Aiming for an unprecedented fifth win, Shelton has built a team consisting almost entirely of country artists. In what appears early on to be one of his weakest teams to date, Team Blake could be in trouble. But never underestimate the most successful coach in Voice history – he may have a secret weapon flying under the radar. Here are my rankings for his five artists with a look at who has the best shot of going all the way.
5. Zach Seabaugh
The smooth vocals of this 16-year old country crooner from Georgia were impressive enough to convince coaches Adam, Pharrell, and Blake to turn their chairs during his blind audition of “Take Your Time”. Naturally Seabaugh joined Team Blake, which has worked to his favor as Shelton seems impressed by the young singer. Seabaugh advanced to the live playoffs by taking out fellow country artist Tyler Dickerson in the battle rounds and Chris Crump in the knockouts. But as likable as Shelton seems to think Seabaugh is, he really isn’t much fun to watch. Producers actually opted not to air his entire knockout performance, which is quite telling. On a team full of other country singers, Seabaugh just doesn’t stack up as a performer.
4. Morgan Frazier
At 22 years old, this Nashville singer began her journey with a country version of “I Want You To Want Me”, drawing chair turns from both Blake and Gwen. She then went on to lose in the battle rounds to fellow country singer Emily Ann Roberts. Frazier’s valiant effort was enough to prompt Pharrell to steal her, but she then lost to R&B singer Darius Scott in the knockouts. In an exciting twist of events, Shelton stole Frazier back for himself, bringing her to the live playoffs. That same move proved successful in season seven when the same circumstances brought eventual champ Craig Wayne Boyd back to Team Blake. Unfortunately for Frazier, that sequence of events is likely the exception, not the rule. Although she has a powerful set of pipes, Shelton has already proven he prefers her rival Roberts. Not only did he choose her over Frazier in the battle rounds, but he also stated she would have a career in country music that lasts more than 20 years. I just don’t see room for both of them on Team Blake.
3. Ivonne Acero
One singer stands out from the pack on Team Blake and that is this 17-year-old from Arizona. While all of the other artists on Team Blake fall into the country genre, Acero is a quirky pop singer who advanced through the blind auditions with a performance of “Style”, which got the attention of coaches Gwen and Pharrell. After choosing Pharrell as her coach, Acero went on to lose in the battle rounds to fellow teenager Siahna Im. Impressed with her performance, Blake stole Acero and pitted her against yet another teenager, Chance Pena. She redeemed herself with a victory and moved on to the live playoffs. Although Acero doesn’t stand out as one of the more memorable singers this season, she does stand out on Team Blake, giving him some much needed diversity. This should work to her advantage next week. If America doesn’t vote her through, Blake may decide to pull her along to keep his team from being one-dimensional.
2. Barrett Baber
At age 35, this country artist is a seasoned performer who knows how to work the stage. In his blind audition he earned an impressive four-chair turn with his rendition of “Angel Eyes.” Baber breezed though the battle and knockout rounds by taking out Dustin Christensen and Blind Joe, proving he is a competitor to be reckoned with. There are certain times Baber looks like a bona fide country star, while other times his animated style just seems amateur and over the top. If he is able to reign it in, he could do well in the competition.
1. Emily Ann Roberts
Team Blake’s strongest contender comes in the form of this 16-year- old Tennessee native. Roberts received chair turns from both Blake and Adam with the blind audition performance “I Hope You Dance”. Since choosing Blake as her coach, Roberts has grown stronger with each round – winning a close battle over country singer Morgan Frazier and a tough knockout over R&B singer Nadjah Nicole. Roberts’ pure tone, beauty, and star power are reminiscent of many of today’s biggest country stars. Although she is not the most powerful vocalist, Roberts shows similarities to season four champion Danielle Bradbery –evidence that she should be taken seriously. With the right song choices and the most successful coach in Voice history behind her, there is no telling how far Roberts may go.
We will be offering our analysis for Team Pharrell later this week. Click here to see our rankings for Team Adam and for Team Gwen. What are your thoughts about our rankings for Team Blake? Who tops your own list? Comment below or sound off on "The Voice" every week in Gold Derby's reality TV forum.
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