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'The Voice's' Amber Carrington: I couldn't sing 'worth a flip' this week

June 11, 2013 at 9:08 AM ET

“I’ve cried so many times this week,” “The Voice” hopeful Amber Carrington confessed to TODAY.com after Monday night’s performance show. “It’s been really stressful.”

The Team Adam singer’s mother recently passed away. Then, in the midst of the competition, Amber found herself getting sick. And as if she wasn't already feeling overwhelmed, she had two particularly challenging songs to perform on the hit NBC series this week -- one of them originally recorded by her coach, Adam Levine, and his band Maroon 5.

“I could not sing this week worth a flip. My throat was having tons of issues, and I had to go to the doctor,” Amber said. “My (iTunes) recording session was horrible. ‘Firework’ killed me all week.”

The Katy Perry hit has a history of being tricky for “Voice” artists who've attempted it. It wasn’t easy for season three’s Adriana Louise, and Perry herself has called it as one of her most difficult songs. Amber wasn’t aware of the challenge she was taking on until she gave it a try.

“I didn't realize how hard the song was, but I definitely realized it after I practiced it,” she said. “But you just have to connect to the lyrics and figure out why you're singing the song. I was given ‘Firework’ for a reason and they wouldn't have given to anyone else. I knew it was for me, and I knew I had to perform it well, so I did.”

Thanks to Levine, Amber received a good-luck message from Perry, who told her, “It's my favorite song I've ever written, and I know you'll do it justice,” calling her “very brave” for the choice.

Perry wasn’t the only person supporting Amber through her trying week. For her second performance Monday, Levine assigned her the Maroon 5 song “Sad,” from the band’s recent album "Overexposed." Yet Amber told TODAY.com it had actually been her suggestion first, with Levine believing in her enough to let her go ahead.

“I had texted him about it awhile back,” she revealed. “A couple weeks ago, I was like 'That song called 'Sad' is awesome that you do.' I loved the lyrics, so I told him about it. And then this week he was like 'You know what? I want you to do ‘Sad.’ I trust you with that.'”

Amber’s biggest fans, though, were her family and friends back in Rockwall, Texas, which she returned to last week as part of “The Voice’s” home visits. “It meant a lot,” she said of the experience. I got to see my family and friends, my brothers and sisters. I couldn't believe they were in front of me. It was so amazing to be able to get that push from (my) family, get to see them and feel that love again in person.”

Thanks to her loved ones, her coach and Katy Perry, Amber was able to make it through the “Voice” semifinals. “This is definitely the most challenging week,” she reflected. “But I'm so glad about everything that happened tonight. I'm so proud of myself.”

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