Pop Culture

'Voice' finalists reveal real battle: Old-school style versus girl power

Valerie Macon / Today
Josh Kaufman, T.J. Wilkins and Bria Kelly became finalists on Team Usher Tuesday.

And we're live! "The Voice" playoffs concluded Tuesday night, with Usher selecting the three contestants who will represent his team in the live competition, launching next week.

Bria Kelly, T.J. Wilkins and Josh Kaufman will join the nine other artists selected by coaches Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Shakira to compete for America's vote.

TODAY caught up with the finalists minutes after they took to the stage to perform a free concert at Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles Tuesday.

They dished on why they believe they have what it takes to win one of the "The Voice's" toughest seasons yet.

"I'm going to win 'The Voice' because I'm going to be like the artist of old whose music has been able to transcend genres and cross barriers," said T.J., whose magnetizing rendition of Chaka Khan's "Tell Me Something Good" earned him the final spot in the top 12.

His biggest competition? Himself. "I go back and study the footage of each performance and I look at how I can perfect for the next one," said the singer, who once performed with Stevie Wonder after winning another singing competition.

"I'm ready to do it again," he said. "But this time I'll inviting him to my stage."

That stage is where Delvin Choice, representing Team Adam, plans to give it his all. And the producers might want to keep a mop waiting in the eaves.

"By the time I get through singing each night," he told TODAY, "I need to be sweating and passing out!"

Valerie Macon / Today
From left, Team Adam's Christina Grimmie, Delvin Choice and Kat Perkins.

"It's a bigger stage now," added his teammate and YouTube star Christina Grimmie, who, like Kat Perkins, welcomes the audience's involvement.

"I'm looking forward to having America be involved now and for them to be able to vote and have a say in this," the former nanny said.

College student Audra McLaughlin, selected by Shelton alongside the powerhouse Sisaundra Lewis and country crooner Jake Worthington, believes she'll "have to work hard to try to stand out" against the tough competition.

But she added with a laugh, "I'm a country girl from Philly and I don't think anyone's ever seen that on the show before. So I think I definitely — hopefully — have an advantage to win."

Shakira has harnessed the power — girl power — with her trio of fierce female artists.

Valerie Macon / Today
Team Shakira's Tess Boyer, Dani Moz and Kristen Merlin think their coach is "perfection."

"We talked about girl power even when Patrick (Thomson) was on the team," joked Dani Moz about the folk singer sent home Monday night.

"We're all bonding and really standing together as a unit," Dani told us. "Yes, we're a competition but we're a force to be reckoned with as a unit as well."

They are inspired by their coach, whom former pageant queen Tess Boyer calls "the epitome of perfection."

"She is just all around so smart," raved Dani, who said their coach's advice extends beyond the music to "how to believe in yourself and be the best person you can be."

Tiny spitfire Kristen Merlin has another reason to love Shakira: "She's really little! I thought I was short, and I'm so excited that she's just as little. I tell her she cheats when she has heels on."

The artists have spent plenty of time bonding with their coaches, but with the live shows, they'll have a chance to build a real relationship with the audience.

"Now's the opportunity for America to become our family and get to participate," Delvin told TODAY. "Now is the time for action. You can actually participate. Have fun. Vote. Vote, vote!"

"The Voice" kicks off with live shows on Monday at 8 p.m. on NBC.