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The Voice: Final 12, 4/18/16

April 19th, 2016 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

Usually The Voice cuts two singers a week in its final rounds, but Monday’s top twelve is going to become next week’s eleven–only one singer is getting voted off this week. The final twelve contestants sang for viewers’ votes last night:

1.  Team Blake:  Mary Sarah can’t afford another shaky performance like last week’s “Rose Garden.” Blake’s advising her to take on different categories of country. She moves from her old-school style to something more contemporary with Carrie Underwood’s “So Small.” Mary’s a former Boot Barn salesclerk, so the judges spend much time giving Boot Barn some product placement.

2.  Team Adam:  Laith Al-Saadi points out he was a national finalist for “King of Blues” sponsored by Guitar Center.  True traditional blues haven’t been trendy since the sixties and seventies, but Laith could change that, singing “Born Under a Bad Sign.” When he sings the blues, he can be energetic and laid-back at the same time. Adam talks at length about how there hasn’t been anybody remotely in this spectrum on the show before.

3. Team Pharrell:  Daniel Passino talks to Pharrell about becoming an artist (as in singer/performer), and Pharrell responds that Daniel is an artist. Passino takes on Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” with lots of range and lots of suppleness. He performs it so well that even the host, Carson Daly, chimes in about, “all the little Michael-isms.” Adam and Christina comment on the singer’s growing confidence.  Pharrell summarizes, “Look what you willed yourself to do. You killed it.”

4.  Team Pharrell:  Emily Keener may be only 17 but she doesn’t come across as amateurish. Pharrell advises her to show off her beautiful defined runs on Jeff Buckley’s “Lilac Wine,” to be delicate where other contestants are going to go for big notes. Strumming guitar, she shows some of the flavor of the sixties and seventies–the era of Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and Joni Mitchell. Three judges are asked to comment and all rave–Christina calls it her favorite performance of the night so far.

5. Team Christina:  Nick Hagelin turns Blake Sheldon’s “Mine Would be You” into a smooth fluid lounge ballad. Pharrell wisecracks, “Blake should write more songs for you.” Blake says his fans are going to want to hear Nick Hagelin’s version.

6.  Team Blake:  Adam Wakefield, who’s usually categorized as this season’s country male vocalist, turns to Southern rock with “Soul Shine” by the Allman Brothers. Pharrell calls it setting the groundwork for his future after The Voice. (The other) Adam raves about how (the “manly” according to Blake) Adam is going to be able to do anything he wants–solo, front a band, anything.

7.  Team Christina:  Bryan Bautista picks the right song, the nineties’ hit, “Kiss From a Rose.” He uses his falsetto to impart both softness and agony into the poetic lyrics. Pharrell predicts Bautista will get a record deal regardless of the outcome of this contest.

8.  Team Adam:  Owen Danoff transforms a contemporary song, Lukas Graham’s “Seven Years,” into a folk-flavored seventies’ throwback, like something from Harry Chapin’s repertoire. Adam advises him not to play bass (or guitar) and just focus on singing. Pharrell is quite impressed with the result, “Singer-songwriter-folk-something … keep going, you’re on the right path.” Adam’s so impressed with how Danoff, with no instrument to hold him down, walked the stage, that he has to get up and demonstrate it himself.

9.  Team Christina:  Alisan Porter puts her mature diva-like voice into Demi Lovato’s “Stone Cold.” She’s a powerhouse singer, but powerhouses don’t always attract the most votes on these shows.

10.  Team Blake:  Paxton Ingram was saved last week, even though he was the greenest of Blake’s options. Sheldon may have been motivated by the opportunity to give Ingram more coaching, but that’s not going to win The Voice. His churchy performance of a Selena Gomez song, “Hands to Myself,” shows he’s just too inexperienced for this field. Pharrell and Blake talk about assigning him something inspirational next week, but I don’t share their confidence that he’s going to make it through to next week.

11.  Team Pharrell:  Hannah Houston could be a country singer, but she aims for soulful blues–or even rock–with Etta James’ “Something’s Got a Hold on Me.” Adam comes up with “alien soul” to describe her style. Blake comes back with, “Like if ET could sing!”

12.  Team Adam:  Shalyah Fearing is 16 and her inexperience shows. She sings Kelly Clarkson’s “Up to the Mountain” as an inspirational song. She’s got lots of big notes but she doesn’t sing them properly.

My guess is that Paxton’s going home tonight, although several of the young and inexperienced singers are going to be in trouble as the season progresses.  I voted for some of those young singers, though:  Owen Danoff, Adam Wakefield, Nick Hagelin, Daniel Passino, and Emily Keener, along with ol’ man Laith Al-Saadi.



Tags: The Voice