TVLine Tip: We love seeing contestants stretch outside their artistic comfort zones, but the countrified southern rocker’s Journey and Ray Charles covers lacked the emotional heft we saw in “Soulshine,” “Tennessee Whiskey” or “Can’t You See.” Time to go back to basics — and choose a tune with gut-wrenching lyrics — or his front-runner status could slip away.
Request List: Mumford and Sons’ “The Cave”; Bon Jovi’s “This Ain’t a Love Song”; Lucinda Williams’ “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road”
BRYAN BAUTISTA (TEAM XTINA)
TVLine Tip: His Battle Round rendition of “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” was one of the season’s highlights — dude has killer range and matinee-idol looks to complete the package. But his tendency toward super-syrupy song choices (“Kiss From a Rose”? “Just the Way You Are”?) have left him stranded as a midpack player in terms of iTunes voting.
Request List: Lisa Fischer’s “How Can I Ease the Pain”; Fine Young Cannibals’ “She Drives Me Crazy”; Ann Peebles’ “I Can’t Stand the Rain”
ALISAN PORTER (TEAM XTINA)
TVLine Tip: She’s been the front-runner since the Season 10 premiere — and at her best (“Blue Bayou,” “Let Him Fly”) she’s perfection. Still, Alisan’s tendency toward nuclear bombast (“California Dreamin,” “Cry Baby”) when a more subtle approach would suffice could be her Achilles’ heel. If she tamps down those tendencies and focuses on dynamics, she might be unbeatable.
TVLine Tip: Bearded blues man has been the picture of consistency, smartly choosing songs that play to the strength of his gruff tone and help build a portrait of the artist he wants to be. What he lacks right now is the element of surprise: A musician with his experience really should be capable of deconstructing an out-of-left-field tune and finding the bluesy heart within. C’mon dude, make this a horse race already!
Request List: Jill Scott’s “You Don’t Know”; Eurythmics’ “Would I Lie to You?”; Moby’s “Natural Blues”
HANNAH HUSTON (TEAM PHARRELL)
TVLine Tip: Nebraska pre-school teacher has showcased a distinctive, muscular tone and a goofy/oddball likability, too. “Unaware” and “Rolling in the Deep” were finale-worthy performances, but she’ll need to lose the uncertain facial expressions — and reinforce her ability to excel on current, radio-ready fare — if she wants to get within striking range of the more-hyped Alisan.
TVLine Tip: This sweet teenager has displayed gale-force vocals and gut-busting passion every time she’s taken the stage – but her choice of Big Diva Ballads has also exposed her lack of training. Since Coach Adam doesn’t seem that interested in fixing her issues with technique, perhaps song choices with a lower degree of difficulty is Shalyah’s best/only path to the finale?
Request List: Monica’s “Don’t Take It Personal (One of Dem Days)”; Martika’s “Love Thy Will Be Done”; Tevin Campbell’s “Round and Round”
NICK HAGELIN (TEAM XTINA)
TVLine Tip: The weakest single left in the competition — sorry, it’s true! — fares best on smooth R&B jams with lyrics that focus on sexytimes. Ballads, acoustic singer-songwriter fare and anything that strays from a “Hey, baby, come over here” subject matter should be strenuously avoided if he wants to last another week or two.
Request List: George Michael’s “Freedom 90”; Maxwell’s “‘Til the Cops Come Knockin'”; Kylie Minogue’s “Slow”
MARY SARAH (TEAM BLAKE)
TVLine Tip: Her brassy upper register really connects on old-school country tracks, but her wince-inducing “So Small” proved she’s not as adept with more modern radio fare. It might be time for her to take a huge risk —maybe twist a current pop anthem into a throwback country arrangement? — to help separate herself from the competition. Sure, that could backfire badly, but the season ends in just a few weeks, anyhow, no?
TVLine Tip: Blake shocked Voice fans when he gave his sole Live Playoffs save to his lowest-selling artist, but Paxton rewarded his coach (eventually) by leading the pack with a Gospel tune on Top 11 night. Still, his all-over-the-place song choices (Celine Dion! Calvin Harris! Tasha Cobbs! Selena Gomez!) make him hard to get a read on. Needs to pick a lane – and sing more consistently in tune.