As Pharrell Williams prepares to depart “The Voice” for a while, will he be able to repeat his coaching victory from last spring? He has a pretty good team this time but has strangely given away some of his best artists. Click here to watch our Gold Derby slugfest debating all artists moving on to the live shows.
The knockout rounds have come to an end, leaving Williams and rival coaches Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, and Adam Levine with just five remaining contenders each. Next week all 20 singers will perform live for the first time, leaving their fates in the hands of the viewers. The top two vote-earners from each team will automatically advance to the top 12, plus each coach will then have an opportunity to save one more to move on as well. That means two members of each team will be eliminated next Wednesday.
Here is a look at how I rank Pharrell’s five contenders and which three I think will advance to the next round. Vote in our poll below and let us know who you think is best.
1. Caity Peters
Knockout Round: “Leave Your Lover” / defeated Abby Celso
The performance Peters gave this round is honestly so flawless that I forgot how obsessed I was with her Blind Audition of “Jealous” which resulted in a four-chair turn. After that performance I ranked Team Pharrell and had Peters behind Huston. This week, I switched them because Peters gives the more emotional, better controlled and confident performance that I think voters respond to season after season.
2. Hannah Huston
Knockout Round: “House of the Rising Sun” / defeated Malik Heard
One of my early favorites to win the season, Huston gave another excellent performance this round. Pharrell noted how much he loves that she “communicates when she sings,” and I think that’s what voters will respond most to. There’s depth and soul both in her song choice and delivery. I still think she can win.
Knockout Round: “New Americana” / defeated Nick Hagelin
Team Pharrell is strong — really strong — and it’s going to be tough to narrow this group of five down to three. While I think the two that advance via audience vote is rather interchangeable, I’m almost dead certain that Pharrell will select Moushumi as his choice. She provides the unique image that Pharrell values, and with her great voice and decent track record so far, there’s a lot of potential for her to be his last singer standing.
4. Emily Keener
Knockout Round: “Big Yellow Taxi” / defeated Shalyah Fearing
Keener knocked it out of the park in this round, and the fact that Pharrell chose her over an also excellent Fearing means that the judges see potential in her, too. But as I’ve said before, Pharrell’s team is loaded and someone is bound to get the short end of the stick. ‘Girl with guitar’ isn’t as memorable of an image as any of the three singers I’ve placed ahead of her.
5. Lacy Mandigo
Knockout Round: “Zombie” / lost to Katie Basden and stolen by Pharrell
Mandigo is now twice-saved, this time by Pharrell and previously by Blake after Christina chose Alisan Porter. All of this was after being a single-chair turn in the Blind Auditions. Personally I like what Mandigo brings to the show with her classic rock leanings, but it’s hard to imagine she’ll be saved a third time — not by Pharrell and not by votes.
Photo Credit: NBC