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The Voice recap: Live Semi-Final Performances

Every contestant goes all-in to try and make the finale four

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Tyler Golden/NBC

The Voice

TV Show
Reality TV, Music
run date:
Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Hudson
Current Status:
In Season

Well, team, we’re almost there. After two and a half months of cheers, jeers, and sometimes even a few tears, we’re just a little more than a week from crowning The Voice’s season 10 champ. First, though, there’s the small matter of picking which of the remaining eight will be given a shot on that last stage in one last preliminary melee, and as host Carson Daly phrases it, they’re all definitely “swinging for the fences” to become part of the finale quartet.

Tonight, each and every one of the singers gives off a particular sense of urgency in their performances, knowing good and well the odds of tomorrow’s elimination — now might be a good time to invest in some Kleenex stock because the sloppy sobs, the cuts are a-comin’.

So, how do each of the hopefuls measure up this time? Let’s review.

1. Shalyah Fearing (Team Adam):

“And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” as performed by Jennifer Hudson

Pink might be the fancy celebrity guest of the day, but she’s the one who gets a little starstruck when she meets 16-year-old sensation Shalyah Fearing. “You are so amazing I can’t stand it. I want to punch you I love you so much,” she coos as they’re introduced. Like any real love, though, Pink’s also quick with the constructive criticism — especially since Shalyah’s song selection is an overt message to all of us that she wants to be back on that stage next week — telling Shalyah that while her raspy voice is beautiful in spurts, it’s “like too much sun” when she lets it dominate her performance.

So does Shalyah listen to this sound advice? Well, mostly. She’s still running pretty heavily with the scratches and screeches during the run-on notes, and she’s got one particularly long-held note that went on almost as long as Whitney Houston’s breathtaking run in “I Have Nothing,” so she’s definitely still giving fans something to consider during voting.

2. Paxton Ingram (Team Blake):

“I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” by Meat Loaf

Paxton Ingram is one of the most (if not the most) sprightly people left in this competition, and even though last week he found himself in the bottom two, he’s not one bit dispirited. He wants to prove that he’s got more to offer than just his sunny disposition, though, and knows he’s going to have to be doubly as good as his best-ever self to do so…which is hard to do when you’re singing a roller coaster of an anthem like this one.

It’s a “ballsy” (Pink’s word choice there) effort, and for the first few lines, he’s just as collected and in command as he was during the insta-save effort last week. It doesn’t take long, though, for him to become overpowered by the instrumental accompaniment and resort to the same shout-singing technique that got him into trouble the first time. (Blake’s still gives him a glowing “E” for effort, for what it’s worth.)

3. Laith Al-Saadi (Team Adam):

“One and Only” by Adele

Laith Al-Saadi has become one of the most storied singers of the season, hasn’t he? Last week, Bob Seger gave him a big shout on Facebook, and his iTunes sales have gone through the roof. Not to mention, as Adam Levine puts it, he’s got “the most distinct voice in the competition” and simply oozes originality and consistency. Is it enough to carry him to the win? Maybe, maybe not, but he’s almost guaranteed not to walk away empty-handed from this show in some way or another.

His Adele interpretation is anything but Adele; it’s a Laith Al-Saadi performance through and through, with all the attending gruff croaks and rad guitar solos. Even without taking Pink’s advice to do the butt-clench to reach that extra octave (the pop music version of Joey Tribbiani’s “smell the fart acting” tutorial, but even weirder), he’s still up there doing exactly what he is supposed to be doing, exactly the way you expect him to do it. 

NEXT: Blake Shelton’s “embarrassed” by his own teammate…