular situation,” she said. “It kind of floored me a little bit, but for me, it just helped me to see the song in a completely different way than what I was singing it for in the beginning.”
On tonight’s live show, Wolpert will tackle a classic power-rock love song by a band he says Adam has been trying to clear for use on The Voice for years. Because of the iconic nature of the track, James said he and Adam came to an agreement that the best way to tackle the song was to “keep the arrangement as true to the original as possible.” Even so, the Team Adam contestant says he definitely thinks “there’s a little room for flourishes here and there” during his performance tonight. “I’ve done intimidatingly big songs in the past, so I ‘m kind of well-acquainted with the responsibility of handling a big song,” Wolpert said of the daunting task of tackling such a classic. “But I see it more as an opportunity rather than an opportunity for a failure because I don’t think that’s a good way of looking at it.”
Finally, James elaborated a bit more on what the choice for this week means to him. “This song brings me to tears, and I love it,” he said. “You can’t not think of an old flame when you listen to this song.”
This week, Vosbury is hoping to show a different side of himself as a musician by tackling a country hit from 1991. Before making his way into the studio to lay down the track for iTunes, Vosbury said this week’s song choice dawned upon him and Blake when they were reminiscing about watching the same country music special on TV in the ’90s. “I used to watch that special all the time when I was a little kid, over and over again — it was one of the first things I ever watched that made me want to be on stage and made me want to perform,” he said.
The remaining Team Blake member said his decision to tackle a country song this week was also partially based on the fact that he feels as though he’s the only one left in the competition that could pull off singing a country song. “Country is in my roots. I know how many country fans love this show, and they’re not getting any country from anywhere, so I’m honored to do country without shoving it down their throats — it’s like showing a different side of me.”
The lone Team Christina member has been holding her own for the past few weeks singing iconic songs like last week’s “Cry Baby,” and this week’s song choice will be no different. Lee said they were having a hard time picking a song this week but settled on the iconic ballad she’ll be tackling tonight after coach Christina heard her sing it. “Christina kept saying, ‘It needs to be killer!’ And when [the song choice] came up, we thought, ‘Oh, it’s not really the time to be vulnerable right now,’ but then [Christina] heard me sing it and she was like, ‘Yeah, we’re doing it!’”
But while many watching at home might be wondering if the 16-year-old contestant would prefer to tackle singing something a bit more modern, Lee said she’s happy singing the classics. “Singing a classic song on this show I think does a contestant justice, but when I start writing my own music, I’m definitely going to have a more current, poppier twist on it, but still with old soul — it’s sort of like mixing two worlds together.”
The Voice airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.