Two are better than one: Cunningham Sisters advance to the Knockout Rounds on 'The Voice'
Teens Macie and Marie Cuningham again get rave reviews from The Voice stars. John Legend says they "should have a TV show."
"How do you not instantly fall in love with these two?"
That was country music superstar Blake Shelton's reaction to Hamilton's teenage Cunningham sisters singing Leslie Gore's "It's My Party" on The Voice Tuesday with Parker McKay in the Battle Rounds.
"The girls' tones are so good," said pop star Ariana Grande, a coach this season on The Voice.
Singer John Legend said that Macie Cunningham, 15, and sister Marie, 14, "should have a TV show."
"Any time you see somebody who's that good that young it definitely gets your attention," said country star Jason Aldean, the celebrity coach for Kelly Clarkson's team on the Tuesday show.
Most important of all, Macie and Marie impressed their coach Clarkson, who chose them to advance to the Knockout Rounds over McKay, 29, from Nashville, Tenn.
The 15-minute segment Tuesday was filled with praise for the sisters who grew up singing in Hamilton churches with their multi-generational musical family. Clarkson compared Marie's sound to Adele, the Grammy-winning English singer and songwriter.
"The Cunningham sisters are so talented," said Clarkson, the first American Idol winner (2002) and syndicated talk show host. "Macie is the older one, and her voice has all these higher notes, and these really cool runs… The youngest has harmonies like a boss! She almost has like, an Adele-like tone. It's incredible."
Aldean told the teens they "complement each other very well," even though "both of you guys are, like, great singers. That's a dynamic I feel like you don't really see a lot."
In the Battle Rounds, which concluded Tuesday, Clarkson and the other coaches asked two artists from their team to sing the same song together on stage. After the performance, the coach picked one of the two acts to advance to the Knockout Rounds, where they will compete with singers from the other coaches' teams.
Clarkson gave McKay and the Butler County sisters a slow version of Gore's 1963 hit. Macie Cunningham said she enjoyed the challenge.
"It's super exciting to be, like, out of the box and learning new things, and Kelly is teaching us a lot," said Macie, a bi-racial teen whose great-grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Sr. of Hamilton, led the Holy City Travelers gospel music group. "Growing up, and only singing at church, we didn't focus on anyone around us. But on The Voice stage, it's like, all eyes on you."
"There was really a long journey finding our voice," Macie said, "and going through the super hard times at school, and like getting bullied. But we had each other's backs the whole way through it … We're stronger together.
"And now I understand what they mean when they say dreams come true," Macie said.
Legend, Grande and Shelton praised McKay's performance, but said she was no match for the Hamilton teens.
"What the Cunningham sisters are doing is so special," Grande said.
"Parker is the best vocalist," Legend said, "but there's something so dynamic and interesting about the Cunningham sisters. You all should have a TV show. I feel like … there is so much that intrigues me about you and I want to see where you go."
Where they're going is to the Knockout Rounds, which begin Monday Oct. 25 on The Voice (8-10 p.m., NBC). Winners of the Knockout Rounds advance to the live shows next month which will determine the winner this season.
Clarkson said she's very impressed that the sisters have "confidence and precision at such a young age… Anything I throw at them – like a challenge – they like it and kind of grow in that arena, so I’m excited about them.
"They're so young sometimes they don't even know that they're being bold," Clarkson said.