The Top 10 have a lot of pressure on them tonight because not only are they putting on nationally televised performances in hopes of winning over all of America, but they’re also singing for the nation’s first ladies, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, a slew of military service members, and their families who are being honored by the show, and, most importantly, some of their mothers.
So, which of the Top 10 will earn their stars and stripes and mama’s pride? Let’s review.
1. Daniel Passino (Team Pharrell):
“I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith
After surviving the bottom two by slim margins last week, Daniel Passino has made a very, very big mistake: Going online and reading a bunch of negative internet comments about himself (*headdesk* nooooo). Daniel’s had some issues with confidence in the past, so he needs an extra layer of doubt like a bad case of laryngitis right about now.
Coach Pharrell Williams does his best to clear Daniel’s mind of last week’s rankings and whatever put-downs he’s read about himself lately — “not one of those comments can motivate you,” he promises — but Daniel’s mostly flat performance (of a song that should be almost excessively dynamic) proves that he’s definitely been affected by all the setbacks he’s experienced throughout his term on The Voice. Bummer.
2. Shalyah Fearing (Team Adam):
“My Kind of Love” by Emile Sande
Shalyah’s emerged as an early favorite for this season — Adam even thinks she’s one good performance away from earning a sure spot in the finale — but there are still some viewers who really need to see her dial down the decibel level a bit to be convinced of the skill set behind her usual intensity.
This week, she seems to want to rise to that occasion, going for a stormier, lower key tune, but is it going to be the deal-maker Adam’s hoping for? Hardly. As Blake Shelton says in the meat of his compliment sandwich, what she winds up with is “ragged and edgy [and] there was nothing smooth about it.” She’s still one of the stronger showings of the night, and Adam Levine’s already pitching her Top 9 performance number (Mary J. Blige’s “No More Drama,” apparently), so we certainly don’t expect her to go anywhere. But this was a rare miss for her.
WANT MORE? Keep up with all the latest from last night’s television by subscribing to our newsletter. Head here for more details.
3. Nick Hagelin (Team Christina):
“I Can’t Help It” by Michael Jackson
Nick Hagelin’s earned enough fanfare to keep pushing him through week after week, but this week he’s out to prove himself to everyone else. In both the literal and metaphorical sense, he’s ready to move outside of “the box” (as in, there’s an actual box on the stage that he sits in — with Olivia Pope’s murder chair, no less) and reveal himself as a long-time artist with skills and dreams and all the rest.
Whether you’re a Nick Hagelin enthusiast or not, he definitely gets points this week for finding a fitting tone zone with this song. Is he perfect? No. But he’s less imperfect than usual, so that’s something, right? Christina Aguilera credits voters for Nick Hagelin’s ability to return and earn tonight’s “Most Improved” ribbon, rather than the usual participation trophy.
NEXT: This singer sends haters to the left …
4. Hannah Huston (Team Pharrell):
“Rolling in the Deep” by Adele
Hannah’s right: You’ve *got* to be careful when singing an Adele songs because she’s magnificent. There have been a lot of big songs to find their way into the season 10 playlist so far, but this megahit by the modern-day diva is among the biggest.
Good thing Hannah’s totally on her game this week because even though Adam Levine’s only willing to give her “alien soul” a 99 percent score (he’s hung up on the choral transition of the original), she’s definitely playing it to the beat tonight with a good energy and strong, familiar tone. This is the Hannah who amazed so well early on in the season.
5. Laith Al-Saadi (Team Adam):
“The Thrill Is Gone” by B.B. King
Laith Al-Saadi has been relishing in a bunch of newfound fanfare lately, thanks to Pharrell pointing out the fact that the guy has not one, not two, but three albums available for purchase already. Snaps for that bonus.
This week he does nothing to jeopardize his status as a safe bet for the Top 9 because his performance is just as skilled and full of “musicianship” (to borrow Adam Levine’s phrase) as always. This man knows his ballpark and is willing to keep playing squarely within it as long as you’ll let him.
6. Paxton Ingram (Team Blake):
“It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Celine Dion
Blake Shelton has been touting Paxton Ingram (his “man crush” who he swears is the realest deal of a performer) since day one, and after last week’s ultra-energetic showing, Paxton found himself outpacing everyone else in iTunes sales and earning tweets from celebrity singers who couldn’t help but be taken to church by his gospel number.
While that might’ve seemed like a one-time deal, Paxton’s sudden spirit has carried with him to this week’s show too because he’s clearly feeling himself right now in the most useful way, judging by his showing tonight. For the most part, his voice is strong and clean, and even when he struggles at the tail end, it’s pretty easy to overlook that because of all he’s given to it beforehand. Blake praises him for being “in the zone” and says that his growth is the exact reason he keeps coming back to that red chair season after season, and it’s hard not to agree that he’s making a solid case for himself lately.
7. Mary Sarah (Team Blake):
“Stand By Your Man” by Tammy Wynette
Mary Sarah’s good about sticking to the classics that fit her best — Connie Francis, Loretta Lynn, Lynn Anderson, Heidi Newfield, and now this week with Tammy Wynette. She’s very near to perfect with the song, even sounding like a carbon copy of the original at times, and further solidifies the fact that she’s a born classic country singer, through and through. Suggestion for next week (since she’s just gotta make it through): Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.” It’s right there in her wheelhouse, and she’d own it.
8. Bryan Bautista (Team Christina):
“Promise” by Romeo Santos ft. Usher
Whatever style-slash-swagger bug bit Bryan Bautista before he re-joined The Voice for season 10, it’s obviously working for him because he’s done something fresh yet again this week. This time, he’s turning to his Dominican roots and singing lyrics that are half in Spanish, half in English, breaking out a bachata dance, and tapping into a sound that suddenly seems so germane and true to his personality in a way some of his prior showings have been lacking. Very well played.
NEXT: Saving the best for last …
9. Alisan Porter (Team Christina):
“Let Him Fly” by Patty Griffin
After last week’s straight-to-the-ceiling performance, there was exactly zero remaining doubt that Alisan Porter can belt. The lady can belt for days and days — no one’s questioning that at this point, and if they are, they’re just not paying attention. However, she also wants to prove herself to be an all-around vocalist who can break your heart with some vulnerability because no one wants to hear 60 minutes of scream on an album, yeah?
So, this week she’s smartly drawing it back a little bit and taming the flames of her ambition enough so that we can see something actually real behind her velocity and volume. The song is very personal to her — “it literally healed” her after her former lover died — and her emotion comes through very nicely in the words. Even stripped down like this, she’s still such a strong singer, and that’s exactly what she needs to stick (and it does).
As Blake puts it, “show ‘em what you do, Curly Sue.”
10. Adam Wakefield (Team Blake):
“I Got a Woman” by Ray Charles
The other able-and-ready performer of the group is Adam Wakefield. Blake seems to know that if Adam really wants to compete in the long haul for this show — especially against Mary Sarah for the country vote — he’s going to need to “keep the pedal to the metal” and have a really good time being the one who’s fronting the band, instead of backing up someone else. “It’s not time to play it safe anymore,” Blake warns.
And, lo, Blake’s mind is absolutely blown by Adam’s performance because Adam does seem to be having the grandest old time with piano solos and sudden high notes, and he holds his own as the night’s big closer. For Pharrell, who’s still dropping names over which record label should pick him up just as soon as this season is done, Adam Wakefield is “the next one.”
- Daniel Passino will find himself in the bottom two again this week. He’s a very likable person, but his presence just isn’t as passionate as it needs to be at this point.
- Nick Hagelin will get voted through this week again, leaving Bryan Bautista in the bottom two with Daniel.
- Daniel Passino will go home this week.
- Team Pharrell: Hannah Huston and Daniel Passino
- Team Blake: Paxton Ingram, Mary Sarah, and Adam Wakefield
- Team Christina: Bryan Bautista, Alisan Porter, and Nick Hagelin
- Team Adam: Shalyah Fearing and Laith Al-Saadi