Josh Kaufman sets fire to 'The Voice'
If "The Voice's" live audience could crown the winner of season six, then Josh Kaufman would be celebrating his victory after Monday's top three performance show.
The soul singer set the stage on fire — literally — with his impassioned rendition of Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" to close out the voting season.
"I felt really good about all my performances," Josh told TODAY after the show, in which he also sang an encore of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" — which he lost to Delvin Choice in the Battle Rounds — and a duet of The Police's "Every Breath You Take" with his coach, Usher.
"I tried to just leave it out on the stage and give it everything I had," he told TODAY. "It was a fun night."
But as the early exit of incredible singers including Sisaundra Lewis proved, "The Voice's" voting public is unpredictable.
For example, Team Adam's Christina Grimmie told TODAY she "felt great" about her performances last week (Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek" and fun's "Some Nights"), but the voters obviously didn't agree — she ended up in the bottom three.
"America looked at it like it wasn't great just because of some of the commentary, and that was sad to me because I was very proud of it. But I'm still here, so that's a good thing," she said.
It remains to be seen how America will respond to her Monday performances: an encore of "Wrecking Ball" followed by two more unusual song choices — a duet of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" with her coach, Adam Levine, and Elvis' "Can't Help Falling in Love," her last solo.
But she's counting on her fans to reward her boldness.
"Social media is a huge, huge deal," added the YouTube star, who also has half a million Twitter followers. "I am so thankful that I have a lot of Twitter fans. ... It's very, very, very important, and that's why Usher is scaring me a little bit."
Not only does Josh's coach have 9.4 million of his own Twitter followers — millions more than his rival coaches — but two music superstars, Diddy and Justin Bieber also tweeted their support for Team Usher.
"Yeah, that was crazy," Josh told us about the Biebs' endorsement. When TODAY asked whether he believed the message could influence the voting, he said, "I don't know — you have to think that could be some factor; the guy's got a pretty big following." (51.7 million followers, to be exact.)
But if Christina wins, she gives the most credit to her coach.
"(He) is the best and he's very enthusiastic and he believes in me," she told TODAY. "He's pushed me to be a better artist, a better person, a better performer. ... And I gave my all tonight, definitely. I poured my heart into it, and I feel like if I win I'm going to crank out music right away for my fans because I don't want to keep them waiting."
Blake Shelton feels the exact same way about Jake Worthington.
"He needs to be on the radio," the country star said alongside his protégé after the show. "He needs to make a record that represents what he's been doing on the show, because it's going to breathe life back into country radio again and it's going to give some diversity, which we need right now."
Although Jake may not have the social media presence of his competitors, don't discount his Internet power: The title of his second solo, Richard Marx's "Right Here Waiting," was trending on Twitter moments after his performance.
Shelton believes that popularity will translate into votes — and if not, something is seriously wrong with the voters.
"People that don't vote for Jake probably don't have any friends," he drawled — but that was just a warm-up for his rant. "People that don't vote for Jake have a unibrow (and) eat their own boogers," he added.
But Jake — who also sang an encore of his audition, Keith Whitley's "Don't Close Your Eyes" and a duet of Hank Williams Jr.'s "A Country Boy Can Survive" with his coach — considers the whole experience "a blessing."
Regardless of the outcome, "Blake's really just inspired me to keep wanting to stay true to myself and just do what I've got to do in country music," Jake said. "I feel like he's given me the foot in the door, and I owe him everything for that."
But Usher claimed he himself "above and beyond" in campaigning for Josh.
"I went all around the world though radio this weekend and talked about it ... not just here in front of the camera," he told TODAY. "I sat there for five hours and talked to them about who he is and how amazing I think he is and why they should tune in to the show and what this represents, what this moment is for America."
His massive social media support "may have some effect" in garnering votes for Josh, Usher told TODAY, "but greater than that, I think that it's real. I think that my family and friends are really reaching out because they tuned in."
And when they tune in Tuesday for the finale, Usher said he expects them to finally see Team Usher celebrate a win: "I know that America is not going to let it happen again for Adam and Blake."
"The Voice" finale airs tonight at 9 p.m. on NBC.