The Voice Alisan

The Voice Top 11 Performance Recap: Always Gonna Be an Uphill Battle

It’s the cliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimb!!!

Oh, forgive me, fans of The Voice. I got caught up for a hot minute in the cauldron of delicious, melted, processed cheese of Miley Cyrus’ breakout hit — and wasn’t sure I wanted to get out.

But that is no way to start a recap. Or, as T.S. Eliot so poetically puts it — he is a poet, after all — “That is not what I meant at all; That is not it, at all.”

What I’m trying to say, as I digest a less-than-perfect performance episode of NBC’s reality competition, is that it’s looking less and less likely that anyone’s going to beat front-runner Alisan Porter. As with so many Voice seasons, the outcome appears to have been trumpeted right from the season premiere. (See: Danielle Bradbery, Sawyer Fredericks, Jordan Smith, etc.) Heck, even Adam Levine this week underscored the idea that Alisan’s victory is an inevitability — and he’s not even her coach.

This doesn’t mean Alisan’s not a worthy champ — not at all. Nor does this mean her rivals Adam Wakefield and Hannah Huston and even Laith Al-Saadi wouldn’t wear the crown well. I’m just saying that since the outcome seems as set in stone as Donald Trump’s morning spray tan, we might as well bask in the journey, rather than the destination. Or, as Miley puts it, it ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side…

Oh, dear. Before this Voice recap turns into an existential tone poem, let me jump to my letter grades for the night’s performances — bearing in mind I’ll be back overnight to flesh this out with more detailed reviews.

Shalyah Fearing – Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” (Team Adam) — Grade: B- | Shalyah’s raw vocals are messier than a 5-year-old’s bedroom after a long day of play, and unfortunately, she’s not working with a coach who seems particularly interested in improving her technique. What the kid has in excess, though, is unbridled passion, and that’s something you can’t really teach.

Daniel Passino – Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” (Team Pharrell) — Grade: C | I know he was just following Pharrell’s advice, but I actually winced when Daniel reached out for a female audience member’s hand and grinned insipidly as he delivered a falsetto note that was a smidge out of his range. And yet in some ways, that off-kilter bit of theater was the most intriguing part of a lethargically paced, vacuously phrased bit of karaoke.

Paxton Ingram – Tasha Cobbs’ “Break Every Chain” (Team Blake) — Grade: B | Look, this deep into the season, I will confess that Paxton’s nasal tone is not my cup of French onion soup. But while this repetitive Gospel number got downright screamy in parts, the contestant who somehow got Joe Maye’s “coach save” was mostly in tune and incredibly invested in the lyric.

Owen Danoff – James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” (Team Adam) — Grade: D+ | You’d have to be a monster to not be moved by Owen’s dedication to a childhood friend who died while serving in the Marines. And yet from a purely vocal standpoint, Owen’s emotions sent his vocal down a dark and treacherous path, filled with flat notes, a botched riff on the final chorus and an unappealing tremulousness throughout. Despite a stellar audition, I’m starting to think The Voice might not be the right venue for this soft-spoken folkster.

Mary Sarah – Heidi Newfield’s “Johnny and June” (Team Blake) — Grade: B | The opening verse seemed like it was pitched too low for Mary’s comfort zone, but she hit enough pretty patches on the chorus that she ought to be a lock to advance to next week’s show. When that happens, though, here’s hoping she doesn’t get quite as much of a boost from the house band’s background vocalists — allowing us to determine with our own ears if she’s really got the goods to leave her Boot Barn job behind for good.

Alisan Porter – Lorraine Ellison’s “Stay With Me” (Team Xtina) — Grade: B+ | After La’Porsha Renae’s reluctant rendition of the Lorraine Ellison/Bette Midler soul classic on Idol’s farewell season, I was hoping Alisan would find a deeper connection to the lyric. Alas, though, while she blasted a hole in the jam using her patented vocal dynamite, there was a coolness in her delivery that kept the desperation of the lyric at arm’s length. Combined with an arrangement that stretched her voice to the almost chipmunk-y upper reaches of her range, “Stay With Me” will rank as one of Alisan’s lesser Season 10 moments — even if it ranked among the episode’s better performances.

Bryan Bautista – Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” (Team Xtina) — Grade: C+ | I know everything’s gearing up for the Xtina-Alisan girl power finale, but what exactly is the “Beautiful” songstress doing with her handsome, charismatic, pop-soul artist? Not only did the arrangement on “Just the Way You Are” leave Bryan straining for most of the chorus, but it replaced the original’s unabashed sentimentality with an artificial smooth-jazz cheesiness. The sight of Bryan’s sister weeping in the audience over his dedication will probably spare him from a Bottom 2 singoff, but I still contend dude should be among the Season 10 front-runners, not a mere midpack player.

Adam Wakefield – Journey’s “Lights” (Team Blake) — Grade: B | Like his fellow front-runner Alisan (see my odds for every contestant in the gallery below, FYI), Adam came in at slightly under his personal par, while still finishing far enough ahead of half the field that his safety is all but inevitable. That’s a shame, really, since the idea of Adam stretching his artistry outside expected song choices is potentially thrilling. It’s just this particular track never really let Adam open up and deliver a gut-punch of soulfulness. The falsetto runs at the end were on point — albeit a little muted — and the pre-chorus breakdown was as thrilling as a Scandal cliffhanger. Next week, though, there needs to me more lyrical connection, more ownership of the stage, if Adam wants to keep chipping away at Alisan’s lead.

Nick Hagelin – John Mayer’s “Your Body Is a Wonderland” (Team Xtina) — Grade: F | Can I substitute a stunned-face emoji in place of a review of Nick’s almost entirely out-of-tune performance? Granted, it wouldn’t tell the full tale of the way Nick’s voice kept getting swallowed by the band — or the limp tragedy of the da-da-da breakdown — but it would certainly be more humane, no?

Hannah Huston – Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (Team Pharrell) — Grade: B+ | Was it just me, or did Hannah seem like she was on the brink of being overcome with emotion from the first note of her performance ’til the last? Nevertheless, she clung to the correct notes like an algae eater to the side of a fish tank, managing to make heartache the night’s prettiest emotion. I wish there’d been 15% less exasperation on the Nebraska schoolteacher’s face, but she may have more growth potential than anyone else in the competition.

Laith Al-Saadi – Ed Sheeran’s “Make It Rain” (Team Adam) — Grade: A- | Laith hasn’t been my fave this season, but his decision to go current with “Make It Rain” and the way he filled it with grit and pain and redemption, moved him several spots up my pecking order. Sure, the rousing chorus made maximum use of the bearded blues man’s growl, but he resisted the urge to overplay it, resulting in a nuanced vocal worth of the show-closing pimp slot.

Will be at risk: Daniel and Owen (Daniel going home)
Should be at risk: Owen and Nick (Nick going home)

What did you think of The Voice Top 11 performance night? Who ruled? Who should/will be at risk? Take our poll below, then hit the comments with your thoughts!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. OhMy says:

    Well, one thing is for sure — that was an episode of The Voice. Beyond that, . . .

    • davmon says:

      Really, I did not even like one song the first hour. Then I expected Alisan to pick it up…but it was not until Bryan channeling Marvin Gay that it clicked for me. And the last two were good. 3 for 11 is ok in baseball, but in a singing show that is under water.

    • Sally says:

      Alison should win but she won’t exactly because people are now going to nit pick her performance (a B+? Seriously?) and complain about all of the positive feedback she gets. That’s a real shame. I wish Adam would stop saying that she’s going to win. At first I thought Adam was being sincere, but after his comments tonight, I realize that he is trying to undermine her success and create exactly what Slezak attests to tonight: boredom over the “inevitable” outcome. I thought Slezak, of all people, wouldn’t fall for this trick, but apparently, no.

      • Voice Fan says:

        Adam Levine predicting Alysan Porter to win is so wrong on so many levels. It is discouraging to the other competitors, especially Laith who is far superior to the screaming Curly Sue. And it is unfair to build up the expectations of Porter in case she doesn’t win. It’s too early in the competition to predict a winner. Last week Adam sold more I Tunes recordings than Porter and this week Paxton, Mary Sarah and Laith were ranking higher on I Tunes than Aysan. Adam promised Christine Grimmie and Mat McAndrew they would win and they both lost. And they were devastated. To save face, Adam offered Christine a recording contract and the next season he said he helped Mat get a recording contract.

        • Jeri Rowland says:

          Will have to make Adam Levine wrong.

        • JM1 says:

          I feel like he says that very strategically . . . to make sure it doesn’t come true.

        • First off, even though I think Alysan sings her face off, I’m tired of the scream-fest. One can emote without constantly screaming at me, right? Hannah doesn’t scream at me.

          Secondly, predicting who will or should win has to be really hard on the other contestants…so deflating, that’s for sure….just ask the Idols when Kelly, starting at the Top 24, repeatedly said in tweets and while judging that LaPorsha should win….although, look what happened.

          • Lee says:

            Did you really think LaPorscha ever had a chance go to win?! Kelly probably said that because she knew it wouldn’t hurt and could only help LaPorsha. Alisan, on the other hand, does have a chance to win and unlike Kelly, is intentionally trying to undermine Alisan. To me that’s the difference between Kelly and Adam.

      • Mary says:

        I agree…even though I also like Laith, Adam and Paxton. Jeffery Austin should have won last season…so being the best does not guarantee a win.

    • JM1 says:

      Ugh tonight’s show was just . . . nothing. A big ol’ nothing. Yawn. The most interesting thing was watching Xtina’s breast implants shift while she talked.

      • Warbler says:

        OMG, I noticed that, too! Really uncomely…

      • Laurie says:

        I think Laith saved the show. He slayed that song & mixed it up & he’s not even my fav.

        • davmon says:

          Laith had a good sound. For once, Adam was right, that the song would have been better if he spent more time early in song down in his low rich textures, as counterpoint to the later high parts. Still, he did a quite masterful job throughout the register and on guitar….Almost as good as Koryn 2 seasons ago. Powerful.

        • S. G. says:

          He is a true artist and performer, regardless if one likes his genre.

      • Jeri Rowland says:

        @JMI I agree, although Xtina’s breast implants did not impress me either. The entire show was a big YAWN!

        • davmon says:

          The ongoing tension throughout the show–were Xtina’s puppies gonna leap out to play–and further distract from the mediocre performances.

    • Smokey says:

      agree, tonight was not worth the time and also can’t agree with several using boring overdone talent show songs. Hannah at least did a very nice job on her song, though that has been overdone as well.

      • Lilly says:

        I loved Hannah’s song last night, I felt it had the right emotion and she stayed on pitch thru the whole thing. Wish I liked her personality a little more.

        She and Laith were my favorites.

      • Montie says:

        I totally agree! How many more times are we going to have to listen to “The Climb”, “Make it Rain”, “I Can’t Make U Love Me”, and “Time After Time” on these singing shows? I bet every season, a contestant sings “Make it Rain” – good song but I am over it!

        LaPorsha just sang that song Alison did on American Idol. I like Adam, but If he wanted to do something with a rock twinge to it, why did he pick a Journey song? Do young kids who watch this show even know who Journey is?

        With all the wonderful, current songs out there to choose from, these contestants and their coaches need to do a better and more interesting job of picking songs to sing if they want people to continue watching. I thought Mary Sarah’s song was the best choice last night, and I am not that big of a country fan (and she is ranked 2nd of the Voice contestants on Itunes today).

        Each season, they need to have a list of songs contestants CAN’T choose and please, please, put some of those mentioned above on it! I am begging you!

  2. dj says:

    I loved Paxton this week. I graded him an A. I thought Alisan was shouty. I liked Hannah, Laith, and Adam, too.

    • dlraetz says:

      Alison was totally shouty

      • Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

        At the end, but the beginning was nice.

      • davmon says:

        Alisan–a good opening until she started screaming. The music was punchy & did not help. After a brief good middle patch, it was ascent into caterwauling. Made the ally cats proud!….Why does Adam need to anoint Ali after an embarrassing faux diva meltdown?

        • The Beach says:

          I got no impression that she cared about or tried to convey the pain and pleading of this song. It was all Alisan vocal gymnastics, and some rather shrill ones at that. Anyone interested in hearing how this song should actually be sung with the hurt and desperation it requires should listen to the original by Lorraine Ellison.

          • davmon says:

            Thanks for the tip….As for Alisan, is the dye cast in the prod meets? So the coaches need to snow viewers into disbelieving their ears…. I thought she was a B or B-. She alternates great one week and mediocre the next.

          • The Beach says:

            That’s so true. Each time the coach’s praise her vocals like she’s the second coming it encourages her to emote more and more. I think I would like her better with a different coach.

          • Laurie says:

            That version is pretty unbeatable though. Many have redone it but the original is pure perfection.

        • dlraetz says:

          She needed to enunciate to make the beginning ‘good’. At best it was okay

      • Susan Krome says:

        I believe her song choices (this week and last) have encouraged the “screaming” version of a rocker. I do not think Christina brings out the best w/her shallow coaching. Why do they never mention how Alison won Star Search (this was before Curly Sue) so many times when she was about 5 yrs old. I’ll always remember her singing “Broadway Baby”

      • I agree can she sing any other way? Every song is pretty much the same, just different words that she shouts out!

        • Venee says:

          Yes look up Alisan Porter “Stay” on YouTube.

        • Pat says:

          I totally agree! Every week Alison does the same exact thing, shouts , nasally screams out another song. I loved the person’s comment that called it chipmunk-y. I suppose she will win since everyone is falling all over her. But I don’t care for her at all.

    • nedsdag says:

      Yay! People agree with me regarding Alisan. She’s way too dramatic and screechy for my taste. In some ways, Alisan was what Simon Cowell would call “self-indulgent”.

      • Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

        Sell indulgent, please. ALISAN is anything but just a loud singer. She is not cocky, she doesnt fake the emotion, it’s just all in your minds. She is giving her all, stop criticizing her every move, next week will be better, but not with all of you bashing ALISAN saying that she has no grace or any sort of humanity. If thei was Jordan or sawyer, y’all would be praising them, but artists Like ALISAN, Jacque, tessane, shaylah, and Hannah have to deal with all of it.

    • davmon says:

      Paxton—in pocket early, then music went awkward stumbly march-like, vocals went high into trouble, lotta off notes, screaming, an overly redundant refrain (and did not vary his phrasing!)….The song was supposed to inspire & uplift but sounded strained & overcooked

  3. LADY_in_MD says:

    Alisan Hannah and Laith are my top 3 with Adam very close in 4th I agree with Michael Alisan is going to win this but I will enjoy watching everyone each week

  4. Andres says:

    Not as good as a night bit some good performances such as laith hannah and Alisan. I feel like xtina needs to pick better, upbeat songs for Bryan cause they are boring. I still wish xtina used her comeback save on someone better like Mike or Ayanna so we don’t have to suffer from Nick. I think they are voting for him cause he is good looking. I am glad that Paxton had an improvement this week and I feel like Shalyah feel a little short. I hope they can give her better songs to sing. Preferably up beat.
    The rest were meh

    • davmon says:

      Good comments. It WAS an off night overall. But Laith & Hannah ended things well. We do have Bryan and Alisan reversed. IMO, he was up this week from last; she was down. Shalyah was my fave last week; tonight’s song was not in her pocket and crippled her.

    • The Beach says:

      I thought that was a break-through performance by Hannah, by far the best she has sung. She, Adam and Laith were, to me, head and shoulders above the others.

      • davmon says:

        I agree on Hannah: good pocket, great up n down register in control, really good high note placement. She was good last week, but thin up high. She really managed some high soulful notes. Really outshined Alisan, who resorted to screaming to cover her thin upper register.

      • JJ says:

        She did an excellent job. Loved listening to her, but I can’t watch her. I wish someone would tell her to put that right hand down, it is really distracting when she’s singing, it always looks weird to me.

  5. Leah says:

    Why are people still pimping Shrieky McShriekalot Alison Porter?? My ears are still hurting! (and why the producers want her to win so badly I do not know)

    • analythinker says:

      I’m not. But it may be hard for her not to shout in her songs because Xtina loves when a contestant belts, especially her own team so she tends to encourage that. Even for soft, quiet songs, she’ll always add the big notes at the end or somewhere. Blue Bayou was kind of magical, but Alisan hasn’t repeated that magic for me.

      • Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

        She needs to sing something like glitter in the air by pink.

      • danin says:

        River was also pretty sweet.

        • River was her best performance on the show to date and I hope she dips back into that well. She showed perfectly capable of masterful tenderness, delicacy and control. I am #teamAlisan btw, but when the performance playing in my head this morning is Stone Cold and I can’t even remember last night’s – that is not good.

          • davmon says:

            River and Bayou have been her two really outstanding stints. So she needs to stick to bodies of water….Gotta be Sittin’ on the Dock o’ the Bay, doncha reckon?…if she can whistle.

      • Oscarpig says:

        When they don’t shout and scream -as in fantastic , talented, unique Emily Keener- the tone deaf , shallow public votes them off the show ( unless of course there is a sob back story)

    • dlraetz says:

      I thought this wa Alison’s worst week

    • Davey says:

      Alisan was awful. D

  6. Timmah says:

    I guess now that Emily is gone, I’ll jump on the Alisan bandwagon. I want to like Mary Sarah more, but Blake is destroying her with the song choices. And I find Hannah and Adam underwhelming — I feel like we’ve seen those types of singers on the show before, but better. Laith doesn’t do anything for me either. And the rest range from ho-hum to terrible.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      I’m with you on Mary Sarah. I want to love her, but a combo of bad song choices and lazy execution are obliterating her. She might be safe for another week, but she’s not long for the competition at this rate.

      • JM says:

        Hmm…I have to disagree. I think ‘Johnny and June’ was a brilliant song choice for her, and I think she sang it well. She is currently #34 on LivePopBars.

        • Timmah says:

          It may be a good song, but it’s too obscure. With her talent and the right songs she should be easily cracking the top 10 on iTunes.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          I think back to her audition with Where the Boys Are which sat right in the sweet spot of her voice, and we haven’t recreated a moment like that yet. She was an early favorite for me, but she’s losing me a bit. I’m still amenable to loving her again.

          • akillesheel says:

            She’s whispering everything and it doesn’t work for her. She’s by far at her best in her upper register, but I think she might be avoiding it because people think it’s too nasal or something.

          • Angie, yes. She had a classic 50s sound in her audition: clarity of tone with some lovely honeyed warmth. I sometimes wonder, when contestants are wonderful in audition and then never seem to fulfill that promise, whether they are the sort of singers that need a long time and a lot of coaching and experience with a song to really nail it…and that’s not something you get in a weekly show format.

      • Timmah says:

        I kind of wonder if Blake isn’t purposely sabotaging her so that his fans will focus more on and vote for Adam, who has a much better chance to win (and I think ultimately will win over Alisan). Either that or Blake has just completely lost interest in the show.

        • Ishie says:

          That’s possible but he has high hopes that she’ll shoot to the top of Itunes with that song and if that didnt happen and he doesnt change tactic with her then I guess we have oir answer.

      • danin says:

        Man, during Mary’s pre-package I thought she was going to kill it in a good way, and then…what happened during the actual performance? Band too loud again? Is it the old saying in theater bad rehearsal,good performance and in this case the opposite?

    • JM1 says:

      Mary’s voice doesn’t do it for me, plus she always seems to get a lot of help from the background singers which makes it hard to judge her voice. And I just cannot with her cutesy routine.

  7. analythinker says:

    Oh well. What’s with Adam’s song choices? Is he trying to give way for other team to win despite his incessant “wanting to win” comments? Sadly, I think Owen won’t be saved. Perhaps he’ll be in the bottom with Daniel, as Mary and Paxton are better this week. I’d still say not quite the show I was hoping, though, pitchy vocals all over it.

    • davmon says:

      Adam: Journey’s Lights seemed an ok choice in rehearsal, but live he was a tad off pocket and wobbling all around it. His whoa-whoa-whoas were even off. But his high refrain was good. I think he should go for some Leon Russell or Dr. John….

      • Alex says:

        Yes. Or the Band. He’d kill I Shall Be Released or even same Van Morrison. Maybe Harold Melvin?

        • davmon says:

          Maybe a Levon Helm song. I love The Band and Dylan….I am not sure he’s got the chops to do Van Morrison though….Gosh, I may have to break out my Moondance and Vreedon Fleece….I love The Van.

      • analythinker says:

        I actually referred to Levine, not Wakefield… but yeah, not really a fan of Lights.

  8. Davey says:

    Owen was a B+ in my book. Michael just hates him. James Taylor had to clear the song.

  9. Angie_Overrated says:

    A few great ones, a few ok ones, and yeah, a few terrible ones.
    Laith and Hannah owned the evening. Not perfect but I got really excited during both of their performances.
    I respectfully disagree with our trusted resident music critic on Daniel as I happen to love his tone. It’s a beautiful voice. Paxton also stepped it up. That kid was so into that song and he brought me along for the ride.
    Alisan I don’t think is as inevitable as everyone thinks. She’s very good but that shrieky thing got worse this week. I’m not sure if she’s getting bad advice or she’s getting nervous or what the issue is, but I’m hoping she steers the ship back in the right direction. She’s too good to keep letting that happen.

    • analythinker says:

      I don’t think Daniel is bad, but it’s really hard for me to come up with songs that might suit his voice, resulting in me being disappointed with his performances.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        I’ll say this about Daniel. I don’t get excited when he sings, but I love the sound of his voice. It’s almost like I’m hearing a beautiful sound that is disconnected from lyrics that might as well be in Uzbek because I’m so focused on the tone.

    • Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

      I believe that when Alisan picks her songs, she is in the game, but when xtina picks, it’s a bit overbacked. I still don’t think this pump age is sawyer or Jordan bad, but I hope that she’s more elusive and picks something tender like glitter the air by pink

    • JM says:

      I agree about Alison. I don’t necessarily see her as the front-runner. Hannah and Adam are at least on par with her in ranking.

    • danin says:

      My parents think Alison can do no wrong! Me, I prefer Hannah..her voice, her connection to the song and I’m 100% behind her. Though I wasn’t totally swept away by her tonight.And when camera is on her face when she is so there emotionally, I’m done for. It’s a thing of beauty.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        I think I like Hannah better too, at least based on tonight. Hannah had a pretty good night while Alison was too screamy for my taste.

        • danin says:

          I just rewatched it on mj’s big blog..even better than when I watched her on the small TV in the kitchen! And I very much liked mj’s take on her performance and well actually many of them. Mj’s take on Bryan was spot on for me.

        • Smokey says:

          I listened more than watched tonight. The only 2 that I enjoyed the song and vocals, were Hannah (good) and Bryan (fair plus). The rest were either too screamy — or out-of-character for their voice and style — or bland, or just bad song-choice. I would not watch this episode again.

    • Melanie M says:

      I agree that Alisan’s win is far from assured. Think she’s getting some bad advice from Christina-Alisan’s strength is not in her belting as her upper register is downright unpleasant.

      Still think Adam Wakefield is going to win but he was outperformed tonight by Laith and Hannah

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Adam felt off to me too. He’s a great musician but that performance didn’t work for me. He’ll most definitely have another chance next week.

      • Smokey says:

        Lot could happen between now and the finale………… While Alison is the big favorite per most, including Adam Levine, so was La Porsha on another show. Listen to Hannah and Mary Sarah and Alison on i-tunes this week, and compare fullness of voice and smoothness between the three, and who is easiest to listen to, Who would you buy an album from?

  10. James says:

    Hm, I surprisingly enjoyed Paxton. Alisan once again took the night for me, with Laith and Hannah coming in at a close second. Adam really didn’t prove why he’s Alisan’s contender tonight, I suppose it was song choice.

    And I don’t want to talk about the others at this point.

    • Smokey says:

      Bad song choice for Adam, but he will survive. , Paxton probably saved himself tonight with song-choice. I think Nick, Owen, Daniel, and Shalyah will be the ones in the lower end of the voting this time and if only one is eliminated, will be one of those 4..

  11. Kevin says:

    They’re all gonna have a tough time cracking the top 10 this week since Prince and Beyonce have just taken over iTunes.

  12. Andres says:

    I’m sure by the end of this season, Micheal will have enough to make a list of the worst performances of the voice like he did with idol.

  13. davmon says:

    Tonight IMO, Bryan & Hannah & Laith were outstanding and solid A range. The other 3 in my Top 6—Adam & Alisan & Shalyah—slipped some into B to B- range. The bottom 5 all stayed down in C or C- territory—or worse. I guess Michael did not like Bryan near as much; and Paxton much more than I….

  14. MynameisNO says:

    Haven’t watched it yet but based on song choices I’m excited for Shalyah, Nick,Hannah, and Laith’s performances tonight. Nick because I just don’t see him doing that song.

  15. Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

    Well tonight was kinda of . . . Interesting. No one really had the absolute moment of the season tonight. I enjoyed Alisan, laith, shaylah, Hannah, and Paxton somewhat tonight. Hopefully there are better song choices soon. Here’s mine

    Alisan – glitter in the air by pink or power of love by Frankie’s goes to Hollywood
    Bryan – end of time by Justin timber lake ft beyonce
    Mary – open arms by journey
    Shaylah – I don’t wanna cry by Mariah Carey
    Laith – hold back the river by James bay
    Owen – the cave by Damien rice
    Adam – in color by Jamie Johnson
    Paxton – let me love you by me-yo
    Hannah – shake it off by Florence and the machine
    Nick – I miss you by Adele
    Daniel – what a wonderful world by Louis Armstrong

  16. JM says:

    Can we get a slow clap for the genius that is Blake Shelton? Damn, if he didn’t bring it with his team tonight–and I might add, throw some shade Alison’s way by way of a back-handed compliment. Paxton had his best performance so far and is currently leading the pack on LivePopBars. He improved Mary Sarah ten-fold with a current, sentimental hit, and she is currently 2nd in sales. And with Adam, well, he just let Adam be Adam with some coaching on technique. Lastly, when asked to critique Alison, he basically said that she had no room to grow, because she is already at the top. And since America likes to see growth…

    • Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

      She can still improve. She just needs to learn her dynamics more that’s it, everything else is fine, maybe something like glitter in the air by pink

    • Venee says:

      So how did Jordan win if America likes growth?

      • Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

        Exactly, thank you venee. Or sawyer as well.

      • Collin says:

        In Jordan’s case he was far better than everyone else. He was probably the best this show has ever had. I personally didn’t care for him but there was no denying his talent.

        In Alisans case she has major competition. Personally I think she’s been worse every week since her audition. America does like to see growth. It’s been proven time after time on these competitions. Not sure if you watched Idol this year but that was a perfect example. Now Alisan could hit a groove and easily win this. But from what I’ve been seeing I would be surprised if Adam doesn’t win. Blake has major pull in voting. I don’t think we’ve heard the best of Mary yet either. It’s really to early to tell but IMO Alisan is far from having this in the bag

        • Venee says:

          I’m not arguing the “far gone conclusion ” theory. I’m pointing out the obvious. Jordan did not grow, he just slayed every week. He had tons of “haters” too. You don’t always have to have a horitio alger story.

          • Collin says:

            You’re right. When you’re so much better than everyone else you don’t have to grow as much. That was quite obvious last year.

            But the original posters opinions were on this season. And you made a comment on last seasons winner. I was just stating the fact that last season was totally different than this season. As far as the gap between contestants. Production and coaches may try to push Alisan on us, but judging by iTunes it’s not working as well this season.

  17. MynameisNO says:

    Sadly, Owen is clearly going home this week, based on this tvline poll, he was saved by Adam in the playoffs, and his bottom two standing last week. He will be out tomorrow.

  18. Ron says:

    I’m still pissed at Nick and America for ruining Christina’s team. He was (and has been consistently) dreadful. That should have been Ryan or Tamar’s spot, and I won’t get over that.

    • JM says:

      Speaking of Tamar, did anyone else see her on the SNL tribute to Prince? She sang with him, and Steve Martin actually introduced her. They sang well together, too.

    • Victoria says:

      Yep Nick ruined her team even though we voted in by America…OK. OK evn though Tamar was literally terrible trash in the live playoffs. OK. OK even though Nick is hot af and has an amazing story. OK. OK even though Ryan, despite the fact he was sexy, couldn’t connect. Yep all Nick’s fault.

      • Ron says:

        You’re the problem. Tamar was horrible in the live playoffs, but had been really strong prior. Nick has been consistently bad. Also, Ryan was objectively better than Nick in the live playoffs. Objectively. Better! And, let me just pull out this bit from your response: “Nick is hot af and has an amazing story.” I’m sorry, I thought it was a singing competition? Sorry that I judge Nick on his singing while he’s on a singing show rather than his looks and backstory……his looks which aren’t even all that amazing if we’re being honest.

        • Alex says:

          Agree 100%. Yes Nick is good looking but his whole every song has to be suave & sexy schtick has worn thin. Honestly, his kid is really cute and great but people are voting for him more than his dad. I can find equally talented singers right in front of the Voice studio any weekend.

  19. MynameisNO says:

    Odd how most people tend to agree with Slezak’s grades and rankings in the IDOL recaps but it is never like that with The Voice. Not just with Slezak’s grades but the rankings are pretty clear with IDOL. With the Voice, it seems to be a bit more polarizing. TvLine Commenters consistently differ all the way around from week to week with The Voice. Anybody else notice this?

  20. davmon says:

    Has there been a change in music director on the show. The last 2 seasons the music was usually great. I guess I have not dwelt on it until tonight. But on 2 or 3 songs, the music did not click—awkward or stumbling or listless or suddenly drowning out…Not good!

  21. My top 3 tonight: Alisan, Adam, and Laith. I think Alisan, Adam, and maybe Hannah will be the final 3, with Alisan taking it, though I was wrong about La-Porsha on American Idol, so who knows? (Of course Jordan was crowned champ in the first week–the Voice likes to do that). I think Alisan and Adam are clearly the front runners and both deserve record deals, just like Trent and La’Porsha got. I agree with Michael–tonight was underwhelming at best. Hoping next week is better.

  22. Leandro says:

    Oh my god, B- for Shalyah? That was one of the worst performances I’ve even seen on the show, should be an E for effort.

  23. 2Blessed says:

    This episode felt a little long BUT I enjoyed some performances. Shalyah had sound/mixing issues but I liked it, as well as Bryan, Hannah, Paxton and Mary Sarah. Alisan was a little dramatic for me but still good. Everyone else was middle of the pack/below average for me.

  24. CMG says:

    Wow. B- for Shalyah tonight? I so don’t get that. I wouldn’t have rated that much above a C-. There were all sorts of clunker notes and runs gone wrong.

    Beyond that, what was with the majority of the song choices tonight? It was like an early 80s easy listening radio cheesefest. Even Bryan managed to re-arrange “Just The Way You Are” to sound like it belonged in that early 80s easy listening vibe.

  25. Derrick says:

    I’m the biggest Paxton hater ever and I thought he deserved an A tonight
    Nick & Daniel need to go
    Hopefully Hannah, Adam, and Shalyah make top 4
    i’m so [insert curse word] tired of the producers trying to crown Xtina the winner of this season. It’s obviously her last year here as a judge and they want her to win bwfore she goes out. But seriously…every performance no matter the judges have to all giving Alisan a standing ovation. Every. Single. Time. And then Adam week after week saying that Alisan “100% is going to” win the competition…seriously? How about you support your own artists instead of repeatedly saying how much you wish she was on your team. I’m so tired of predictable seasons and I’m praying someone else (not on team blake) wins for the sake of giving a big middle finger to Mark Burnett and Adam Levine
    Terrible song choice for Shalyah. Like actually terribe, why is this gospel, r&b, soul singer gonna sing a song from the Hannah Montana movie. Terrible.
    Pharell is by far the best real coach. Blake relies on the country card. Adam literally only cares about winning. Xtina is 2nd best.
    Mary Sarah is by far my least favorite. Am i the only person turned off by her personality. I feel like she’s low key really arrogant.
    Can we just cut Bryan, Daniel, Nick, Mary, and Owen (my personal fave) tomorrow, it’s a waste of time hearing them perform when the show clearly sets up who they want to win & lose

    • davmon says:

      You said lotsa good stuff….Paxton WAS better at first, but got screamy, never varied that over-repeated refrain….Yes, Nick & Daniel, there’s the door…Bad song for Shalyah…. Pharrell IS best coach; so why do voters target him in Round of 12 all 3 seasons–Mia Z, then Mark, now Emily! Xtina is 2nd and good—but pushes singers to diva it up….Alisan is over-hyped; Shalyah, Bryan, & Hannah are much more consistently good. She is more the equal of Laith & Adam…. MS is vocally limited yet acts entitled….Trade out Bryan for Paxton & we have the 5 I’d leave off the Top 6.

  26. Kyllito says:

    It is going to be hard for anyone to break the top ten with just ok performances and Lemonade and Prince dominating the top of the charts.

  27. As much as I’ve liked Alisan in the past, sorry but tonight just wasn’t her best performance. She as all good, but Hannah, Adam & Laith were better. She was 4th for me.

    I was really disappointed with Bryan’s performance. I had high hopes for him but he’s not stepping up.

    Nick NEEDS to go. Please. The sooner the better.

  28. nedsdag says:

    I wish Adam would STFU in regards to praising other singers before HIS OWN SINGERS have performed. He had already crowned Alisan the winner BEFORE Laith had gone. Then Laith blew the doors off the stage with his rendition. Yes, it has been done previously on The Voice, but Laith truly gave it soul.

    Biggest surprise of the night: Paxton, in a good way. Honorable mention: Nick of all people.
    Biggest disappointment: Shalyah, who was screechy.

    • davmon says:

      So true. It’s like decide in an early prod meet which included at least the 2 perm coaches: the fix is on Alisan….keep hyping her…no matter if she overcooks it so bad the stage catches fire….Pax & Nick were BETTER tonight, but not good; Pax never varied that repeated refrain and Nick gave us another falsetto that did not fit & marred the song….Poor Shalyah! She was my fave last week. Who gave her that song? She did not know what to do with it. Coach Adam is either a zombie or a hologram this season!

  29. Jenn says:

    God what a boring show! I just looked at the itunes chart and was struck by the number of mediocre people who have made it to the top 11. Nick, Owen, Daniel. Snooze Snooze Snooze. Paxton is #1 at the moment and the best that can be said about him is that his performance wasn’t awful. There is something wrong with this show. How could it start the season with so much talent and boil down to this dreary group? Meanwhile, the judges! How many ways can they spout dreck? I don’t even know why I’m watching ….

    • kevstar says:

      Nick, Owen and Daniel are #9, 10, and 11 on the iTunes rankings. There are only 11 people still on the show.

      • Don says:

        Well at least iTunes has the correct Bottom-3. Not that Nick should worry all that much since he’s still going to get the “granny” vote because he’s such a nice young man with such an adorable son.

  30. Gailer says:

    Watching late and after seeing Michaels grades I can’t wait , another F?!

  31. kevstar says:

    Alisan, for all her haters, still at the top of the leaderboard! Suck it, losers! ( Just kidding). Paxton really brought it tonight, too. Owen will be going tomorrow. Nothing against him, but when compared to the others, he is boring. And boring loses out to less than perfect performances on this show.

  32. scott says:

    There’s really something about Hannahs tone that I really like. Personally, I think she interprets her vocals better than Alisan. Unfortunately, we can all see where this is going. Side note, with Prince occupying most of the top 100, it’ll be interesting to see if anyone can crack the top 10. My favs of the night were Laith, Hannah, Adam and Salah actually.

    • danin says:

      Oh hell yeah..I think so too. It’s a pleasure to see her thinking&feeling at the same time. And she reveals her vulnerability&strength at the same time. I love&look forward always to watching her.

  33. Gailer says:

    Owen has one weird vibrato

    • Kbella says:

      Ok, is that what it’s called? I asked someone on a live chat last night, who is a pro singer, and she said that it’s not. Michael described it as “tremulous.” Whatever it is, I hate it. Just sing the notes.

  34. Gailer says:

    Nick wasn’t bad to me. An F? I’d say more a C.

  35. Bri says:

    I love Christina…always have. Tonight though if any of the judges made a comment to each other…dang her cutting eyes. I was surprised she was not interacting.

  36. kevstar says:

    I have to hand it to Hannah this week for singing one of my favorite songs Ever, I Can’t Make You Love Me. Although my favorite version belongs to the original artist, one of the best covers was by Prince on the Emancipation album. With all that’s happened, I recommend everyone track that version down.

  37. J.B. Real says:

    @michaelslezak On this week’s Reality Check, will you and Melinda (rightfully) rail against the double assault that are Christina’s girls, as you did against J. Lo’s a few weeks back? Who invited them to the broadcast?

  38. E Rodgers says:

    Holy chainsaw, Batman! This season is STRONG!!! Have we ever had an episode that contained so many good performances?
    LAITH – was fantastic. The producers were right to give him the closing spot.
    2nd tier (impressive): Hannah, Alison.
    3rd tier (also impressive): Adam, Bryan.

  39. Lyn Jensen says:

    The good-looking heartthrob guys don’t get much love, do they?

    • davmon says:

      Well, hunky Afro-Carib Bryan was plenty good; he was an A in my book–as was Laith, if you are into Revenant Rugged….And Adam was a solid B to me, if you like bearded young Waylon types….if you like a young black guy who is 23 going on 13, then Paxton needs some seasoning to be consistent….But if you are talking neat shaven white guys Daniel & Nick; they are too erratic and amateurish in going up & down register–and when to throw a falsetto. They don’t feel it; they just guess–and hope their good voices & looks will finesse the slipshod song treatments….They are all nice guys though! Is that some love?

  40. Michael P says:

    I’m a Alison fan but I think her performance tonight left the castle gate cracked open when she should be barring the door. it wasn’t bad. t think several artist snuck in the palace tonight and from here on out, I think it’s a four person race to the finish line

    • You said it better than I could/did. She has been on top for me until this week when she came in fourth out of last night’s performance. I’m not saying it’s over for her, I’m saying it shouldn’t be a foregone conclusion that she’s won this thing. Anything can happen & she’s now got three others nipping right at her heels.

  41. My fiance and I are musicians, Michael, and we live for your reviews/re-caps. We sit on pins waiting to see if you’re thinking what we’re thinking. We’re always blown away by your apparent exemplary ear. YOU NAIL IT EVERY TIME! Overall, gotta say this season of The Voice is the most lackluster we’ve witnessed. So few stand-out performers (and lots of bad song choices). My personal favorite is Adam Wakefield. He’s a natural-born vocalist with an exceptionally pleasing voice. He’s humble, he undeniably has the chops, and he never disappoints.

  42. Alex says:

    Calling my shot now. Alison is not going to win. Adam will. He’s a much more interesting singer and more dynamic performer. He’s coming for blood on almaot every performance. He has more appeal overall. Daniel, Nick and Bryan need to all go home tomorrow. Bryan has stunk 2 weeks running, Daniel is nice but plane milk boring and Nick is only getting votes because he’s good looking and everyone loves his kid. The guy is basically the best street performer I can catch outside of Universal Studios any weekend.
    Great song selection for Lait this week. Hannah has so much potential but she is always doing the same cliched songs. She needs something new and fun and outside the box.

    • JOHN FETT says:

      In my 50 plus years experience in the music business, i find the listener and the critic have different ears. for example, I saw Janis Joplin live in riverside california in the 60’s Alison’s “Cry” performance would have impressed Janis who never sang it unless she was stoned.. Alison has the best voice and delivery of anyone on the voice and I think those of you, including this critic, that think you know music, better give it up. you have a right to you personal opinion, but unless you know what you’re talking about keep your negative remarks to yourself. The voice production staff does and excellent job staging each performance to make everyone look good, better than any other show past or present, yet I still hear negative responses, i guess it’s human nature for some to look for the negative in everything.

      • Alex says:

        Not to get snarky but you might want reconsider your expertise on reading comprehension. I never said anything negative about Alison. She’s great but is a bit repetitive in her performance, outside of Blue Bayou so a lot of that could be due to Chrsitina Agulerra. What I said is that Adam has a much more appealing (persoanlity), interesting (personal preference of his tone) and dynamic (shown multiple genres=southern rock, country, gospel & classic soul). He has more natural charisma and his years paying his dues have made him a better stage performer. All of those things count since the best voice often doesn’t win.

        • kevstar says:

          I can’t for the life of me know why people like Transformers movies, either. I guess we can chal it up to different people have different tastes. Wow. What a concept! Mystery solved.

  43. Toba7 says:

    Please help me understand why Alisan who screams and has a nasal chipmunk voice is the “front runner”. I would never choose to listen to her music. I don’t get it. Prefer Shayla, Laith, Adam and Hannah to her. Is there a political story here? A producer with a preference like the way slimy Scott pushed Tristen at first on AI?

  44. Laurie says:

    I almost never agree with Slezak- this week is the closest that we’ve ever graded performances.

    Best for me:

    1-Laith-A (he saved the whole ho-hum show & what a different song choice. Not my favorite artist because he can sound redundant but he slayed tonight!)

    2-tie Alisan/Adam-A- (not my fav Alisan performance but she still sang it well…not fair to her but can’t get La’Porsha’s version from Idol outta my head-but at least Alisan WANTED to sing the song, unlike La’Porsha. Adam..oh how I don’t like folks touching Steve Perry/Journey songs & Adam could’ve done even more with it, but he mixed it up. Big points there. Still think he’s holding back.)

    3-tie Daniel/Paxton/Hannah-B
    (Daniel’s too underrated & always up near the top half in singing order which seems rigged to me. Paxton is my least fav but thanks to Pharrell having to tell Blake what the gospel singer should sing-gospel-this will prob keep him in for next week. Hannah has range & good song choices & a great growl. But she is still a step under Alisan in laying her heart out there. I couldn’t distinguish her voice on radio from another-but I’m a fan.)

    Mid: Bryan/Mary-B- (Bryan always comes off a bit generic & too slick-missing the grit of Joe Maye. Would I be able to recognize his voice on radio or would he just blend into typical radio fare? But my fav performance of his thus far. Mary is losing me fast but this was her best performance in weeks & a good song choice.)

    WORST 3 in order:

    Owen- D (great song-boring rendition w/no soul & he couldn’t find pocket. I’m an Owen fan, too. Wish he’d sang a David Gates/Bread song or an amazing song his father wrote with Emmylou Harris called Boulder to Birmingham.. he actually has good originals too, but don’t think you allowed to do those on this show)
    Nick- C (Nowhere near an F like Slezak gave it, but safe & no passion this time-and I’m a Nick fan)
    Shalyah-C (BORING, overdone song choice w/many missed notes near end & being in death position of going 1st-yikes..and I’m a Shalyah fan.)

    I was so far off of my predictions of a bottom 2 last week I should not even attempt to predict. But I think Owen’s in BIG trouble.

    • davmon says:

      I like Hannah & Bryan in 1st Tier with Laith. Then your Adam & Alisan in 2nd. Shalyah slipped to 3rd Tier–and Pax may have tied her, after a better effort….4th Tier: MS & O are too vocally limited to last long….But 5th Tier: Nick & Daniel, despite vocal skills the equal of any others, reliably prove to have no idea how to emotionally connect with a song, howth to do improv runs & riffs at add nuance & depth, and how to use & place falsetto inside–not outside–the frame of the song.

  45. JJ says:

    I really don’t get the Alison hype, but then, I really hate my music screamed to me. And I agree, her emotions with a song, unless she’s screaming it at me, are nil. But, this has to be the most disappointing of the final 10 on the voice. Past seasons, there were several who were out, but were still better than most of tonight’s. And I’m beginning to wonder if Paxton has difficulty remembering lyrics, since every song he has done is basically repeated lyrics throughout the song.

  46. pdamico says:

    On two positive notes: A shout out to the improved sound quality this week. Still not up to the level this show used to provide, but it was a definite improvement. Also, major shout out to this show’s stylists. Not only have they been dressing these contestants in very classy, attractive and now fashions, but they manage to incorporate their personalities into the outfits without exaggeration. I mean, compare Mary Sarah’s/Shalya’s/Alison’s gorgeous clothes tonight to the incredibly awful stuff we saw the past few season’s on Idol. They even make the guys look great (although not hard to do with Bryan).

    There’s no denying Alisan’s talent. While I understand her tone may not be to some people’s ear preference, that girl is mega-talented. She sang the hell out her song tonight. All that said, I just don’t feel her performances. There’s no soul to her sound. And unlike a lot here, Michael, Adam and the show’s producers included, I really believe there’s a good chance she’ll suffer the Chris Daughtry/Pia Tuscadero fates of voters not voting because they assume everyone else is, or the ol’ frontrunner backlash.

    I really like Bryan. I think he’s the proverbial “whole package,” but his song choices are starting to border on the lounge-y side. He needs to get edgier. But all pettiness about his vocals aside, I generally enjoy him. He has a rare, comfortable stage presence you just don’t see on these shows.

    Not a Hannah fan. Her voice is always crystal clear perfection, but the girl has no style and very little warmth. I blame the former on her just not being seasoned enough and the latter on nerves.

    Owen needs a few more years of dues-paying and getting comfortable in his own skin. He has the perfect tone for the folk-y/indie music he wants to play, but I actually have to shut my eyes when he’s performing, because he makes me so uncomfortable for him.

    I loved Adam’s performance tonight. It didn’t hurt that he chose my single, absolute favorite Steve Perry vocal to go outside his box, but I thought the subtle nuances of his arrangement were smartly done for his style. I agreed 100% with Pharrell that he’s totally ready for a bigtime career. Loved Pharrell’s comment about how Big Music couldn’t mess this one up.

    Although I’d be a fool not to have recognized Laith’s skills before tonight, I really wasn’t feeling him, either. But, OMG, he sure won me over tonight. He was stunningly good. I felt like I was hearing something really special.

    I’d love to see an Adam, Alisan, Bryan and Laith finale. Put together Adam’s smarts, talents and readiness with Blake’s popularity and the country music/Southern Rock crossover vote, and I see him as a genuine threat to Alisan. So, no. I disagree that this season is a foregone conclusion.

  47. Don says:

    That was a fairly poor performance show. Only Laith and Hannah were fairly good, even if Laith’s version of Make it Rain was still not as good as the covers of that song we got in the last two seasons and Hannah was not at her best.

    It doesn’t help that both Alisan and Adam had their worst performances yet, even if they were still better than many of the others. I guess Paxton, Mary Sarah and Bryan did at least improve on last week.

  48. Arthur says:

    Man, if you’re talking about odds, they must add up to 1. The odds in your gallery have a total of 1.45. I can’t trust information that is so fundamentally wrong.

  49. Carol says:

    Can anyone explain to me why America saved Nick?? Anyone?

  50. Irene says:

    Alison Porter appears to be the front runner, but there could be an upset. It seems every song she sings she is belting out and after a while you can predict when she is going to belt out. It appears she not that versatile, and I wouldn’t go to her concert because I would be bored after sometime. I did enjoy Bryan’s rendition of “Just The Way You Are’.

    • Venee says:

      This is a competition. People do what they have to do to advance. No one knows what will happen, but by every measure at this point she is holding her own. Social media followers the most, highest average itunes sales, highest youtube views by far. She’s actually extremely versatile, those interested enough to look up her stuff realized this long ago. She is not everyones cup of tea, but she has a significant following that will keep her in the game.