It was a night of heartfelt performances from the top nine contestants on "The Voice." From Hannah Huston's raw and vulnerable rendition of Jessie Ware's "Say You Love Me" to Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton's duet of "Go Ahead and Break My Heart," a handful of touching moments made last night's episode one to remember.
The top nine contestants made their cases on on the stage, starting with Team Blake's Paxton Ingram. Paxton made another bold song choice — singing Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody." The acoustic vibe was a unique touch, and Christina Aguilera called it the most rejoiceful version she's ever heard. Paxton had some good moments but it wasn't anything incredibly spectacular. As the competition dwindles down, we really need Paxton to give us something more.
Team Blake's Mary Sarah gave us her best take on Maren Morris' new song, "My Church." It was a solid song choice, and the backup choir gave it a true gospel feel. The decision to ditch the guitar was a great move on her coach's part. As Team Blake's only country artist left standing, Mary Sarah really has to bring it each week. Pharrell commended her for connecting to the song and Blake said it was her best moment on the show — which is debatable. Nevertheless, Mary Sarah had a good night overall.
Nick Hagelin, last week's instant save, sang Drake's "Hold On, We're Going Home." After last night, it's clear that this artist is starting to fall behind. Nick tried to spice it up with some dance moves, but his vocal skills lacked that magic spark. Even the coaches didn't seem all that thrilled about the performance. Pharrell said he had a tendency to sing in his head voice, and even Coach Christina was more focused on Nick's stage movements rather than his skills as a vocalist. There's no doubt that Nick has been an impressive comeback artist this season, but it's going to take a lot more to keep up with the fierce competition.
As for the preschool singer who claims she only performed twice a year before the show, Hannah Huston came out swinging like a pro. Her take on Jessie Ware's "Say You Love Me" was not only emotional but bursting with confidence — which explains why it was Blake and Christina's favorite performance from her. Hannah's soulful song choice kept her coach, Pharrell, standing the entire time, and he even took a minute to talk to America about her "super [special]" performance. All the coaches seemed to appreciate what Hannah gave us on stage.
Team Adam's Shalyah Fearing also brought the fire singing Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come." Despite her frustration during rehearsals, Shalyah came out strong with her powerhouse vocals. At one point, the 16-year-old dropped to the floor and poured her heart. The coaches were impressed; Christina said it was the kind of "authoritative" performance that she likes. Shalyah gave us no reason to think she's leaving anytime soon.
Another great artist was Team Adam's Laith Al-Saadi. Singing "We've Got Tonite" by Bob Seger, Laith showed off his piano skills once again, giving us another heart tugging performance. His girlfriend couldn't hold back the tears, and we can't blame her. Laith's seasoned soulfulness coupled with his bluesy vibe made this a beautiful rendition. Pharrell praised him for his incredible talent, saying America should vote him through.
Before moving on to Tennessee soul singer (and onetime Baltimore resident) Adam Wakefield, Blake and former coach Gwen Stefani took the stage to sing a Blake original. The two love birds serenaded each other in this mid-tempo country song, making it obvious that they're in love. They couldn't keep their eyes off each other the entire time. But before we could get too caught up in their mushy gushy love story, Blake's artist diverted our attention back to the real performers of the night.
Bonnie Raitt's "Love Has No Pride" was another great song choice for Adam Wakefield. Coach Blake called it his best performance so far, and he also got lots of love from Christina. After Pharrell, Adam Levine and Blake gave Adam Wakefield a standing ovation, Blake felt confidence enough to tell his artist, "I'll see you in the finale."
Aerosmith's "Cryin'" was a unique song choice by Team Christina's Alisan Porter, but nevertheless, she came out roaring. She let loose with her impressive range. Even though we're not used to her edgier rock 'n' roll side, Alisan can sing pretty much anything. But despite her energizing performance, it definitely wasn't her best. Alisan's rendition was great, but she shines brightest when she's able to connect with her audience.
Last but not least, Team Christina's Bryan Bautista closed off the night with Beyonce's hit "1+1." After receiving a big thumbs up from the Latino community last week, he impressed us once again with his upper register. Adam took notice of it and Pharrell said it sounded effortless. Christina threw her artist some love and called out Beyonce herself to join her artist in a duet. Bryan's delivery, passion and stage presence made reminded us why he's made it this far.
Next week, Pink joins the stage as the top eight artists perform and we move one step closer to the finals.