Over the past two weeks of battle rounds on “The Voice,” coach Gwen Stefani has proven she is in it to win it as they move into the knockouts next week. After successfully recruiting some serious talent in the blind auditions, Gwen was able to call on legendary singer Celine Dion to provide tips as her guest advisor during the battles. Now Team Gwen is down to eight contestants who will compete to win four spots in the live playoffs. Gwen will also have one steal to save a singer from another team she wants for her own. Who is in the best position to be Season 12 champion for Team Gwen?
My power rankings for all eight members of Team Gwen are below:
1. Johnny Gates (Audition – “Maggie May”; Battle – “I Drove All Night”)
As someone who has seen every season of this show, I can say Johnny just has that swagger about him that looks like a winner. From the moment he took the stage during his blind audition, I knew that the women would love him and he would attract fans of both pop and rock music. It doesn’t hurt that he is a heck of a vocalist with proven depth and range. Gwen would be a fool to give him up and I believe he is currently her best bet to earn the first victory for Team Gwen.
2. JChosen (Audition – “Sexual Healing”; Battle – “I Was Made to Love Her”)
The most important reason JChosen will be safe moving forward on Team Gwen is simple: he’s the best singer on her team. In a rare season where male R&B singers are represented on every team, JChosen will perhaps have the broadest appeal. His style is traditional, he’s mature, he’s good looking and will appeal to all ages. It would be a shock to see him leaving the competition any time soon.
3. Stephanie Rice (Audition – “Piece by Piece”; Battle – “The First Cut is the Deepest”)
This soulful rocker has a unique voice, and each time she sings I wish there was more time to hear more. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of her yet, but Gwen seems to have a lot of faith in her abilities. Stephanie is not afraid to put all of her emotions into a song and audiences eat up a dramatic performance. There’s no reason she shouldn’t sail into the live playoffs.
4. Brennley Brown (Audition – “Stupid Boy”; Battle – “Better Man”)
An original member of Team Blake Shelton, Gwen stole Brennley after she lost her battle to Lauren Duski. While I don’t think she has what it takes to make it to the end of this competition, she does have a couple of things going for her on Team Gwen. First of all, she’s the only country singer. If Gwen wants diversity on her team, Brennley is her only choice within that genre. Secondly, she’s only 14 years old. Gwen always talks about wanting a young girl on her team, and of the two teenagers on Team Gwen, she’s the better singer.
5. Troy Ramey (Audition – “Wild World”; Battle – “Angel Eyes”)
Troy is a solid singer, who has yet to give a bad performance, but he lacks the star quality it takes to win “The Voice.” His personality fails to come through during performances. If he can somehow manage to make it to the live playoffs, viewers at home could very well save him for a couple weeks. But I don’t think the judges see Troy as a threat to win.
6. Brandon Royal (Audition – “Master Blaster”; Battle – “In the Night”)
Brandon has performed two uptempo numbers so far this season and I’d like to hear him take on a ballad. I’m not sure we’ve heard everything he’s capable of and he might just blow a better song out of the water. Because I think JChosen will edge him out on Team Gwen, I’m not confident she will keep him around. But keep an eye on him earning a potential steal from Blake, who has been eyeing him all season.
7. Hunter Plake (Audition – “Carry On”; Battle – “Dancing on My Own”)
Hunter was originally a member of Team Alicia Keys, where he lost his battle round to Jack Cassidy. With a contemporary pop-rock voice, Hunter seems ready to hit the radio today. He holds a unique stage presence when he performs and his voice is unique. I’m skeptical Gwen will keep him around, but wouldn’t be surprised if he gets stolen for a second time in the knockout rounds.
8. Aaliyah Rose (Audition – “Rise Up”; Battle – “Treat You Better”)
Aaliyah is an energetic teenager who already has her own sense of style, but she does not have the vocal maturity to make it on this series. Although her audition was good and she squeaked by in the battles, I think her time is drawing to an end. Had she waited a couple more years, she probably could have been a contender – but she’s just not ready to be a serious threat right now.