After America voted Daniel Passino off the show during last week’s elimination, NBC’s “The Voice” mushed on with the top nine performances. With precious few weeks left before a winner is crowned, the artists gave it their all with some experimental performances ahead of the semifinals.
It was a whirlwind episode Monday as the top nine took the stage along with celebrity guest performances including Season 9 winner Jordan Smith, Florida Georgia Line and coach Blake Shelton and former coach Gwen Stefani in a duet off the former’s upcoming album, “If I’m Honest.” However, the crux of the show was the performances of the remaining nine artists ahead of the semifinal eliminations tomorrow night.
To help America make the most informed decision before the most important night of voting on “The Voice” Season 9, below is a rundown of how each of the remaining artists sang:
Paxton Ingram, Team Blake
“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston
After Paxton dipped a little bit in the iTunes charts last week, coach Blake took a more hands-on approach with him on Monday. With his coach believing that, despite his slip, he has what it takes to capture a great deal of America’s vote, he gave him a female powerhouse song that allowed him to show off his high-energy gospel roots. Sadly, somewhere along the line the decision was made to make the song a really emotional and acoustic-leaning cover. That essentially removed all the parts of the song where Paxton could have showcased his upbeat style and forced him to step outside his comfort zone to more emotional fare. While no one in the top nine at this point is completely bad, this felt like a missed opportunity.
Mary Sarah, Team Blake
“My Church” by Maren Morris
Each week, Sarah benefits immensely from being the only remaining female country artist in the competition. She leaned on that heavily in her top nine performance. Step one was picking a song that allowed her to meld country and a bit of rock ’n’ roll seamlessly in a way that gave her a chance to show versatility without stepping outside her comfort zone. Step two was knocking the performance directly out of the park. It was a calculated effort on her part, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t her absolute best showcase on “The Voice” yet.
Nick Hagelin, Team Xtina
“Hold On, We’re Going Home” by Drake ft. Majid Jordan
After finding himself in the bottom two last week (but then being instantly saved), Nick came back to the live stage with a vengeance with a hip-hop song that he tried his best to make his own. He did well but did struggle a bit on the falsetto. He produced a unique cover that may have prompted many to take to iTunes to vote him through; still, it might not have been the best vocal performance for the Christina Aguilera team member.
Hannah Huston, Team Pharrell
“Say You Love Me” by Jessie Ware
There was a lot of pressure on Hannah going into the top nine as she’s the only remaining chance that coach Pharrell Williams has to win the competition before he exits the show for the foreseeable future. During rehearsal it was clear the pressure was starting to get to the artist, but she managed to overcome it onstage, channeling the bittersweetness of her current position into an emotional cover. It wasn’t as entertaining as the performances of her competition, but her vocal and heartfelt stage presence may be enough to keep her around for the top eight.
Shalyah Fearing, Team Adam
“A Change Is Gonna Come” as sung by Sam Cooke
Shalyah is a confident artist who never fails to amaze on “The Voice” stage. Adam Levine’s team member has a chance to win the whole thing because it gets more difficult to say something original about her each week. As always, she connected with the song, poured her heart and soul into it (both physically and emotionally) and arranged a cover worthy of repeat plays on iTunes. The only thing more impressive than this performance will likely be her showcase next week.
Laith Al-Saadi, Team Adam
“We’ve Got Tonight” by Bob Seger
Laith is by far the best musician that “The Voice” has seen in a while. Last week he performed a blues classic so well that he climbed to the top of the iTunes charts. That must have bolstered his confidence as he tried something completely new for his top nine performance, a ballad. Fortunately for fans of the classic rocker, he was still able to give it something unique and soulful. It’s rare for an artist in his genre to both progress so far and showcase versatility, but Laith might just be the professional talent that the competition has so desperately been seeking. As if his vocals weren’t enough, almost getting a tear in his eye solidified his as the best performance of the night.
Adam Wakefield, Team Blake
“Love Has No Pride” by Bonnie Raitt
Adam took the stage with a stripped-down performance of the Bonnie Raitt classic. However, the night wasn’t really about stripped-down performances and his stood out as one of the boring showings of the night. However, as always it was a well sung number that benefited immensely from the artist playing piano, where he has felt most comfortable in the show so far. While it wasn’t his best cover, it was still expertly sung by an artist with all the trappings of a professional.
Alisan Porter, Team Xtina
“Cryin’ ” by Aerosmith
Alisan started her rehearsal by showing her kids playing with her coach, Christina. That didn’t have much to do with her performance, but it sure was cute and got her time onstage started on a high note. Each week on “The Voice,” this artist sings like she knows she might not get a chance to do this again. It’s almost therapeutic how uncut this mom allows herself to be while performing. With attitude, raspy vocals and brilliant song choice, her cover of the Aerosmith song was a flawless example of what kind of musicians the show can inspire with the right motivation and permission from coaches. If she keeps up on this trajectory, she may have to face the reality that she actually does get to do this kind of thing forever as a winner of “The Voice.”
Bryan Bautista, Team Xtina
“1+1” by Beyoncé
This artist took a big risk last week by singing a song that was in Spanish. However, he moved to the top of the iTunes Latin charts. This gave him the confidence to take on a Beyoncé hit. As always, Bryan relied on his flirtatious relationship with the audience a bit, but his vocals were on point. His performance was unique and had a catchy hook thanks to his backup singers, which is indicative of good coaching and a skilled arrangement, but didn’t necessarily give him the chance to show his best performance value.