The Voice Top 11: Laith It On the Line


The Voice scaled down one last week as Team Pharrell‘s Emily Keener was ousted after surprisingly finding herself in the bottom two. It turned out to be an unexpected bottom pair as Emily found herself squaring off against Team Adam‘s Owen Danoff, even though  Team Blake‘s Paxton Ingram was by far the lowest selling performer on iTunes. Will the surprises keep coming? Let’s get into tonight’s performances and find out.

The Top 5 will look familiar to those who read last week’s column, as the same five repeat, however their rankings have changed a bit.

5. Adam Wakefield, “Lights” (Team Blake)

Adam Wakefield has been close in recent weeks to usurping Alisan Porter’s frontrunner status with his blend of blues, country and soul, but he took a step back this week (as did a lot of the Top 11) with his rendition of Journey’s “Lights.” Wakefield put his stamp on the song, bringing in a bit of a horn arrangement and giving it a bluesier start, but where this one waned was when Wakefield didn’t attempt to hit some of Steve Perry’s original power notes. It was still a solid performance, but when measured against his past work, it wasn’t one of his best efforts.

4. Shalyah Fearing, “The Climb” (Team Adam)

The youngster with the big voice continues to thrive, and after a performance that wasn’t as solid last week, Shalyah regained her momentum as one of the competition’s top singers. It was clear that Shalyah was right at home with Miley Cyrus’ song “The Climb,” delivering a beautiful rendition of the track and making it her own. And it showed that she was able to step out of the gospel performances that have propelled her so far. During the performance, it was clear she connected to the song which she related to her family’s own struggles. Even as a show opening performance, there was no forgetting Shalyah at the end of the night.

3. Hannah Huston, “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (Team Pharrell)

Hannah’s strongest performances so far have showcased her grit and power, but her restrained and completely vulnerable performance of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” was exactly the perfect change of pace at this point in the competition. The tenderness of her voice shown through and her connection to the heartache and pain showed on her face as she delivered the heart wrenching lyrics. Like Adam Wakefield and Shalyah Fearing, she’s capable of giving Alisan Porter all she can handle on any given week and her body of work gets stronger and stronger.

2. Laith Al-Saadi, “Make It Rain” (Team Adam)

After a pick ’em choice for the No. 5 spot last week, Laith stepped it up for his best performance yet. He’s thrived so far pulling from the classic rock genre and giving tracks his bluesy spin. But for tonight’s performance he took on a modern favorite — Ed Sheeran’s “Make It Rain” — and delivered it with power. Laith has also shown a knack for being able to rework arrangements throughout the competition and his bluesy rendition complete with nifty guitar parts and a backing choir worked out just perfectly.

1. Alisan Porter, “Stay With Me Baby” (Team Christina)

From Day 1, Alisan has been consistently great and tonight was no different. In a night that didn’t feature any major “wow” moments, Alisan’s take on the Lorraine Ellison soul classic “Stay With Me Baby” shined above all others. Adam even declared her the probable winner of the show, even though she’s not on his team. The performance  just added to the feeling that Porter has been willing to try out different vibes and styles every week, making it all the more impressive. This rendition sounded timeless, once again allowing Alisan to show her range.

So we know who should be safe, but who could be in danger come Tuesday night’s results show? Owen Danoff found himself in the bottom two last week with a far superior performance than what he had this week. The Team Adam folky took on James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain,” but a waver in his voice felt more like a case of nerves than tenderness. It did not feel like one of his better performances.

Team Christina’s comeback artist Nick Hagelin took on John Mayer’s “Your Body Is a Wonderland,” a song that didn’t do much to show his range. When he did break into falsetto, at times it worked beautifully, but other times it felt a little shaky. Despite average performances, the fans have supported saleswise, so though this may not be once of his best performances, he could elude the bottom two.

Another comeback artist, Team Pharrell’s Daniel Passino, also could be in trouble. There was nothing really wrong with his tender and smooth performance of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” other than the fact that the arrangement didn’t offer much for him in terms of dynamics. So it ended up feeling like a nice performance, but one that would be forgettable by night’s end.

Team Christina’s Bryan Bautista likely should be safe, but his soulful and silky rendition of Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” had an arrangement that didn’t do him any favors, feeling like it was more at home on adult contemporary radio than buzzing with energy through the airwaves.

As for the night’s other two competitors, it was a rebound week for both Team Blake’s Mary Sarah and Paxton Ingram. Paxton was a surprise selection to the Top 12 and made even more people question his inclusion after last week’s performance, but Ingram delivered one of his best performances to date with the lesser known Tasha Cobb gospel song “Break Every Chain.” The raw emotion with which he delivered the song balanced with a stellar backing choir took him to new heights. In fact, he would easily be the No. 6 performer of the night and could argue for a spot in the Top 5.

Meanwhile, Mary Sarah felt like an upper echelon performer earlier in the season, but stumbles in her last two outings have seen her fall back a bit. This week, however, she felt right at home with Heidi Newfield’s “Johnny and June.” The key for Mary moving forward may be song selection, but as the field narrows there’s less room for error.

The Voice - Season 10

So come back Tuesday night at 8PM ET/PT on NBC for The Voice results show.