The Voice 2016 – Live Blog and Recap – Live Top 11 Performances (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for The Voice 2016, “Live Top 11 Performances”! Coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Pharrell Williams and host Carson Daly set out to find the next great singer!
The Top 11 perform live! And we’ve got song spoilers for each contestant, thanks to iTunes!
Team Adam Levine
Laith Al-Saadi, “Make it Rain” by Ed Sheeran
Owen Danoff, “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor
Shalyah Fearing, “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus
Team Pharrell Williams
Hannah Huston, “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt
Daniel Passino, “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper
Team Christina Aguilera
Alisan Porter, “Stay With Me Baby” by Lorraine Ellison
Bryan Bautista, “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars
Nick Hagelin, “Your Body Is a Wonderland” by John Mayer
Team Blake Shelton
Adam Wakefield, “Lights” by Journey
Mary Sarah, “Johnny and June” by Heidi Newfield
Paxton Ingram, “Break Every Chain” by Tasha Cobbs
Full disclosure: these are some tired, overdone song choices, and I’m really not looking forward to any of this. I’m worried we’re in for a night of performances as boring as sin. But here’s hoping the finalists can prove me wrong! I’m happy to be wrong, in situations like this.
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!
-We open the show with total silence and the stage darkened, save for some slight purple lighting. Carson Daly says that, in honor of the passing of Prince, each of the coaches will speak up about what Prince meant to them. Adam calls Prince one of the greatest influences on his musical career, while Pharrell says he will never forget what “Darling Nikki” felt like or what “I Would Die For You” felt like, recalling how his aunt played the Purple Rain album nonstop. Christina says Prince will be an inspiration for generations to come, and adding that he transcended ages and eras, calling him “timeless” and “legendary”. She praises him for his passion for artist rights, among other things. Blake wishes he could have met Prince, but he can only speak of him as a fan. He says Prince’s music is always capable of changing his day for the better, and declares, “He’s already missed.”
And with that, we go right into the first performance of the night…
TEAM ADAM LEVINE: SHALYAH FEARING opens the show!
-Shalyah will be singing “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus. She says she used to listen to this song all the time at home, adding that it reminds her of her family. Although she’s only sixteen, she’s been through a lot. Adam thinks Miley would be really proud of this rendition of the song, although he warns Shalyah against “chewing” on the verses too much. He tells her to enunciate more clearly. That said, he thinks she’s going to kill this version. Adam then jokes with Shalyah about how his toes are still sore from when she stepped on his foot last week in her heels. Shalyah’s “oh stop, you’re lying!” reaction is kind of adorable.
-Shalyah does a solid job with the vocal, although I feel she oversings it in places. That said, this is a song that kind of encourages that style of singing, so I don’t know that I can really fault Shalyah for it. But, personally, this wasn’t my cup of tea. She’s a great singer, and Adam was wise to give her a youthful song. But I just didn’t particularly care for the choice itself.
-Blake admits that it’s getting a bit redundant to keep pointing out how much she’s developing, but he thinks she’s doing a great job in the competition. He also thinks the song is really true to her story right now, perhaps more than she realizes. Christina thinks Miley would be proud of that, and thinks it’s a different twist from the gospel choices Shalyah usually goes for. Pharrell agrees with Christina, although he says he could still feel the gospel in her. He thinks it was an aspirational song, noting that a lot of kids need to hear the message to keep climbing. Adam loves Shalyah and thinks she’s amazing, and notes how proud he is to be her coach.
TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: DANIEL PASSINO is up next!
-Daniel will be singing “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper, although he’ll be doing the version he saw Pink do, with simply one guitarist. Pharrell suggests Daniel should play things up more on the song, saying that it’s what Justin Timberlake or Michael Jackson would do. He’s gotta give more emotion and more dynamics while singing. But he believes in Daniel, declaring, “There’s a pop star in him, period.” He feels Daniel is ready for the world now.
-This is a very pretty vocal. I don’t know that it was necessarily riveting in the way Pharrell was hoping it’d be, but Daniel has a great voice, and a really good instinct for when to push his voice and when to use runs or falsettos. I think that’s the mark of an impressive artist, a person whose instincts are well-honed. So sure, the performance might not have been exciting, but the vocal was strong.
-Blake praises Daniel for his smoothness and coolness, and then points out how he took Pharrell’s notes about singing to the ladies, which should get him a few votes. Christina thinks Pharrell gives Daniel spot-on advice every week, adding that he’s a great source of encouragement, as evidenced by Daniel’s improved confidence onstage. Pharrell praises Daniel for taking his time, working the room, and making the song his own. He thought the closing falsetto note was so amazing that people started clapping while he was still singing. Pharrell then throws in a “Damn Daniel,” because we can’t let this damn meme die already.
TEAM BLAKE SHELTON: PAXTON INGRAM is up next!
-Paxton is thrilled to be here, since all he’s ever wanted to do with his life is sing. He recalls Pharrell noting how much he loves making people happy, which resulted in a song choice that takes Paxton back to his gospel roots. He’ll be singing “Break Every Chain” by Tasha Cobbs, which he’s sung in church before, although he’s never led the song during services. I actually agree with Blake when he notes that Paxton sounds special on this song. Say what you will about religious songs being performed on this show, but if it fits the artist, it fits the artist.
-This is easily Paxton’s best performance. EASILY. This could have closed the show. There’s an emotional connection and passion here that makes it feel like an entirely new Paxton. Yes, there’s emotion in his voice, but he never lets it overcome his vocal to the point where the song gets away from him. He has full command of his voice, and he leads the background singers like he’s leading worship. For me, this is one of the best performances of the entire season so far. It gets all four coaches on their feet, and I don’t blame them.
-Pharrell says this is the freest he’s ever seen Paxton, and he feels that America now knows who Paxton is. Adam thinks this was the perfect song for Paxton to take all his skill and soulfulness into. He gives credit to both Blake and Pharrell for what they accomplished here with Paxton. Blake also thanks Pharrell for the song choice, and Pharrell feels it’s awkward that everyone is thanking him when this should be all about Paxton. Blake feels this is the first time Paxton has opened his heart, and he’s proud of him.
TEAM ADAM LEVINE: OWEN DANOFF is up next!
Finnick Odair Owen will be singing “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor, noting that the song is about losing a friend, an experience to which Owen can relate. He recalls how a friend of his joined the Marines and, sadly, never came back home after being deployed. Adam says he tried many times to get this song cleared, so it speaks volumes of Owen’s talent that James Taylor would clear it for him. He knows Owen can push himself and deliver a real moment, and he encourages him to tap into all that emotion.
-Owen sounds DIVINE here. This is possibly my favorite version of the song other than the original. It’s not a vocal with tons of power behind it or anything, but the wounded vulnerability makes this immensely compelling. I think Owen did a great job of connecting with the soul of the song, and adding just a touch of grit to it as well. I loved this to bits.
-Christina thought it was a great song choice, and likes to see his versatility. Adam feels he got lucky this season by having a team full of people with whom he has a lot in common musically. He loves the version Owen just did, and thinks Owen represents something different than what a lot of people on the show represent. To that end, he’s proud to carry that torch along with Owen.
TEAM BLAKE SHELTON: MARY SARAH is up next!
-Mary recalls how relieved she was to be saved during last week’s results show, and how close she came to being at risk for elimination. Blake has given “Johnny and June” by Heidi Newfield to Mary, and he feels it’s a song that a lot of younger women will connect to. For her part, Mary hopes she can find a sort of love like Johnny Cash and June Carter some day. Blake feels this could be Mary’s chance to “move the dial” on iTunes, and provide viewers with a track they’d want to own. Here’s hoping.
-I wasn’t wild about the verses, but I think the choruses were right in the pocket of Mary’s voice. This sounds like the kind of song she’d put on her album, and even maybe have a hit with. She also gets far more into this song than just about any other song she’s done so far this season, really digging in with each note. It wasn’t a perfect performance, but I think it’s something people might actually remember by the end of the show, which I couldn’t really say about her performance last week.
-Christina loves the movie Walk the Line, so she loves the backstory of Johnny and June. But what she loves more is how Mary keeps introducing her to new songs. Pharrell is also unfamiliar with the song, but he was impressed at how she able to remain in her upper register for almost the entire song. He then goes out of his way to note, “in a very pleasant way”, that her dress is very distracting. Blake truly believes Mary will move the dial on iTunes tonight, saying we heard different elements of her voice tonight. He even suggests she learn how to yodel, since it could bring out even more qualities in her voice. Either way, he believes she’ll be around long enough to learn it. I guess we’ll see.
TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA: ALISAN PORTER is up next!
-Alisan is grateful for Christina, since Christina has taught her that you can have your career and still have a family. She’ll be singing the soul classic “Stay With Me Baby” by Lorraine Ellison, a track done by countless artists, each of whom did it in a different way. So she needs to figure out how she can do it so that it stands out. She notes that she wouldn’t be able to handle this competition if not for the support she receives from her family, and it’s genuinely endearing to see what a family woman Alisan truly is.
-This is a fabulous rendition of the song, and entirely distinct from versions we’ve heard on shows like this in the past, such as when La’Porsha Renae did it on American Idol a few weeks back. That said, I kind of wish Alisan would do a song one of these weeks that isn’t ALL OF EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME. It feels like every song pushes her to shout and just give this epic feeling every single time. And I’d love to see her show versatility by showing restraint. “Blue Bayou” was gorgeous because she finessed the song and didn’t overdo it. While I liked this performance a lot, it’s all starting to feel too similar, for me. And I worry this could cost Alisan, since she might be peaking too soon. Anyway, she gets a standing ovation from all four coaches at the end regardless.
-After getting to see Alisan’s super cute kids, Adam wishes Alisan were on his team, since he’s predicting her to win (which is kind of throwing his team under the bus, but I digress). Blake notes that there isn’t a whole lot of growth from one week to the next, because Alisan is already amazing. He thinks she’s terrific. Christina respects Alisan for walking away from a movie career, overcoming the hardships she’s faced along the way, and becoming an artist. She thinks Alisan is phenomenal.
TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA: BRYAN BAUTISTA is up next!
-Bryan loves this experience, and wants to go as far as possible. He’ll be singing “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars in a dedication to his sister, since he sang this song to her on her sweet sixteen. I love how his voice sounds on the song, but I kind of hate the Marvin Gaye-style arrangement of the song. That said, I respect Bryan’s artistry in wanting to do something different with it. I suppose we’ll find out just how well it works, soon enough.
-Bryan sounds pretty fantastic here, I think. At the very least, this is LEAGUES better than his performance last week. I’m still not crazy about this arrangement, but I think he did a great job with it all the same. That said, I kind of wish he hadn’t shouted out his sister during the hip-grinding part of the performance, but she clearly loves it, just bursting into tears in the audience. Bryan saying, “I love you girl” at the end of the song is just precious, by the way.
-Pharrell thinks the performance was effortless, and felt the arrangement was perfect. He also thinks the ending was colorful, and illustrates how ready he is for pop music. Adam thinks Bryan has the widest range of anyone in the competition, and believes he has all the tools to make it in the industry. Christina thinks Bryan was silky smooth, and his choices were all right. She loves hearing the other coaches compliment Bryan, since it’s hard to do the things Bryan does. She also loves that he sang this all for his sister.
TEAM BLAKE SHELTON: ADAM WAKEFIELD is up next!
-Adam has brought his mother to come meet Blake. She actually lives in Scotland, helping with their government. His mother is his rock, and he feels if anyone knows whether he deserves this or not, it’s her. Adam will be singing “Lights” by Journey, and Blake wants Adam to do something more powerful with the song than to just sing the melody. After they work on the track together, Blake declares that while you might like Adam before the performance, you’ll be worshiping him by the end of it.
-I love this song, so maybe I’m biased, but I thought Adam did a really great job with this. It’s exactly the type of performance that would close out an Adam Wakefield concert. I just think it was perfect, from his soulful runs, to his unique divergence from the melody of the song during the chorus. I’m actually starting to feel like he could be the biggest threat to an Alisan Porter victory right now.
-Pharrell points out the Steve Winwood qualities in Adam’s voice, and then noting that he has a soulful falsetto. He says Big Machine Records should be keeping an eye on him and no one else. Adam Levine feels that Adam can do it all (this, after a weird back-and-forth with Pharrell about the Big Machine Records comment that makes it seem like they’re arguing, except Adam ends it by saying, “love you”). Blake thinks Adam gives the big moments in his voice right when it counts, noting that he can’t even think the notes that Adam manages to sing.
TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA: NICK HAGELIN is up next!
-Nick reveals that his son broke his shin, which is why he wasn’t around for the show last week. However, he’s totally okay, and there’s also a video of him online hearing his dad’s name get called on results night. Dude, Nick’s son is SO cute, and he just makes me want to root for Nick more. And that’s on TOP of Nick being immensely likable himself. Sure, there are better singers in the competition, but there are easily people I’d rather see go home before him. Anyway, he’ll be picking up his guitar again for “Your Body Is a Wonderland” by John Mayer, who was one of his inspirations for learning to play guitar in the first place. Nick says he isn’t ready to go home just yet, and that much is clear, since he always has the most wide-eyed look on his face, like he can’t believe his incredible luck to get to do this.
-This is a solid performance, in my opinion. Nick has a lovely falsetto, and he’s pretty good at controlling all of his runs. My worry is that this wasn’t necessarily an exciting performance, so are people really going to vote for it? Then again, I felt the same way last week, and he breezed right through to the Top 11. So maybe a Top 10 berth isn’t that hard to imagine? I like Nick, and I think there’s still a lot of untapped potential. He’s got a very cool, laid-back vibe, like a young Robin Thicke.
-Blake likes seeing Nick back in this mellow vibe, and compares Nick to Jason Bourne playing guitar. This prompts Adam to start ripping on Blake with a pretty solid impression. Christina loves Nick not just as an onstage performer, but as a man. She says that he had her cracking up all day yesterday during rehearsal for their results show group performance. She understands why he has such a following at this point, because he just has such a great energy.
TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: HANNAH HUSTON is up next!
-Hannah says she felt like Beyonce last week from how she was moving all over the stage. She wants to tackle something different each week, which is why she wants to pull back this week. She’ll be singing “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt, and Pharrell is impressed that she’s calling the shots. He leads her through an extended metaphor about how she can take people on a journey with her performance. Long story short, he just loves that her talent as a performer is so innate.
-I’m sure you could argue that Hannah has had better vocal performances than this, but this was one of my absolute favorite. I just love hearing the smooth, buttery tone of her lower register. She didn’t oversing this, nor did she spend too much time in her upper register. She almost reminds me of a cross between Demi Lovato and Celine Dion, if that makes any sense. I wish she’d picked a song less played out, since this got a bit boring in spots. But I was still impressed with her vocal prowess here, even if the videos of burning love letters in the background were a bit distracting.
-Adam praises the unique character of Hannah’s voice, and says her voice knocks him out every time. Pharrell feels all of Nebraska is standing up for her right now, saying it was an eloquent performance. He often finds himself wondering where all that talent comes from. He pleads with America to vote for her.
TEAM ADAM LEVINE: LAITH AL-SAADI closes the show!
-Laith is honored to have been voted through by America, since he feels he’s not necessarily what America would want from a show like this, since he’s neither the prettiest guy nor the youngest. But he’s happy to be here, all the same. He’l be singing “Make It Rain” by Ed Sheeran, which Adam feels is perfect for Laith since it’s rooted in old soul classics. He warns Laith against giving away too much too soon, but he feels everything else Laith is doing with the song is sick. Should be an interesting performance.
-I’m still on the fence about Laith. While I can admit that he hits all his notes, and delivers some unrivaled artistry and musicianship in how he interprets his songs, I don’t actually like the sound of his voice. That said, he brought tons of passion to this song, delivering a version that was uniquely his own. I respect Laith, because there aren’t many artists on shows like this who bring the sort of fire he brings.
-Blake says he can’t wait to see what Laith will do each week, calling him a breath of fresh air for this show. Adam gives some of his seconds to Pharrell, who asks Laith to give the titles for his previous albums now on iTunes. Pharrell then tells America to not just vote for this man, but by his records and get them on the iTunes charts. Adam takes the few remaining seconds to tell Laith he was amazing, and that he loves him.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Laith Al-Saadi Steals Show With ‘Make It Rain’ on The Voice 2016 (VIDEO)
-And that’s a wrap! If I had to guess, I suppose it’ll be Owen vs. Daniel in the Bottom 2 tomorrow night, although I’d switch out Owen for Bryan, if it were up to me. That said, given how the results have already gone this season, it’s anyone’s guess what the results will be.
What did you think of tonight’s show? Who will be in the Bottom 2 tomorrow night? And which artist will go home in 11th place? Sound off in the comments!
Until tomorrow night, thanks for reading and hanging out!