Reigning coaching champ Pharrell Williams would like to win consecutive championships on “The Voice.” He and opposing coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, and Gwen Stefani have now chosen their final teams for live shows starting on Monday.
Once again, producer and award-winning artist Williams has built an impressive team of diverse vocalists who could very well go all the way. Here are my rankings for his five artists with a look at who has the best shot of walking away the winner of season nine.
5. Riley Biederer
This 19-year-old from Atlanta has survived a rocky road to advance to the live playoffs. After only getting a single chair turn from Pharrell with her blind audition of “Invincible,” she went on to lose in the battle rounds to Evan McKeel. In that loss she showed enough promise to convince Gwen to use a steal but was then dropped for Regina Love in the knockout rounds. Despite her second loss in a direct head-to-head, Williams stole her back, giving her one more shot at redemption. For all of her good fortune this season, I don’t see her advancing further. It was surprising when Stefani stole her the first time and even more so when Pharrell stole her back. Her performances just always seem to fall flat, leaving much to be desired.
4. Mark Hood
The 24-year-old from Chicago is a total wildcard. I’m only placing him fourth because I just have to see what he does next. My confusion about Hood comes from his up and down vocals – but one thing he has is major star power. His magnetic blind audition of “Use Me” earned a four-chair turn, leading to one of the best battles of the season, where he took out Celeste Betton in an unforgettable performance of “Ain’t No Mountain Enough.” His knockout performance of “Stand By Me” was less impressive but still enough for him to advance over Siahna Im. If Hood’s voice can match his charisma, he will be a major threat. That being said, Pharrell has a tendency to go with talent over star power, so he has to really nail his next performance.
3. Darius Scott
One of the best vocalists this season is the 23-year-old from Texas who earned chair turns from Adam, Gwen and Pharrell with his blind audition “You Make Me Wanna.” It was soon evident which team he would join after professing he was a fan of Pharrell with a N.E.R.D. tattoo. Scott continued impressing the coaches with his voice by taking out Daria Jazmin in the battle rounds and country singer Morgan Frazier in the knockouts. Scott has impressive intuition when he sings, often taking notes in an unexpected direction and always putting his own spin on well-known songs. With more time, Scott will likely be able to expand his fan base, as I don’t think we have seen his full potential.
2. Madi Davis
The dark horse on Team Pharrell could very well be this 16-year-old Texas native. She flew a bit under the radar early on, earning a two-chair turn from Gwen and Pharrell with her blind audition “It’s Too Late.” She went on to defeat Sydney Rhame in the battle rounds, but the real shocker came when Pharrell declared her the winner over early favorite Amy Vachal in the knockouts. Pharrell has an affinity for helping artists come out of their shell and likely sees an opportunity with Davis, who has gotten better with each performance. There is something very likable about her that voters may connect with – everyone likes an underdog story.
1. Evan McKeel
Perhaps the biggest threat on Team Pharrell is this 20-year-old Virginia native. McKeel’s pop-rock style with R&B sensibilities earned him an impressive four chair turn during his blind audition of “Typical.” He then sailed through the battles and knockouts leaving behind Riley Biederer and Tim Atlas. McKeel is a real threat to win this season with a penetrating voice that has power and range plus an ability to sing all genres. His biggest test will be finding his voice and figuring out who he is as an artist. He would have better odds if he leaned slightly more towards pop/soul than rock, but time will tell what musical direction he goes throughout the competition. McKeel might just be Pharrell’s ticket to his second Voice win.
Click here to see our rankings for Team Adam, Team Blake, and Team Gwen. What are your thoughts about our rankings for Team Pharrell? 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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Photo courtesy of NBC.