Well, we have now arrived at the semifinals—where eight singers remain, and after tonight’s show, only four will be left. Each of the eight remaining artists will sing one song, and will pair with another singer for a duet. Each of the contestants are also mentored by P!nk. So with twelve performances on this show, there isn’t a whole lot of time left for filler. So let’s get to it.
Singer #1: Shalyah Fearing (Team Adam) Song: “And I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going)” by Jennifer Holiday.
That’s a big number with big shoes to fill for young Shalyah. Not only Jennnifer Holiday, but Jennifer Hudson have done this amazing number from Dreamgirls. Shalyah actually holds her own with this. I won’t say she’s better than either Jennifer, but she gets the evening off to a pretty good start.
Duet performance #1: Adam Wakefield (Team Blake) and Alisan Porter (Team Christina) Song: “Angel From Montgomery” by John Prine.
The two favorites (at least in my eyes) get together for a well-sung duet. What I was most impressed with was Alisan’s under control singing. For weeks now, she has been given songs that almost required her to wail with abandon. This duet, this song, maybe even this pairing—because Adam doesn’t require such histrionics each week—may have been the turning point for the front-runner. Both of them turned in a very outstanding performance here.
Singer #2: Paxton Ingram (Team Blake) Song: “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” by Meat Loaf
There is a lot to do with this song, and somehow Paxton manages to do most of it. I grade it as a really solid performance overall. So far, the top 8 are bringing it out tonight.
Singer #3: Laith Al-Saadi (Team Adam) Song: “One And Only” by Adele
Interesting choice for Laith, singing an Adele song. A song that, by the way, I adore. And he does a really good job with it. The guitar was in hand, and he did take a tasteful, brief solo. For once, the guitar playing did not overwhelm the singing. The coaches didn’t overpraise his guitar skills this week either.
Duet performance #2: Mary Sarah (Team Blake) and Bryan Bautista (Team Christina) Song: “Break Free” by Ariana Grande
And now, for our first shaky moment of the night. I’m not sure if the duet performances will have any effect on the voting, but neither Mary Sarah or Bryan helped their causes with this. To me, it suited him better, but I give Mary Sarah props for stepping way outside her comfort zone. It just didn’t really work.
Singer #4: Alisan Porter (Team Christina) Song: “Desperado” by the Eagles
Once again, Alisan shows a bit of restraint on this performance also. Someone must have told her all that wailing was beginning to get a little one-note. Though she had her moments to cut loose, to me they seemed a little more nuanced than they have been in recent weeks. Still hers to lose, I say.
Duet performance #3: Hannah Huston (Team Pharrell) and Laith Al-Saadi (Team Adam) Song: “Knock On Wood” by Eddie Floyd
Another iffy duet performance. Laith was fine, as I felt the song suited him better. Hannah, I just didn’t think she did that great a job. I thought from the beginning the song was too much for her, which would be a theme for the night. Another duet that just didn’t cut it.
Singer #5: Adam Wakefield (Team Blake) Song: “I’m Sorry” by Blake Shelton
All Blake on this one. Adam though has another impressive performance. How many times can I type that Adam has yet to disappoint me? He never seems to have a bad performance. His only problem is that the singer who will probably win the show is a bit better than he is. But if she wails too much and becomes too one-note, he could win the thing, in my opinion. But she would have to slip next week, and she seems to have gotten the message on overdoing it.
Singer #6: Bryan Bautista (Team Christina) Song: “Hurt” by Christina Aguilera
That makes two in a row where the contestant sings a song done by their coach. Bautista’s take on Aguilera’s song was a moving performance. I felt his connection to the lyric on this one. He told the story in rehearsals of how he hadn’t heard from his father since he’d been on the show, and he took that into his performance. I thought it was his best performance so far. Not sure if it will be enough to get him to next week though.
Duet performance #4: Paxton Ingram (Team Blake) and Shalyah Fearing (Team Adam) Song: “Masterpiece” by Jessie J
Where do I even begin with this one? It started bad and never got good. Both of them were all over the place on this one. I’m not sure who chooses what songs they sing for these duets, but they really missed the mark on this one. It would seem to me that the duets got worse as they went along.
Singer #7: Mary Sarah (Team Blake) Song: “I Told You So” by Randy Travis
This one is more in Mary Sarah’s ballpark than the duet song she did earlier. And she gives a good performance. She has been nothing less than solid all season for me. She could be the fourth finalist next week, given that she’s a country singer, and America likes country. But the staging though—can anyone tell me why she sang behind curtains for almost half the performance?
Singer #8: Hannah Huston (Team Pharrell) Song: “When A Man Loves A Woman” by Percy Sledge
Take 2 for Hannah on the Soul Classics song list. The votes have been coming in for Hannah doing these soul songs, but I have yet to be as convinced. They give her these songs, and she does her best with them, but I always feel like they are either too big for her, or she’s out of her depth with them. She gave her all on this one though, so there’s that. But I don’t know if this performance will be enough to get her through to the finals.
For me, I have Alisan, Adam and Laith in the finals. I’m not sure who gets the last spot—any one of the remaining five could get it. The most consistent of the five to me has been Mary Sarah. Bryan and Shalyah have had their moments. Paxton and Hannah could sneak in. I’ll be really interested to see if it shakes out the way I see it, with the three “sure things” and a battle for the final spot. Stay tuned.