With the competition heating up, it certainly appears to be closer than we once thought. If Baber is crowned in a few weeks, it will be a fifth victory for coach Blake Shelton. Meanwhile, coach Adam Levine is hoping Smith makes it through to give him a third trophy as top mentor. Coach Pharrell Williams may be the reigning winner, but he only has one contender left this season. And Gwen Stefani has still never won the overall prize.
One of their artists will go home on Tuesday night. Based on their Monday performances, Stefani could be in for a rough elimination night. Here are my rankings of the remaining contestants.
1. Barrett Baber (Team Blake), “I’d Love to Lay You Down”
When this country soul singer is able to harness his energy and tone down some of his antics, there are few in the competition that can compete with his performances. That is exactly what Baber did on Monday as he calmly belted out a country classic while sitting on a chair and playing guitar. He looked like a professional amongst amateurs and easily stood out as the best of the night. If he makes it to the finale without Seabaugh or Roberts dragging down his votes, I have no doubt he will win this competition. This performance simply outclassed the rest.
2. Jordan Smith (Team Adam), “Hallelujah”
Choosing a song that has become a staple in vocal competitions, almost anyone would advance to the next round if they sang this. When you combine it with this year’s obvious frontrunner, it’s likely a sure-fire number one hit on iTunes. Although good, it wasn’t terribly creative and it was far from the best version I’ve seen. But after a somewhat forgettable performance last week, Smith skyrocketed back to the top (or close to the top) of the competition with a powerful, vocally impressive performance.
3. Madi Davis (Team Pharrell), “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”
It’s an impressive feat to take one of the most fun pop songs in history, turn it into a depressing dramatic ballad, and still hold the audience’s attention from beginning to end. That is exactly what Davis accomplished while continuing to prove she should be taken seriously in this competition. Nobody has shown more growth over the last few weeks than this creative, intuitive teenager. By now Davis should be on everyone’s radar as a threat to win it all.
4. Emily Ann Roberts (Team Blake), “She’s Got You”
Sticking with a classic country song, Roberts shined brighter than ever with this heartfelt performance. It was a perfect song choice with just enough power to push her timid voice (but not too far) and show serious star power. If she won me over with this performance, her fans should go crazy for it.
5. Jeffery Austin (Team Gwen), “Jealous”
The always consistent balladeer was more of the same with this haunting song originally recorded by Labrinth. Although powerful, it seemed at times Austin was pushing his vocals a little beyond his capability. That being said, his core audience will likely appreciate the performance.
6. Shelby Brown (Team Adam), “Go Rest High On That Mountain”
Desperate for a breakout moment, Brown took on a gospel-influenced country song that typically pulls on the heart strings of viewers. Although the vocals were perfectly fine, something about her still just didn’t connect for some reason. The song will likely buy her another week but I don’t think it was quite the momentous push she was hoping for in the competition.
7. Zach Seabaugh (Team Blake), “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
Seabaugh shines when performing fun, up-tempo numbers like this rather than emotional, vocally ambitious songs. It was interesting two weeks ago when he first broke out of his shell, but at this point he looks like he should be the lead in a high school musical. The audience seems to have fun when he performs though, likely securing his place in the next round.
8. Amy Vachal (Team Adam), “Bye Bye Bye”
Embracing her unique position in the competition, Vachal has made an art out of reinventing bubblegum pop songs and making them sound sophisticated. This week was no different as she twisted the NSYNC classic into a sultry number more likely to be heard in a smoky jazz club than on MTV. As interesting as it was to hear, slowing down the lyrics to “Bye Bye Bye” didn’t make them any better and although it was a good performance, it wasn’t her best.
9. Korin Bukowski (Team Gwen), “Same Old Love”
After two weeks of being saved by Twitter votes, Bukowski took on a Selena Gomez song that is currently hot on the charts. The song was a great match for her voice, proving the indie singer could be a relevant recording artist in the real world. However, vocally, she still doesn’t stand out from the crowd and will likely be in danger yet again this week.
10. Braiden Sunshine (Team Gwen), “Radioactive”
There seems to be no musical genre off limits for the youngest singer in the competition. Some may call this versatile, but to me it clearly shows he has no clue what type of artist he wants to be. This song was far too edgy for the baby-faced teenager who was finally allowed to sport his curly locks on competition night. His vocals were all over the place throughout this forgettable performance.
Do you agree with our rankings this week? Will it be Sunshine, Bukowski, or someone else going home this week? You need to jump into our predictions center NOW and make your picks for the eliminations show on Tuesday night.
Congratulations to our reader (and occasional writer) John Benutty for being one of only two people with perfect scores in last week's contest. They both predicted that Evan McKeel would be finished and that Bukowski would be in the bottom but not eliminated. However, Benutty had the best overall point score of 51,200 thanks to using his special 500 and 200 point bets wisely. He is eligible, as per our contest rules, so he won a $100 Amazon gift certificate.
Check out the overall Season 9 leaderboard to the right. There are still several weeks left to play in our contest, so you should jump in and try to take control of the leaderboard yourself. You could win our weekly and overall season prizes. See our contest rules here and don't forget to update YOUR predictions here. The deadline for this week's contest is Tuesday, December 1, at 5:00 p.m. PT.
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Photos courtesy of NBC.