On The Voice: Top 12 Take the Stage Live

THE VOICE -- "Live Top 12" Episode 1013A -- Pictured: Hannah Huston -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

I have to admit, usually by the time we get to this point in The Voice I’m sort of checked out. I love the auditions and the battles and the knockouts because there is the drama of the steal (or not drama as it were) and the team switching and the performances are raw and I feel like all the contestants are still doing their own thing. Once we get to the Live rounds, I start to get the feeling there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Here is where we start turning authentic artists into show ponies and sometimes the results are glorious unicorns and sometimes they turn out like those ponies at the circus that are chained to that harness that just go around and around.

Ok, I have no idea where I’m going with that. What I’m saying is tonight I was left to wonder if the coaches could do any better at coaching or if the mentors were doing all the work all along. Half of the performances tonight were great but the other half were painful or just boring and the coaches prattle on about how good everyone is. Praising mediocrity or bad performances doesn’t do anyone any good and TBH, just makes you look silly. Anyway, enough of my rambling. Here is a quick rundown of performances tonight in order of who should stay (#1) and who should go (let’s go bottom three just because America is kind of loopy sometimes).

  1. Alisan Porter (Team Christina): She still can’t do any wrong. Girl looked amazing in a white jumpsuit. Sang the heck out of Stone Cold by Demi Lovato and other than her weird hand-shaky thing that she does, she is flawless every time. She is indeed the unicorn. That and she seems to be the only one that even gets close to the iTunes Top 10 each week.
  2. Adam Wakefield (Team Blake): If this guy made an album today I might even buy it instead of just downloading it from my Apple Music. Wait that would be dumb. Anyway, Adam reminds me so much of when country was cool and Travis Tritt, Sawyer Brown and Joe Diffie were the Bros and it meant something. He sang Soulshine by the Allman Brothers tonight and he was authentic and is already a pro. If Alisan is the Unicorn, Adam is one of those Budweiser horses.
  3. Hannah Huston (Team Pharrell: I didn’t think Pharrell had a shot with his strategy of throwing off better contestants to keep the underdogs but he’s got something sneaky going on. Hannah is a powerhouse and underneath her schoolteacher cover, I think she might be one of those Lipizzaner stallions. Too much with the horse thing? Hannah is the underdog in this two-man race but she might surprise with her sweet personality and her ability to kill it every single week. Tonight she covered Etta James’ Somethings Got a Hold on Me and I’m sure Etta would be proud. #Awesome
  4. Shalyah Fearing (Team Adam): I’m giving this little girl high marks tonight because, unlike last week, she actually deserves to be on a pedestal this week. Her rendition of Up to the Mountain was like being in church. A church full of really amazing singers. She had a few stumbles and she might over-sing a bit but I think her coach encourages that. For being the youngest kid in the competition, she sings years above her age. She’ll be fine this week but I’m still not sure she can make it to the end.
  5. Emily Keener (Team Pharrell): I loved Emily tonight. I usually just like her quiet, Indie-Artsy sound and her unassuming attitude about everything. Tonight I thought she was amazing. I’m only putting her at number five because, like Owen, I don’t think people appreciate quiet, quality vocalists and they don’t seem to get America’s votes. Emily did Lilac Wine by Nina Simone (and then Jeff Buckley) and it may not have had the soul that Simone’s version had but all the ups and downs and emotions were there. I was surprised that Emily had to be saved last week…come on people!
  6. Owen Danoff (Team Adam): Here is where I got mad tonight. Why does Adam tell Owen to lose his guitar and prance around the stage? Owen is a singer/songwriter kind of vocalist who is most comfortable with his guitar, standing still, singing really good. Once you take him out of his element he is awkward and bumbling and looks uncomfortable. People don’t vote for uncomfortable. Gah!! I loved Owen’s version of 7 Years but I wish he would have done it Owen-style instead of Adam coaching like a fool-style.
  7. Paxton Ingram (Team Blake): I actually think Paxton is a perfect pop singer. When he works a stage he looks like he was born to do it, not like someone told him to try it because it might be cool to become someone else. Paxton sang Hands to Myself  by Selena Gomez and he had his hair in a high ponytail (do we say that for guys)? I see why Blake has a crush on Paxton, he is entertaining and he knows what kind of artist he wants to be. I think Pharrell was right to suggest that Paxton try something gospel next week if he makes it through. Voters might relate to that more than they do his dancing. Whatever works!
  8. Mary Sarah (Team Blake): Mary has fallen from grace a little in the last few weeks. I had her pegged as an early favorite but she is losing some of her originality and her song choice tonight didn’t help. She chose So Small by Carrie Underwood and instead of making it her own, she sort of looked like a cookie cutter, shorter version of Carrie. Mary’s thing was the vintage country sound and if she wants to stick around, she should go back to that. The powerhouse girls will drown her out quickly if she doesn’t get back on track.
  9. Laith Al-Saadi (Team Adam): He might be too far down on my list but I think his early placement in the show and the better singers toward the end of tonight sort of pushed him down a little in the power rankings. Dude is not to be short-changed, though. He is a Blues guy and tonight he did Born Under a Bad Sign by Albert King. Like Blake, I don’t really know what makes a good Blues artist but I have to agree that Laith seems like he is right up there. I’m just not sure how many fans know the Blues and how many are voting for Laith. I think (hope) he will be around for a while anyway.
  10. Bryan Bautista (Team Christina): It kills me to say this but Bryan’s performance of Kiss from a Rose was painful tonight. This can’t help a guy who was already saved by his coach after a night when he was outstanding! I am afraid Bryan will go home because my next two seem to somehow keep staving off elimination for reasons I don’t completely understand. Bryan was pitchy and pretty much so bad that even his coach couldn’t say anything about his vocals tonight, instead redirecting to what a nice guy he is.
  11. Nick Hagelin (Team Christina): Ballet dancer and dad Nick chose to do a country song tonight which is completely confusing. Nick sang Mine Would be You (by coach Blake) and I thought the entire song was out of tune, all over the place and just plain hard to listen to. I don’t know why Christina would let him choose a country song when that is nothing like what he has been about. This was horrible but is somehow higher on the iTunes charts than some of the good performances tonight so this is a head-scratcher (again).
  12. Daniel Passino (Team Blake): I understand that Daniel loves his pop icons but I think he is taking the whole thing a little too far. He chose Human Nature by Michael Jackson tonight and tried to be too much like Michael and did all the gimmicky stage things that I hate. He’s a trained professional singer so the stage prancing and the audience hand grabs just made his performance seem like a lounge singer. He is too much performance and not enough authentic artist. He probably won’t go home but I think he should.

On Tuesday, we lose one contestant. This seems like it’s going to take a long time to get to a top four at this rate so I’m sure they’ll switch it up at some point. I’ll be back Wednesday to quickly recap results and hopefully not have to share my frustration with American voters!

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