You’ve seen them play, you’ve seen them thrive, but there are still 20 competitors left vying for the title of “The Voice” for the latest season. Before we hit The Voice live shows, let’s take a look at who the frontrunners are, who could step up their game a bit and which coach has the strongest team (aka the toughest decisions left to make.
20. Caroline Burns (Team Adam) – Admittedly, Caroline is in this spot more due to a TV editing decision than anything. Being the lone Knockout Rounds artist relegated to a montage and seeing only a few seconds of her performance has Caroline sitting at No. 20. But it should be noted that last season Jeffery Austin suffered the same fate going into the live rounds and ended up being one of the strongest competitors. At this point, the second chance vocalist’s best performance came during her blind audition of Carole King’s “So Far Away.” But she’ll need to wow with her next performance to keep her name fresh in the minds of viewers.
19. Moushumi (Team Pharrell) – Moushumi wowed out of the gate by capturing the emotion of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game,” showing range and a vulnerability in her sound. But her song choice of Halsey’s “New Americana” didn’t do as much to showcase what she can do. While she does have that vulnerability to her voice that some of the other singers don’t, she’ll need to find more ways to differentiate herself going forward.
18. Lacy Mandigo (Team Pharrell) – The resident rock chick amongst the competitors was an early victim of the montage in the blind auditions, and Christina putting her up against frontrunner Alisan Porter did her no favors in the Battle Rounds. However, Lacy impressed enough to be stolen by Blake. She also showed well covering The Cranberries’ “Zombie” for Team Blake, but once again needed a steal and got it from Pharrell. While all the coaches seem to love what she can do, none have been willing to sacrifice other team members to continue with her and at some point, Lacy needs to flat out wow to the point where she’s no longer in danger.
17. Joe Maye (Team Blake) – Joe is a live wire vocalist with plenty of personality onstage, but this second chance artist has yet to connect as well as he did on his Blind Audition version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You.” In fact, had he not been in the final pairing of the Knockout Rounds and Blake still sitting with a steal, he might not have advanced as his performance of “Earned It” from The Weeknd was solid and passable, but there were some other artists who enjoyed better Knockout Round performances who didn’t advance. He’ll need to pick more dynamic soul songs that show his range and also allows him to bring his personality in order to jump to the top of the pack.
16. Kata Hay (Team Christina) – The Voice’s sassiest competitor, Kata has thrived primarily on her stage presence. While she does have a strong voice and can deliver attitude with the best of them, at times her delivery can come through overblown. If she can get better control in some of the power moments and deliver one of those performances that change what we expect for her, she has the possibility to bound up this list. We’d love to see what she can do with a ballad, and that could be just what she needs. But for now, enjoy her Knockout Rounds performance of Reba McEntire’s “Why Haven’t I Heard From You.”
15. Owen Danoff (Team Adam) – Owen aspires to soft rock superstardom and has found a comfort zone in that area. He wowed the coaches with his take on Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” in the Blind Auditions, but that remains his best performance so far. Nerves plagued him during his take on Billy Joel’s “She’s Always a Woman,” but advanced when Ryan Quinn suffered a similar fate. Owen has the musical chops and knows who he is as an artist, but he’ll need to loosen up and get out of his head in order to go much further.
14. Paxton Ingram (Team Blake) – The charismatic dancer-turned-singer has been a surprise throughout and continues to improve with each performance. His unique rendition of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” got him in the competition and a sizzling take on the Shawn Mendes song “I Know What You Did Last Summer” helped him advance over Brittney Lawrence,” but it was his Knockout Round performance of Adele’s “Hometown Glory” that may have not only ingratiated himself to coach Blake, but all of the other coaches as well. If the song choices are smart, Paxton could continue to surprise.
13. Ryan Quinn (Team Christina) – Ryan has an amazing higher register which served him well during his Blind Audition of “Can’t Find My Way Home.” And Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” felt right in his wheelhouse during his Battle Round competition, proving to be his strongest moment. But performing Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” proved to be a bit of a disconnect and his voice felt a little thin compared to the original song. Once viewed as one of the strongest competitors of this season after the first two rounds, his stumble allowed Christina to snag him away from Adam in what could be a coup if she can keep him on the right path with song choices. He drops this far due to the stumble, but has Top 5 potential.
12. Laith Al-Saadi (Team Adam) – Laith is one of the most veteran performers on this season of The Voice and his bluesy rock vibe has served him well so far, proving to be a major contrast from most of the performers. His ability to put his own stamp on each of the songs he’s played has also garnered plenty of attention, with his collaborative revision of the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman” with competitor Matt Tedder being the highlight so far. Laith’s decision to go outside of the box with Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” didn’t necessarily work as well and he’ll need better song choices going forward.
11. Caity Peters (Team Pharrell) – Caity made a big jump this past week after delivering a very personal rendition of Sam Smith’s “Leave Your Lover” that truly appeared to showcase her abilities for the first time. As the show moves forward, it appears as though Caity’s airy, lilting voice is peaking at the right time.
10. Emily Keener (Team Pharrell) – Give that girl a guitar and let her go. Emily has a different sounding tone to her voice, one that helped her shine on Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” during the Blind Auditions. She had a passable performance on Ellie Goulding’s “Explosions” during the Battle Rounds, but returned in top form with a playful and near perfect rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” during the Knockout Rounds. She appears to be finding her groove.
9. Katie Basden (Team Blake) – Katie is one of the harder singers to pin down as of yet. Perhaps her strongest performance was her Blind Audition of The Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider,” showing a flare for country-rock. In her Battle Round, Adam paired her with Ryan Quinn on Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” and his performance was just so in his wheelhouse that he felt like the natural choice. That freed her up to join Blake’s team as the country superstar’s roster was full when she performed late in the Blind Auditions. Katie once again thrilled by bringing her own take to the Fleetwood Mac classic “Gypsy,” thus giving her three very different songs to show her range.
8. Bryan Bautista (Team Christina) – Bryan’s got soul, but as we saw in the Knockout Rounds, he’s also got more than that bringing a reggae flare to Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” that wowed audiences. His strongest performance so far may have come though when he and Malik Heard just brought down the house with James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” There are a few other soulful male singers still left in the competition, so Bryan may need to dig deeper into his bag of tricks like he did with Bieber’s “Sorry” to help separate him from similar sounding artists.
7. Shalyah Fearing (Team Adam) – This teen just keeps getting better. You could see the potential on her Blind Audition of “What Is Love?,” but when you thought she might be an early exit going up against Tamar Davis on “Lady Marmalade,” she hung note for note with the music veteran and earned a steal from Adam. Shalyah continued to deliver with “A Broken Wing” in the Knockouts and could very easily find herself in the finals with the right song picks.
6. Brian Nhira (Team Adam) – Brian is as smooth as they come, getting chair turns for his performance of Pharrell’s “Happy,” then showing his ability to conquer Maroon 5’s “Sugar.” Surprisingly, Pharrell allowed him to slip away to Adam after this performance and it could be a decision he regrets. Brian showed command of the stage and a killer vocal on Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” and at this point, he appears to have ascended to the top of the male soul vocalists still remaining.
5. Hannah Huston (Team Pharrell) – Hannah has improved week by week, starting off with Allen Stone’s “Unaware,” surprised in her Battle Round rendition of Sia’s “Elastic Heart,” and then absolutely ruled the night with her knockout round performance of The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun.” It’s possible that Hannah is just starting to reach the best of what she could do. Minus any bad song choices, Hannah seems equipped to adapt just about anything into something uniquely her own.
4. Mary Sarah (Team Blake) – Never underestimate the draw of the country audience when it comes to The Voice. And given Mary Sarah’s already established history in the country music genre and a classic sounding voice, she seems to have all the tools to win it all. She’s got the sass, the command of the stage and a perfect voice for country that she’s showcased on “Where the Boys Are,” “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” and most recently “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Be My Man.”
3. Adam Wakefield (Team Blake) – Adam has a bit of that bluesy rock vibe that also works well within the country genre. He’s worked with country artists in the past and is perfectly placed on Team Blake. His rendition of “Tennessee Whiskey” was a winner and his Knockout Rounds performance of “Bring It On Home to Me” showcased that he could step out of the country realm as well. He’s a true contender and it will be interesting to see whether he or Mary Sarah ends up being Blake’s top performer.
2. Tamar Davis (Team Christina) – You don’t sing with Prince without having serious chops, and Tamar, a music industry vet, could be ready to move out the the backing vocalist role to becoming a lead singer, much like past winner Jermaine Paul. She’s got the soul to handle anything in the pop, R&B and funk world, but stepping outside of her comfort zone could be a risk that helps her win it all.
1. Alisan Porter (Team Christina) – Alisan had many proclaiming her to be the early frontrunner for the season with her performance of “Blue Bayou,” and she’s done little to dissuade anyone from keeping that opinion through three rounds. Her performance of Joni Mitchell’s “River” in the knockouts also provided a chill-inducing moment. It’s not as much of a lock as Jordan Smith was last season, but an Alisan / Tamar final could proved quite interesting.
So while it looks like Christina is in prime position to be the first female coach to win The Voice, never discount the country cred of Team Blake. Tune in next Monday on NBC at 8PM ET/PT for the start of The Voice Live Shows.
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