“The Voice” returned for a second night of live performances in a row after Monday’s impressive showcase from the teams of coaches Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera. Tonight it was time for Adam Levine and Pharrell Williams to bring their six respective artists to the stage and vie for a shot at making it to the top 12 of Season 10.
Not only was it the first time the members of the two teams got to take the stage live, but also have their fate decided by the American voting public. Adding to the pressure on the artists who survived the knockout rounds last week, both coaches got a chance to bring back one previously eliminated singer. For Team Adam, that artist was Nate Butler, while Team Pharrell went with Daniel Passino.
With the future of the show now in the hands of voting fans, many may need a refresher on how each artist did during their first live show. To help ensure voters making this vital decision have all the tools and resources necessary, below is a rundown of how each artist performed:
Daniel Passino, Team Pharrell
“When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars
This was Pharrell Williams’ choice for a comeback artist after he lost to Team Xtina’s Alisan Porter in the battle rounds. He was clearly upset at the time, coming to tears on the stage. However, Williams believed he still had what it takes to perfect his craft and become a formidable artist in Season 10. Passino took the soulful Bruno Mars song and made it his own with an arrangement that surprised even his coach. Overall, he started the night in a very strong way.
Emily Keener, Team Pharrell
“Still Crazy After All These Years” by Paul Simon
Each year, Pharrell Williams typically has one of the youngest artists of the competition on his team. While that’s true this year for Keener, 17, she’s an old soul with a passion for music typically reserved for those who lived through the Nixon administration. She came out to impress in her first live performance by opting to play the piano while she sang instead of leaving it up to the live band. While this would typically make an artist’s entertainment value suffer, Williams and Keener have a strategy going where she relies heavily on a more emotionally nuanced performance. For the time being, it seems to be working very well.
Laith Al-Saadi, Team Adam
“With a Little Help From My Friends” by Joe Cocker
As previously mentioned, it takes a special kind of artist to take on the risk of playing an instrument on live TV. However, Al-Saadi not only elects to noodle on his electric guitar during the show, he insists on it. This week, it helped him in a fantastic way. He picked the soulful yet emotional Joe Cocker version of the Beatles song and woke up an audience that had just sat through two very slow and, by comparison, boring songs. He may be in danger when it comes time for the American voting public because he’s not like most of the pop or country-leaning artists in the competition. However, if there are enough people who like watching classic rock, he’s kind of the only option.
Moushumi, Team Pharrell
“Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber
Moushumi went with the popular Bieber hit because she said it would help her showcase what people can expect from her original music. However, Williams had to take a few artistic liberties during rehearsal because it was sounding a bit bland. Sadly, when the time came for her to take the live stage, even her coach’s flavor on the song didn’t do much to help Moushumi stand out from the others. While she’s certainly got talent, the live playoffs are a time to show the audience something they’ve never seen before. Overall, this artist failed to achieve that.
Lacy Mandigo, Team Pharrell
“Love Is a Battlefield” by Pat Benatar
As her coach noted, it’s always refreshing to see a metal-leaning rocker on the “Voice” stage. That might be the reason that this artist has already been passed among three coaches in her time on the competition. Realizing she needed to step up her game if she wanted to continue, she took the stage with the '80s rock hit. While her voice was as formidable as any other that took the stage on Tuesday, it was her attitude that might make voters respond well. However, despite the rock 'n' roll nature of the song, something felt a bit lackluster about Mandigo’s time onstage. It’s possible it didn’t carry enough of a wow factor to propel her to the top 12.
Owen Danoff, Team Adam
“Hero” by Family of the Year
This artist admitted during rehearsal that his biggest weakness is the fact that he’s a shy person, which often doesn’t translate well to a confident performance onstage. After a quick pep talk from his coach, he took the stage as a new man with a stripped-down performance of a song that, appropriately, was all about regaining one’s confidence. The artist did just that, bringing a note of hope to a stage that was desperately lacking in any emotion other than terror and desperation. While he may not have been the best performer this evening, it’s possible he was the most impactful of the night.
Shalyah Fearing, Team Adam
“Listen” by Beyoncé
As Levine noted, this isn’t a typical Beyoncé song. It focuses a lot more on the singer’s gospel and R&B style than anything else. Levine tends to coach his artists from less of a musical perspective and more of an emotional one. When Fearing was worried that her nerves were getting the better of her, he told her to lean into that insecurity as it was making her performance sound real. When she finally took the stage, words couldn’t begin to describe the moment with justice. Pharrell Williams was on his feet almost instantly, the crowd reacted with thunderous applause and Aguilera shed more than one tear by the time it was done. With a lot of talented artists in the competition, Fearing proved that she is by far the front-runner of Season 10.
Nate Butler, Team Adam
“Sara Smile” by Hall & Oates
Levine was upset when he lost this artist during the knockout rounds, which is why he selected him to come back to the competition and give it another shot on “The Voice” Season 10. As with all four of the returning artists, Butler took the stage hungry, having tasted defeat and felt the sting of packing up and going home. Adding a suave performance element that he previously underutilized in other rounds, Butler proved to be one of the best crooners remaining in the 2016 competition. From high notes to deep runs, his versatility is almost unparalleled at this stage in the show.
Caity Peters, Team Pharrell
“I’ll Be Waiting” by Adele
Doing an Adele song is a risky move, but Williams was confident that this was the right song choice for his artist to stand out on the live stage. After coaxing some more energy out of her in rehearsal, Peters gave one of the more theatrical showings of the night. Her background as a performing student really showed during the round, despite her nerves about being on live TV. The song allowed her to show her vocal agility and impressive range as she took the peppy Adele single and made it her very own. She may be an interesting competitor to watch in later rounds when the stage performances get a lot more production value.
Caroline Burns, Team Adam
“All I Want” by Kodaline
Yet another shy artist who needed the coaxing of the Maroon 5 singer to get her inner pop star to come out. Luckily, Levine didn’t lose his touch and this young artist took the stage to prove she’s got the chops to be considered a front-runner despite being only 16 years old. At times it was downright eerie to hear the sage-sounding adult voice emanate from this little girl, but therein lies the true talent that comes with this artist. Although she wasn’t necessarily a showstopper, she certainly demonstrated an innate talent that will likely send her forward in the top 12.
Brian Nhira, Team Adam
“Alive” by Sia
Levine labeled this singer his favorite to win the competition during rehearsals, and Nhira did nothing but live up to that title when he took the stage. The Sia song was a perfect fit for his high vocals and gave him a chance to top a lot of the other performers in terms of showcasing natural talent. And this is one of the more technically difficult songs out there. While a lot of artists have wonderful singing voices coupled with good stage presence, few are as much fun to watch as Nhira.
Hannah Huston, Team Pharrell
“Ain’t No Way” by Aretha Franklin
Closing out the night was Team Pharrell’s Huston. She was not only one of the most classic artists of the night, she finished the show with a number that was both soulful and highly entertaining. Given the fact that she’s got the least stage experience of any artist on the stage, her performance was all the more impressive. Although it’s now in the hands of America, there’s a good chance the public will want to see what she can do with more coaching in future rounds.