Tuesday, 24 May 2016

The Voice recap: 'Live Finale, Part 1'

The Voice

Season 10, Ep. 27 | Aired May 23

Posted May 23 2016 — 11:47 PM EDT

12 weeks. That’s how long the final four — Laith Al-Saadi, Adam Wakefield, Alisan Porter, and Hannah Huston — have been reaching deep to pull out performances so they can stay and play another day on The Voice season 10. That’s a musical marathon, by anyone’s standards, but no one seems too tired just yet.

This time, as we officially kick off finale week, it’s no longer about merely muscling out enough to float through and somehow survive the cutthroat eliminations. All eight eyes are on the actual prize right now, and each of these guys and gals has exactly three more chances to prove why he or she should be the one to win it.
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Good thing they’re ready to give it their best — even though the format isn’t completely conducive to letting them shine (YASSS to including original songs from each, but somebody please kill the duets dead forever because they are miserable) — but has a clear winner emerged from this thing yet? Let’s review.

1. Laith Al-Saadi (Team Adam):
Given that he was in the bottom three during last week’s cutthroat elimination episode, Laith Al-Saadi has something to prove this week, and based on the three performances he renders tonight, it’s clear exactly what message he’s sending his fans: If it’s musicianship you want, it’s musicianship you’ll get, no matter what they’ve named this show. As the self-proclaimed “brie cheese of The Voice,” he’s officially past singularizing himself here, and he has the full blessings of his coach, who says, “You’re a guitar player, dammit. That’s how we’re going out.”

His Cover: “White Room” by Cream
Last week, he annihilated the save-me voter stats by performing a classic rock anthem that was squarely within his comfort zone (Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”). So, this round he’s clearly consulted the musical thesaurus to find that song’s spiritual sister, and here we have it. Not only does he get the backgrounding benefit of a killer light show (which is not for the seizure sensitive, by the way) and a few key moments to take it away with the shred solos, but he also fits the vocal bill for this jam as well and proves that he’s one heckuva full-package entertainer. Even Blake Shelton, who admits he’d be the first one to say stow the guitar praises Laith for doing it his way and “shov[ing] the guitar straight up the area [he] was talking from.”

His Duet (with Adam Levine): “Golden Slumbers” by The Beatles
If there’s anyone else on this show who’s got as much zeal for stringed things, it’s Adam Levine. So, when he and Laith finally get a chance to rock out together on-stage, it’s nothing short of an epic bro-jam session for the ages. Adam even hops instrumentals from the drums to the bass, and, even though there’s minimal singing involved, they do harmonize nicely, since they’re representing two different sides of the vocal spectrum. It’s easily the best duet of all four contestant-coach pairings tonight.

His Original Song: “Morning Light”
Laith’s song itself sounds like what would happen if you mashed up The Eagles’ “Please Come Home for Christmas” with Ray Charles’ “Georgia On My Mind” with a sprinkle of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s signature blues, and frankly, it works very well for him and fits right into what he’s been laying down so consistently all season.

His Over/Under: Laith’s three for three on commanding the room with his unique sense of can’t-stop-won’t-stop showmanship, and, as Adam Levine puts it, he fills a “room with joy.” Pretty compelling case he’s plead for himself here tonight. Last week proved he doesn’t have the fandemonium to put him in the winner’s circle, but he darn sure showed why he deserves to walk away from this thing with some fanfare in tow. If he thought his six-day-a-week bar gig schedule before was intense, no doubt he’s about to get even busier.

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