Alicia Keys may be a rookie coach on “The Voice,” but when it comes to piecing together her first ever team, only a quote from the singer/songwriter herself can describe her debut season: “This girl is on fire.” Keys has accumulated a diverse, genre-spanning collection of artists that are sure to give her a shot at claiming her first title. But winning won’t come easy as she faces stiff competition from fellow rookie coach Miley Cyrus, four-time champ Blake Shelton, and three-time winner Adam Levine.
Will she be able to defeat her rival coaches on this 11th season of NBC’s Emmy-winning reality program? Here is a look at my power rankings and analysis for her eight remaining team members with Wé McDonald in first place. Click here for my rankings for Team Adam (Team Blake and Team Miley will be published soon). Click here for our fun photo gallery featuring the previous 10 champions of “The Voice.”
1. Wé McDonald
Blind Audition: “Feeling Good”
Battle Round: “Maybe” / Defeated Lauren Diaz
At just 17 years old, McDonald stormed the stage with a blind audition so powerful it immediately launched her into frontrunner status. Her performance in the battle round only solidified her dominance. The pairing of McDonald with Alicia seems like a match made in “Voice” heaven, so anything other than McDonald reaching the finale would come as a total shock.
2. Michael Sanchez
Blind Audition: “Use Me”
Battle Round: “Valerie” / Defeated Dave Moisan
When we first saw Sanchez in his blind audition, his voice was noticeable, but his performance almost felt like a bit of a joke. The nerdy persona who Blake refers to as “Rick Moranis,” mixed with rich, soulful vocals made it seem like he might be putting on an act rather than a genuine performance. But if anyone had doubts about the potential of Sanchez, they were squashed during his energy-filled battle performance of “Valerie.” Sanchez has the voice and personality that viewers will fall in love with; and he just may be another finalist from Team Alicia.
3. Whitney and Shannon
Blind Audition: “Landslide”
Battle Round: “More Than Words” / Defeated Gabriel Violett
As the only duo in the competition, Whitney and Shannon had the instant advantage of being memorable from the start. The young sisters, with perfect harmonies and country inflections in their vocals, make their coach light up each time she sees them. Because these two are so unique and have so many positive qualities working in their favor, I fully expect them to advance to the live shows.
Blind Audition: “Drown In My Own Tears”
Battle Round: “I’ll Take Care of You” / Lost to Aaron Gibson (then stolen by Alicia)
Sa’Rayah brings unbridled passion to her performances that are so bombastic, one can’t help but pay attention when she’s on stage. She’s not a perfect singer, but she’s definitely a born entertainer with a powerhouse voice. After losing a hard-fought battle, Alicia was smart to pick her up — and if by some chance Alicia lets her go in the knockouts, I think she will remain on every other coach’s shortlist for a steal.
5. Christian Cuevas
Blind Audition: “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You”
Battle Round: “Hello” / Defeated Jason Warrior
Cuevas had one of the more memorable blind auditions, delivering a heartfelt performance honoring his late father and earning chair turns from Blake, Adam and Alicia. But as likable as Cuevas is, I’m not sure he has the star power and vocal strength to compete with some other members on his own team. I think it will come down to song choice for Cuevas, and if he can escape the knockouts, I think his chances will improve once viewers take control of the results.
6. Kylie Rothfield
Blind Audition: “Wherever I Go”
Battle Round: “The House of the Rising Sun” / Defeated Josh Halverson
Rothfield occupies a unique space this season as the only female, guitar-playing blues artist. Her performances take viewers back in time to an era when artists like Bonnie Raitt were topping the charts. But after suffering a vocal hemorrhage, Rothfield was left unable to perform for months before auditioning for this show. And although she may have physically recovered, psychologically she is still nervous to go for the big notes, and it shows on stage.
7. Belle Jewel
Blind Audition: “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”
Battle Round: “Bennie and the Jets” / Defeated Halle Tomlinson
Despite successfully making it through the first two rounds this season, Jewel has gotten no love from producers with no full performance of the singer seen on NBC. It is difficult to imagine at this point that she has much of a chance. While I’m hopeful we will see her entire knockout performance, she wouldn’t be the first artist to be eliminated in the knockouts without an entire song shown to the viewers at home.
8. Courtnie Ramirez
Blind Audition: “Mama Knows Best”
Battle Round: “Hit or Miss” / Lost to Ali Caldwell (then stolen by Alicia)
The spunky teenager has a lot of energy and stage presence, but her voice just isn’t up to par with other contestants this season. Furthermore, one only need look at the preview NBC shared of the upcoming knockouts to know that Alicia put this poor girl up against McDonald, which is basically throwing her to the wolves. With little chance of earning yet another save, I think Ramirez’s knockout performance will be her last.