As we approach the Season 13 finale of “The Voice” on December 19, coach Blake Shelton is the odds-on favorite to capture a record-extending sixth championship. Most viewers may believe his pop-rock phenom, Chloe Kohanski, will walk away with the title but Blake has an insurance policy by the name of Red Marlow that could shake up the entire competition. Red is the only country artist and the sole male vocalist remaining. Considering eight of the past winners were men and three former champs were country singers, it would be foolish to completely disregard this Nashville purist as a potential threat.
Red made a modest entrance to “The Voice” stage with a formidable, but forgettable blind audition of “Swingin'” that inspired just Blake and coach Miley Cyrus to turn their chairs. Blake was an instant fan of his traditional country sound and over the next two rounds the veteran coach ousted far more marketable singers to keep Red around. In the Battles it was a country heartthrob named Ryan Scripps that fell short to Red’s superior vocals on “Fishin’ In the Dark.” Red then coasted through the Knockouts when his performance of “Outskirts of Heaven” overshadowed 20-year old Megan Rose. Following the Live Playoffs, Blake solidified his commitment to Red by selecting him as one of his final three artists.
Red didn’t really become a noticeable presence on Season 13 until the live rounds began and viewers rewarded his smooth, pure vocals along with his unique and funny personality. His breakout performance came during the Top 11 when his cover of Garth Brooks’ “The Dance” skyrocketed to the top 10 on iTunes. That made him one of only three artists at the time, along with Chloe and Team Adam Levine’s Addison Agen, to crack the top 10. He achieved that feat again when his semi-final performance of “Go Rest High on That Mountain” peaked at number five.
Despite a top five chart performance in the semi-finals, Red had to fight his way into the finale by taking on Team Jennifer Hudson‘s Noah Mac and Team Adam’s Adam Cunningham for the final instant save of the season. Taking a laid back approach, Red sang “Dixieland Delight” and charmed his way into the final four by narrowly winning the instant save with roughly 37% of the votes. Now, as a finalist, Red may appear to be the obvious underdog. But it could be possible that a lone male country artist could end up stealing the title away from three female pop singers splitting a similar fan base. If we have learned anything this season it should be to never underestimate Red or the voting power of country music fans!
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