Holly's performance is surrounded by white candles, so this might be a subtle staging nod to Oklahoma. She's singing "How Great Thou Art" as a less subtle nod to the existence of a God who is not Adam Levine. I'm still not sure about the decision to sing a gospel song, just a straight up church song, on a show like this but if anyone can get away with it, it's squeaky clean Holly.
Usher says this is a shift and a departure but he enjoyed it. Shakira says it's heavenly and Holly looks like an angel. You know, church stuff. Adam says the quality of Holly's voice epitomizes what this show is all about. It's about the purity of the voice. Blake says the song is strangely appropriate and reminds us to have hope and faith and strength in times like these. Blake is clearly distracted, but he told us from the beginning, so that was good.
Adam is making Judith Hill do "The Way You Make Me Feel" by Michael Jackson, perhaps to put the pressure on her to do a tribute of her own. Adam is very sure this will be meaningful. Judith is tentative about paying tribute to someone so important in her own life, especially in a way as cavalier as The Voice. Judith cries in rehearsal, hurt because people think Judith took advantage of Michael Jackson's death or capitalized on it somehow. But sing "The Way You Make Me Feel," basically a song about street harassment, as a tribute she must.
She's doing the version of it from the "This Is It" tour! It's a great version. It must be weird for Judith to sing lead on this when she's used to singing the "oohs" in the background. This performance really feels like a live show, not a vocal competition reality show. It's polished and professional, but it must have been difficult. Judith struggles not to cry after finishing her performance.
"You know what that was?" Carson says to Judith, "look at me. That was equal parts paying homage to somebody who was a big part of your life, and you being you incredible." Thanks, Carson, that was equal parts devoid of emotion and manipulative for a greater emotional response in others.
Blake compliments Judith on picking up the tempo halfway through the song. Usher is moved, and no one will speak the words "Michael Jackson." Is there a lawsuit issue? Or ...? Usher literally stopped himself and replaced it with "the inspiration and the creator of this song." Adam assures Judith that the audience was receptive to what she did.
To lighten the mood, Christina Milian is in the Skybox with red hair. She congratulates Judith on a job well done then asks Josiah about his family, allowing him to tell a story about when he and his brothers all took their shirts off. A crappy Twitpic later, she gives us the number for the American Red Cross. That was a good move, Christina.