Tonight the top 8 contestants competed to perform as one of the Final 4 in next week’s finale.
Team Gwen’s Hunter Plake kicked off the night with what I can only describe as a flawless rendition of U2’s “With Or Without You”. We witnessed Hunter express raw emotion in a tribute that overall stayed true to the original, however still had some Hunter flare. Plake captivated audiences with unwavering vocals in what has probably been his best performance all season. It would be nearly impossible to see him be sent home after that!
Chris Blue and Vanessa Ferguson joined forces to perform their own coach, Alicia Keys’ song “I Ain’t Got You”. Although they mentioned being nervous about performing such an iconic song in front of the original songstress, once they hit that stage they absolutely owned it! Alicia looked like a proud mama after the stunning performance, beaming as she congratulated her contestants.
Team Blake’s TSoul sang “Ain’t No Way” by Aretha Franklin. Although it wasn’t the most vocally refined performances, it nonetheless shook audience members to the core. You could feel the deep connection TSoul had with the song, as he breathed life into the piece.
Coach Gwen really wanted to give her contestant Brennley Brown, a more fun and youthful song that could really capture the young singer’s spirit. The pair absolutely nailed the song choice of “Suds In The Bucket” as we got to see a more energetic from the country singer, rather than the more mature ballads we’ve heard her perform perform. It was definitely a much needed mix up as we were able to watch Brennley display different emotions on stage from what we have previously experienced.
Team Blake’s powerhouse Aliyah Moulden paired up with Team Gwen’s Hunter Plake for a duet to “Let It Go” by James Bay. Although before the performance both singers described how much they love each other’s sound and how they are such huge fans of each other, however, their voices didn’t mesh as well as we had hoped. At times they seemed to go off on their own paths, each doing a different cover of the song and not quite connecting as a duet should. However, you cannot deny the raw talent these two have, despite maybe not performing as fluidly together.
Lauren Duski from Team Blake stunned the audience into absolute silence with a haunting cover of Shenandoah’s “Ghost In The House”. Each week we think Lauren has shown us all she has, and then the following week she brings even more talent! At this point it would be shocking if she doesn’t take home the whole thing as she has been one of the most consistently amazing performers of this season.
Jesse Larson from Team Adam Team Blake’s TSoul paired up to crush Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish”. Its hard to describe what those two did on that stage, because it was pure magic. Their voices blended the way a duet really should, neither overpowering the other, and yet still demonstrates individual talent. It was a performance to listen to over, and over again.
Team Alicia’s Chris Blue performed his solo to “Take Me To The King” by Tamela Mann. The typically upbeat singer unleashed his emotions on the stage in a rendition of the classic in a jaw dropping performance that had judges, audience members, viewers at home out of their seats and cheering. Chris literally was the king of that stage, owning every single part of the song, tapping into a pure part of himself that we had yet to see on the show.
Vanessa Ferguson, followed nailing her cover of Luther Vandross’ “Superstar”. Being in the bottom three last week didn’t seem to shake the singer as she owned every ounce of the song with the confidence of a Grammy winning professional. Vanessa has been able to show a steady confidence and poise, similar to that of Lauren Duski, on the stage that has marked those two as the real competitors of the show. However, it was wodnerful to hear Vanessa in a more romantic and soft genre compared to songs from other weeks. It only added to her versatility and proved the immense talent she has.
Lauren and Brennley sange a duet to “Good-Hearted Woman” by LeAnn Rimes. I have been waiting for these two to duet together all season! With both singers fighting for the title of this season’s country super star, this was the moment to really find out who would come out on top. However at times Brennley’s voice seemed forced to try and keep up with Lauren’s laid back vocal styling. Despite this, it was still an enjoyable duet overall.
Team Adam’s Jesse Larson performed “I Was Wrong” by Chris Stapleton. After hearing Larson’s exciting news of his wife’s pregnancy, there’s no wonder where he found the emotion and energy to really perform the piece. Although different from his usual genre, the jazz undertones meshed flawlessly with his rock based vocal styling. There definitely was a smoothness to this performance, however it didn’t really wow the crowds as some of the other performers of the night were able to. It was a great performance by Jesse Larson, but was it enough to push him to the finals?
Aliyah Moulden stuck with last week’s mood of a slower tempo and emotionally deep piece by performing “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe. It has been wonderful listening to the young singer challenge herself by performing more complex songs, rather than just continuously belting out lyrics, even if at times. Coach Blake has really helped the singer identify when to use the right dynamics within pieces, when to save the belt for the power note, and when to show restraint and emotion. There’s really nothing this pair can’t do together.
Unfortunately we have to wait until tomorrow to find out who will move on to the final four. Although no matter who’s chosen, at this point we are guaranteed a stellar performance.