I’m back from my Phoenix trip, ready to chat the show that endeavors to pick the next singing sensation in America! Or something like that. Let’s get it started…there were nine performers left. And here’s how it went down, in my opinion.
Singer #1: Paxton Ingram (Team Blake) Song: “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) by Whitney Houston
A slower arrangement is the big change for Paxton tonight as he takes on this classic. While it may suit his style better, what it does do is rob the song of the energy that the original has. He was still pretty good, but I did not hear great.
Singer #2: Mary Sarah (Team Blake) Song: “My Church” by Maren Morris
Mary Sarah has been very consistent, with performances ranging from very good to great. However, for me this performance was just okay. She sounded a bit shaky in parts, while still solid in others. Not her best performance at all. Given that she’s the only real “classic” country singer left, I can see her getting through to the semifinals next week.
Singer #3: Nick Hagelin (Team Christina) Song: “Hold On, We’re Going Home” by Drake
Since I didn’t see either of last week’s shows, I had to be told that Nick was in the bottom two. Can’t say I was all that surprised—I’ve heard nothing but struggle since he came back. And there was more on display tonight. This song isn’t something that is easy to pull off, because it doesn’t have as much to play with. If you’ve ever heard Drake sing, well, he’s not making Luther Vandross turn over in fear. And Nick, well he didn’t really pull this off for me. But the screaming girls factor may keep him in this.
Singer #4: Hannah Huston (Team Pharrell) Song: “Say You Love Me” by Jessie Ware
It’s not saying a whole lot that Hannah ended up being the last performer on Pharrell’s team. Emily Keener never had a prayer and Daniel Passino wasn’t a whole lot better. But Hannah, while good, has a ways to go to catch the real contenders. Her performance of this Jessie Ware song was ok, but there were some flat notes. And I’m not sure that won’t keep her out of the bottom tonight.
Singer #5: Shalyah Fearing (Team Adam) Song: “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke
This is where I veer left while everyone else goes right. Just about everyone I talked to that watched this performance thought it was great. I was not impressed. At all. But then, that may be my bias coming into play. See, I don’t think anyone can touch Sam Cooke on this song. That includes some big-named performers that have taken cracks at it over the years. For me, it’s Sam’s version that takes them all down. It might be unfair to compare her version to his, but I just didn’t think it was as good as everyone else did. That said, I’ll bet she makes it through to next week.
Singer #6: Laith Al-Saadi (Team Adam) Song: “We’ve Got Tonight” by Bob Seger
For the first time, Laith puts down the guitar! However, he does play piano on this Seger classic. And for the first time, the focus is more on his singing, than his musicianship. When he’s on stage shredding on the guitar week after week, the compliments are always on his guitar playing, and his singing is an afterthought. As he proves here, he sings well enough. But the guitar is the crutch that keeps him going. Despite that, he’s done enough to go through.
Singer #7: Adam Wakefield (Team Blake) Song: “Love Has No Pride” by Bonnie Raitt
Once again, Adam gives a solid performance. From his first performance in the blind auditions until this one, he has been nothing but consistently good. In my book, that makes him a solid second choice, although he may be gaining some ground because the front-runner is starting to get a little too predictable. He is definitely one to watch though, should the front-runner stumble in any way.
Singer #8: Alisan Porter (Team Christina) Song: “Cryin'” by Aerosmith
And here is where I say that the front-runner is starting to get too predictable. As usual, Porter was given a song that allowed her to wail with abandon. And she did. The problem is, she does it every single week. Granted, once a leader finds their style on this show, it gets run into the ground. This happened with Jordan Smith last season; every week it was an impeccably sung ballad. Just once, I’d like to see Alisan try something different, something that requires a bit of nuance and not a lot of wailing big notes that we all know she can hit in her sleep. See you in the semifinals, Alisan.
Singer #9: Bryan Bautista (Team Christina) Song: “1+1” by Beyoncé
I missed Bautista’s song last week where he sung in Spanish. This week, he takes on Beyoncé, and he actually sounds fine on this song. I don’t know if he was “close the show” worthy, but he certainly wasn’t too bad. I’ve had weeks where I go back and forth with Bryan: some weeks he’s been great and others he has struggled. This one is good enough for him to get through to next week.
My bottom two are Nick and Hannah. But I’ve been wrong before.
If you watched the show, how do you feel? Leave your thoughts in the comments.