‘The Voice’ Top 8 recap: Who is in the best position to become Season 14 champion? [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

It’s going to be another massive elimination this week on “The Voice.” After Monday’s performances by the Top 8 remaining artists, four will be cut on Tuesday’s results show. Who do you think is best positioned to become the Season 14 champion? We’ve got moment-by-moment analysis below in our live updating blog item for the Monday, May 14 program.

Somehow Rayshun LaMarr has escaped the axe several times in recent weeks and is the only remaining singer left for Team Adam Levine. Team Blake Shelton still has all three of his competitors on the Emmy-winning show: Pryor Baird, Spensha Baker and Kyla Jade. Team Kelly Clarkson has two artists left — Brynn Cartelli and Kaleb Lee. Team Alicia Keys also has two contenders remaining — Britton Buchanan and Jackie Foster.

After your votes following Monday’s show, here is how Tuesday’s results episode will work. Three artists will be voted into the Final Four finale for next week. Two singers will be immediately eliminated. The other three artists will sing for an instant save with just one also joining the Final Four.

Read our complete commentaries of the most recent episodes for Monday, April 23, Tuesday, April 24 , Monday, April 30, Tuesday, May 1, Monday, May 7 and Tuesday, May 8.

Live updating recap of the results episode plus analysis below for Monday, May 14:

8:01 p.m. – Tonight each semi-finalist will perform twice–one solo of a song personal to them and a second duet with another artist.

8:02 p.m. – Up first with her solo is Team Kelly’s standout, Brynn, with the Andra Day version of “What the World Needs Now Is Love.” With the arrangement they made an interesting decision to start it off a cappella and slowly build the music up around Brynn’s voice as the song progressed. The effect of that arrangement is that Brynn’s voice is on full display–specifically the richness of her deep register and a nice growl that she brought out to match Andra’s soulful version. This is a really strong vocal from Brynn, but going first in the night it always a tough position when you’re hoping to be the performance the voters remember.

8:07 p.m. – In critiques, Blake points out that Brynn is able to bring the essence of her song choice to her performance each week and that makes her special. He also mentions once again how impressive it is that she’s so young, a sentiment that Kelly echoes in her own compliments of the performance.

8:13 p.m. – The first duet of the night is Pryor and Kaleb with a mash-up of “Hillbilly Bone” and “Hillbilly Deluxe.” It’s no surprise that these two sound really great together, even if the mash-up of the two songs seemed a bit muddled at times. The real surprise though is that Kaleb seemed in the best mood I’ve seen him on stage, rising to the typically higher energy level of Pryor. Overall, I’d say it’s a great showcase for both of them.

8:22 p.m. – Team Alicia’s Jackie is going big this week with the 80s classic by Whitesnake, “Here I Go Again.” I think Jackie and Alicia’s decision to go with a popular rock ballad was a good one, but they might have chosen the wrong track because ultimately Jackie just couldn’t carry it. It started out pretty rough, got pitchy at points throughout and truly only worked in the smoother parts of the pre-chorus. I would have much preferred to hear something from her that involved less screaming.

8:28 p.m. – Adam gave Jackie props for “letting loose” and knowing how to have fun with her song choices and performances, something he says is the best advice he offers people every season. Alicia agrees that this week was a great chance for her to abandon the rules and just do what she wants.

8:34 p.m. – For their duet, Kyla and Spensha mixed “What’s Going On” and “Rise Up” for a soulful performance of purpose. In this partnership both women truly elevated each other–I think Spensha sounded bigger and bolder than she ever did on her own and Kyla tamed her beast of a voice into something more delicate. Like their pre-show package said, they were a total sisterhood on stage and created something really special. I won’t be surprised if that’s one of the most popular duets on iTunes this week!

8:43 p.m. – Adam’s final artist in the competition, Rayshun, picked “Imagine” for this week because both her and Adam feel like he needs to “make a move” in order to escape singing for the save once again. After taking on more obscure songs for much of the competition, the John Lennon song is a smart choice for Rayshun this week because it’s so well known that the audience will immediately be drawn in. While I like the new arrangement of the song and think that it fits the tone of Rayshun’s soul style and fed into his strengths as a stage performer, the vocal didn’t have the clarity or earthiness that I personally like about the song. Hard to say whether he did enough to squeeze into the top 4 of vote-getters this week.

8:49 p.m. – Kelly tells Rayshun that he is pure joy on stage and that seeing him perform is the kind of experience she believes music should be. Adam takes it one step further by saying that be believes his rendition of “Imagine” is one that John Lennon himself would be proud of.

8:54 p.m. – Spensha is the first performer to go twice tonight with her solo of “My Church” by Maren Morris. It’s a rare performance from Spensha that is up beat and full of fun and I… really like it? She gets deep into the groove of the song and brings full soul to a country track which has always been her appeal. Her ability to bridge those two styles so effortlessly makes her stand out from the pack and so tonight is the absolute best she could have hoped for at this stage.

9:00 p.m. – Blake has always been a huge supporter of Spensha and tonight he says that she just had her moment of the season and that he’ll be shocked if she doesn’t make the finale. I’m not as certain as him that she will, but I do agree that it was the culmination of everything she’s been leading up to all season.

9:05 p.m. – Kyla is back on stage for her solo of “Let It Be.” After being the top performer on iTunes last week, Kyla has made the perfect choice for a follow-up because it’s another inspiring song with a message which is what I think connected with her audience last week. I absolutely love the inclusion of a choir backing her up (not that she needs it!) because it set a gorgeous tone for the performance.

9:12 p.m. – Alicia dropped high praise for Kyla, calling it an “iconic” and “superstar” performance and Blake adds that he thinks she may have just won the season with that performance. He also tells her that he’s never been more honored to have worked with an artist than he has been with her.

9:17 p.m. – Britton and Brynn have mashed up two songs I wouldn’t expect to work together, “Four Five Seconds” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” But surprisingly this duet sounds like a more organic combination than any of the previous ones, due in large part to the arrangement but also because Brynn and Britton completely sell it. It isn’t their best vocals by any means, but the friendly chemistry between the two of them and their maturity as the season’s youngest performers makes it all very engaging to watch.

9:22 p.m. – For Kaleb’s solo he’s selected “It Is Well with My Soul” due to its very personal meaning to him. Unlike his recent performances where I felt like he was trying to force a personality, tonight’s performance is a much-needed authentic one from Kaleb. It’s by far his most affecting performance of the season and I think it’ll resonate with his core audience, but also strike a chord with new fans as well. It could be exactly what he needed to propel himself into next week’s final!

9:33 p.m. – And the last duet of the night is with Jackie and Rayshun doing “Radioactive” and “Believer.” This kind of rock performance is another in the bag for Jackie, but for Rayshun it’s a new turn and while it doesn’t necessarily show off his voice like he deserves, it serves his energy well and allows him to show a different kind of swagger. It’s a cool performance, sure, but overall probably the weakest of the duets and won’t be giving either of them the edge with voters that they needed tonight.

9:42 p.m. – Pryor’s solo tonight is of Eric Clapton‘s “Change the World.” As Blake says, this song is perfect for Pryor because it straddles genres just like Pryor does as an artist. Here he puts a heavy country spin on it, but maintains the rock and soul elements in a way that makes total sense for him as an artist. What’s most striking about his performance though is how happy he is to be singing it (he dedicated it to his wife). This was a really strong performance from Pryor and could give him the extra push to make it to the finals.

9:53 p.m. – Alicia finally gave Britton approval to sing Bruce Springsteen with his song “The Rising.” Okay, so after this performance it’s hard to imagine that any of the other seven have a chance at beating Britton in the finals. This kid just has exactly what it takes to win–he sings beyond his age, he performs with authenticity, his voice is impeccable and tonight he put on a show that belongs on a professional stage, like the Grammys, in honor of Bruce. Flawless, from start to finish. Everyone else is now playing for second place.

9:59 p.m. – By the end, Alicia can’t stop screaming for Britton. I think she knows she has the winner (again!). Tonight she points out that he’s growing each week, refining who he wants to be and what he wants to say as an artist.

10:00 p.m. – Britton, for me, is the clear favorite and will definitely be voted through, but I also think Pryor, Kyla and Kaleb had really strong nights. Jackie and Rayshun struggled to stand out while Brynn and Spensha had spots in the line-up that don’t bode well for being remembered. Who do you think was the star tonight and who will be vulnerable for elimination? Let me know in the comments!

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