Tonight on The Voice, season 12’s top eight artists performed live in the semifinals. Four artists will be eliminated in tomorrow night’s intense results episode, so the pressure was on artists to stand out above the competition. Artists performed on their own and in duets.
First up was Hunter Plake from Gwen Stefani’s team. He chose to sing “With Or Without You” by U2. Plake didn’t change much about the original unlike some of his other recent performances, but he sang the song beautifully and authentically, showcasing his emotional range and delivering impressive vocals. Blake Shelton said it was his best vocal performance, and his coach Stefani said his voice is so unusually strong.
Alicia Keys’ team turned in the first duet of the night. Team Alicia’s remaining two artists Vanessa Ferguson and Chris Blue sang Keys’ own “If I Ain’t Got You,” which was a great song choice for them. Both artists had the range to sing it, and both tapped into the emotional dynamics of the song. Ferguson sounded a lot like her coach. They received a standing ovation from all four coaches.
For his solo performance, Team Blake’s TSoul chose to sing “Ain’t No Way” by Aretha Franklin. Shelton said that it has all the elements that has kept TSoul in the competition. TSoul indeed delivered a striking performance that played to his strengths. “I don’t know if I’ve ever actually said this to you, but man, I’m so proud of you,” Shelton said.
Next up was Team Gwen’s young country singer Brennley Brown, singing “Suds In The Bucket.” “It’s going to be a differently Brennley that we’ve never seen before,” Stefani said ahead of the performance. Brown let loose, giving an entertaining performance that solidified her as the best country singer left in the competition. Shelton said the performance reminded people that she’s 15-years-old. Stefani praised her for singing an up-tempo song, adding that it takes confidence.
Plake took the stage again for his duet with Team Blake’s Aliyah Moulden. Together they sang “Let It Go” by James Bay, and they blended together beautifully, playing with the melody enough to make it sound fresh but also staying true to the original.
Next, Team Blake’s Lauren Duski sang “Ghost In This House,” explaining that she relates to the song as someone who has experienced heartbreak. Duski perfectly exemplified what kind of artist she hopes to be with her semifinal performance, telling a story while also delivering powerful vocals. Shelton said he couldn’t wait to see how country fans will respond to the performance on iTunes.
TSoul performed a duet of Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” with Adam Levine’s Jesse Larson next. Both men are fun soul singers, and they made a great match. They looked like they were having a good time.
Team Alicia’s Blue, coming off of a four-coach standing ovation last week, said he wanted to show America the “pure” side of himself tonight. He chose to sing “Take Me To The King.” He showcased his falsetto and his emotional range tonight, making his performance personal and captivating. He got yet another deserved standing ovation from all the coaches. Keys said it was “so moving,” overcome with emotion.
Ferguson’s solo performance was next. She chose to sing the lyrically rich “Superstar” by the Carpenters. Keys advised her to find an emotional connection to the words. She gave an alluring performance that reiterated just how strong her voice is. She sounded fantastic, and the performance was sublime. It’s difficult to imagine a finale without her. “I want you to stay; I want you to show America more,” Keys said.
Brown and Duski sang a duet of “A Good Hearted Woman” by LeAnn Rimes. Both artists are country powerhouses, and they both sang the song well, but Brown stood out a little more. Despite her young age, she has such a powerful voice, and Duski didn’t quite keep up.
Team Adam’s only remaining artist Larson was up next, singing “I Was Wrong” by Chris Stapleton. It was a great song choice for him, and Larson got to shred on the guitar during his performance, which put him in his element. “My belief in Jesse is so real,” Levine said. “I genuinely believe that this guy is the best we’ve got.”
Team Blake’s Moulden closed out the night with a performance of “I Can Only Imagine.” Shelton told her to find some big vocal moments, and she did just that. It was a bold and moving performance, and Moulden proved herself as a versatile artist who never misses a note. Shelton said that he has been able to see her development and growth over the course of the season, describing her as the “model Voice contestant.”
Tomorrow night, four artists will go home. Who do you hope to see in next week’s finale?
This article originally appeared in THR.com.