After a series of eliminations, The Voice should now be down to the point where any artist should be in danger of going home. While perpetual favorites like Adam Wakefield and Alisan Porter are more than likely safe, god have mercy on everyone’s souls if Christina loses Alisan; they have lost a little bit of a safety net. So let’s see if Alisan and Adam decide to stupidly coast and if fallen stars like Shalyah Fearing finally decide to step back up. 

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Paxton Ingram Performs “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)”

It is still taking me some time to process Christina’s outfit, so I don’t know if I’m judging Paxton’s performance in the right frame of mind. (Seriously, what is Christina wearing? And is what she is wearing appropriate for all ages? Hell, is it appropriate for anyone of any age to be confronted with that outfit without a warning?)

Anyway, Paxton, we’re talking about Paxton. This is not as good as his Celine Dion cover, but I do like Paxton’s new direction of singing female diva songs, as weird and unexpected as it might seem. Though, to go back to Christina, did she actually mean to insult Paxton by saying his performance reminded her of her first grade talent show? This is not the most glowing of critiques, even if she is trying to be positive and, of course, bring things back to herself. 

Mary Sarah Performs “My Church”

Mary Sarah hasn’t always been the most genuine of artists on The Voice. It was particularly evident in her Carrie Underwood cover that she was just trying to be Carrie Underwood. I’m not quite as positive on this one as the judges are, but there does seem to be a level of ease and comfort here that’s otherwise been missing with Mary. 

Nick Hagelin Performs “Hold On, We’re Going Home”

Despite all the things I’ve said about Nick — a lot of them not positive — I was totally ready to love this performance. Even if the screaming women were terrible in Nick’s Instant Save song, he did seem way more confident and was way more fun to watch as a result. I was hoping he could keep it going … but nope. I’m still not into his voice. See you in the Bottom 2 this time, Nick.

Hannah Huston Performs “Say You Love Me” 

I never thought Hannah was lacking emotion, but whatever. If the end result of Hannah thinking she needs to be more powerful and emotional is a performance like this, I’m not going to argue. She might be the last artist on Team Pharrell, but after performances like this one she should easily be in the finale, if not in contention to win the whole thing. Hannah is just as good here as Alisan has been in one her many diva-esque power ballads.  

Shalyah Fearing Performs “A Change is Gonna Come” 

Finally! This is the Shalyah that I’ve been waiting to see for weeks and weeks on The Voice. Shalyah hasn’t been bad since the Live Playoffs, but she hasn’t been memorable. This is extremely memorable and extremely powerful. Shalyah hasn’t been picking the right songs for so long and she gets it right here. It feels so good for her to be back where she belongs, in the front of the competition. 

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Laith Al-Saadi Performs “We Got Tonight”

Laith is actually starting to rub me the wrong way. I like pretty much everyone in the competition — yes, including Nick. (He’s a nice guy; I just don’t like his voice.) Laith is an exception. Laith’s head is becoming as big as his beard. Laith taking responsibility for bringing B.B. King to a national stage is insane. I’m pretty sure B.B. King has been famous long before The Voice and Laith’s little cover. B.B. King will continue to be a musical legend long after Laith. Laith is special on The Voice and is an incredibly gifted singer, but he is not the best blues singer to ever live, so chill, bro. Laith’s album only got to the top of the iTunes blues charts because A) he was given a national platform, and B) blues is not at all a popular genre of music.

So the part of me that despises arrogance, even unintentional arrogance, would love to see Laith crash and burn. He, of course, doesn’t. This is probably his best performance yet, so the pigheadedness will continue. Pharrell’s (and Adam’s) praise is only going to swell his head even more too.

Gwen and Blake (Finally) Sing a Duet 

Carson Daly is greatly overestimating how much I’ve wanted to see Gwen and Blake sing together. I might not-so-secretly be obsessed with celebrity gossip, but no part of me needed hardcore country singer Blake Shelton singing with alternative pop (read: super weird) singer Gwen Stefani. This is not quite the trainwreck as you’d think from the mismatch of voices, but it’s not the best of The Voice coach duets either — far from it. Oddly, that honor goes to Christina’s own single with Blake.

Adam Wakefield Performs “Love Has No Pride”

I have ears, so I’ve obviously been aware since Adam began on this show that he is an amazing singer. I will admit that while I’ve liked a lot of Adam’s performances, they’ve never really stayed with me. I tend to forget them almost as soon as the coaches are done giving their comments. I think this one is going to stay with me, most likely because I’m going to be heading to iTunes as soon as this is officially up. Adam’s insane iTunes sales have told me he is a frontrunner, but it’s not until this performance that I really understand and believe it.

Alisan Porter Performs “Cryin'” 

I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop with Alisan. Surely, there will come a time when her passionate wailing and rasp with get more repetitive than energizing. It has not yet happened and this is proof positive that it might never happen.

In my opinion, it doesn’t take much to sound better that Aerosmith because Steven Tyler just has one of the most irritating rock voices of all time. Even with the low bar that Tyler has set, Alisan vaults over it. I don’t know if you can say that Alisan keeps getting better, but that’s only because she is always so good.

Bryan Bautista Performs “1+1”

This starts off a bit too whiny for me. Bryan can have a lovely upper register, but he starts off struggling a teensy bit too hard to catch up to this song, which is clearly meant for a female singer. Most of the song manages to fit Bryan’s voice, especially towards the end. The end result is that things balance out to, if not to a perfect level, at least an acceptable one. 

This is not Bryan’s best performance, which is really a shame because it’s the first time he’s been given the coveted finale spot, but it should earn him another week. At least I hope it does because he’s easily my favorite male singer left on The Voice.

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The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.

(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)

Derek Stauffer

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Derek is a Philadelphia based writer and unabashed TV and comic book junkie. The time he doesn’t spend over analyzing all things nerdy he is working on his resume to be the liaison to the Justice League.