Challenge Week on The Voice did not disappoint as Girl Named Tom took on Coldplay’s 2008 mega-hit “Viva la Vida,” a departure for the mostly folk-driven sibling trio.
Videos by American Songwriter
Now one of the Top 10 finalists, the Ohio-bred siblings of Josh, Caleb, and Bekah Liechty closed out the show with the Coldplay hit, each taking their turn with verses before harmonizing together on the more epic chorus and build of the song—complete with marching band drums in tow.
“These three have been taking challenges and risks their whole lives,” said Carson Daly before the trio performed, “and so far, it is definitely paying off.”
Initially, Josh and Bekah needed some convincing to take on a Coldplay song but brother Caleb was already a fan and onboard. “I’m not gonna lie, I was like ‘ahhh, it’s Challenge Week,’” said Josh. Bekah added, “It’s a different vibe.”
If the trio were going to challenge themselves, they might as well go big in the Top 10. “This is their anthem,” said Caleb, “a huge, important song.”
During the rehearsals, the trio revealed how they almost didn’t go into music and were planning careers in the medical profession instead, which left their coach Kelly Clarkson shocked.
“Our grandpa was a family practitioner in a small town in Indiana,” said Bekah. “We definitely wanted to follow in his footsteps.” Josh elaborated on the sibling’s near-about face from music: “Caleb and I graduated college with biochemistry majors and we were looking at med schools,” he said. “Bekah was looking at the same track when our mom suggested, ‘Why don’t you form a band?’ It didn’t take long for us to take her up on it.”
Grateful for their earlier career switch, Clarkson said, “We would have missed out on their music, on this sound on this moment, so I am really excited that they didn’t become doctors.”
Following the group’s performance, coach Blake Shelton was the first to praise the trio.
“I love that you guys switch it up because I think individually, you all three have so much to offer as vocalists and as front people for the group,” said Shelton. “And then when you come together, it makes it that much more powerful. And this was probably the best performance you guys had so far.”
John Legend compared the group’s performance and presence on stage to something bigger, fitting a stadium-band setting.
“You know, one of my favorite shows I’ve been to was Arcade Fire, and I loved watching them switch instruments and move around the stage like just take different roles in the band,” said Legend. “I was just imagining what your concerts are gonna be like, and how fun they could be, and how you could play different instruments, do all sorts of different things. Legend added, “It’s such a cool family group and seeing you together having fun on stage, and being musicians on stage together. It’s so much fun for us to watch.”
Clarkson was the last to commend the group for taking on something out of their comfort zone. “With Challenge Week, I feel like this was the biggest challenge of anybody,” said Clarkson. “You took on Coldplay and you’re usually doing folk stuff that’s totally different, and it was so amazing to see your energy and y’all flying around the stage.”
She also applauded Caleb for his idea to include the larger marching drums, also used in the original release by Coldplay. “You’re such a great group and you have such a great bond, and that’s why your harmonies are so incredibly tight,” added Clarkson. “And that’s what makes y’all so special. Thank y’all for picking me.”
Prior to this week’s challenge, the group took on 1977 Kansas hit “Dust in the Wind.”
“It was crazy,” said Josh talking about the group’s performance the previous week. “We got off to Number 2 on the Country charts on iTunes this last week.”
Following their Coldplay performance, the group tweeted: “That was UNREAL!” and “Challenge Week was so fun!!!” They later added, “We felt powerful tonight.”