The Voice has gotten rid of the awkward and ugly Top 11, if a number can be realistically called awkward and ugly. Now all that remains is the much cleaner and easily divisible Top 10. The Voice is one step away from getting things down to single digits and even closer to getting rid of this annoyingly slow one-elimination-a-week structure. So let’s dive in and see how the contestants deal with the pressure.

'The Voice' Recap: The Top 10 Perform

Remember, this is a live blog, so stay on this page and refresh every 15 minutes or so for the latest updates on the song choices, the performances and how many times everyone has to stop and compliment Christina on the talent of her team.

The First Lady and Second Lady Introduce the Top 10

While the message behind what Michelle Obama and Jill Biden are doing on The Voice is important, I’m extremely distracted by the teleprompter reading. I’m also really distracted by Michelle and Jill doing just as good a job as Carson at hosting. I’m just saying, Michelle won’t be First Lady for much longer and one of her daughters is headed to college. I’d gladly accept her over Carson next season.

The group performance that follows with the Top 10 is one of the better ones from this season, if not the series. The Voice doesn’t try to give everyone a solo and moment in the performance, which could have been a real mess. Instead, they pick the artists whose voices are best suited to highlight with the song. It’s a good method, even if that means a lot of solos by Nick Hagelin.

Daniel Passino Performs “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”

Earlier this season. I expressed my undying hatred for “Lady Marmalade.” If there is a song that I hate more than “Lady Marmalade,” it is “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” It’s so boring, rout and cliched. Oddly, Daniel Passino’s voice fits this song much better than the original with Steven Tyler, but it’s a losing battle. The “pitch issues” that the coaches point out don’t help matters. It should be no big surprise when he ends up in the Bottom 2 again. Of course, someone could screw up even more; we’ll just have to wait and see.

Shalyah Fearing Performs “My Kind of Love”

I guess Shalyah felt left out of the family-palooza last time and that’s why her mother came into rehearsals for no reason whatsoever. I mean, I guess there is a Mother’s Day tie-in — the holiday, not the awful current Julia Roberts movie, but who cares? I largely feel that way about her performance. It’s not bad and it’s not great; it’s just whatever.

Nick Hagelin Performs “I Can’t Help It”

I don’t know what’s worse about this experience. Nick describing this performance as him breaking out of his box while singing in an actual box is weird. Nick’s terribly awkward story from his past about his dad, which the editors somehow don’t cut out, is uncomfortable. Maybe it’s just the weird chair dancing which is somewhere between an invisible lap dance and cabaret that rubs me the wrong way. Obviously, I’m not a fan. Can Nick just leave — not even get voted out — just dance off the stage and out of the studio?

Hannah Huston Performs “Rolling in the Deep”

There are certainly moments when Hannah sounds great (as always), but I feel like this is the completely wrong song choice. Hannah can hit a lot of the notes here, which is incredibly impressive because it’s Adele she is emulating. However, there are a few moments, not many but enough, where she is really straining and the result is a whiny strain. It’s heads above anything else during the Top 10, but the bar is pretty low.

Laith Al-Saadi Performs “The Thrill is Gone”

The Voice should really provide the Blind Audition chairs for everyone during Laith’s auditions. I do feel slightly guilty saying this because it’s not as if Laith is hideous and I’m certainly not in danger of becoming a model. It’s really just the god-awful weird faces Laith makes when he’s singing and playing guitar. It’s so distracting and I’m worried he is in real pain. Of course, if you just close your eyes, Laith’s voice, the song choice and guitar playing are all just so excellent.

Paxton Ingram Performs “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now”

Wow. We are now living in a world where Shalyah Fearing was completely forgettable and Paxton is giving the second best performance of the night (so far). It’s a scary world and a new one, but I think I like it. This builds on his great performance in the Top 11 and it raises the bar even higher. I hate any Celine Dion song, mostly because her voice just irritates me. (Listen, I recognize she is incredibly talented, but the nasally part of her register irks me.) This is by far Paxton’s best performance and Team Blake is well on its way to overtaking Team Christina.

Mary Sarah Performs “Stand By Your Man”

Mary Sarah has finally gotten back to the top of The Voice heap. After several failed experiments of more pop/country songs and other moments where she felt barely engaged, Mary Sarah gets back into her groove and comfort zone. This does sound oddly similar to her Blind Audition at times. Since that is easily her best performance, though, it’s far from a bad thing to sound similar.

Bryan Bautista Performs “Promise”

Christina might think it is a risk for Bryan to sing a song mostly in Spanish, but honestly, the English sections of this song are the weakest. This is not to say that Bryan sounds bad, but there is a magical smoothness to the Spanish portions that is missing with the English. I also have forgotten every Spanish I have ever learned. I can just pretend the lyrics are the most beautiful thing ever. In actuality, they are probably just as simplistic as the English ones.

It doesn’t matter, though, because ultimately it is very entertaining. Bryan might be the favorite of those left in the competition. (I still miss you, Owen!) I could have done without Christina pretending at the end that she is the champion of the Latin community by saying how important Bryan is to the competition, even if she isn’t entirely wrong about it.

Alisan Porter Performs “Let Him Fly”

I was on the verge of exhaustion when it came to Alisan’s big ballad-esque performances. It was becoming a bit of a pattern and it was easy, personally, just to tune Alisan out entirely. This slower and much more intimate song it is really welcome. This immediately makes me sit up and listen. This stripped-down performance with the beautiful story behind it hits harder than anything Alisan has done so far on The Voice.

Adam Wakefield Performs “I Got a Woman”

Unlike most everyone else, I actually really liked Adam’s performance of “Lights.” It was different, but I enjoyed seeing something from Adam that we hadn’t seen before. This performance is a extension of the idea that “Lights” introduced, but he perfects it. Adam has always sounded great, but it would be hard to describe any of his performances as fun. There is no other word for this but joy. This is the most charismatic (and enjoyable) Adam has ever been on The Voice.

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.