It appears that “The Voice” finalist Amy Vachal — via helpful suggestions from coaches Adam Levine and Pharrell Williams — could teach Drake a few things about sexy. Not only did the sultry-eyed New Yorker do a drop-dead sensual rendition of Drake’s hit “Hotline Bling” Monday night, she did it so well that one coach couldn’t believe that she made a song about a booty call sound “elegant.”
As recapped by Entertainment Weekly’s Ariel Kay November 17, Amy Vachal’s version of Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” a current hip-hop hit, was a surprise, not only as a song suggestion (it was coach Adam Levine’s choice), but also in the smooth jazz musical direction it took. The song had an “eerie edge lacking in the original, and she looks powerful on stage,” Kay noted. (Aside: With that guitar slung waist-high and her hair back, if she’d been wearing a little black dress, the finalist could have been one of Robert Palmer’s sexy bandmates from his “Addicted To Love” video.) She lamented that she wanted to see Vachal do the Drake dance, but that might have been a bit much, considering that his dancing may have been the least sexy thing about the “Hotline Bling” video.
Regardless, Amy Vachal wowed the coaches and the live audience Monday night with her performance (helped along with the suggestion of using a stand-up bass — from rival coach Pharrell), which was given an even more haunting vibe with the large glowing red moon at her back. But the spell of serious cool was broken quickly when host Carson Daly asked for the coaches critiques, starting with Blake Shelton.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a more elegant and classy performance of a song about a booty call in the history of music,” Shelton praised Vachal after her performance. “I mean that was like, unbelievable.”
But when Vachal’s coach Adam Levine poked fun at Shelton when he said he hears the song all the time on the radio (because Shelton is notorious for his lack of pop song knowledge), Shelton stunned everyone by saying, “Gwen sang it to me on the Tonight Show one night, so…”
The comment had everyone laughing, including coach Gwen Stefani, with whom the words also elicited a blush. She would acknowledge, after Pharrell stopped laughing long enough to commend Vachal’s singing, that the version was better than her “Tonight Show” rendition with Shelton performed back in October.
Amy Vachal’s cover of “Hotline Bling” also resonated with viewers. TV Media Insights reported that “The Voice” contestant’s version reached download sales nearly as popular as the original, which was holding steady in the iTunes 100 Hot Songs chart in the Top 5. Vachal’s version reached No. 6. (This also earned her a times-10 bonus for making it into the chart’s Top 10. The number of downloads equates to votes and upon making the Top 10 during the voting period, the total downloads in that period are multiplied by 10, giving the contestant bonus sales votes to add to the call-ins and online votes.)
On Tuesday night’s Top 12 eliminations episode, it was no surprise when Daly called Amy Vachal’s name as one of the Top 10 saved by America’s votes. Given that she, Team Adam colleague Jordan Smith with his stunning performance of the Selah hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” and Team Gwen’s Jeffery Austin (who performed James Bay’s “Let It Go”) were the only three to make the iTunes Top 10, her making the Top 11 was deserved.
“The Voice” airs on Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC Television.