Brendan Fletcher just made Season 11 of “The Voice” nearly impossible to predict. In what is turning out to be the most competitive season in the history of the series, Fletcher came storming out of the gate to deliver Monday night’s best performance. He tops our power rankings for this episode and increases his coach Adam Levine’s odds of winning a fourth championship even higher.
But how did the rest of Team Adam fair against tough competition from the teams of Blake Shelton, Alicia Keys and Miley Cyrus? Here is how I rank the top 11 contestants on Monday’s performances alone (not for the overall season). Be sure to vote in our predictions center before Tuesday’s results show as to who will be eliminated this week and who will be champion for this season.
1. Brendan Fletcher (Team Adam) – “The River”
Fletcher took on a Bruce Springsteen classic this week and absolutely knocked it out of the park. There is something so special about his voice; it is unlike anything in popular music today. His ability to emote through his smoky, limited range is fascinating to watch and even better to listen to. With this performance, he has come even further out of his shell and everyone should take notice. Brendan Fletcher can absolutely win this season!
2. Sundance Head (Team Blake) – “No One”
For the second time this season Head took on a hit song from one of Blake’s rival coaches, this time Alicia Keys (earlier this season he performed Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb”). With relative ease he injected a country twang into the soul song, not only making it his own but sounding genuine in his delivery. The performance earned a standing ovation from all four coaches, so if viewers at home have the same reaction, Head will have no problem advancing to the top 10.
3. Aaron Gibson (Team Miley) – “Hurt”
After narrowly escaping elimination last week by winning the instant save, Gibson needed a big performance to pull him out of the bottom. What he ended up delivering was his best performance to date. His voice is so unique that when he is belting the big notes, it basically sounds like screaming yet is still pleasant to the ear. The emotion this generally reserved performer was able to put into this song just bought him another week of safety.
4. We` McDonald (Team Alicia) – “Love On the Brain”
Closing out the show with a powerful performance of a recent Rihanna hit, McDonald kept the pedal to the medal from start to finish and was laid out on stage by the end. Wearing a hot pink suit, the teenager proved once again that she is a major force to be reckoned with. She has no insecurities about leaving it all on the stage, and that’s why she had one of the night’s best performances, yet again. But although I enjoyed this particular song choice, McDonald does need to be careful what she sings. I’m not convinced contemporary pop/r&b is where her strength lies.
5. Darby Walker (Team Miley) – “You Don’t Own Me”
Covered in glitter, a rainbow jacket and bedazzled from head to toe, Walker took the stage like the free-spirited hippie we’ve come to know her as. Belting out a 1960’s ballad, Walker utilized her unique tone that at times sounds a bit “screamy,” but then turned down the volume with what is actually a gorgeous head voice she possesses. I would be lying if I said I didn’t strangely look forward to her performances each week after originally rolling my eyes at her very presence. Some might scoff my ranking her this high but ask yourself, whose performance are you going to remember three weeks from now?
6. Austin Allsup (Team Blake) – “Turn the Page”
Allsup was a little darker and bit more edgy on this song and the grit in his voice made every second believable. He has a unique place in this competition and it serves him well. One category the country-rocker never falls short in is stage presence, and once again he drew the crowd in like a magnet. With his ability to appeal to both rock and country fan bases, I can’t imagine Allsup going anywhere this week after that performance.
7. Billy Gilman (Team Adam) – “All I Ask”
Taking on an Adele song is never an easy task, but Gilman is usually up for the challenge when it comes to difficult songs to sing. The advantage he has over other contestants in the competition to this point is not only his solid range as a vocalist, but more importantly smart song choices that connect to the audience and inspire people to vote. This wasn’t a perfect performance nor was it Gilman’s best vocal, but it was good enough to get the job done.
8. Ali Caldwell (Team Miley) – “9 to 5”
When I saw Caldwell’s song selection my immediate reaction was concern for her safety this week. We’ve seen instances like this where singers go way outside of their typical genre, and more times than not it becomes a total train wreck. But Caldwell surprised me, and my imaginary crash-and-burn scenario never happened. It speaks to her talent that she was able to pull this off, with a fun performance and solid vocals throughout. I don’t think she gained a lot of new fans or that she will be blowing up the iTunes sales chart (which is Miley’s fault for pushing her into this song), but she avoided a disaster and that’s a slight win for her.
9. Josh Gallagher (Team Adam) – “Drunk On Your Love”
Gallagher decided to have a little fun this week, taking on a more upbeat song. The vocals weren’t particularly challenging and I don’t think this is a performance viewers will remember in the future. And although this wasn’t a great moment for him, he’s such a star that I think he can afford a mediocre performance at this stage of the competition without being in jeopardy of elimination.
10. Christian Cuevas (Team Alicia) – “Rosanna”
After prior success this season with syrupy ballads, Cuevas decided to go a different route this week with a fun 80’s dance hit. Although it was nice to see a new side of the pop singer, it didn’t have nearly the same impact. The performance felt like one you would see in a karaoke lounge, and he was left screaming out the final lines of the song. This was a terrible song choice from the typically consistent singer.
11. Courtney Harrell (Team Blake) – “What I Did For Love”
There is something so incredibly likable about Harrell it is difficult not to root for her in this competition. But it pains me to say I feel like I watched an entirely different performance than Blake, Alicia, and Miley who were all on their feet at the end of her song. To me it sounded like she was never on key and the only note that even sounded remotely pleasant was the last one she sang. Perhaps it sounds different in the studio or maybe she couldn’t hear herself, but this was a complete disaster for Harrell and she needs to start practicing her instant save performance immediately.
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