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The remaining five artists got to visit their hometowns and dedicate songs to loved ones during Monday night’s semifinals. But first, we were in for a fabulous treat as R&B showman extraordinaire Usher took the stage (and broke a sweat) with an electrifying performance of the single “Twisted” from his 2012 album, Looking 4 Myself. Complete with booty-shaking backup dancers and his own James Brown-like moves, Usher was a tough act to follow, but that didn’t stop the contestants from giving it a good try. Here’s what they chose to sing and the songs picked for them by their mentors.
Their dedication: The duo from Muskogee, Okla., was presented with a Rising Star Award from the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame when they traveled back home. They also received a video message from Vince Gill and the honor of having June 9 through June 13 declared The Swon Brothers Week. And if that weren’t enough, Adam Levine gave them a "Swon salute" after they performed “Turn the Page” by Bob Seger for their bandmates.
Blake’s pick: “Danny’s Song” by Kenny Loggins, which elicited a positive response from the entire panel. "You're making the world understand country," said an impressed Usher.
Her dedication: The Rockwall, Texas, native made a gutsy move by choosing Katy Perry’s “Firework,” a song that has taken down singers in the past. This thank-you to her friends was received well by the mentors, including Blake Shelton, who declared, “The power of your voice is just phenomenal.”
Adam’s pick: “I’m so overjoyed right now. . . . That was incredible,” said Adam after Amber delivered an amazing rendition of “Sad” by Maroon 5.
Her dedication: Another big risk came when the New Yorker chose the iconic song “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston, which she sent out to her two children. “I have nightmares about singing [that] song badly,” admitted her former coach, Adam. “It’s a monster song and you took your own approach—great job!”
Shakira’s pick: Shakira took us back to the ’70s with the Donna Summer classic “Bad Girls”—and proved Sasha is a diva in the making who should not be underestimated.
Her dedication: A dramatic rendition of “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper was sung in appreciation of Usher, who told Michelle, “You are medicine for the whole world.”
Usher’s pick: The Amherst, Mass., singer got to live out a dream by performing “God Bless America” at Fenway Park, then brought her A game to The Voice stage with “Clarity” by Zedd.
Her dedication: The 16-year-old returned to Houston a superstar as far as her family and friends were concerned. She even got to perform the national anthem before an Astros game, and then got everyone in The Voice audience choked up with her performance of “Who I Am” by Jessica Andrews. “Soon, I’ll be able to say, ‘I knew her when,’” said a sincere Shakira. Blake reacted by saying, “You don’t have any weaknesses in your singing. . . . I love you!”
Blake’s pick: “Please Remember Me” by Tim McGraw, who sent the teen some words of encouragement via video. Usher just had one word for Danielle: “Amazeballs!” Then added, “To have that kind of control at your age is remarkable.” Adam agreed, “From a technical standpoint it doesn’t get more proficient than that. Amazeballs!”
Next up: Two more will be eliminated before next week’s finale.