And then there were eight.
The Voice will begin its long homestretch to Voice Victory Lane next week when the semifinals begin, which means tonight’s Top 9 elimination round is really about weeding out that last lingering contestant who doesn’t have a legitimate shot at competing for the win, and even though it comes down to a near-dead heat in the instant save, the right person is rescued.
The seven to get pushed through without having to fight for it tonight first are (in order of their announcements), along with any quotables they might have mentioned during their time-killing grill sessions with Carson Daly.
1. Hannah Huston (Team Pharrell): “It’s just really humbling to be here and continue growing and doing exactly what I love.”
2. Bryan Bautista (Team Christina): “The best experience was coming back from battle rounds when all four coaches were standing up… That’s when it felt like this was real.”
3. Adam Wakefield (Team Blake)
4. Laith Al-Saadi (Team Adam)
5. Mary Sarah (Team Blake): “I have to say I get a lot of proposals [on social media]. And every time I go in, I’m like, okay, I’m sure my dad’s watching like, no no no no no.”
6. Alisan Porter (Team Christina): “There’s a fire inside of me, and I couldn’t ignore that. And it’s such an honor for me to stand here for all moms that have dreams and desires.”
7. Shalyah Fearing (Team Adam): “My grandmother’s been a big influence and inspiration in my life, and…it was just an honor to be able to sing her that song. She’s a wonderful woman. I love her so much.”
That leaves Paxton Ingram and Nick Hagelin in the bottom two, as expected, to duke it out for that last remaining semifinals ticket.
And while Paxton’s first Whitney Houston performance this week was what got him into this situation in the first place, he’s bravely doubling down with another re-arrangement of one of her well-known classics while Nick Hagelin plays it as safe as safe gets with a highly accessible Eric Clapton hit.
NEXT: One of the guys has all the coaches singing…
Paxton Ingram (Team Blake):
“How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston
Blake Shelton is right to wonder why Paxton Ingram hasn’t performed this number before on the show. Even more specifically, one might be curious as to why he didn’t land on this one instead of the wobbly “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” he brought out yesterday. It’s so much more coherent and technically sound and shows that even when he’s not ballad-blasting all us sinners straight to church, there’s still a gifted vocalist standing on the stage whenever he takes it.
Adam Levine’s blown away by how well Paxton’s risen to the challenge of performing when he’s received such an ego crush as being relegated to the bottom two. “To see people kind of triumph in those situations, like you just did, that shows me so much resilience,” he says.
As for Blake, who has been consistent with his favoritism for Paxton as “true greatness,” he slips in a casual reminder that even if audiences don’t realize it, Paxton’s doing something unique every time he performs on this show. “If they think about your presence on this show is these songs you cover, every single time you do it, you take a song and you honor the original artists, but you make it your own,” Blake says to his season-long protege. “That is the mark of an artist who has a vision, and that’s why you belong to be here next week. That’s why you belong on this show.”
Nick Hagelin (Team Christina):
“Change the World” by Eric Clapton
Yesterday, Nick Hagelin performed a song called “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” and it seemed a little prophetic, especially since he decided on it as a reference to bringing his family into the music mix at long last. As he explains tonight, throughout his music career, he’s always kept his cutie patootie fam and his performance ambitions separate, but this show has shown him that his family is one of his biggest, if not the biggest, assets he’s got going for himself in the popularity realm. “This experience has really taught me to be myself and take the things that bring the most light in my life and show that to the world,” he says.
But while he might be changing his own little world, his save-me routine is unidimensional and, let’s face it, pretty weak when compared to the master class effort Paxton has put on before him. Pharrell Williams, Adam Levine, and Christina Aguilera are all quick with the personality praise, but their reviews include very little about the actual talent he’s displayed tonight.
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During the commercial break, the results percentage feed shows that the two are literally neck and neck with 50 percent apiece, and when the window closes for #VoiceSavePaxton or #VoiceSaveNick submissions to come through, host Carson Daly announces that the difference is as thin as 100 Twitter votes separating the two.
Ultimately, Paxton Ingram is chosen to join his pals — in his spare time, he hangs out with “Ally,” Bryan, and Hannah, apparently, instead of his teammates — in the Top 8. It was the right call.
Let the semifinals skirmish begin!
- Team Pharrell: Hannah Huston
- Team Blake: Paxton Ingram, Mary Sarah, and Adam Wakefield
- Team Christina: Bryan Bautista and Alisan Porter
- Team Adam: Shalyah Fearing and Laith Al-Saadi