Our writer John Benutty already ranked the top 10 singers based on their performances from this past week on the NBC reality program (see red link below). He noted that Madi Davis and Jeffery Austin were rising to the top to challenge frontrunner Jordan Smith. At the bottom of his list were Barrett Baber and Braiden Sunshine, but is one of them the likeliest to go him this week?
At this point, the teams of Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, and Gwen Stefani are still complete with three artists each. Coach Pharrell Williams has lost two in a row and is down to just one contender. Here is my evaluation of the remaining finalists ordered from most in danger of elimination this week to least likely to go home.
1. Korin Bukowski (Team Gwen)
Saved by Twitter yet again last week, Korin clearly has trouble connecting with the audience and garnering votes. It was actually pretty shocking to see her defeat Evan McKeel (Team Pharrell) in the latest social media save. Even Gwen appeared to know that was the wrong choice. Korin has to be going home next though, right?
2. Shelby Brown (Team Adam)
As one of my early picks to win it all, Shelby has kind of hit a stalemate in the competition. She is never bad, but she’s never great and she’s always just a bit forgettable. With the right song I still think she could knock something out of the park, but at this point she is on borrowed time.
3. Zach Seabaugh (Team Blake)
It has been a bumpy ride for Seabaugh, who can look like a star one moment and appear totally out of his element the next. Blake recently said his vocals were “spot on” but the reality is that he is the worst singer in the competition and is only getting by on his appeal to young, female voters. I have a feeling that appeal is wearing thin.
4. Braiden Sunshine (Team Gwen)
It is difficult to figure out how large Braiden’s fan base is, but it’s clearly larger than many may think. He’s almost always near the bottom of the iTunes charts yet has never once been in danger of going home. It makes me wonder if has a large fan base that is just too young to purchase music. It’s important to understand that the iTunes chart can be an indicator of how the public feels about a singer, but it is the smallest percentage of actual votes a contestant receives. Sunshine’s charm and decent voice may buy him a couple more weeks.
5. Amy Vachal (Team Adam)
The understated vocals of Vachal are seemingly picking up steam because she is absolutely killing it on iTunes. She’s had top 10 results on the charts for the last two weeks. Another advantage for Vachal is that nobody really does what she does in the competition — allowing her to stand out by doing less while others are trying to do more, vocally.
6. Emily Ann Roberts (Team Blake)
To me, Emily Ann is a poor man’s Carrie Underwood with the exact same tone but absolutely no power in her voice. There is a wide audience for that, it’s just not me. That being said, I think she is very appealing to a large number of viewers and there is a good chance she will go deep into the competition.
7. Madi Davis (Team Pharrell)
Quite forgettable in the early rounds, Madi has come along to be a stand-out performer this season. She hit a bump in the road two weeks ago with a shaky performance, but her choice last week, “Love is Blindness,” was my favorite of the night. She is the slow-burner this season, and Pharrell’s sole remaining singer in the competition is definitely his best.
8. Jeffery Austin (Team Gwen)
This singer continues to feed into what the audience likes about him — his ballads. He is arguably the best actual singer in the competition and I finally figured out his core audience — my mother! Recently she told me she voted for him because he reminds her of Clay Aiken. Yes, he has the Claymate votes so watch out! That could be a ticket straight to the finale if he could only upstage Jordan on a regular basis.
9. Barrett Baber (Team Blake)
As the weeks have gone on, Baber’s stock has continued to rise, and I currently see him as the only legitimate threat to take down Jordan. He’s the best country vocalist in the competition and his universal appeal will give him a wide voting block. His biggest threat is the number of country artists in the competition. If he can get to the finale as the sole country artist, Blake could easily have another winner on his hands.
10. Jordan Smith (Team Adam)
Unquestionably the frontrunner of the season, Jordan has been dominating iTunes and has also been given preferential treatment by performing near the end of each live episode. That leaves his performances fresh in the minds of voters. To me he is completely overrated vocally and people are in love with the fact that he doesn’t look like he sounds; he isn’t a typical pop star, blah blah blah. I’m begging viewers to not make this a landslide win for Jordan and his coach, Adam — but it seems impossible.
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 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.