The Voice Week 12 Recap: How Can Nine Become Four After Tonight?

Photo: Courtesy of NBC.

The live semifinals continued this week as the nine remaining contestants gave their best performances yet on this season of The Voice. The song choices were just what everyone needed to showcase their best. Barrett Baber (Team Blake) and Jordan Smith (Team Adam) tied for top performers of the night. But it's hard to imagine sending five — that's right, five — singers home tomorrow night in order to whittle it down to the final four. My picks would be Baber, Smith, Amy Vachal (Team Adam) and Madi Davis (Team Pharrell). I'm worried, though, that Zach Seabaugh and Emily Ann Roberts, talented though they are, will ebb Vachal and Davis out with their fierce fan bases. We'll see tomorrow night!

Blake Shelton performed his 2014 tune "Gonna." Obviously Blake didn't know it at the time, but this song is most definitely about him taking Gwen out on a hot date, country style. Ellie Goulding also dropped in to give a performance of her latest dance-pop hit "On My Mind." She was good, but she kind of seemed a little bit like... she was lip-synching. Meh, that's disappointing. The thing with the pro performances from the coaches and guests anyway is that in reality, their vocals fall short of the contestants'. That's how you know you've got a talented bunch of singers! Don't forget to tune in tomorrow night to watch the live results — the finale is already next week.
1. Barrett Baber — Team Blake
Song: "Ghost" by Ella Henderson
Performance: I'm loving this guy more every week. I don't think I've ever had my opinion about a contestant improve so drastically! The song choice was unexpected, and so was the arrangement — the gospels singers were perfect and packed an extra emotional punch. He was incredible. So much energy, passion, and talent — he could barely catch his breath by the end of the performance!
2. Shelby Brown — Team Adam
Song: "Even God Must Get The Blues" by Jo Dee Messina
Performance: Eh, over it. Shelby, Adam's only country vocalist, is a very, very good singer — especially considering she's only 17 — but her song choices are not my favorite. I don't think her voice is revelatory either.
3. Jeffery Austin — Team Gwen
Song: "Believe" by Cher
Performance: Risky song selection, as it's an iconic pop hit that's been done a million times. I loved Austin's stripped down version. The singer made us focus on the lyrics for once — and his lovely voice.
4. Braiden Sunshine — Team Gwen
Song: "Amazing Grace" by John Newton
Performance: 15-year-old Mr. Sunshine took on a big song. He did an awesome job with it, but he's still so young, which I think showed a bit tonight.
5. Zach Seabaugh — Team Blake
Song: "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus
Performance: Zach was smart to go low-key this week. He was starting to be known as just being the resident hip-swinging heartthrob of the competition. His country take on the down-tempo Miley Cyrus hit made me appreciate the song more. His voice is good and easy listening, but it's not too powerful or special. But there's no way his legions of admirers won't vote him through to the finale.
6. Madi Davis — Team Pharrell
Song: "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
Performance: This was such a delightful performance. We got to enjoy Madi's wonderful range and she wavered between big and small notes. The whole production with the idyllic set was great — like a scene out of a musical — or, like Blake said, a Disney movie.
7. Emily Ann Roberts — Team Blake
"Nine To Five" by Dolly Parton
What a fun song choice! Emily Ann is a country star in the making, there's no doubt about that. I still don't find her to be an original, but what a flawless, charismatic performer.
8. Amy Vachal — Team Adam
Song: "Make You Feel My Love" by Adele
Performance: I think it was important to hear Amy do something a little bit different, instead of a playful take on a pop or hip-hop hit. Her performance was soft and understated but still enthralling to watch. The song has been covered a million times, but Amy's version was beautiful and unique.
9. Jordan Smith — Team Adam
"Somebody To Love" by Queen
I'm so glad Jordan branched out with an upbeat rock classic this week. His voice is just as amazing without the emotional heft of his former choices. Just another reason to love him! His performance definitely had the air of a Broadway performance to it. Was Adam hamming it up for the camera when he dropped the mic? Yes. But this was big and bold and awesome.

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