In tonight’s semifinal round of The Voice, season 10’s eight remaining artists took the stage to once more sing live for America’s vote.
Pop superstar Pink joined The Voice this week to help prepare the artists alongside their coaches Christina Aguilera, Pharrell, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. Everyone had the chance to sing twice tonight: once in a typical solo performance and then again in a special set of duets that paired the competing artists together. Only four will advance to next week’s finale, when one lucky artist will be crowned the champion of season 10.
Up first was the youngest artist left in the competition: Team Adam’s Shalyah Fearing. She sang “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls, in the style of Jennifer Hudson. In her rehearsal with Pink, Fearing proved that she could handle the song’s range, but Pink cautioned her against blowing out her voice. She advised her to not go too big too quickly or too often. In her performance, Fearing indeed paid attention to the dynamics of the song and used her growl and powerful belt sparingly. It was an impressive performance, reinforcing just how much Fearing improves week after week. “It was so sweet and tender in certain places,” Pharrell said, also adding that the big, long note in the middle was great.
Next up was the first duet of the night. Team Blake’s Adam Wakefield and Team Christina’s Alisan Porter performed John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery.” At first, the song choice seemed to favor Wakefield, but then Porter reminded everyone that she can sing literally any song in any genre and sound amazing. It was a soulful duet, with Porter bringing a really delicate and beautiful sound to it. They were an unexpected match, but their voices blended well.
Team Blake’s Paxton Ingram, who was instantly saved in last week’s elimination episode, returned this week to sing “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” by Meat Loaf. Pink was impressed by Ingram in his rehearsal, saying that he managed to make the popular song his own. Ingram built the momentum of the song well and had strong vocals throughout. The performance embodied everything that he is as an artist, so hopefully it will help him connect to his fan base and send him through to the finale. Aguilera said he “packed a punch.” “You took it to the next step,” Pharrell added, praising the theatrics of it.
Team Adam’s Laith Al-Saadi decided to sing “One and Only” by Adele because he wanted to show viewers that he could sing any song regardless of genre and era and still make it sound like him. Al-Saadi indeed brought a totally different sound to the song, and it worked quite well. He has such a strong sense of artistry and rearranges songs without losing the heart of them. Pharrell noted that he’s a “success story.” Levine added that Al-Saadi always stays true to himself.
Bryan Bautista and Mary Sarah delivered the next duet of the night, singing “Break Free” by Ariana Grande. The song choice didn’t really make sense for either artist, but it definitely favored Bautista. Ultimately, it didn’t really do either artist many favors. But they did have engaging stage presence at least.
Alisan Porter from Team Christina took the stage next to sing “Desperado” by The Eagles, again proving her versatility. It wasn’t her most exciting performance, but it was still full of emotion and powerful vocals that solidified her as the best singer in the competition on a technical level. But it isn’t just that Porter has a spectacular voice. She’s an incredible storyteller, too. “You really can do everything,” Levine said. It will be shocking if Porter doesn’t make it into next week’s finale. She’s Team Christina’s best shot at winning it all.
Al-Saadi returned to the stage with Team Pharrell’s Hannah Huston to sing a duet of “Knock On Wood.” This unlikely pair proved to be another highlight of the duets this evening. They managed to blend well and put on an entertaining performance.
Adam Wakefield from Team Blake was up next, singing “I’m Sorry” by his own coach, Shelton. In Wakefield’s rehearsal, Pink praised the rasp in his voice and was also impressed by how much his voice opened up once he was behind the piano. In his performance, Wakefield was soulful and true to his country-rock sound. He delivered a vocally rich performance that embodied everything he does well. “The runs were super clean,” Pharrell said. Levine added that the audience seemed so caught up in the performance. Viewers at home likely were, too.
Bautista also sang his coach’s own song, choosing “Hurt” by Aguilera. Bautista shared that he had an emotional connection to the song, talking about how his father hasn’t really been around in his life. Bautista did something interesting and unexpected things with the vocals, really making it his own. He didn’t necessarily out-sing Aguilera—no one can do that. But he did give a stellar performance that played into his own strengths. It was his best performance of the season and one of the most moving performances of the night. He got a standing ovation from all four coaches. Levine praised Bautista’s ability to connect with his emotions and put them on display in his singing. “Every time you perform, you show a different element of yourself,” Aguilera said. “That was absolutely beautiful. I want to hear it again,” she added.
Ingram and Fearing returned to the stage to perform “Masterpiece” by Jessie J. It was a good song choice for both artists, but Fearing definitely out-sang Ingram. In any case, they were both much better in their solo performances, which was true of all the duets tonight.
Next up was Mary Sarah from Team Blake, who dug into her traditional country roots, singing “I Told You So” by Randy Travis. Sarah put a lot of heart behind her singing and delivered a solid classic country performance. Like several of tonight’s artists, she gave viewers a very clear picture of the kind of music she wants to make. “That’s your best performance, Mary Sarah,” Shelton said, describing it as “phenomenal.”
Hannah Huston closed out the night, singing “When A Man Loves A Woman” by Percy Sledge. “I like when people dig,” Pink said in Huston’s rehearsal, really stressing the importance of having an emotional connection to the song. Huston definitely has no trouble giving an emotional performance, and her song choice was particularly inspired this week. Her performance managed to be both dramatic and grounded. She started acapella, which was very powerful. And as the music kicked in, she only continued to build a moving and vocally impressing performance. It was a great end to the evening. Levine described her as the “stealth assassin” of the season, sneaking up on everyone as a frontrunner this late in the competition.
What did you think of tonight’s performances? Four artists will be cut in tomorrow’s brutal round of eliminations. Season 10 of The Voice concludes next week.
This article originally appeared in THR.com.