After last week’s grueling elimination on “The Voice” which saw a whopping 12 artists sent home, it’s nice to say goodbye to only one this week. Unfortunately, that person on Tuesday night was Emily Keener from the Pharrell Williams team. Owen Danoff from Team Adam Levine defeated her in the “instant save” finale to this week’s show.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 11 of the top 12 performances were in the top 100 on the iTunes sales chart. Adam Wakefield (under coach Blake Shelton) and Alisan Porter (working with Christina Aguilera) were both within the top 10, earning each the iTunes bonus, a 10x multiplication of the iTunes portion of their vote. Not surprisingly, both easily advanced to the top 11.
Porter continues to lead Team Christina, which many believed at one point to be the best group of singers. This week her teammates, Nick Hagelin and Bryan Bautista, both advance after giving middle-of-the-road performances, but I can’t help but wonder if maybe Porter is now Christina’s only shot at a winner. On the flip side, Team Adam looks stronger now than it did a few weeks ago, with all three of his singers cracking the top 50 on iTunes (the only whole team to do so).
One of my favorite groups early on was Team Pharrell, and though I can’t say any of them looks like a winner yet, each continues to grow as a performer which could mean their best moments are yet to happen. Team Blake, however, may be struggling to find the right groove; despite Wakefield scoring the best chart position of the entire group, his teammates Mary Sarah and Paxton Ingram are bringing up the rear as the lowest charting singles of the week.
In compiling this week’s power rankings of the top 11, I’ve taken both iTunes charting and the strength of past performances into account. While I think it’s clear who the frontrunners for the win are, there’s a lot of wiggle room in the middle and at the bottom. Here are my rankings from best to worst:
1. Alisan Porter (Team Christina)
Like my fellow writer Denton Davidson said last week, there’s no denying that Porter is the frontrunner, once again receiving the strongest remarks from all four coaches. In one of the most telling comments, Levine said that each season there’s one artist that rises above the rest as the perfect example of what the show is about, and that this season that artist is Porter. I agree and iTunes sales suggest the voting audience does, too.
2. Adam Wakefield (Team Blake)
While far from my personal favorite, it’s hard to argue that Wakefield isn’t hot on Porter’s tail for frontrunner status. If the strength of his iTunes sales isn’t enough, there’s also the general sense that he appeals to the core demographic of an audience that has produced multiple Blake-coached, country-singing finalists in past seasons.
3. Hannah Huston (Team Pharrell)
Huston’s performance of “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” this week absolutely shook me. I had a lot of faith in her before, but now I’m solidly in her corner. I think she’s one of the most reliable singers in the competition and will continue to surprise with her soulful understated style.
4. Shalyah Fearing (Team Adam)
Without a doubt the best dark horse bet, Fearing continues to impress with her mature performances of songs with huge degrees of difficulty. She’s young and has a lot of growth ahead of her, but that’s also what makes rooting for her so exciting.
5. Daniel Passino (Team Pharrell)
After being brought back to join the live rounds, Passino could have easily faded into the background. But he’s been voted through by the audience twice in a row now, and as Pharrell pointed out on Monday night, he seems to have found new confidence that is making his performances better.
6. Laith Al-Saadi (Team Adam)
If Wakefield wasn’t in the competition, I think Al-Saadi would be soaking up all the love that viewers have for the dependable classic rock, slightly country singer. He has the talent and interesting look/personality that in any other season could make him a winner. Here he’s safely in the middle for now.
7. Nick Hagelin (Team Christina)
For me, Hagelin is not as good as his teammates or the singers on other teams, but his personal story and his charming good looks help make him more appealing to viewers. He performed decently on the iTunes chart and has been voted through twice now so there’s definitely a chance he can make it through a few more weeks.
8. Paxton Ingram (Team Blake)
Somehow even with the lowest chart position, Ingram still managed to make it through after the votes were tabulated. I think what’s working in Ingram’s favor is the unusual pairing of him and Blake, which is a relationship viewers may want to see more.
9. Bryan Bautista (Team Christina)
Bautista was called safe pretty early into this week’s episode which could suggest that he was one of the highest scorers. I don’t feel though like he can win, even if he lasts a few more weeks and gives a really great performance next week. The other guys in the competition are just more interesting as performers.
10. Mary Sarah (Team Blake)
For whatever reason, Mary Sarah doesn’t seem to be connecting with an audience that only last year voted a similar singer from Team Blake to 2nd place. I think she’s simply being outshined by her teammates. Any loyalty to Blake is being spent on them instead of her.
11. Owen Danoff (Team Adam)
Honestly, Adam’s heartfelt pleas to save Danoff can and should only go so far and I can’t help but suggest that he should not have been saved this week considering it sacrificed Keener. Adam had to personally save him last week, and the public needed to do the same on Tuesday. Up against anyone else for the save next week, Danoff definitely goes home.