The live playoffs concluded on “The Voice” this week, so now the Top 12 artists are set to face off on April 24 and 25 to advance towards becoming the Season 12 champion of the NBC series. Coaches Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton and Alicia Keys each have three singers remaining who will take the stage on Monday to compete for votes from viewers at home.
It took 10 seasons before a female coach led a singer to victory, when Christina Aguilera and her artist Alisan Porter came out on top last spring. Just two seasons later either Gwen or Alicia look poised to be the next to take the crown. But never underestimate the shrewd competitive spirit of five-time champ Blake and three-time winner Adam. Who has the best chance to claim the championship this time. Below are my current power rankings for the dozen artists remaining in the competition. And here are our rankings from the first live playoff round this past week for Team Adam, Team Alicia, Team Blake, and Team Gwen.
1. Hunter Plake (Team Gwen)
Hunter made ‘Voice’ history when he had two songs crack the top 30 on iTunes before the live shows even started. With that unprecedented start there is no question that he has connected to viewers at home and earned his spot as the early frontrunner of Season 12. There isn’t another artist who fits more perfectly into the current landscape of pop music. Hunter’s strong suit is his ability to pour his emotions into each performance and connect with each song he sings. Look for Hunter to be your Season 12 champion of “The Voice.”
2. Chris Blue (Team Alicia)
The most exciting performer of the season is this R&B singer who seems to have a limitless vocal range and treats the stage like his personal playground. His dancing is completely unhinged and he literally throws his entire body into every soulful performance. If Chris continues to choose the right songs that appeal to a wide demographic of voters he can absolutely be the first champ from Team Alicia.
3. Lauren Duski (Team Blake)
It is never wise to count out Blake, who has mentored more winners than any other coach. His biggest star this season is Lauren, the pop-leaning country singer who wins over viewers with her simple melodies and warm tone. There is something naturally likable about this songstress and she proved she is a threat by being the highest-charting artist on iTunes from Monday night’s playoffs. She may not be the current frontrunner, but if anyone can pull off an upset it will be Team Blake led by Lauren.
4. Brennley Brown (Team Gwen)
At just 14 years old, Brennley is the youngest artist remaining in the competition. Young viewers at home will relate to her and likely vote for her in droves. It doesn’t hurt that she’s one of only two country singers in the top 12, a genre that traditionally fares well on this series. If she continues to improve as quickly as she has over the last few weeks, Brennley could be a dark horse to win it all.
5. Jesse Larson (Team Adam)
This husky-voiced blues singer has a versatile voice that can tackle any genre. He’s also a beast on the guitar and viewers at home will respond to an artist who shows such diverse musical abilities. While Team Adam may appear weaker than previous seasons, Jesse, who Adam calls “white Cee-Lo,” is the best hope for the Maroon 5 front man to win his fourth title as a coach.
6. Stephanie Rice (Team Alicia)
Perhaps no one this season has grown on me more quickly than this singer-songwriter who has a knack for turning pain into a beautiful melody. Stephanie’s voice reminds me of an era when Annie Lennox and Melissa Etheridge scored chart-topping hits and we are missing women like this in popular music today. If she continues to impress viewers at home as much as she has me, Stephanie should be safe for weeks to come.
7. Lilli Passero (Team Adam)
This throwback pop singer has impressed viewers this season by covering hits by the likes of Carole King and Amy Winehouse. With no exaggerated runs or stretched out notes, Lilli has a unique voice within the competition. Her performances stand out and being memorable counts for a lot when trying to win over voters. There is no reason to think Lilli will go home anytime soon.
8. Mark Isaiah (Team Adam)
Each season tends to have the “heartthrob” and that is exactly the role Mark is playing now. He hasn’t proven to be a great singer to this point, but his longevity in the competition is totally unpredictable. There is no telling how many frontrunners this guy will take down when it comes down to twitter-saves during live eliminations to come. He can’t possibly win, but don’t be surprised if he takes out some of your favorites before he’s gone.
9. Troy Ramey (Team Gwen)
Troy is a run-of-the-mill rock singer who has somehow captivated all of the coaches, but I just don’t get it. His voice is good, but he lacks charisma and range. What will save him for a few weeks is that he is an everyday-kind-of guy who sings safe songs that nobody will hate. But if he can’t pull out something spectacular soon his weeks will be numbered.
10. Aliyah Moulden (Team Blake)
This likable teenager is an absolute firecracker on stage and that is no doubt fun to watch. She proved she can win over viewers by being voted through to the top 12, but I’m not sure how long she can last now that the competition is really heating up. Aliyah has some serious pipes on her, but hasn’t quite connected with a song thus far. Her youth and fun attitude on stage should save her for at least a couple weeks though.
11. Vanessa Ferguson (Team Alicia)
It’s easy to draw comparisons to Vanessa and her coach, Alicia, both vocally and the fact that she’s comfortable behind a keyboard. She has an earthy tone and makes interesting song choices, but has yet to have a “wow” moment. I’m not convinced she has done anything memorable enough to inspire viewers to vote her through. If she doesn’t make a major statement next week I expect her to be in danger of going home.
12. TSoul (Team Blake)
This soulful gospel singer connects with old-school R&B music and is anything but shy on stage. There can be a direct comparison to Blue, from Team Alicia, and I believe that will be TSoul’s downfall. He has a similar style to Blue but an inferior voice and less charisma. While Blake has carried R&B singers deep into the competition before, I believe this relationship will be short-lived.
Gold Derby readers just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it’s important that you give us your predictions. You can continue to update and change your forecasts throughout the week, just click “Save” when you’ve settled on your choices. You’ll compete to win a $100 Amazon gift card, bragging rights and a place of honor on our leaderboard. Be sure to read our contest rules and sound off on the season of “The Voice” in our reality TV forum.