The Voice 2016 – Live Blog and Recap – Live Top 10 Performances (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for The Voice 2016, “Live Top 10 Performances”! Coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Pharrell Williams and host Carson Daly set out to find the next great singer!
The Top 10 perform live! And we’ve got song spoilers for each contestant, thanks to iTunes!
Team Adam Levine
Laith Al-Saadi, “The Thrill Is Gone” by BB King
Shalyah Fearing, “My Kind of Love” by Emeli Sande
Team Pharrell Williams
Hannah Huston, “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele
Daniel Passino, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith
Team Christina Aguilera
Alisan Porter, “Let Him Fly” by Patti Griffin
Bryan Bautista, “Promise” by Romeo Santos
Nick Hagelin, “I Can’t Help It” by Michael Jackson
Team Blake Shelton
Adam Wakefield, “I Got a Woman” by Ray Charles
Mary Sarah, “Stand By Your Man” by Tammy Wynette
Paxton Ingram, “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Celine Dion
Oh dear Lord, some of these song choices. Between “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing” (seriously? In 2016?) and “Rolling In the Deep”, alongside more traditional choices like “Stand By Your Man” and “The Thrill Is Gone”, it feels like it’s going to be one of those nights where, technically, no one is bad, but no one is particularly exciting either. But, once again, I’m really hoping these artists prove me wrong. It’s happened before, and I’d be thrilled if it happened again.
Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be updating with commentary, results, and videos as soon as they become available!
Let’s get this show on the road!
-Carson Daky introduces two very special guests tonight: First Lady Michele Obama and Dr. Jill Biden! Also in attendance are some of our men and women in uniform! Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden are here in honor of National Military Appreciation Month, and their Joining Forces initiative, which provides wellness services and more to service members, veterans, and their families. They then introduce the Top 10 for our first performance…
THE TOP TEN PERFORM “HOME”
-“Home” by Dierks Bentley is one of the better unabashedly patriotic songs I’ve heard in the modern era. Normally, songs like this tend to come across as cheesy, but this feels really earnest and genuine, and not some big pandering number. It helps that the song is just plain lovely to listen to. The Top 10 do a pretty good job of the song as well. Seriously, this is the most comfortable Nick has sounded all season.
TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: DANIEL PASSINO opens the show!
-Daniel is struggling with his emotions after being in the Bottom 2. He apologizes to Pharrell for letting him down, and Pharrell won’t hear that negativity, reminding Pharrell that he’s been in the Bottom 2 his whole life. And now, he’s in his forties with some of the biggest records of his career. So there’s no reason to despair. Daniel appreciates Pharrell being firm with him, although I can’t imagine how he could possibly appreciate the song choice this week, since it’s “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith, one of the most overdone songs in the history of reality television. The only way it could have been worse is if he was given “Against All Odds” or “I Don’t Want To Be”. Still, Daniel sounds alright on it. And the guy is a fighter, so I guess we’ll see.
-Daniel sounds okay, I guess. It’s not necessarily a terrible performance, but he did absolutely nothing new with it. It’s a total karaoke version that slowly gets away from him as the performance rolls on. The band is just engulfing him, and it’s a shame, because Daniel IS a good singer. Hell, that crazy falsetto towards the end proves it. But this was just a terrible, terrible song choice that felt like it’d never freaking end. Seriously, how long IS this song?
-Adam reminds Daniel that this was Aerosmith’s first No. 1 hit, agreeing with Pharrell that success doesn’t always happen overnight. He thinks Daniel should consider every moment on this show an “up” right until the bitter end, whenever that is. Christina says she can’t say Daniel doesn’t have passion, since he leaves his heart on the table. She says there were pitchy moments, but thought his passion overcame it, for the most part. Pharrell admits he heard the pitch issues too, and wonders if Daniel was thinking about it too much rather than living in the moment. He praises Daniel for working through the big falsetto note and saving it, congratulating him for his professionalism. I’ll honestly be shocked if this isn’t the end of the road for Daniel. Maybe he has a big Twitter following that will rescue him tomorrow night, or maybe some other artist will completely crash and burn. But as it stands right now, the combination of that performance and that placement in the show order doesn’t bode well for Daniel. On the plus side, at least they didn’t parrot the “Damn Daniel” meme again this week.
TEAM ADAM LEVINE: SHALYAH FEARING is up next!
-Shalyah talks about her relationship with her mother, saying she wouldn’t be here without her mother’s support. Her mother joins her for the rehearsal with Adam, and it’s kind of adorable to watch her snuggle her daughter and call her “poo-poo”. Shalyah will be singing “My Kind of Love” by Emeli Sande, and Adam feels she’s just one or two performances away from launching herself into the Top 2. He brings the emotions out of her through his coaching, and Shalyah vows to put on a real show for her mother while also making Adam proud. Adam feels she may have just bought herself a ticket to the finale. Personally, when Adam sang a few lines during the rehearsal, I realized just how badly I want a cover of this song from him.
-This is one of Shalyah’s better performances of the live shows, and not because it was a perfect vocal. There were pitch problems here and there, with her voice getting shaky in places while struggling to hit some of the higher notes. But the passion she delivered here made me see her in a new light. She felt like a more mature artist here. That rasp in her voice and her emotional delivery was impressive. I enjoyed this. I was kind of thrown by Carson kissing her on the head after the performance though. Kind of random.
-Blake thinks the raggedy, edgy style of performance is where she thrives, comparing it to her performance of “Listen”. Pharrell praises her for living in the now, and for her spirit being “present”. Adam thinks Shalyah did an excellent job, saying he wants America to vote her through so she can do “No More Drama” by Mary J. Blige next week, since he has an idea of how to do it that will blow America’s minds. Okay, now I’m interested.
TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA: NICK HAGELIN is up next!
-Nick says there was a time he was prepared to watch this entire season from home with his popcorn. But now he’s in the Top 10. This week, he says America is going to see him push himself out of a box he’s set himself in. He’ll be singing “I Can’t Help It” by Michael Jackson, in order to show some more soulful diversity. Christina thinks he can take some of the notes even higher, and Nick admits that while this is a song he’s performed for years, he’s never performed it like this before. Christina feels America has given Nick that extra boost in confidence, and the result is an artist who’s really coming into his own.
-Nick performs the song in a chair while wearing a white suit that makes him look even more like Justin Timberlake, if that’s even possible. The chair is inside a box-shaped frame which also has the effect of making him look a bit like a mime. But he eventually leaves to interact with the crowd, and the performance comes alive. I think there are better singers in the competition, but this was easily my favorite Nick performance this season. He just seemed really comfortable up there, between the falsetto and the dance moves. My only issue was that some of the falsetto notes were inaudible, although I can’t tell if it’s because his mouth wasn’t close enough to the mic or if he just wasn’t hitting the notes. Either way, I dug this.
-Pharrell thinks a lot of people in America needed to see this, because he represents the possibility that things can change. He loves Nick and what he stands for, saying there are a lot of people looking for that second chance. Blake thought there were times were Nick sounded a lot like Michael Jackson in his vibrato. Christina praises Nick for what he brings to the competition, and says she’d even love to see him move around onstage more. She thanks America for voting him through, saying that the mere act of voting him through has helped him to improve. Well, she’s not wrong.
TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: HANNAH HUSTON is up next!
-Hannah’s best friend is her mother, and she talks about how her mother used to be a great singer in her own right. However, when that era of her life came to an end, that’s when Hannah started picking up singing, so Hannah’s mother lives vicariously through her. Hannah will be singing “Rolling In the Deep” by Adele, as I wonder just how badly he wants to still be in this competition, with these song choices. Pharrell thinks Hannah is in the competition because she gives people a reason to love her every time she performs. To her credit, Hannah IS adorable, wondering if she and Pharrell should hug more than once.
-Hannah sounds terrific here, but I’m struggling to get over how much I hate the song choice (and the radio edited “lay your stuff bare” line. You know, if 90s hip hop taught me anything, it’s that “ish” is a perfectly valid replacement for “s***”). I think one of Hannah’s best qualities is just how deeply she gets into a song, and this performance is no different. She’s a really solid storyteller, to such an extent that I wonder if she might not have a future in acting. From an objective standpoint, Hannah delivered the best vocal of the night so far, but ugh. I just can’t get past this song choice. Sorry.
-Adam thinks Hannah’s trajectory is amazing, with how much she’s been improving. However, he didn’t love how she slid up on the first note in the chorus, saying it drove him crazy. But he admits he’s a jerk for being so nitpicky, calling Hannah amazing. Pharrell thinks that was “1000% amazing,” and reads off from a list of everything that matters to him about this show, and how Hannah embodies those qualities, from her healing power to her growth to how she hits the notes. I love Pharrell’s quirkiness, and he’ll be missed next season. Miley is quirky, but I’m not sure if it’s the right kind of quirky to keep from being annoying. I guess we’ll see.
TEAM ADAM LEVINE: LAITH AL-SAADI is up next!
-Is the entirety of Team Blake going to close this show? Anyway, Laith is incredibly grateful to Pharrell for the shoutout last week, saying all of his self-made albums shot up the iTunes charts last week, noting he now has the No. 1 rock album and the No. 1 blues album. Laith talks about his close relationship with his father, and how happy he is that his father is here to witness his success. Laith will be singing “The Thrill Is Gone” by B.B. King, and we get to see Adam and Laith jam out together. It’s pretty cool, honestly.
-Laith’s jamming is INCREDIBLE. He makes that guitar sing like a superstar. I’m still on the fence about his voice, but I think this was one of his most impressive performances, vocally. He showed a dynamic amount of range, particularly in his upper register. There’s a natural grit to his voice that makes him compelling to listen to, if nothing else. I expect he’ll go far with a performance like this, which hits the perfect intersection between blues and rock. Seriously, I could listen to this man play guitar all day. Go get’em, Laith!
-Blake thinks Laith’s guitar playing is just incredible, but tells him not to underestimate what an incredible singer he is. He felt it was 50/50 between guitar playing and singing, and he wants Laith to actually let them hear his voice. Adam calls it the best show of musicianship he’s ever seen on this show. I can’t say I disagree with him, honestly.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Laith Al-Saadi Sings ‘The Thrill Is Gone’ on The Voice 2016 (VIDEO)
TEAM BLAKE SHELTON: PAXTON INGRAM is up next!
-Blake pumps Paxton up by noting how he kicked everyone’s ass on iTunes last week. Paxton notes he got tweets from both Kelly Clarkson and Tasha Cobbs after his performance. For some inexplicable reason, he’ll be singing “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Celine Dion, since he wants a song that will really push him. He also really admires Celine’s stage presence. This somehow devolves into talk of how much Paxton loves fashion. Eh, at least Paxton sounds good on the song, from what little we hear of it in the rehearsals.
-This was easily the biggest surprise of the night, for me. I expected this to be corny and dated as hell, but it actually sounds fantastic. I liked this more than his performance last week, in fact. His subtlety on that first chorus was beautiful, and the verses were just dripping with emotion. I couldn’t have been more impressed with this than I was. I can see what Blake means when he says Paxton could be a frontrunner.
-Christina really enjoyed that, saying it brought her back to her “audition days”. She was really pleasantly surprised, and says Paxton made it his own. Blake says he can’t look at Paxton without smiling, noting that what we’re seeing happen with Paxton is the reason he does this job. I’d be surprised if Paxton didn’t crack the Top 30 on iTunes with that, especially considering how dismal this night has been, for the most part.
TEAM BLAKE SHELTON: MARY SARAH is up next!
-Mary recorded a very cute thank you message to her fans after she made it through to the Top 10, and she admits it probably wasn’t the smartest idea to record the video the night of, since she ended up being a crying mess. Strangely enough, I thought she looked a lot like Ariana Grande in the video. Anyway, Mary will be singing “Stand By Your Man” by Tammy Wynette, and Blake loves it, saying he wants to open for her someday. Mary and Blake then bond over stories of the first song they ever performed onstage. Somehow, Blake performing “Cat Scratch Fever” isn’t the least bit surprising. That said, I’d kind of love to hear Mary’s take on her first song, “Yellow Rose of Texas”.
-This is a perfectly lovely, but relatively unspectacular, vocal performance. I like Mary, but she walks a very fine line between modernity and traditional country stylings. On the one hand, she seems like a totally viable, current artist. On the other, she occasionally comes across as old fashioned. This is the latter scenario, and it’s kind of weird, honestly. She sounds old fashioned, but she’s dressed like a tiny Taylor Swift up there. There’s a disconnect between her vocal and her presentation. Again, she definitely sounds good here, but it’s kind of a sleepy performance that runs the risk of getting lost in the shuffle, in my opinion.
-Adam thinks Mary was amazing, saying it was a very difficult song in “all ways”. He feels like it was the first thing she’s done that is in the zone of who she is. He says it’s her best performance since the blind auditions. Blake, meanwhile, tells Mary that she has no idea how much she’s just engaged the country artist. He thinks she blew the roof off the place, and then shouts out the reaction she garnered from the soldiers in the audience (as we pan to the most bored looking crowd of servicemen in history). “It’s gonna be a good night for ya,” he tells her. On the country charts, I agree. I guess we’ll see how she does in the Top 100 overall.
TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA: BRYAN BAUTISTA is up next!
-Christina didn’t know Bryan could sing in Spanish, and he reminds her that he’s both Dominican and Puerto Rican. He’ll be doing a bachata-style song tonight, singing “Promise” by Romeo Santos featuring Usher. Christina says that while not everyone can speak Spanish, she thinks Bryan has a lot of skill in helping the audience connect with his songs. He then does some bachata dancing for Christina, which gets her all hot and bothered. This could be good, but mostly because I already have a soft spot for this type of music, being Puerto Rican myself.
-This could have been corny, but it ended up being one of my favorite performances of the night. Save for a few pitch problems, I thought this was one of Bryan’s most confident vocals, and it provides a window to exactly the type of artist he’d be post-show. I feel like this is what a Bryan Bautista album would sound like, more than his “Just the Way You Are” or “Kiss From A Rose”. Honestly, this is a Bryan Bautista I can get behind.
-Pharrell calls the performance “awesome,” and praises him for reaching out to the Latin community. Adam admits he has no Latin blood, but he has Jewish blood, and it loves Bryan very much. He thinks the second half of the song is where it really clicked, and calls Bryan one of the most gifted singers in the entire competition. He says it still was’t his best, but he feels if Bryan continues down this path, he could really become a force in this competition. Christina reminds the audience that Bryan is the only person this season repping Latinos.
TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA: ALISAN PORTER is up next!
-Alisan will be singing “Let Him Fly” by Patti Griffin, and she chose it because it’s reflective of a particular, difficult time in her life. She recalls she was in the throes of her addiction, and in a relationship she really wanted to work. However, she had to let him go. Sadly, not long after, the man passed away. So she wants to sing this song for him, and for that part of her life. Christina thinks people need the sort of healing country music provides, and I don’t disagree with her there. This could be a real moment for Alisan.
-Performance of the night so far, and one of the best performances of the season. This was EXACTLY what Alisan needed to do, after several weeks of increasingly boisterous performances. I thought her vocal was brilliant, from the choices she made on how to tackle each note, to how impeccable her control was over each one of those notes. I just had goosebumps all the way through. While there have been other performers stepping up the past few weeks, it’s clear to me that Alisan is still very much the one to beat. She earned the hell out of that standing ovation from Christina.
-Adam commends Alisan for confronting the negative and scary things in her life, saying that such bravery is one of the defining traits of an artist. Of course, he thinks she’s amazing, but wanted to say something different for once. Blake was already a fan of Alisan before, but he loves her even more now that she’s doing country songs (hasn’t she always been doing country songs though?). Christina is so proud of Alisan for being courageous enough to show her vulnerability onstage tonight, saying it’s one of the hardest things in the world to do. She applauds Alisan for pulling back the curtain on her truth, and for sharing it all with us.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Alisan Porter Stuns Coaches With ‘Let Him Fly’ on The Voice 2016
TEAM BLAKE SHELTON: ADAM WAKEFIELD closes the show!
-Adam will be singing “I Got a Woman” by Ray Charles, the song he sang on the night he met his girlfriend in Baltimore. His girlfriend is a country singer, and he admits he wouldn’t be here without her love and support, so he’s dedicating this song to her. Blake wants this performance to be big, so he’s hoping Adam will step it up, performance-wise. He tells Adam there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to win this thing, and he’s right, although he’ll be having the fight of his life if he plans on beating Alisan. Still, it’s possible.
-Adam’s restrained, a cappella opening is really cool, and it gets even cooler once the band kicks in and the tempo picks up. Adam has shown an ability to sing a variety of different styles and tempos, and I think he’d be a very worthy winner, if he got to that point. He’s a complete package artist for the country scene. Not to belabor the Chris Stapleton comparisons, but he’s really got that grit and soul, even to his more fun performances like this. I’m definitely a fan. And that piano solo was badass, by the way.
-Pharrell can’t wait to hear the album Big Machine Records makes with Adam, saying they should throw all the money and resources at him to make him happen. He then praises him for the awesome piano solo. Blake then makes a “Damn Daniel” joke (“A-DAM!”), and right when we were so close to getting through an entire episode without one. He then tells Adam that he “blowed” his mind, reveling in the grammatical slip up. I love Blake’s sense of humor.
-And that’s a wrap! If I had to guess on the bottom two, I’d have to think it’ll be Daniel vs. either Shalyah or Nick. I guess we’ll see though, since these results have been crazy so far. What do you think? Who will be the Bottom 2? And who will be eliminated tomorrow night? Sound off in the comments!
Until tomorrow night, thanks for reading and hanging out!