Ali Caldwell

The Voice Top 8 Performance Recap: They're a Little Unsteady

“[Tuesday] night, our biggest elimination of the season — eight become your four finalists!” Carson Daly exclaimed frantically at the end of The Voice Season 11 semifinal performance telecast.

But in all honesty, two or maybe even three of the finale berths are already spoken for — thanks to a combination of season-long hype, artistic consistency and the undeniable importance of who got the week’s final two performance slots.

Let’s be real: Sundance Head is as likely to be bumped off during Tuesday’s brutal bloodbath as president-elect Donald Trump is to take a deep breath and consider the socio-geopolitical implications of his Twitter account between now and inauguration day.

Billy “I was a child star!” Gilman and Wé “I’m about to become a child star!” McDonald headed into Top 8 week looking solid as The Rock’s biceps, too, and despite subpar efforts, it would still be a jolt to see both, or even one of ’em, not continuing a forward march into the Top 4.

Without the benefit of a shock boot, then, we’re left with Christian, Ali, Brendan, Aaron and Josh duking it out for the chance to get an extra week of national television exposure and a few totally hollow bits of feedback from the Season 11 panel.

Depressing as that last paragraph seems, let’s nevertheless jump right into letter grades and reviews for the week’s 10 performances:

Christian Cuevas (Team Alicia), “To Worship You I Live (Away)” — Grade: C+ | Showing emotions? Great. Losing control of ’em to the point that your tears waterlog your sense of pitch and leave you struggling in a swaybot pit of white-clad chorus members? Calamitous. And very poorly timed given the stakes of the semifinals, I might add.

Wé McDonald and Aaron Gibson, “FourFive Seconds” — Grade: B | This didn’t look especially well-rehearsed, but it didn’t sound half-bad, either.

Ali Caldwell (Team Miley), “I Will Always Love You” — Grade: A- | Aside from a wobbly intro, Ali — looking like a post-Voice star in her red floral dress — gave a gorgeous performance of an impossibly range-y Whitney Houston jam, using her own sense of nuance, restraint and melodic reinvention to make her more than worthy of the sparks-from-the-rafters staging. Which brings me to this conclusion: A Season 11 finale without Ali would be like a summer with no ice cream: Unspeakable. And not nearly sweet enough.

Brendan Fletcher (Team Adam), “Angel” — Grade: D | A rich, smoky tone is worth only so much when the guy responsible for it is making direct contact with one out of every three or four notes. Look, as lovely as Brendan sounded on “True Colors” last week, his second swing at the sensitive troubadour genre proved so dire that Blake began his critique with what I believe was a subtly damning “It’s been fun” (aka “Your time is up”). Could he still make the finale? Sure, if voters give him credit for his past works — or just focus in on his lustrous hair and puppydog eyes. But with Adam openly declaring Josh as his No. 1 artist this week, I suspect Brendan’s underdog run has come to an unexpected end.

Sundance Head and Josh Gallagher, “Feelin’ Alright” — Grade: B | I was feelin’ alright by the time Sundance and Josh finished up. I mean, not elated or anything. But totally alright, y’know?

Wé McDonald (Team Alicia), “Scars to Your Beautiful” — Grade: B- | I loved seeing Wé bring a youthful energy to the stage and make an effort to showcase herself as an artist who could find some success on the pop charts after the reality-competition chapter of her book has closed. Yet while the verses brought out the trademark richness of her Wé’s lower register, the teenage diva suffered some breath-control issues while grappling with the quick cadence of the second verse and attempting to soar over a particularly noisy arrangement. If the Chosen Ones troika of Billy-Sundance-Wé gets shattered on Tuesday night, it could be Alicia’s protége who comes up short.

Aaron Gibson (Team Miley), “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)” — Grade: F | The good news? Aaron got an assist from Carson in telling millions of ladies that he’s single — and ready to mingle. Here’s hoping he finds a nice young woman to stroke his hair and dry his tears over the next few days, though, as his Bryan Adams cover was so hopelessly, torturously out of tune that the three-time Instant Save recipient would need the four coaches to join hands and enact some sort of Wonder Quadruplets shenangians to rescue him from walking the plank.

Billy Gilman and Christian Cuevas, “Unsteady” — Grade: C+ | It’s a pity Christian didn’t choose “Unsteady” as his solo number, as his voice sounded far more steady and strong than it did on “To Worship You I Live.” Vocal beast Billy, meanwhile, whiffed a few of the harmonies, but his mid-performance struggle with his earpiece hinted at technical difficulties beyond his control.

Josh Gallagher (Team Adam), “Danny’s Song” — Grade: B- | If this were American Idol, and Keith Urban was judging, Pennsylvania native Josh probably would’ve been called out for infusing Loggins and Messina’s sentimental strummer with too much southern twang. But that might’ve been quibbling just for the sake of quibbling. Josh hardly reinvented the wheel, but — in figure skating terms — he had a clean run and nailed the landings, making for an aesthetically pleasing if not particularly scintillating performance.

Ali Caldwell and Brendan Fletcher, “It’s Only Love” — Grade: B+ | The duet that, on paper, looked least likely to succeed proved to be the most electrifying on stage. Granted, “It’s Only Love” is a bit of a throwaway jam, but Brendan’s swag and Ali’s shimmy — along with their unabashed enthusiasm — upgraded the entire party. For argument’s sake, if the duet was enough to catapult Ali and Brendan into the finale, who’d you put with them? (I’d go with Sundance and Wé.)

Sundance Head (Team Blake), “Love Can Build a Bridge” — Grade: A- | Keeping it really real (TM Randy Jackson), Sundance probably could’ve burped “Marshmallow World” and still advanced to next week’s finale. Instead, he grabbed ahold of an unabashedly sentimental country hit and delivered it with sincerity, simplicity and beauty — and missed fewer notes in the process than most of his key competitors.

Billy Gilman (Team Adam), “I Surrender” — Grade: C+ | Look, I get that Billy’s got major-league talent. But I can’t shake the notion that he approaches his songs like they’re levels of a video game: He clears one, and then needs to push harder, fire faster, leap wider to “survive” what comes next. And now, several weeks into the competition, Billy is not only coming off as more emotionally distant than ever, but he’s stretching his instrument in ways that seem unnecessary at best, ill-advised at worst. For a show-closing pimp-slot performance, Billy’s technical stumbles — a rocky lower register, a series of wince-inducing high notes on the chorus — came as a shock. But I’d also be shocked if viewers (and Billy himself) could hear those flaws under the sweeping arrangement, the steady drumbeat of top-notch stage design and the coaches’ elated standing ovation.

Who do you think ruled The Voice Top 8 performance night? Vote for your faves in our poll below, then expand on your thoughts in the comments!

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. Jay says:

    Slezak, I love your honesty. But unfortunately, I’m pretty sure these grades won’t match up with tomorrow’s results.

    • davmon says:

      Slezak is mostly right. A profoundly mediocre semifinal. Ali was best by a lot–and I am tired of that song she did! Was ok with Brendan, too. Christian was 2nd, only because so many faltered: was ok on solo, was good on duo. We’ had poor song choices–did ok, not great–on both (3rd). Sundance is overrated–thin on solo, though good on duo (4th). Billy was off tonight: solo started great, then slipped and strained; duo–he was just off, while Christian was fine (5th). Brendan was pitchy on solo early–was great on duo–mostly his guitar, not much singing. (6th) Aaron was given an easy safe song and he missed notes galore, but more D+ than F+, Slezak; was ok on duo with We’ (6th). Josh was off-pitch on solo, then awful vocally on the Cocker duo (7th).

      • davmon says:

        I meant Aaron 7th and Josh 8th. Sorry.

      • Tony The Tank says:

        Sundance was off. Billy was off. Josh was off. You must be kidding or you are a bias person. Seems like you don’t like country. They were the best performances of the night beside Ali.

        • davmon says:

          I like all genres. Am from TN, so know country well. Sundance was really good last week doing Me and Jesus in bluegrass. And on the duo of the Joe Cocker rock classic, he was good. On his solo, he was thin-sounding in places–as if straining OR he had holes in his “pocket”. I still had him in 4th place. The guy can sing soul, rock, blues as well as country…. Billy is usually very sound technically, but I am not so fond of his Vegas-y approach to music. Still, his consistency has always been among the best. Tonight, his first verse was lovely, then started straining and had poor phrasing. But worst was the duo, where he let Christian down by singing entire lines off-pitch. He still was my 5th, which would put him in the sing-in. [BTW, Billy used to be country; he is not now.]…. Josh was really awful on the Cocker song duo. Listen to the diff between Sundance part and his; it was embarrassing. His solo started well in low-register, but whenever he went high, it was an unpleasant uninteresting voice. 2nd half of song was mostly high; it got worse and worse–the ending dismal. He was 8th for me, because even Aaron was consistently fair. Josh was really bad on the duo and last part of solo.

        • Ali Caldwell was off as well

          • Alan Dvorkis says:

            Could not agree more. She sang it well, but with no indication that she read one word of they lyric. Sundance Head is undoubtedly the most over rated singer, well since Jordan. His me and Jesus was like a sung nursery rhyme and this weeks grating vocal tortured my ears to the point that i turned the sound down. Guess I just hear different than most.

    • AntZ says:

      Regardless I think we can all agree on the Donald Trump reference.

    • Songs by Sarah McLachlan, Anne Murray, Alessia Cara, Celine Dion and two by Bryan Adams.
      I tuned into The Voice and they replaced it with Canadian Idol.

      • BTW, one of those 2 Bryan Adams songs was “It’s Only Love”, the Ali/Brendan duet, NOT “It Takes Two” which is listed in the survey.

      • Alan Dvorkis says:

        I would love to watch Canadian Idol. Heard there were was some great stuff. Can not find links anywhere. However they did not get the best of Canada, Gordon Lightfoot, The Guess Who, Neil Young, Lighthouse and the greatest of them all , Joni Mitchell. Man would I love to hear someone try, Michael from Mountains.

  2. Mike says:

    Christian a C-? What are you smoking?

    • davmon says:

      Not a fan of the song. But it was a solid B. Plus, only he, Ali and We’ managed to not strain or be pitchy. Heck, I had him 2nd for the night behind Ali, just because he turned in serviceable, error-free vocals. Could just about tie him with We’; she was similar. But that’s how bad the evening was.

    • Kbella says:

      I found Christian’s song to be much too repetitive and he seemed to run out of steam two-thirds of the way through and then just relied on his contorted face and the choir to pull him through to the end. Overwrought. But I believed he was feeling it in the first part.

  3. Neil says:

    Overall, a mess of a night! The ones I truly enjoyed were Ali/Brendan duet (LOVE this! I’ll give this an A), Sundance, and Ali, with Josh getting an “honorable mention” for being mostly in tune. I’m no fan of Sundance but he’s already the one being predicted to win by many. I think Blake will have another champion.

  4. Alexandra says:

    Please crawl back under your couch and stay as dust….forever. Your grading is pathetic and do you even know music? You pretend like you have some God given ear it. Are you a trained vocalist or musician? Your grading sucks!

    • David says:

      You’ve lost all sense of proportion, assuming you ever had any.

    • Jules says:

      Why so mad?? Feel free to go read another writer’s review on another site. No one is forcing you to be here. It’s called an “opinion” btw. He’s allowed to have his OWN in an article HE wrote. Calm down.

    • AntZ says:

      Haha! It takes more than that to get him under the couch. Anyway, I can assure you Michael is very objective with his grading and it doesn’t need to affect your feeling towards a contestant.

      • Russ says:

        He is very objective with his grading. Unless it is for his favorite who will rarely receive under a B+ no matter how bad the performance. Or his least favorite, who will never receive higher than a C no matter the performance. Everyone else in between normally gets a fair grade.

    • SV says:

      IMO the grading was spot on this time. Maybe it is you who needs to take a step back?

    • wen says:

      So ridiculous to be that nasty over a singing show. You represent how petty and sad discourse has become. Just because we can’t see you? Or are you that ridiculous with anyone in your life, Alexandra?

  5. H.naledi says:

    Dang, hope Billy doesn’t take Ali’s spot…

    • davmon says:

      Don’t see how. She was only performance of night that approached great. Am just tired of the song. Besides her, only Christian and We’ were mistake free. Their songs were also not great choices; and were so-so. Christian was a bit better on duo than We’. After them, Sundance strained some on solo, mostly ok; then was good on the Cocker song for duo, while Josh floundered. Billy was off on both solo and duo. Still, Brendan, Aaron, & Josh were even worse.

      • Lizzie says:

        Ali had a great song, but she didn’t do a great job singing it. My own preference is that no one but no one ever sing a Whitney song or an Adele song on these competition shows, it just shows how much there are not world class singers. Ali goes to blast too soon, and sings past any quality point of her voice, likely in part due to Miley’s shoddy coaching.

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

    Ali, Sundance, and billy won the night hands down! 🙏🏽🙌🏽 And the honerable mention goes to Wé and josh! 🙌🏽😊❤️

    • BrewsterFly says:

      Thanks you! Someone that is honest and not biased against Billy! Have to say I didn’t enjoy We this week though. But those would be my top four over-all.

      • MamaLis says:

        I’m with both of you on the top 4. We was meh, and Josh, while I liked him in the beginning and then haven’t liked him since, was actually really nice last night.

        My only concern is that most people probably can’t bring themselves to download or buy the Whitney Houston song. I don’t think Miley strategized quite enough. Hopefully Ali will still get enough votes.

        • Juke says:

          It’s a Dolly Parton song. I know a lot of people think it’s all Whitney’s, but Dolly wrote it and sang it first and Miley was very clear about giving Dolly credit. She wanted Ali to do an arrangement that mixed Dolly’s softer, more interpretative version with the Whitney BIG AND BOMBASTIC and she did. I totally prefer Dolly’s version myself and not because I’m a country fan. I’m not. But Whitney going so big on it obliterated the meaning of the song. Dolly actually tells a story. AND IT’S HER SONG. She wrote it.

  7. Voice Fan says:

    Michael, I agree with your grading tonight. Sundance, Ali and Josh blew me away but the others bored me to death. I love Celine Dion and I thought Billy Gilman butchered her song. It was painful to listen to Aaron.

  8. Jenna says:

    I hate myself for saying this because I have not been a believer at all this season and don’t particularly like country, but I though Josh blew everyone else out of the water tonight. It was beautiful, pitch perfect, heartfelt and seemed like something you would actually hear on the radio. I had been really pulling for Brendan and Christian and still love them, but thought their song choices were off.

    Ali and Brendan best duet by a mile.

    I can’t stand Billy and thought his I Surrender was an overwrought, histrionic ridiculous mess and I cringed the entire time. Ooph.

    • analythinker says:

      I agree to most of what you said, though I still have hopes for Billy. I guess he’s just used to relying on his vocal acrobatics too much, at times it’s hard to see where his heart is (even though he might say he’s pouring his heart out). And his lower notes aren’t as good, as he thrives on high notes.

    • matt says:

      Josh was terrible , he put way too much country into that song, Michael was right, way too much twang. A good song ruined. Listen to Anne Murray if you want to know how it is supposed to be sung.
      Billy was great, top 4 should be Billy, Ali, We, and Sundance, but i guess it won’t since itunes is showing Josh and Christian knocking out We and Ali with all their biblethumper votes.

  9. Coach Taylor says:

    GO AWAY BILLY! Not even good

  10. JMark (formerly JM) says:

    Overall, the performances were just meh. Ali, Sundance and We deserve to go to the finale. Not sure all three will make it though. Christian should have sung ‘Unsteady’ as his solo–he sounded much better on it. Glad to see We sing Alessia Cara, one of my favs.

  11. dlraetz says:

    I hated Christian’s performance. There are a million great Gospel songs and he chose a very repetitive and made it uninteresting

    • H.naledi says:

      What you said. It was a bore of a song. Did him no favors.

      • kevstar69 says:

        Yes, I believe CW and the black guy who did gospel last year did it better. And please do tell, what is a worship leader. This phrase comes up a lot on these shows and I still don’t know what it is.
        Thanks in advance.

        • dlraetz says:

          My guess, and it’s only a guess is Choir Director

        • Carla Krae says:

          Worship leaders lead the congregation in song – in worship – during church services. They pick the songs sung each service, sometimes arrange the songs, lead the band, etc. It’s a different position than a choir director, who directs an assembled choir.

      • kevstar69 says:

        Yes, I believe CW and the black guy who did gospel last year did it better. And please do tell, what is a worship leader?

    • davmon says:

      Really good point. Was repetitive. Better on duo. Still, I have him 2nd behind Ali, because only she, he, and We’ were without unforced errors. All had mediocre or tired songs; but at least they sang well. Not so for the other five; of those, Sundance was best–having just some strain with solo.

    • Kbella says:

      Thank you! Christian really didn’t help himself with that song choice. I just assumed he did it to court the religious vote. And it will probably work.

  12. analythinker says:

    Surely Brendan deserves at least a C? I’d agree it was not his best, though.

    And… if Miley wants the audience/her fans to vote for Aaron, why give him that song? I really couldn’t listen to him anymore. I wonder if they’re allowed to add non-hit songs (aka songs that aren’t the artist’s single or are a single but didn’t garner much attention)? I imagined “The End Where I Begin” (The Script) would’ve been perfect for Will Champlin. Or indie songs like Wishing Well (The Oh Hello’s) for Darby. Cry Ophelia (Adam Cohen) for Aaron. Spin (Lifehouse) for Brendan. I could go on.

  13. NotVirgin Mary says:

    If there’s any justice in the world, Ali will make it to the finals. Her technique is so clean and she looked stunning tonight. She should’ve closed out the night.
    Was I the only one who thought Billy’s attempt at climbing Mt. Céline cringe-inducing? I winced a good seven times during that performance.

  14. Ronnie says:

    It’s always about song choice. Christian picking an inspirational song will give him more votes and he will rank higher than expected. As much as I love We’ and I gave her all my votes, I think she will get bumped out by Christian, leaving an all-male final four.

  15. Trent says:

    Christian and Billy have already sailed up the ITunes Charts. And Sundance and Wé are sure to join them in the Top 4. Would be pretty happy with this top 4 overall actually

    • Sun says:

      Not me! I have felt totally uninspired about We from the get go. I’ll barf if she makes the final four and will know once and for all how rigged the show is. Ali deserves it much more.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        They do not rig the votes on these shows. Period. The legal ramifications of getting caught would be crippling to the network.

    • Davey says:

      We is behind Brendan and Christian on iTunes. Josh, Billy and Sundance are in top 10. Sundance is number one twice in a row. He will be the most boring Voice winner ever.

  16. Trent says:

    Sundance and Billy have already sailed up the ITunes Charts. And Christian and Josh are about to crack the top 10 too. Would like to see a girl sneak into the top 4 too though

  17. danin says:

    Sorry, We sucked tonight too. Ali,Josh & Ali/Brendan were my favorites of the night. And I can’t stand Josh. Ali gave one of the best&most moving performances of all seasons. Ali&Brendan were hot together.

    • davmon says:

      Ali all the way. Have said above–am tired of that Dolly song, although it can be lovely. Ali gave it her all. The only A- solo of the night IMO. And she and Brendan was the only A- or B+ duo. Ali has had the best voice since Night One of Season 11. She never stumbles. Miley has given her a bum steer or two, like 9 to 5. But she is the best. Give that girl The Weight to sing next Monday and she wins.

    • Lisa says:

      Re: Ali & Brendan … definitely smokin!

  18. Collin says:


    Billy(because of the child star vote) See Alison Porter!

    Everyone else

    It’s not even close folks!

    • Collin says:

      Ali wasn’t even close to Sundance tonight or any night since early on. Song choice has killed Ali IMO. She was one of my favs early on.
      What happened to We? Peaked to soon? Burnt out? I believe she will be a force someday down the road. Just not now.

      Brendan faltered bad tonight. Really to bad. Him and Sundance were my favorites. Not sure he can make it now though.

      Huge fan of Danny’s song. Not a fan of Josh’s version by any means. Swan bros did it way better a few seasons ago. Really not a Josh fan. Seems like he forces the country sound to much. It was a lot worse when I saw him in Nashville though.

      Sundance is probably my fav contestant ever. Which is strange cause I didn’t think he would make it past battles. Wasn’t a big fan early on but huge fan now. IMO clear cut winner. iTunes is supporting my opinion.

      I could honestly care less about the rest. Although I’d love to sit down with Christian and have a beer with him. Seems like a pretty cool cat. Aaron should’ve been gone by now. Doesn’t deserve to be here. He’s deut with We was horrendous! Not because of We! I have no idea why We and Ali didn’t sing together! I feel cheated! Maybe then there would’ve been at least one good duet

  19. M Hall says:

    I gave my votes to Ali (A), Sundance (A), Billy (A-), and We’ (A-). It’s true that Billy and We’ had a few notes slightly under pitch, but overall it was nothing to justify downgrading more than a point. These may be four of the best singers ever on one season of the show, and my bet is they all make it to the finals.

    • davmon says:

      I have those 4 in my top five with Christian. Definitely have Ali and We’ as my overall faves. Thought Christian was 2nd or 3rd best tonight–no mistakes, just a weak song; and good on duo. He has come on strong of late. Not sure who will end up in the sing-in for 4th. Might be Billy with Christian or Sundance or even We’. Looking at I-Tunes, it might be Ali and We’–or even only one of them. Hope not. Both should advance. At worst, one should.

  20. Minnette says:

    I really hope that the results aren’t as predetermined as Slezak suggests.
    Sundance does belong in the final (although not from last night’s solo. A- is too generous. In his duet he was great.)
    Billy was awful. He should go.
    I have mixed feelings about We. When she’s good, she’s great. But she is inconsistent and often doesn’t hit the notes.
    Ali was amazing. Not sure what the minus is doing on Slezak’s grade. And she was amazing in her duet with Brandon.
    Brandon flubbed it — was not present to the song. Although when I checked a while ago, he was doing ok on itunes.
    Christian’s song choice was awful and his voice strained the whole time.
    I like Aaron but given his track record, no.
    Josh seems like a nice person but bores me.

    I’m routing for: Ali. A superstar. Beautiful voice and person.

  21. AniBee says:

    After I saw that F from Michael, I had to go back and listen to poor Aaron again. It wasn’t really that bad and on a night of mostly subpar performances, it was about middle of the pack. What I thought was awful was his duet with We. Painful! If he makes it through this time, it will be strictly by the power of Miley’s fan base.

    • kevstar69 says:

      No. How could you listen to Aaron a second time? Once was too many with that horrible song. And his straining was the worst.
      Bad, every which way. Plus, he’s at the bottom of our list. Not to mention in the bottom 2 consistently. He’s outta here.

  22. Whoa. You’ve got a hate on for Aaron. F? No. B is more like it. The song choice is an F. HIs distinctive rough voice, his emotional interpretation, and staying slightly behind the beat helped make it more interesting than the original and the too-many competition versions I’ve heard. But Aaron’s studio version was mixed so the vocal was right on the beat and it’s not as good. Miley’s song choices for her team have not been very good the last few weeks, after making some offbeat choices early on. Miley’s doing no favors for her team lately. And B- for We? Come on. That was an A. She’s amazing.

  23. Angie_Overrated says:

    All these grades look mostly correct to me. The only thing I’d change is that Sundance was better than Ali by a few miles, so they don’t deserve the same grade. If Ali was an A-, then Sundance was off the chart.
    Also agreed that the 3 who will not be singing tomorrow are will be Billy, Sundance and We.
    And also agreed that Billy was a disaster, but C+ feels generous. That sucked.

  24. Whoa. You’ve got a hate on for Aaron. F? No. B is more like it. The song choice is an F. HIs distinctive rough voice, his emotional interpretation, and staying slightly behind the beat helped make it more interesting than the original and the too-many competition versions I’ve heard. But Aaron’s studio version was mixed so the vocal was right on the beat and it’s not as good. Miley’s song choices for her team have not been very good the last few weeks, after making some offbeat choices early on. Miley’s doing no favors for her team lately. And B- for We? Come on. That was an A. She’s amazing.

  25. SV says:

    My prediction for final four:
    One for each coach.
    There is no way Miss Miley isn’t going to the finals. They spoiled her rotten all season even though her coaching is less than mediocre and her antics are a yawn.

    • Lizzie says:

      Miley was a crappy coach, and her impression of her own importance has been hard to watch. I always thought that Shakira had the most difficult time coaching her contestants, but Miley is by far the worst.

  26. Standbyspotsandgo says:

    I don’t usually comment but I thought tonight was a questionable night for We’ and Billy. I thought We’ slipped bad enough that her assured spot in the finals is questionable now. This is not the first time she’s slipped either. She’s not been consistent and tonight wasn’t a good time to have another off night.
    Billy was rough early but better late. And he’s been fairly consistent with the continual flaw that he doesn’t bring a lot of emotion to his material.
    Sundance has been consistent and gotten progressively better. That, and being on Blake’s team, should sustain him.
    Ali was good but didn’t get a good spot or the production value of the chosen ones. I don’t know if that is enough to upset We’ though. But it has to be in play as a possibility IMHO.
    Aaron has actually gotten better and better as the show has went on. I think he’s put any nerves behind him and he and/or Adam/producers have found his lane and comfort zone.
    Josh was pretty bad tonight. That was a poor song choice. That is not an easy song to sing and it was outside of his wheelhouse. He has no chance to be in the finals now. He needed a miracle and didn’t get it.
    Brenden also got stuck with a bad song choice. Not sure he had a chance either but it’s gone if he did. He did better with it than Josh but it was at best ‘karaoke good’.
    If Christian was on Blake’s team then he might have a shot with the door that We’ and Billy have left open, but I don’t think a religious number to that degree, and his performance will be enough.

    So my guess is that Sundance is in. Then Aaron or Ali have a shot at a spot. We’ or Billy have a chance of falling short of the finals even though they’ve been penciled in all season. As much as I think We’s push from the show will carry her, part of me thinks she will be on the outside looking in with country fans pushing Aaron and Billy on through (and her dropping the ball one too many times including this important time). Of course she could still outdo Ali and get in that way. I just wouldn’t be surprised to see Billy or We’ not make it.

  27. We is a star. Ali’s voice is amazing, but song choice was bad. Billy Gilman has an amazing voice, but that was a very wrong song to sing. Billy has the voice of a Broadway star–he belongs on Broadway–but that’s not what this show is about. Sundance has a big, strong voice, he’s fun, and he was good, but not great. But we should seeing those four in the finals, unless Christian takes a spot. Christian was terrific, but he’s not as good as the other four.

    • Tony The Tank says:

      We is terrible. Now Ali and Billy has great voices. Same as Christian but performance and what comes across the TV with personality and look. That is where Brendan and Sundance shines and they both also have wonderful voices. So to me We and Aaron are gone but the wild card is Josh who is country and has his best performance.

    • Juke says:

      People always say that about people belonging on Broadway. What show would you put Billy in? To be a Broadway musical “star,” you need a great voice, acting chops, and to fit certain roles. It helps if you have major dance skills. Billy is small and slight. Given his looks, I suppose he could dance in the chorus of Newsies or something, but he isn’t a dancer. Maybe he could’ve been the delivery boy in She Loves Me. Hardly ever revived, has never made a star of its delivery boy. Hmmm… Not thinking of any role he fits…

  28. Davey says:

    Sundance Head bores me to tears. He’s good. I will never listen to him again. Trump voters must love him. I voted for Ali and Brendan. Billy’s song choices are awful.

    • danin says:

      Me too..voted for Ali because she was lovely tonight& Brendan cause they were great together& I love the absolute passion he sings with, not tonight in his solo, that was dreadful& nearly bottom of the basement song choice.

    • Collin says:

      Davey… This might be the stupidest comment I’ve read yet! “Trump voters must love him”. Why? Because he sings country and has a long beard? I hate Donald Trump and love Sundance. What a stupid thing to say! I’m guessing you’ll be out protesting with the rest of the idiots when Sundance wins! Might as well protest everything now! All your future comments hold zero validity to me now. This is exactly what’s wrong with boards like this… Idiot posters like yourself!!!

  29. Tony The Tank says:

    How the hell could you say We performance was a B-. Her and Aaron were non factors.

  30. dj says:

    I was just looking at iTunes, and how is Ali so far down the chart? I thought she did a phenomenal job on I Will Always Love You. That is not an easy song to sing, and I thought she made it her own, putting real feeling into it and not mimicking Whitney or Dolly. Right now only Sundance and Billy are in the top 10. I thought Ali and Brendon did great on their rock duet, too. We is not very high on the iTunes chart so far, either. We is 23, and Ali is 25. I am going to be sad if Ali goes home. Sundance did a great performance, but I thought Billy wavered some on his. I didn’t think it was a good song for him, for starters. I thought We was a bit wobbly on her song, too. I love her voice, but there were spots where I cringed a bit. If I could pick a final four, mine would be Ali, Christian, Billy, and We. Billy and We would be because of earlier performances, not the ones they’ve done in the last couple of weeks. I like Sundance, I’m just not really into his style of music. I don’t know who we’re going to end up with tomorrow night, but I hope results don’t mirror iTunes sales at this point in time.

    • Collin says:

      Because it wasn’t that good… It’s a overdone song that has been done better by other artists. I believe Miley screwed Ali when she tried to put to much Dolly in it. It might be Dollys song. But Whitney made that song what it is. I don’t understand why Miley keeps trying to shove dolly down Ali’s throat! If Ali was on anyone else’s team she would be a front runner. Now she’ll be lucky to make the top 4. What a shame! Definitely not seeing the full potential here! Miley Sucks!

      • Junipet says:

        Yasss. Miley totally sucks.

      • Ter says:

        I like Miley but I agree. She has made some very bad coaching choices for both Ali and Miley. Aaron has such a unique voice unlike any of these other ones. All the coaches agreed. But she didn’t help him shine. That’s her job as a coach.

  31. Toba7 says:

    I would love if Billy could go home. Soooo boring. Will be fine on Broadway. Ali and We are good, Sundance is lively, I see potential in Christian.

    • Paul says:

      I find Billy, Ali and We boring. Enough with these big voices who just about sing only Karen Carpenter type of songs. This is precisely why I like singers like Sundance, Brendan and Aaron–at least they’re different.

      • SV says:

        Stop! They do not sing “Karen Carpenter songs.” Please leave Poor Karen out of this. She had the voice of an angel and sang very nuanced songs of her day. Those three are belters, which Karen wasn’t, and sing power ballads. There is no comparison.

  32. Toba7 says:

    Someone said Sundance is boring! Do you remember Craig Wayne Boyd?

  33. TinLV says:

    Sundance for the win, folks.. He was the best of the night, solo and in his duet. I did not realize he is Roy Head’s son. Roy was a Houston singer who had a hit with “Treat Her Right”, He was a bigger deal in my home town than he was nationally.. he sang mostly rock n roll, pop music, and was pretty good. But I think Sundance is better than Roy ever was and I’m not that much of a country music fan. .

  34. Chigo says:

    I absolutely love Billy… he has always been the one to blow me away these past few weeks… and also what he did last week by holding a note for a good 16seconds was really off the hook…
    All in all I think Billy, We, Sundance and Ali are moving on..
    It’s time for Aaron Gibson to go home people

  35. Karen says:

    It’s easier to pick who will go home: Aaron, Brandon, Christian and Josh. The truly deserving performers tonight were Sundance, Billy and Ali. WE will move on because of the Alicia Keys factor, but she is still a work in progress. Best performances of the night were Sundance and Ali. Billy has amazing range and power. Disney ballads are in his wheelhouse. He exudes confidence. Ali delivered flawlessly and is a truly versatile singer. Miley brings out the best in her. Sundance has something special and will win the season, hands down. Josh had a good performance but his southern twang was too strong. If he had dialed that back a bit, he probably could have beaten We for the final spot. Brandon and Ali’s duet was one of the highlights of the night. Christian blew it with a stinker of a song.

    • Tony The Tank says:

      We was TERRIBLE.

    • Collin says:

      I agree with the majority of what you said. My major disagreement would be Miley being good for Ali. How was 9-5 good for Ali? IMO Ali is a slam dunk for top 2 if she’s on anyone else’s team besides Miley’s. Especially if she was on Alicia’s. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Christian beats her out. iTunes is supporting that at this moment. Other than that, I believe you’re right. At least IMO.

  36. Tony The Tank says:

    Hey Slezak, Here are my grades. Sundance an A, Josh an A. Did you here the judges responses. Billy an A- only because he had a few too many runs.
    Ali a A- to B+ only because it is a Whitney classic but she sang it well. Brendan a B+ to a B because his rasp didn’t suit the song but his emotional performance did.
    Christian a solid B since he sang it nice but the performance was over the top.
    Now to the two worst and not in the same league as the other 6. Could you get off the We bandwagon already. Even my son who knows music and hates to agree with me said it was not good. A C- as well as Aaron C- who doesn’t have the chops to sing a Bryan Adams classic.
    The duos were Ali and Brendan an A. Sundance and Josh a B. Christian and Billy a B- and again last Aaron and We a D-.

  37. Brooks says:

    The battle is between Ali and Sundance. The rest were SOOOO bad tonight, especially Billy (what was up with his look and all the galloping?), We and Christian.

    Here’s who should go through:
    4-Brendan… because he’s cute and he rocked it out on his performance with Ali.

  38. Music in My Bones says:

    1. Brendan! I thought the song was wrong for him, but his rock number with Ali was energy and fire! Go, Brendan, you are THE BEST! 2. Sundance 3. Billy.

    A side note, Adam killed Austin’s chances last week, which was bad form.

  39. Carfield says:

    I actually disagree with some of Michael’s comments this week, but definitely agree with his comment about Aaron. Gosh… another miss by Miley! It is hard for Aaron to make it to top 4 so why don’t MIley give him a song that he is comfortable singing. I really like “Hurt” so a dark song will be fine. As of this point of the competition, all the contestants are understandably a bit tired, so We and Billy’s wobbly notes are okay. However I disagree with Mike about Billy especially the emotional distance part. I really like Billy’s performance. Yes there are some wobbly notes, but given how big this song is, I am okay with it especially he actually seems to be emotionally invested into this song. It is definitely a personal song for him.

    BTW, I really like Ali’s performance this week better than last week. I was terrified when I saw the song choice, but it was great.

    Just taking a look at the chart, there will be some surprises tomorrow…
    The four artists that made it to top 10 are Billy, Sundance, Christian and Josh, so other than Billy and Sundance being safe in the finale. The rest is all up to the votes and iTunes chart sales.

    MIke… you will not like what is going to happen tomorrow night! I don’t think none of us will like it. After this painful presidential election, I don’t know if I know what Americans like anymore!

  40. Eurydice says:

    Sundance is the only one who didn’t bore me.

  41. Mike says:

    Michael, you forget that people love the emotion, even if it’s at the cost of some off pitch notes. Look at the Itunes charts, he’s #8.

  42. BrewsterFly says:

    Michael, your grades are getting more and more ridiculous and biased!! I get that, for some unknown reason you have formed a dislike for Billy, but come on!!! That was a stellar performance. One of the very best of the season. And We…Uh..I’d have given that a C- at best. Her pitch was all over the place. And I LOVE We and hope she does overcome this very subpar performance and make it to the finale with Billy, Sundance and Ali. But based on last night’s performances alone, I’d sub her out for Josh.

  43. Barry says:

    I agree with this grades actually for the most part, Christian screwed the final third of his song; Ali did a really good job with a song that I honestly didn’t want to hear, thank you for taking some liberties with it, but there’s no way she’ll make the finals, sadly… I agree with Micheal that she deserves to be there, but I don’t think that will happen, especially since I have a felling that Wé might have to sing for the instant save; didn’t think Brendan was that awfull, but it was probably his weakest performance since the lives started, really bad timing; I’m a little scared about Wé, also her weakest performance since Home in the Playoffs, She might have to sing for her life to make the finals; poor Aaron, that was so off pitch, he had a good run and made it really far, so good for him, but this was his swan song; Josh had probably his best performance of the season, which isn’t saying much really, boring as hell but at least in tune for the most part; Sundance won the night again for me, I’ll be more than happy if he wins this, he’s the most deserving in my opinion; hated Billy, nothing new there… just a collection of glory notes meaning absolutely nothing and so emotionless, except he wasn’t as technicall flawless this time as previous weeks. Honestly, if he wins this I’ll skip next season.

  44. Kbella says:

    I find myself agreeing with pretty much everything Michael said. Josh was way too twangy on “Danny’s Song.” I didn’t like Christian’s attempt to court the religious demographic with that completely overwrought and over-the-top performance. We started out beautifully in her solo but went off the rails a couple of times toward the end. But I doubt that will boot her out of the top 4. I am not a country fan but I can’t help but love Sundance! He can sing anything and sound so good doing it! I loved Billy in the beginning but the last couple of weeks have been disappointing for me. Last night was the first night I didn’t give him any votes. And then there’s Ali. I have been rooting for her since the beginning and hoping every week she could find the right song to showcase her gorgeous voice. It’s been frustrating. But she blew me away last night on a tired song that should never be sung on a singing competition ever again.(Along with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.) I really hope she makes it to the top 4!

  45. Brace yourselves. I’m expecting a Sundance/Billy/Ali/Brendan finale with Sundance taking home the title.

  46. Phil Stickney says:

    Michael Sleezeball is a solid reviewer and very funny more often than not.
    My heart is for Sundance, but talent goes Ali!

  47. Don says:

    Y’all are basing your comments and ratings and wishes based on their performances. But it’s really only a popularity contest as NBC, courtesy of Amazon allows voting from the beginning of the show (all methods) before the first note is sung. Hence – Top 4 will be Sundance, Billy, We, and either Brendan or Ali (hopefully Ali). My prediction – Sundance wins the final.

  48. Hey Michael, I think the Billy thing is just you. I get he belts often, and it may seem like overkill, but that’s what makes his performances amazing. I don’t hear any undertones or flaws

  49. I like the under dogs and tend to vote for them.
    That said, I love Aaron and love his unique style. Granted he’d not going to be one of the top four but I give him credit for having the stamina after three comebacks. The diet performance with We’ was outstanding!!!!
    Good luck Aaron in all your future endeavors.
    Don’t pay any mind to negative people, they don’t have the balls to do what you’ve been doing.

    • Eileen says:

      I agree! I love Aaron so much!!! Miley killed his chances with poor song choices. Listen to his songs on YouTube with The Aaron Gibson Trio – terrific. I hope he goes far. Such a unique voice.

  50. I did not like Ali’s performance…I still think no one can cover it as great as Whitney. She was okay, but sang it too softly compared to how it should be sung.
    Not a fan of her performance.

    • The trouble with talking about how a song “should be sung” is that it depends on who wrote and first performed the song, who later covers it and the interpretation any given performer puts on it, not to mention listener preferences. A classic example is “Layla” by Eric Clapton, who performed both a faster-tempo testosterone-driven version and slower hurting ballad version of his own song, and it’s a matter of preference which version you prefer. As for “I Will Always Love You,” I always found Whitney Houston’s version to be over the top, and I do prefer Dolly Parton’s version (remembering, too, that it’s Dolly’s song). Sorry…this a rambling way to say I think part of the fun of covers is hearing something new and different in a familiar song. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t (again, with that judgement varying according to who is listening), but I sure don’t want to hear an often-covered song always performed the same way.