Last season Alicia Keys joined “The Voice” as a coach, the year after Christina Aguilera became the first female coach to win. Next week on April 17 and April 18, Alicia will help decide which three of her five remaining artists will continue on for a chance to become the second artist in “Voice” history to be coached by a woman. Alicia’s five artists are proudly unique and diverse, led by Chris Blue who was the last artist to perform in blind auditions and who Blake Shelton has repeatedly lamented having not had the chance to acquire him for his own team.
Below are my power rankings of the five Team Alicia artists with the top three serving as my best guess as the ones to move on to the Top 12. Who do you think will advance? Sound off in the comments and be sure to make your Top 20 predictions below!
1. Chris Blue
Audition – “The Tracks of My Tears”
Battle – “Adorn”
Knockout – “Superstition”
There isn’t much to say about Chris that Blake hasn’t already said. Seriously, Blake won’t stop talking about how upset he is that Alicia was the only one that had a chance to turn her chair for him during the blinds. But even if Chris was a four-chair turn (he certainly deserved to be), the pairing between him and Alicia was destined and has already proved the best path for him to win. His vocal talent is so heavily stylized that as soon as he hits his first note you remember everything he’s already done the show and feel compelled to go back and watch them again. Chris is the closest thing this season has to a frontrunner and I’d be shocked if he isn’t the first Team Alicia artist advancing to the Top 12 on audience vote.
2. Ashley Levin
Audition – “Let Him Fly”
Battle – “How Blue”
Knockout – “Fancy”
By “The Voice” standards, Ashley isn’t that unique of an artist — young female country stars are a dime a dozen here, but as a member of an eclectic Team Alicia, she feels fresh and exciting in a way I don’t think she would on, say, Blake’s team. I like that Ashley takes on some of country’s bolder songs and still manages to let her voice be the star. I think the pairing of Alicia with a country artist has the potential to create something unexpected and Ashley is just the artist to make it happen.
3. Stephanie Rice
Audition – “Piece by Piece”
Battle – “The First Cut Is the Deepest”
Knockout – “Safe & Sound”
Before the knockouts, Stephanie was already one of the most memorable contestants in the competition, but after a gorgeous performance of “Safe & Sound” I feel like she reached a whole new level. That she lost that round boggles my mind because her rendition was so, so, so perfect (but to be fair she was up against stiff competition). I expect Stephanie to make it through to the Top 12 on the strength of her uniqueness in the competition, but how much farther after that she can go is something I’m much less certain of.
4. Anatalia Villaranda
Audition – “Runaway Baby”
Battle – “Tightrope”
Knockout – “Two Black Cadillacs”
Of all the artists on the show I think Anatalia has made the best effort to show her ability to defy genre expectations. In her three performances she’s covered Bruno Mars, Janelle Monae and Carrie Underwood. Her ability to showcase different parts of her voice in each performance while appealing to a different niche audience is definitely an asset heading into the live shows. My concern with Anatalia is that without a distinguishable point of view as an artist she’ll fall just short of what is needed to advance any further.
5. Vanessa Ferguson
Audition – “Don’t Let Me Down”
Battle – “Killing Me Softly with His Song”
Knockout – “If I Were Your Woman”
Vanessa is an interesting artist because she plays with the structure and melody of songs in a way that not many other “Voice” artists dare to. Unfortunately, I don’t think she’s taking the kind of risks that pay off with the audience of this particular show. Her knockout round performance, while creative, wasn’t the best vocally and so I don’t have much confidence that she can beat out the other artists on her team to get a spot in the Top 12.
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