After a surprising night of results (you’re really going to save Paxton, Blake?), the Top 12 of The Voice season 10 are ready to take the stage. It’s not all cause for excitement, however. The snail’s pace elimination practice of season 9 is back in effect, so that means only one artist will be taken out of the Top 12.
While it is somewhat disappointing that The Voice live eliminations won’t mean much for some time, this does mean that the artists have more time than usual to grow and improve. Considering the talent of the two frontrunners, Alisan Porter and Shalyah Fearing, that time might prove invaluable. This is the first night to find out if the Top 12 will make the use of that time. Remember, this is a live blog, so stay on this page and update every 15 minutes or so for the latest updates!
The Final 4 Will Perform Original Songs
That’s a cool announcement to open the show. I’m a little worried because original songs on reality shows can go terribly wrong. There are multiple seasons of proof of that fact on American Idol. Let’s just hope that the writers of the songs are not the same that write Carson’s cue cards. Or was it Mr. Daly’s ad-libbing that came up with that “We’re big fans of original content [indeterminable pause] here” line?
Mary Sarah Performs “So Small”
I’m not sure what to make of this one. Mary Sarah’s appeal, to me, has always been in her ability to tap into old era of country music. Mary’s voice doesn’t really translate to the more contemporary sounding Carrie Underwood. Mary sounds like she is impersonating Carrie Underwood a bit too much for my liking with this cover. Mary isn’t really in danger of going home, but she also didn’t do much to improve her chances of winning The Voice.
Laith Al-Saadi Performs “Born Under a Bad Sign”
Maybe it’s just my current mood or the fact that it’s actually annoying, but Laith’s facial expressions are really being to irk me. He looks physically in pain while singing and that might be in character with the song, but it just looks like he is having a facial seizure. I’m legitimately concerned at several points.
As for Laith’s voice, though, I think this might be the weakest of his performances. Laith has been at such a high quality, though, that this isn’t much of a criticism. This does feel like a down step from his Live Playoffs performance, which is disappointing. It’s not “subtle” like Adam describes; it’s just kind of boring.
Daniel Passino Performs “Human Nature”
It’s a risky move to sing an artist that is as iconic as Michael Jackson. The comparisons are undeniable and immediate. Daniel doesn’t really get outside Michael’s shadow. If anything, he starts to pivot into it with his dance moves and mannerisms. Daniel really begins to separate himself at the end of the song with that run of high notes, which is good if not outright awesome.
The one thing that jumps out is Daniel’s attitude. He is having so much fun singing this and it makes him fun to watch. Can we just retire “Damn Daniel” from praising or critiquing Daniel’s performances, though? This meme died by the time it made it to the mainstream.
Emily Keener Performs “Lilac Wine”
This is by far Emily’s best performance. This really is magical. It has taken a while for Emily to get to this level, but it was worth the wait. This one performance makes all of Pharrell’s faith and patience in Emily mean something. If Emily can have a couple more performances at this level, she could unseat Owen Danoff as the “quirky” and indie frontrunner.
Nick Hagelin Performs “Mine Would Be You”
Nick’s save by America was surprising and some (aka me) would say it was a mistake. However, this performance is surprising on a whole other level. This is a really interesting take on Blake’s original. Nick probably won’t ever be on my list of favorite artists on the show, but this is really emotional and very near beautiful. Nick could dig out a really nice spot on the show as the “love song guy.” All heartfelt emotions aside for a moment, though; his wife is totally wearing a bridal dress in the audience, right? And it’s totally weird?
Adam Wakefield Performs “Soulshine”
Adam has always had an absolutely unreal voice, but he’s been lacking an emotional connection for me. I don’t want (or need) Adam to be more bubbly and smiley; I just need him to be a tad bit vulnerable. Basically, he needs to prove that he isn’t a robot engineered to have a great voice and fantastic hair. Adam delivers everything I’ve been looking for in this one performance. This is raw and emotional but, above all, a performance with impeccable vocal control.
Bryan Bautista Performs “Kiss from a Rose”
It seems like a no-brainer for Bryan to pick this Seal song and nail it, but for some reason it doesn’t connect. There’s no way that this can be classified as bad and it would be a cruel world if Bryan is eliminated next. This just doesn’t feel like the soothing lullaby that the coaches describe. It does feel like a lullaby but only in the sense that it almost puts me to sleep.
Owen Danoff Performs “7 Years”
I can’t tell if it is smart or suicidal to choose the current number one song on iTunes to sing
on The Voice, considering how beneficial iTunes rankings can be for an artist. Strategic decision aside, this is a really fantastic job by Owen. I have loved everything that Owen has done in the competition, but the level of confidence Owen shows here is really special. I’ve always liked the quiet Owen, but if this new, strong and brash Owen is here to stay, I’m more than ready to welcome him. Call me crazy, but this could easily replace Lukas Graham’s original on iTunes.
Alisan Porter Performs “Stone Cold”
While I’ve liked Demi Lovato in interviews and the few times she has acted, she is pretty overrated as a vocalist. Needless to say, Alisan completely smashes the Demi original. There is very little to say about Alisan at this point. She’s great and she’s always great. It’s a little boring, honestly, but the alternative is we don’t get to hear her voice, so it’s forgivable to put up with the monotony.
Paxton Ingram Performs “Hands to Myself”
This is so clearly a course correction from the online reception Paxton got for his Live Playoffs performance. It’s not that the correction isn’t welcome, but I do find it hilarious how Paxton just came straight out and said he wasn’t going to dance this week. Blake still should have saved Katie Basden for the Top 12, but this is a nice reminder that Paxton is a fun singer, if not always fantastic. Unfortunately, this performance is not enough to save him from the Bottom 2 he is careening towards.
Hannah Huston Performs “Something’s Got a Hold of Me”
This is awesome. Hannah is having so much fun and marching around the stage. She is so expressive in her movements without sacrificing anything about her vocals. Hannah might get lost in the shuffle of the conversation of big female voices this season. She’s not as “buzz-worthy” like Shalyah and Alisan. Granted, Hannah hasn’t quite hit their level, but it’s coming. Right now, those three ladies are the easy predictions for three members of the final four.
Shalyah Fearing Performs “Up to the Mountain”
Speaking of Shalyah, she gets the final spot and she proves she deserved it. I don’t like the song choice here; it’s a little too manufactured to be powerful than actually being powerful. When Shalyah and the song do get going, it really gets going. “Listen” was a far better moment for Shalyah, but this isn’t a step back. If anything, it is a step to the side, though it should be mentioned that Tamar Davis picked a boring song, sang the heck out of it and still went home in the Live Playoffs. I would be shocked and appalled if the same happens to Shalyah, but there is a precedent.
The Voice season 10 airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)