The Voice 2016 – Live Blog and Recap – The Live Playoffs, Night 2 (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for The Voice 2016, “The Live Playoffs, Night 2”! Coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Pharrell Williams and host Carson Daly set out to find the next great singer!
The live playoffs continue with Team Adam and Team Pharrell competing for your votes! Some of the most buzzed-about contestants of the season will be competing tonight, including Owen Danoff, Caity Peters, Brian Nhira, Shalyah Fearing, Hannah Huston and Emily Keener. But who will shine? Which singers will become frontrunners for a spot in the Top 12?
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 kicks things off by talking about how both Team Adam and Team Pharrell will be performing tonight, before transitioning to Pharrell revealing his comeback artist to open the show…
TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: DANIEL PASSINO opens the show!
-Pharrell brought back Daniel because he saw how much this meant to him after he lost his Knockout against Alisan Porter. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any steals at the time, so he couldn’t save Daniel. But he can bring back any artist he wants, regardless of which team they were on, which is why Daniel is back in the competition. In the rehearsal, Pharrell is impressed that Daniel knows how he wants to arrange “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars. I’m just as impressed, honestly. He has a confident sense of artistry about him that’s encouraging to see.
-At the risk of being hyperbolic, this is the best version of “When I Was Your Man” that I’ve heard on The Voice since Will Champlin tackled the song. Daniel’s falsetto is INSANE, and I think he deserves a spot in the Top 12. That said, I worry that he might not get it, since he’s opening the show tonight. But I seriously want to see at least ONE comeback artist make the Top 12, so this twist has merit, going forward. Pharrell gives this a standing ovation at the end, and I can’t blame him. I really, really liked this.
-Adam thinks Adam is impressive, saying it’s incredible how much the artists are stepping up their game. Blake notes that The Voice is badass for creating moments like this, and says Daniel may have just put himself back in the running with that song. Christina loves Daniel’s tenderness, showing distinction with such a recognizable song. Pharrell, meanwhile, states he’s proud of Daniel, saying that he showed the passion and energy of being back in the competition. He then leads the crowd in shouting “DAMN, DANIEL!” Seriously, that remains the strangest viral video of 2016 so far. It’s just a guy noting how his friend is handsome!
TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: EMILY KEENER is up next!
-Pharrell feels Emily is mature beyond her years, and thinks she can be the future of music. Emily will be singing “Still Crazy After All These Years” by Paul Simon, and it’s a pretty great vocal, as Emily sits at the keyboard and finds a middle ground between belting and falsetto. Pharrell thinks she has serious potential as an artist, noting that she’s someone with talent beyond her years. And I can’t say I disagree with him. This is the best Emily has sounded since the show began.
-Emily’s version of “Still Crazy After All These Years” is my favorite performance of hers since she joined the competition. It’s kind of crazy how much I love this, honestly. Emily sounds so damn good, and she has such a classic look at the piano, reminding me of someone like Joni Mitchell. Her voice is so understated and poignant on a song like this. Honestly, it might be the best song choice of the Playoffs so far. That falsetto at the end, man.
-Adam says he’s insanely protective of that song because he loves Paul Simon, but he thought Emily did a great job with it. Christina loved the verses, saying her performance was so simple and gorgeous, and didn’t need embellishment. Pharrell thinks it’s amazing how The Voice finds these 17-year-old anomalies, saying it’s like being in a 70s coffee shop in San Francisco. “I’m so happy you’re on my team. Everyone, please vote for this amazing unicorn of a singer,” Pharrell declares. And I just might.
-Back from break with Carson promoting Red Nose Day 2016, with Blake revealing he’s wearing a red nose himself. I kind of love Blake as the unofficial spokesperson of Red Nose Day.
TEAM ADAM LEVINE: LAITH AL-SAADI is up next!
-Laith is thrilled at this opportunity, since he’s mostly just been playing minor gigs all these years. Laith will be singing the Joe Cocker version of “With a Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles, noting that we all need our friends sometimes. Adam suggests that Laith really dig into the guitar. For his part, Laith loves that he has a coach who not only appreciates his guitar-playing, but actually wants him to do more of it. I agree completely. Laith’s musicianship is part of his appeal.
-This is easily Laith’s best vocal in the competition. I’m not saying he’ll necessarily make the Top 12, but I honestly wouldn’t be mad if he did. In fact, I think I might actually vote for him. He’s unique in a way a lot of contestants left in the competition are. No one is really giving us this classic rock/soul vibe, and I think Laith would be a fantastic addition to the Top 12. Hell, if nothing else, he’s giving us performances that inspire Adam to get up and start clapping midway through. This was AWESOME, and I think he’s a Nicholas David-type of performer who could surprise people with how well he does in this competition.
-Blake loved it, noting that he only knows that version of the song from The Wonder Years. Christina likes Laith’s raw, gritty soul that comes through every time, and notes that Adam is the perfect coach for him. Pharrell thought it was awesome, and tells the audience that if they love classic rock, they simply HAVE to vote for Laith. Adam gives Pharrell props for the shoutout (“That’s a good man, right there!”), and then praises Laith for lighting up the room in a different way.
TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: MOUSHUMI is up next!
-Moushumi will be singing “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber, noting that it’s the type of song she’d want to release on her album, with more of an indie vibe to it. Pharrell is surprised by the song choice, but he thinks Moushumi can work with it. It’s an interesting arrangement of the song, I’ll give her that. I’m genuinely intrigued to hear what she does with it.
-I kind of adore this arrangement. It’s dark and kind of haunting rather than the wink-and-nod style of the original. Moushumi has had better vocals than this, but this is the most distinctive statement she’s offered regarding who she’d be as an artist going forward. And this version of Moushumi excites me. Though we’re less than halfway through the show, I find myself hoping she gets a Top 12 spot.
-Adam gives it up for The Voice for finding someone like Moushumi, while also praising what an awesome name she has. He wishes there had been less production on the song, but he still likes Moushumi a lot. Christina is intrigued by the production, and thinks it’s awesome that Moushumi tried to do something innovative with the song. Pharrell thought it was a great job, and he commends the band as well. He wants Moushumi to keep going and to keep people as enthused as they have been.
TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: LACY MANDIGO is up next!
-Is the show just trying to burn through all of Pharrell’s artists in the first half of the show? Anyway, I digress. Lacy talks about how her family made her a cake on the night her blind audition aired, which is kind of adorable. Pharrell feels Lacy is a rock artist, which is why she’s singing “Love Is a Battlefield” by Pat Benatar. But Pharrell notes that she shouldn’t just be another teeny-bopper artist, that she should connect with the rock stylings of the song, and just let go. Good advice.
-Lacy’s version of “Love Is a Battlefield” is pretty good. It’s not mind-blowing or anything, and I think part of the reason why is because Pharrell thinks Lacy is a rocker when that’s not really who she is. I honestly think she IS that pop star who appeals to teenagers. Trying to put her in a rock genre where she doesn’t belong is a bad idea. I like Lacy well enough, but I didn’t love this.
-Blake congratulates Lacy for making the lives, admitting she had “a messed-up journey” to get here. He feels a monster comes out of her when she sings, and he congratulates her on doing such a good job. Christina thinks that was a lot of fun, sayiing Lacy rocked it. She thought Lacy really nailed that long, extended note at the end, and feels Pharrell is doing a great job with her. Pharrell feels Lacy was team-hopping on the show because she was never meant to go home. He simply feels she was meant to be here.
TEAM ADAM LEVINE: OWEN DANOFF is up next!
-Owen will be singing “Hero” by Family of the Year, feeling it’s a way to show America who he is as an artist. Adam feels some artists just blossom at the right time, and he’s happy that Owen is getting this opportunity. Can I just say how perfect this song choice is? Part of it is my fondness for the movie Boyhood, but the other part of it is a fondness for the tenderness and folksy tone of Owen’s voice.
-Owen’s take on “Hero” by Family of the Year is my favorite performance of the night so far, even though it’s not the best vocal of the night. In fact, I’d wager it’s Owen’s weakest performance of the season so far. But even a weak Owen performance is better than some of the people who performed last night. I like Owen a lot, and I think this competition needs him, and the folksy variety he provides. And hey, that ending was absolutely gorgeous, so I kind of want to see him get through on that alone.
-Blake says if he didn’t know it was a cover, he’d have assumed Owen wrote that song, just from how much he connected with it. Pharrell thinks Owen has a unique tone, and feels that when he sings over something with a folk song like that, he really delivers. Most people would have had to oversing the song just to achieve the same thing Owen did with the subtlety of his voice. Adam, meanwhile, is impressed with how Owen made the song feel like his own, saying it’s the mark of a real artist, and adding that there’s no one on the show who’s as good at making a song their own as Owen.
TEAM ADAM LEVINE: SHALYAH FEARING is up next!
-Shalyah is thrilled to have been saved by Adam, while Adam is similarly stoked to have Shalyah on his team, noting she’s gone from obscurity to frontrunner status. He’s given her “Listen” by Beyonce, telling her not to undersing, but to not lose the power either. Shalyah’s voice cracks towards the end of the song, but Adam says it’s his favorite part, since it was the realest moment in the song. Shalyah notes how each of the coaches has taught her something she can use, moving forward. For his part, Adam is amazed that Shalyah is even on his team, since she’s a finalist in his eyes.
-This is one of the better versions of the song I’ve heard on a talent show. It’s not perfect, but it’s probably the closest anyone will come to Melanie Amaro’s version. Shalyah has a lot of talent, but I guess I’m not entirely sold on her potential as a Top 12 finalist just yet, considering how well the other members of Team Adam have been performing tonight. Still, I think Shalyah does a fine job with it, particularly towards the end, when her emotion just takes over. Hell, Adam and Pharrell are on their feet before the song is even over! All four coaches give her a standing ovation at the end of the song.
-Blake thinks Shalyah just became a frontrunner with that performance. Christina misses having Shalyah on her team, and says she’s so young to have pipes like that. She thanks Shalyah for her amazing effort. Pharrell, meanwhile, is honored to be a part of Shalyah’s journey for even the brief amount of time he was. He says “From the saints to the seculars, please vote for this girl right here,” before standing up to lead a cheer for Shalyah, who notes she’s about to cry right now. Adam is proud of Shalyah, and says she and Owen both have that rare gift, that they can impart the message they’re trying to convey through feeling. He says it felt like she was telling them all “the truth.”
-Back from break with Adam revealing his comeback artist, a talented artist who he felt “had a raw deal in the Knockouts”…
TEAM ADAM LEVINE: NATE BUTLER is up next!
-Nate is beside himself to learn Adam is asking him back, although the only thing I can notice is that he and I have the same stove. Anyway, Nate will be singing “Sara Smile” by Hall and Oates. Adam feels Nate is so talented that he probably won’t be leaving the competition any time soon. Honestly, I kind of hope he’s right. Nate is someone I really liked, and who I was disappointed to see go home. Hopefully, things work out for him this time.
-There are some REALLY nice moments in this performance, although it’s kind of subdued. There are points where he’s barely even audible, because he’s delivering such anemic line readings. But his tone is just so gorgeous, and his runs are beautiful. I can’t help but root for the guy. I really hope he advances, because he has the potential to really grow. He reminds me of Nathan Brake from the final season of Australian Idol a couple years back.
-Blake thinks that just when you think you’ve heard everything from Nate, he throws in a run that impresses. There’s an element of surprise to what Nate does. Adam, meanwhile, thinks those little runs and the subtleties/nuances of what he does are tremendous. I can’t disagree there, even if he isn’t necessarily the most exciting artist in the competition.
TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: CAITY PETERS is up next!
-Caity idolizes Adele, and Pharrell thinks this is a good song choice for her, even though he’d normally recommend not singing an Adele song. Caity will be singing Adele’s “I’ll Be Waiting,” and it fits her pretty damn well, all things considered. If nothing else, Caity seems like she’s got the confidence necessary to tackle this song, which is a good sign of things to come.
-I kind of hate the song, but Caity does a great job with it. And, at the risk of being shallow, she also looks terrific, with a subtle black-and-white striped dress and straight hair. It’s the kind of star quality where the artist is so confident in her abilities that she doesn’t feel the need to draw attention to herself through outlandish fashion choices. I love it.
-Christina loved Caity’s performance, and she also loved the dress, feeling she was watching a 70s throwback artist. Pharrell says that listening to Caity sing reminds him that we’re all in our own jail until we let go and allow ourselves to have fun. What a strangely heavy critique. But I can’t say I necessarily disagree.
TEAM ADAM LEVINE: CAROLINE BURNS is up next!
-Caroline is kind of surprised that Teen Vogue wrote an article about her. She’s less surprised, however, that her friends are geeking out about her being on Team Adam, going as far as to ask if he smells good. Caroline, who’s dressed like Super Mario in a red shirt and overalls, will be singing “All I Wanted” by Kodaline, which sounds pretty great. Adam thinks there’s a beast inside Caroline, and feels she should let that out. For her part, Caroline is going to do all she can to make the Top 12. And I believe her. She seems hungry for this in ways not every artist in this competition seems to be.
-This is the most delightful surprise of the night, for me. Caroline finessed this vocal beautifully, allowing the purity of her voice to shine through without over-the-top vocal gymnastics. She’s got such an ethereal quality to her voice that’s utterly captivating, to me. Sort of like Janet Devlin from The X Factor Uk. This was just gorgeous, and one of my favorite performances of the night.
-Caroline is one of Blake’s favorites this season, comparing her to Danielle Bradbery. He feels her talent just pours out of her. Pharrell seconds that, stating it’s amazing to watch her journey and see her transform. He thinks this was a totally different level for her, delivering something that felt both country and folksy at the same time. Adam thinks Caroline was fantastic, and believes this is the precursor to the next thing she does. He simply feels something is bubbling up with her, and thinks she’s due for something even more incredible in the future.
TEAM ADAM LEVINE: BRIAN NHIRA is up next!
-Brian talks about how he received a message from the mother of a disabled girl, asking for a full version of “Jesus Loves Me”. He fulfilled the request, and simply seeing the joy on the girl’s face made me like Brian even more. He’ll be singing “Alive” by Sia, which Adam feels has a gospel quality that Brian can tap into. He feels Brian can actually win the whole thing, but right now, Brian is just hoping to earn America’s vote for the Top 12.
-This has some iffy moments on the chorus where it sounds like Brian isn’t exactly on pitch, but I still think his tone is gorgeous. But I’m not sure this will be enough to allow him to break through to the Top 12. If he can work out the pitch issues, he could be a real contender. He reminds me a lot of Matthew Schuler, a guy who could basically do any genre of music due to the unique and varied range of his voice. But I think Brian is better than this performance, as this did nothing for me. Then again, this song had a crazy degree of difficulty. It makes me wonder how wise it was to give him a song like this in the first place.
-Christina thinks Sia would be hard for any male to execute, so she gives kudos to Adam for working with Brian to bring out his crazy range. Pharrell congratulates Brian on making it to this point, and then praises him for hitting those high notes while remaining in key, comparing him to a bagpipe, in one of the weirder similes of the night. Adam calls Brian “game time” because he doesn’t have to worry about him bringing it. He thinks Brian should breathe a sigh of relief, because he’ll never have to sing a harder song again. Well, here’s hoping.
TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: HANNAH HUSTON closes the show!
-Hannah talks about going home to visit her pre-schoolers, since she hasn’t seen them in a while. Upon returning home, she discovered they wrote her a book to encourage her, which brings Hannah to tears. Hannah will be singing “Ain’t No Way” by Aretha Franklin, and it’s so lovely that it moves both Hannah and Pharrell to tears, prompting him to note how crazy it is that church chords can just move a person to tears. Pharrell thinks Hannah could go all the way, and encourages her to show that ferocity in her performance. For her part, Hannah is beside herself with love for Pharrell.
-This is a gorgeous vocal, full of grit and soul. It seems effortless though, which normally isn’t the case with performances this passionate. Normally, you can see the artist struggling or thinking things through. But Hannah simply connects with the song far better than I thought, even from the tremendous rehearsal session. Hannah is a hell of a vocalist.
-Blake says that Hannah exudes a combination of frustration and desperation, which makes her performances easy to get caught up in. Pharrell thinks Hannah’s students are correct, noting how colorful she is in her performances. He thinks it’s amazing how she steals all of their hearts, and then pleads with America to vote for Hannah.
-Overall, I thought this was a MUCH better show than last night, and I feel like we’ve got ourselves a real race now. Should be an interesting results show tomorrow, and a fascinating couple of weeks until the finale.
But what did you think of tonight’s show? Sound off in the comments!
Until tomorrow night, thanks for reading and hanging out!