Ok, in fairness, they weren’t all bad duets. But when they were bad, they were horrid! Tonight, the top eight semi-finalists took the stage and sang their guts out with hopes of making it to the finale next week. Each contestant performed a solo song and a duet with another artist. Some were amazing. Some made me want to tear my ears off. The line was pretty clear between the top three and the bottom three for sure. There was some gray area in the middle where I’m not entirely sure how things will shake out. Let’s count them down from going home to going on:
8. Paxton Ingram was in the bottom two last week and I’m not sure his rendition of Meatloaf’s I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) is going to help him make the top four. He is such a great performer but this song and the accompanying pyrotechnics was over the top and overcooked for me. His duet with Shalyah was painful. Maybe coach Blake could have encouraged him to choose a song that people might want to actually buy on iTunes. Just saying.
7. Shalyah Fearing is adorable and in a few years she might be the next J-Hud but she’s just not there yet. Her solo, in the opening spot, was pretty amazing but there is still a lot of screaming and over-singing and she is still so young. Based on tonight’s performance of power ballad(?) And I am Telling You I’m Not Going, she might not be bottom two but put that together with her duet with Paxton and I think this adorable couple is doomed. I do need to know what X-Tina was talking about when she commented that there was a lot to live up to from Jennifer to all those who won Oscars before her for this song. What?
This is where I get fuzzy and can’t make up my mind:
6. Laith Al-Saadi keeps making it through even when I don’t like his song choices. I think he is an amazing musician and I liked his vibe in the beginning but the last two weeks have left me cold. He chose an Adele song for tonight, One and Only, which is a great song but isn’t anything I would ever pick for him. Not the time to experiment with Adele in my opinion. I think he’s in trouble finally. During his prep, guest mentor P!nk told him to clench his butt cheeks in order to help him hit the high notes. Carson then informed us he didn’t need to clench his cheeks. So there is that. Also, Pharrell talked for five minutes about Laith and never once commented on his performance.
5. Mary Sarah had a standout night tonight with her solo performance of Randy Travis’ old time classic I Told You So. After she came out from behind the weird sheer curtain tent they put her in, she was amazing and looked beautiful. This was the lane she should have been in this whole time…but she strayed. If this was the only song she sang tonight, I would put her in the top four but it wasn’t. Her duet with Bryan Bautista was embarrassing and weird and I hated so much about it. Based on the fact that Mary just sort of showed back up this week, I’m putting her in the going home column but her spot on Team Blake might save her over Bryan. We’ll see.
4. Bryan Bautista chose to do a Christina Aguilera song, Hurt, because his father hasn’t made contact with him since the show started. There were just a couple of vocal breakdowns, and I’m never a big fan of the sparkle lapel blazers, but Bryan still had stage-swag and he looked good and he had a lot of heart and soul in his performance tonight. Even though his duet (see above) was atrocious, he looked better than his partner and I think overall, I like his whole package over Mary Sarah. Things could go either way with these two.
3. Alisan Porter is an amazing singer, without a doubt, but she has fallen from my top two only because I’m starting to think she oversings everything. Tonight she chose Desperado and if she had kept it in the stripped down, vulnerable place that it should be, it would have been one of my favorite moments. Instead, she went into her vocal gymnastics routine and used her hands too much and distracted me and made me realize she did too much to the song and kind of ruined it for me. Don’t get me wrong, she’ll be safe but I think she can settle down and show us another side. Perhaps more of the side she showed us in her AMAZING duet with Adam tonight on Angel from Montgomery which was one of my favorite duet moments ever on the show!!
2. Hannah Huston is a dark horse and I’m not sure she can win but I think she’s a solid top three. Tonight she tackled When a Man Loves a Woman and she too had some vocal acrobatics going on but they didn’t seem as wild as Alisan’s. Hannah is slightly more controlled when she starts climbing the vocal mountain. She’s sneaky and I don’t know if she can beat Alisan and Adam but if anyone can, it’s her. Her duet tonight with Laith was a mixed bag for me. Parts greatness, parts weird so I’m taking that out of this equation because I can’t make up my mind on how I felt about it.
1. Adam Wakefield was my favorite from day one…just in case anyone is keeping track. Although he stumbled ever so slightly a few weeks ago, this guy has been flawless. Blake chose a song written by Chris Stapleton, I’m Sorry, that Blake had actually recorded himself. Adam started out with a guitar but Blake and guest mentor P!nk encouraged him to take it to the piano and it was such great advice. This might have been one of my favorite performances of the season. Real, raw, effortless and perfect southern country. We need guys like this to take back bro-country. #voteAdam
So my prediction is that the finalists are Adam, Alisan, Hannah, and Bryan. According to iTunes, it will be pretty close to this with maybe Mary Sarah taking Bryan’s spot. Tune in Tuesday where we will see Carson do his best to kill an hour of television with 15 minutes of information.