As we hit the Top 12 on The Voice, odds are most viewers have clued in to some definite frontrunners. From her Blind Audition performance, Team Christina‘s Alisan Porter got some declarations similar to what Jordan Smith received last season, and like Smith, she’s not done anything to really have anyone swayed from those positive comments. Likewise, Team Blake‘s Adam Wakefield has emerged as a soulful country-tinged artist who feels like he’s toiled at radio for years. And young teacher Hannah Huston has been Team Pharrell‘s top performer from the moment she stepped onstage. So it should come as no surprise that all three once against commanded the stage for standout performances during the Top 12 show.
But after that, it gets interesting. Team Adam‘s best hope for a title is young teen Shalyah Fearing, and while she has stepped up her game to be mentioned in the same breath as the other three in recent weeks, she could benefit by stepping outside of the gospel and soul songs that have clearly played to her strengths. The latest power vocal from Shalyah was still solid, but did not meet some of her past performances.
Without further adieu, let’s look at the night’s Top 5 performances:
5. Laith Al-Saadi (Team Adam) – “Born Under a Bad Sign”
Laith Al-Saadi has consistently mined the classic rock genre for all that it’s worth, showing a knack for soulful performances that showcase his voice as well as his guitar playing. But tonight’s performance of Albert King’s “Born Under a Bad Sign” may have been his best yet. It was a perfect fit for his vocal register, allowed the blues to flow through completely unrestrained and let the gruff side of his vocal do their thing in just the right spots. Emily Keener‘s take on Jeff Buckley’s “Lilac Wine” also made a case for the No. 5 spot, but Laith slips in with this perfect pairing of song with performer.
4. Shalyah Fearing (Team Adam) – “Up to the Mountain”
As previously stated, there was nothing wrong per se with Shalyah’s take on Patti Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain.” The power in her voice is way beyond her years and this “take us to church” performance was delivered with feeling and soul. But after showcasing these traits with goosebump-inspiring performances in recent weeks, something different could go a long way in breaking the mold. A different arrangement of a familiar rock song or something outside of the R&B/gospel genre that can still show the power in her voice would do wonders.
3. Adam Wakefield (Team Blake) – “Soulshine”
From the opening moments of Adam’s keyboard-led rendition of the Allman Brothers Band’s “Soulshine,” it felt as if he’d been singing it for years. Like Shalyah, Adam is finding his niche, though he does have a little more range to choose between. Having toiled in Nashville, he’s got the country side down, but there’s a roughness and soul in his voice that allows him to dabble in classic rock and R&B to some extent. Tonight’s take on “Soulshine” easily secured his spot moving forward and as long as there are no missteps, there’s no reason Adam shouldn’t be around come the finals.
2. Hannah Huston (Team Pharrell) – “Something’s Got a Hold on Me”
Hannah just continues to impress and her big sounding, gritty vocals working in tandem with a trio of gospel backing singers on Etta James’ “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” just clicked. Hannah has shown the ability to take on music in a variety of styles, but songs like “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” and her take on “House of the Rising Sun” that allow her to just let loose are where she truly shines.
1. Alisan Porter (Team Christina) – “Stone Cold”
After wowing early with performances of Roy Orbison and Joni Mitchell songs, Alisan has leaned more current of late and her take on the Demi Lovato song “Stone Cold” was once again spot on. While she is clearly the favorite so far, showing the ability to perform in just about any genre, she needs to continue to make smart song choices and be on her game as Hannah and Adam are not that far off.
So those are our Top 5 performances of the night, but who might be in trouble? Team Blake could be saying goodbye to one of his singers come Tuesday night. Paxton Ingram‘s take on Selena Gomez’s “Hands to Myself” didn’t necessarily connect, while Mary Sarah‘s performance of Carrie Underwood’s “So Small,” while good, did not feel like it captured the “classic sound” so often referenced with her voice. Team Christina’s Nick Hagelin also looks like he could be sweating it out after an okay performance of Blake Shelton’s “Mine Would Be You.” Outside of those three, Team Christina’s Bryan Bautista, so strong in recent weeks, took on Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” and while he hit the high notes, some of the power notes felt a little deficient. We don’t think he’s in danger, but at this point all of the singers are solid and any performance that doesn’t raise the bar could put someone at risk.
Come back Tuesday night at 8PM ET/PT on NBC to see who advances and who’s going home on The Voice results show.
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