updated 05/20/2014 AT 4:00 AM ET
•originally published 05/20/2014 AT 6:25 AM ET
Kaufman closed out the show with applause that went on so long and so loud that the coaches could barely comment. Singing Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain,” the Indianapolis father of three made a case for himself as a masterful soul singer.
“Oh, my,” his coach, Usher, enthused, barely audible over the cheers. “Throughout this whole process you have wanted to represent soul and that is precisely who and what you are.”
Adam Levine, the only other coach who got in a word, was also won over. “You’re super-amazing,” he told Kaufman, who earned four chair turns in the blind auditions but nearly got the boot when Levine chose another artist in a battle round and Usher jumped in to save him.
Each contestant sang one song picked out by viewers and a second song of their choice.
Grimmie – the Marlton, New Jersey, YouTube sensation who has set herself apart all season by picking surprising songs – chose the Elvis Presley classic “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” starting off slow and tender and then closing out with sustained notes that staked her claim as the season’s star.
“That was flawless,” said Shakira, the only coach without an artist in the final three. “I was in complete awe. I mean, ‘Wow!’ You push envelopes and you put our own stamp on everything you do.”
Blake Shelton also applauded Grimmie’s moxie. “To cover Elvis, that is the biggest chance you can take. I thought it was cool.”
Quickly, however, Levine stepped in to make a stronger case that Grimmie should win – noting her artistic vision.
“The underwhelming commentary from Usher and Blake were just self-protection,” Levine, who won last season, said. “Every step of the way, all the great choices this girl has made, she made on her own.”