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The Voice recap: The Live Playoffs, Night 1

The singers lay it all on the line in hopes of reaching the Top 12

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Trae Patton/NBC

The Voice

TV Show
Reality TV, Music
run date:
Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani, Alicia Keys
Current Status:
In Season

All four of The Voice‘s coaches have carefully crafted their teams into dynamic arrays of interesting voices, but this week, we’ll see half of the season 10 talents go home empty-handed as the live playoffs begin on an epic slash-and-dash three-day sprint for Top 12. It’s efficient, sure, but also brutal.

Which means tonight’s contestants from Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton‘s teams have got to bring everything they’ve got to the stage and let the voters decide whom they want to hear more of. With two last-minute returnees getting second shots at stardom, the first leg of the Top 24 performances kick off with each making their case for another round.

1. Paxton Ingram (Team Blake):

Team Blake’s resident whip and nae nae instructor has apparently been getting the star treatment back home in Miami, Florida — he even got asked for some selfie time during a random fender bender — since making it past the knockouts. And now he’s totally ready to take that to the next level, as proven by his performance of Calvin Harris and the Disciples’ “How Deep Is Your Love.” Not only are his notes on-point, but he manages to keep the performance strong throughout, even as he’s zipping around the stage at oxygen-depriving speeds. Needless to say, it’s one heck of an enthusiastic intro to the lives, and he gets a well-deserved four-part series of double thumbs up from the coaching squad. Blake feels good about his chances of making it into the Top 12, easily.

2. Ryan Quinn (Team Christina):

The Quinnsanity (which should probably be a trademarked term, tbh) is definitely real. The music teacher with a heart of gold has already turned fans into a gaggle of heart-eyed emojis, all while keeping his calm and collected persona steady throughout the blinds, battles, and knockouts. But now Christina wants him to reveal a deeper, more vulnerable side to himself, which includes ripping off the glasses and transplanting his heart to his sleeve during his performance of Sam Smith’s “I’m Not the Only One.” And, well, mission accomplished. As Pharrell puts it, he delivers “one of those performances where you have to give it up … you’re a hater if you don’t.” By the time he takes the stage, any pre-performance jitters that had him breaking at the high notes are gone, and he’s “effortless” with the trills and thrills.

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3. Katie Basden (Team Blake):

For Blake, Katie Basden is, in music math, Trisha Yearwood 2.0 plus a dash of Carrie Underwood, so he’s hopeful that her rendition of “Georgia Rain” can help to show off her status as the “rangiest singer on the show.” She, meanwhile, just wants to be a sweet stage storyteller who reaches people who might be going through what she has, and when she hits the stage, she finds herself somewhere in the middle. There are definitely moments when she’d be audibly indistinguishable from the woman who originated the song, but then there are others when she takes it away into her own little place of deep tonal dives. While Adam’s eating his heart out for letting her go since she sounds like she’s already on her third record release, Blake’s pretty cheesed out with a smile that says she’s got the stuff to make it past this week’s eliminations.

NEXT: A pitch perfect song choice earns all the smiles …