Halfway into her first season, Miley Cyrus is proving to be a mixed bag as coach — while visually entertaining and thoughtful in her critiques, her battle and knockout pairings have felt confusing in strategy. It suggests that she may not fully understand which artists have what it takes to charm the voting audience. Miley has certainly amassed what can only be characterized as the most eclectic team. While it’s exciting to see a coach embrace so many different styles typically not given a fair shot in televised singing competitions, it’s hard to imagine that she’ll be able to coach any of her risk-taking artists to be Season 11 champion.
As Miley faces off against rival coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, and Alicia Keys, let’s take a look at her top five artists going into Monday’s first live show. Who will win the 11th season to join the past 10 winners in this photo gallery of the Emmy-winning NBC reality program? Who will immediately be eliminated on the next episode, and who will be saved by the audience vote? After reading our analysis below, tour our new Team Miley photo gallery and vote in our poll below. Click here for analysis and photos of Team Adam.
Aaron Gibson (predicted to get audience vote)
Season 11 songs: “Losing My Religion” (blind audition song); “I’ll Take Care of You” (battle song); “Die a Happy Man” (knockout song)
Aaron has the surprise factor of a powerful voice that doesn’t necessarily match what you expect him to sound like. His voice is exactly in the wheelhouse of what we’ve seen be successful on this show before — big, full and rock-focused with a touch of soul.
Sophia Urista (predicted to get audience vote)
Season 11 songs: “Come Together” (blind audition song); “Money” (battle song); “I Can’t Stand the Rain” (knockout song)
I’m still feeling the power of Sophia’s blind audition! She really knocked it out of the park right of out the gate, so if she can bring that same energy and power to a well-known song, I think audiences will have a hard time not throwing all their votes and iTunes buys her way.
Darby Walker (predicted to get coach’s save)
“Stand by Me” (blind audition song); “Brand New Key” (battle song); “Shake It Out” (knockout song)
I think Miley’s save obviously goes to Darby or Belle because of her connection with their risk-taking and unique styles. I give the edge to Darby because she’s a powerful singer and the control she’s shown in two Florence Welch covers (her “Stand by Me” was the Florence version) is noteworthy. Not anyone can pull those off as well as she did.
Ali Caldwell (predicted to be eliminated)
“Dangerous Woman” (blind audition song); “Hit or Miss” (battle song); “No Ordinary Love” (knockout song)
Ali has the ability to reach really big moments with large choruses, like in her blind audition of “Dangerous Woman.” But in between those times her voice is gentle and a bit uninteresting. Barring a huge performance next week, I don’t see her inspiring enough votes to get through.
Belle Jewel (predicted to be eliminated)
“Don’t You (Forget About Me)” (blind audition song); “Bennie and the Jets” (battle song); “Don’t Dream It’s Over” (knockout song)
Belle was unfortunate enough to be included in montages twice already this season — neither her blind audition or battle round performances were shown in full on the episodes. For that reason I’d say she’s unlikely to advance on audience vote. As a new acquisition to Team Miley she may lose out on the save in favor of someone with whom the coach has a longer relationship.