NBC's "The Voice" kicked off its two-part finale on Monday night, with the four season 12 finalists giving their final performances before America casts their votes to decide which one will win the title and the recording contract with Universal Music Group. It was a very busy evening, with each of the finalists performing three times over the run of the two-hour episode. Here are the important things to know from part one of "The Voice" finale:
1) Final solo song performances included hits and misses
Each finalist had one last solo performance with which to campaign for votes, and the song choices were interesting. In particular, Blake Shelton's two finalists went in completely different directions. Lauren Duski aimed for a big ballad as she covered "The Dance" and it was the kind of major moment that audiences often look for at the end of the season. Aliyah Moulden wanted a showstopping number with her version of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours" and she might have had it, except for that the same song was perfectly covered by winner Josh Kaufman in Season 6. Anyone who remembers that season will undoubtedly compare the two versions, and that's not what a singer needs as they're trying to leave a strong last impression.
2) Coach duets turned into a Prince tribute jam
Monday's show also included the customary duets between finalists and their coaches, and perhaps Adam Levine and Alicia Keys were comparing notes because both of them chose Prince songs for their duets. Levine and Jesse Larson sang "Let's Go Crazy," while Keys and Chris Blue covered "Diamonds and Pearls." There have been times when a certain artist or group has had more than one song covered in the same season, but Monday was the first time that two of the coach duets have been selections by the same artist. Still, if the show was going to double-dip, who better to do it with than a music legend?
3) New original songs and music videos
"The Voice" fans know that since season 7, the show has featured fresh songs that are performed for the first time by the four finalists and they get to release a music video to go along with them. There's Lauren Duski's "Deja Vu," Jesse Larson's "Woman," Chris Blue's "Money On You" and Aliyah Moulden's "Never Be Lonely;" the latter of which is the most entertaining because who doesn't love balloons and confetti? These original songs count toward each finalist's vote total, so those who are voting Monday night can also help their favorite artist by going to iTunes and downloading the single of their choice.
"The Voice" season finale concludes Tuesday at 9 p.m. on NBC. For AXS's predictions on who will win season 12, click here.