With a few singers confirmed as frontrunners and even more surprising eliminations, the audience vote has now determined “The Voice” top 12 finalists. Our writer Denton Davidson ranked the four teams this week, singling out Mark Hood for coach Pharrell Williams, Emily Ann Roberts for coach Blake Shelton, Jeffery Austin for coach Gwen Stefani, and Jordan Smith for coach Adam Levine. Click on the gold link for each team above to see the full analysis.
All four of Denton’s top choices reached the top 12, but how do they stack up against the other? The dozen artists will perform on Monday's live episode of the NBC Emmy-winning show. Here’s my quick best-to-worst take on the 12 finalists still in the hunt to be named as this season's champ.
1. Jordan Smith (Team Adam)
Jordan’s rendition of Beyonce’s “Halo” sent him to the top of the iTunes singles chart this week, and even at the time of this writing is still in the top 10. He continues to be (and probably will be for quite some time) the most buzzworthy contestant of this great ninth season.
2. Barrett Baber (Team Blake)
There is an obvious gender bias this year, as six of the eight voted through by the audience were male singers. If anyone best exemplifies what that bias means in terms of audience appeal, it’s the handsome, family-oriented, swoon-worthy presence of Barrett. He has the mom vote on lock.
3. Jeffery Austin (Team Gwen)
After this week’s performances, Gwen says she felt like she was going to win this thing. My guess is she feels that way because of Jeffery. He has control over a powerful voice and a clear sense of what type of singer her wants to be. As his confidence grows so will the votes in his favor.
4. Madi Davis (Team Pharrell)
One of only two women to advance based on the viewer vote, Madi may be the best dark horse bet at this point and is easily Pharrell’s best shot at repeating as champion. If she continues to nail her song choices, Madi could continue to grow her audience.
5. Shelby Brown (Team Adam)
Shelby’s direct competition, at least in terms of specific voter appeal, is Emily Ann. The fact that Shelby advanced based on public vote and Emily Ann didn’t means that Shelby is currently leading that race.
6. Zach Seabaugh (Team Blake)
Perhaps we all underestimated the charismatic appeal of Zach due to his lack of screen time prior to this week. But it’s now clear that the public has connected with his voice and classic style. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him reach frontrunner status in the next few weeks.
7. Emily Ann Roberts (Team Blake)
Despite being the other artist to have a performance land in the iTunes top 10, Emily Ann failed to earn enough votes on her own. She was instead saved by Blake, and that is the only reason she isn’t higher on my list. Frankly, I think many of us expected Emily Ann to be leading the pack.
8. Braiden Sunshine (Team Gwen)
Braiden’s reaction to hearing Carson call his name suggests that he didn’t think he’d be moving on, making him one of the more surprising audience choices this week. I think the ‘cuteness factor’ is at play here, and eventually his vocal shortcomings will leave him vulnerable.
9. Amy Vachal (Team Adam)
I should be surprised that Amy didn’t advance on the public vote, but somehow I’m not. Adam had the best team of six performing this week, with Jordan and Shelby the most likely to hit with audiences. I hope that in the expanded competition of 12, Amy will stand out and find a pocket of fans that keep her around.
10. Evan McKeel (Team Pharrell)
Evan is a fantastic singer, and he even progressed based on the audience vote due in large part (I suspect) to Pharrell’s smart choice in having him sing “Overjoyed” again. But his vocal ability is too similar to both Jordan and Jeffery, who are arguably more popular with voters and will cancel him out.
11. Korin Bukowski (Team Gwen)
Personally, I’m shocked Korin didn’t top Team Gwen’s audience vote, but it’s possible that her unique vocal styling doesn’t appeal to the broadest swath of the public. Hopefully Korin can find a way to connect with the audience this week, but if she doesn’t I think she’s most in danger of elimination.
12. Mark Hood (Team Pharrell)
I have to disagree with Denton on this one! He named Mark as Pharrell’s best singer this week, and I still think he was his worst. Mark has an over-the-top performance style that focuses too much on building energy, leaving his voice vulnerable and inconsistent. A toned down performance could help him find the audience vote he’ll need to stay another week.
Did you predict who would be eliminated last Wednesday for the first live shows of "The Voice"? If so, you should be taking place in our weekly prediction contest. Hurry — make your "The Voice" predictions for this week's "Top 12" show for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate. It's fun and easy, so get started by scrolling down to predict which two artists will be kicked out next.
Congratulations to our reader HugoSilva for the only perfect score in last week's contest. He predicted all eight of the eliminations and also had a great overall point score of 4,265 thanks to using his special 500 and 200 point bets wisely. If eligible, as per our contest rules, he will win a $100 Amazon gift certificate.
Check out the overall Season 9 leaderboard to the right. Because this was our first week of predictions, HugoSilva is, of course, our season leader at this point. But there are still many weeks left to play in our contest, so you should jump in and try to take control of the leaderboard yourself. You could win win our weekly and overall season prizes. See our contest rules here and don't forget to update YOUR predictions here. The deadline for next week's contest is Tuesday, November 17, at 5:00 p.m. PT.
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Photo courtesy of NBC.