“Free Your Mind” had never been sang like this. When Dana Monique came out, everyone was at attention as the 41-year-old Houston native ripped into the 1992 En Vogue hit, closing with a brazen toss of the hat.
“You’re my spirit animal,” raved judge Kelly Clarkson, who admitted to throwing everything off her table—her well-known sign of adoration for a contestant—at Monique during her electrifying rendition during the first live Playoffs on The Voice Monday night.
“My whole dream in life was to sing backup for someone like you,” added Clarkson. “You have such a gift, it is crazy. The soul, the rawness, the attitude… you’re amazing.”
Mostly speechless following Monique’s magnetic performance, her coach Nick Jonas said, “I’m just gonna say it’s an honor to be your coach. You just blew that out of the park. It was unbelievable. You’re incredible.”
Throughout the performances by the Top 17, which will filter down to a “Top 9” once viewer votes are tallied Tuesday night (May 11), there were mostly shining moments and others lacking that “thunder.”
Utah native Jordan Matthew Young was later informed by his coach Blake Shelton that he brought down the thunder with his smoldering rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman.”
“That was literally a breath of fresh air for this night,” remarked Shelton. “There is nobody close to what you do. Bringing down the thunder, buddy.”
Another highlight of Playoffs was the closing number, Hozier’s “Take Me to Church,” by 19-year-old Cam Anthony, also from Team Blake. “You have delivered every time,” said Shelton, following the Philly native’s explosive performance. “I have never had more people ask about an artist. You could be the first superstar that we launch off this show.”
At the start of the show, the four-way knockout winner, 35-year-old Devan Blake Jones of Aurora, Colorado, was revealed, leaving Team Nick with the most number of contestants, at five, and Emma Caroline (Team Blake), Carolina Rial (Team Legend), Savanna Woods (Team Kelly) eliminated from the competition.