We’ve embraced the singers in their auditions, seen them through battle rounds, watched them put their stamps on songs and cringed on cut nights. As we enter the finale for this season of The Voice, there is no clear cut favorite, which makes the stakes all the more with each act’s final performances. So let’s see how they did:
Billy Gilman (Team Adam)
Cover: “My Way” (Frank Sinatra)
For his cover, Billy Gilman took on the Frank Sinatra standard “My Way” with what appeared to be some heavy input from coach Adam Levine. Feeling that the song embraced Billy’s journey to the finals also made the song a special choice, but there was also a desire to put a stamp on it. So the arrangement has Billy going a capella in the first stanza with the piano build waiting until later in the song. Standing onstage backlit with a spotlight, Billy appears confident. While the open definitely grabbed the attention, as the music continued to build it did not feel as though the limited dynamics of the song did Billy any favors. But by its completion, Billy was delivering the held power notes that tend to grab the attention before finishing with an on the edge of tears whisper of “My Way.”
Original: “Because of Me”
Coach Adam reveals that “Because of Me” was going to be a Maroon 5 song, but he feels Billy can handle it. They both have that higher register and together they work on the interpretation of the track. The simple piano backing offers the perfect showcase for Billy to show what he can do, and his performance stays intimate with moments for him to open up and show some power at points. It’s a stellar song for sure.
Coach Collaboration: “Bye Bye Love” (The Everly Brothers)
After going dramatic for his cover, Billy Gilman lightened the mood in his collaboration with Adam Levine and they took on the bouncy Everly Brothers classic “Bye Bye Love.” The performance was fun, but if anything Adam’s voice outdid Billy’s a bit. Still, as a collaborative performance, it might have been the most on the nose of the night.
Sundance Head (Team Blake)
Cover: “At Last” (Etta James)
Sundance Head has paved his way to the finals with songs about faith, unity and love, so it seems like a natural pick for him to take on the Etta James classic, “At Last.” That’s a tough task for most, but Sundance’s soulful side has served him well throughout. With a full backing orchestra and singers, Sundance turns it a bit into a doo-wop track while not losing the impact of the emotion of the song.
Original: “Darlin’ Don’t Go”
Sundance reveals he penned the song after an argument with his wife, letting her know exactly how much she meant to him. Spending some time in the studio, Coach Blake Shelton marvels at the lyrics. On a smoke-filled stage, Sundance shows a real connection to the track as the lonely steel pedal plays in the background delivering an extra ounce of sadness to the soulful song. It’s definitely a standout track that feels like it could have been right out of the ’60s soul handbook.
Coach Collaboration: “Treat Her Right” (Roy Head and the Traits)
Coach Blake and Sundance keep it in the family, performing a song from Sundance’s father, the high energy Roy Head classic “Treat Her Right.” With dancers, backing horns and a rocked up back, Sundance gets to showcase the swagger of the song, while Blake ably handles his parts in the song. But it’s clear that Sundance is having a blast with the classic his dad once delivered.
Josh Gallagher (Team Adam)
Cover: “Jack and Diane” (John Mellencamp)
Life goes on, and so will Josh Gallagher after his finale cover of John Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane.” There was nothing particularly wrong with his performance of the song. In fact, it is perfectly in his wheelhouse and he delivered a very solid rendition of the track. But the song didn’t really provide that “wow” moment needed for him to win the show and it wasn’t really a track that separated him above any of his other performances.
Original: “Pick Any Small Town”
Josh reveals that he co-wrote his original track with fellow Team Adam contestant Nolan Neal, and it’s reminiscent of growing up in a small town and fits him to a “t.” Gallagher’s country twang shines through in the track and it feels like a song that would have some legs at country radio.
Coach Collaboration: “Smooth” (Santana with Rob Thomas)
Josh and Coach Adam seem to have a good camaraderie and enjoy taking the stage strapped with their guitars, and the choice of the Santana / Rob Thomas track is an interesting one. The track doesn’t necessarily fit Adam and he wisely steps back from most of the vocals, while Josh’s voice fits perfectly within that Rob Thomas range. This is more of a showcase for Josh’s vocals with Adam providing solid backing than it feels like a duet.
We McDonald (Team Alicia)
Cover: “Don’t Rain on My Parade” (Barbra Streisand)
“Don’t Rain on my Parade” is a different type of song for We McDonald, offering a more theatrical side to the singer. Captivating in red, We really takes hold of the song and has a blast with it. It’s soulful, playful, powerful and was the kind of performance We needed after falling behind her competition in the other two facets of the evening.
Unlike Josh and Sundance, who had a hand in the writing of their originals songs, Alicia Keys reached out to one of her favorite songwriters to come up with the perfect song for We. It sits perfectly in We’s lower register allowing her to belt this inspirational new track. It’s a solid song that builds in strength, has a catchy breakdown and allows listeners to get a full range of We’s voice.
Coach Collaboration: “Ave Maria” (Stevie Wonder version)
Alicia says this version of the song will help the “ride in their own lane,” and their collaborative rendition is an interesting selection. Set upon a candlelit stage with a backing choir and string section, Alicia opens the song dressed in black at a black piano. Sitting across from her is We playing a white piano. This is one case where the coach really does We a favor. Keys stays in a lower register never really showing off her dynamic range, leaving those moments for We to explore before they come together in harmony toward the end of the performance. It’s not a home run, but often the coach collaborations are the weakest of each artist’s performance. It’s an interesting pick, but not one that would put We over the top.
1. We McDonald, “Don’t Rain on My Parade”
2. Billy Gilman, “My Way”
3. Sundance Head, “At Last”
4. Josh Gallagher, “Jack and Diane”
1. Sundance Head, “Darlin’ Don’t Go”
2. Billy Gilman, “Because of Me”
3. Josh Gallagher, “Pick Any Small Town”
4. We McDonald, “Wishes”
1. Sundance Head and Blake Shelton, “Treat Her Right”
2. Billy Gilman and Adam Levine, “Bye Bye Love”
3. Josh Gallagher and Adam Levine, “Smooth”
4. We McDonald and Alicia Keys, “Ave Maria”
Our Final Rankings
1. Billy Gilman (Team Adam) – It really depends on how voters view their choices. The choice of Billy here is more based on the season-long body of work, as his flawless voice appeared to have taken on everything thrown at him with ease. But on finale night, he was solid across the board but didn’t have the top performance in any of the three facets. Regardless of how this turns out, Billy has star potential and has one of the best shots at post-Voice stardom on the show yet.
2. Sundance Head (Team Blake) – Sundance appeared to be just part of the pack early in the season, but has been one of the strongest performers heading into the latter portion of the show’s run and he knocked it out of the park on finale night. There’s really not much more he could have done. His original song “Darlin’ Don’t Go” was stellar, his performance of his dad’s song “Treat Her Right” with Blake Shelton got people out of their seats and showed plenty of swagger and he put his own stamp on Etta James’ “At Last” that was an effective choice. If voters go solely on finale night, he’s the likely winner.
3. We McDonald (Team Alicia) – For much of the season, We seemed to be the frontrunner. He voice is unlike any other on the show and she has a bright future as a teen just coming into her own. But her song choices down the stretch weren’t as strong as they were early in the season. On finale night, her show closing cover of Barbra Streisand’s “Don’t Rain on My Parade” was the home run moment she needed and was one of her top performances of the season, but was it enough? The coach collaboration with Alicia Keys on “Ave Maria” felt a bit clunky and the original song “Wishes,” while solid, fell shy of her competition. We should be a future star and it will be interesting to see where her career takes her, but we feel she’s going to come up shy of The Voice crown.
4. Josh Gallagher (Team Adam) – It was a bit of a surprise that Josh Gallagher made it to the finale, but he represented himself well in the finale. His original track “Pick Any Small Town” feels like a natural fit for country radio. His performance of John Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane” was solid and enjoyable but not the choice he needed to win it all and his coach collaboration on “Smooth” fit right into his wheelhouse. It was one of Josh’s best night’s on the show, but he was likely the odd man out going into the finale and could still finish fourth by the time the votes are counted.
Who will win? Tune in Tuesday at 8PM ET / PT to The Voice finale results show on NBC.