After last night’s top 11 performances, the top 10 artists of season 11 were determined on tonight’s episode of The Voice. The bottom two vote-getters faced off in live performances, gunning for the audience instant save. Coaches Adam Levine, Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys and Blake Shelton were on hand to offer some thoughts on the season so far, with Keys and Shelton both also taking the stage to sing with their teams. Season 9 winner Jordan Smith also performed.
Carson Daly brought out the top 11 at the top of the show. The first two artists who were through to next week’s life performances were Team Blake’s Sundance Head, who sang a Keys song last night, and Team Alicia’s Wé McDonald, the youngest artist left in the competition. McDonald truly seems to be on a path toward winning the season, surprising week after week with strong and original performances.
Shelton, Head, Courtney Harrell and Austin Allsup took the stage next for a Team Blake performance of “The Heart of Rock & Roll.” It was a fun country-rock performance, and even though Shelton’s three artists have different sounds, they meshed well in this performance.
Daly brought the artists back out. “How has Miley made you a better artist?” Daly asked Ali Caldwell, who explained how her coach has helped her achieve her full potential as an artist, opening new doors for her. Daly moved on to the results, announcing that America had saved Caldwell, along with Team Adam’s country-turned-pop singer Billy Gilman.
Next, Keys performed “People Get Ready” with her artists McDonald and Christian Cuevas. These are three powerhouse singers, and they did not hold back. Their performance was the highlight of the evening.
The next round of results came in, and Team Blake’s Allsup advanced to the top 10. He was joined by Team Adam’s Brendan Fletcher.
Jordan Smith returned to The Voice to sing “O Holy Night” from his new Christmas music album. Smith gave a powerful performance of the familiar tune, although it was a bit downbeat for a results episode. These episodes already drag because of how drawn out the results announcements are, so the performances should really keep things up-tempo so as to not lose momentum.
Daly brought the artists back out and announced that Cuevas was voted through to next week, meaning both of Team Alicia’s remaining artists made it to the top 10. America also voted to save Team Blake’s versatile and exciting Harrell. Josh Gallagher from Team Adam was the last artist automatically voted through.
That left Aaron Gibson and Darby Walker — both from Team Miley — on the chopping block. The two artists sang live for the instant save.
Walker went first, singing “Your Song” by Elton John. Walker brought her usual charm and unique tone to the performance. However, she did have some pitch issues, likely due to nerves, especially at the beginning. She struggled on her final run, too. Walker is original and interesting, but she did not deliver in this crucial moment. The coaches still shared some platitudes, Keys saying that she loves her story and thinks she’s on her way toward becoming an inspiring artist. “Winning is living my truth, being who I am, and being happy,” Cyrus stressed, letting Walker know that it’s not all about the competition.
Gibson followed with a performance of “Budapest” by George Ezra. He brought his natural rasp to the performance and showcased his artistry. It wasn’t the most exciting performance, but it was at least vocally tighter than Walker’s. Cyrus said that the other coaches agreed that he had one of the best performances last night. Neither artist will probably make it much further in the competition, even though Cyrus has been a great coach all season.
During the voting period, Cyrus addressed both artists directly, becoming emotional to the point of tears. Viewers instantly saved Gibson, who will likely be in this exact position again next week. Walker went home.
What did you think of tonight’s results? The Voice continues next week.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.