Blake Shelton has won five of his 11 previous seasons on “The Voice.” We asked you which of his three remaining artists — Lauren Duski, Aliyah Moulden and TSoul — you think could win him the competition this season. Your first choice by far was Duski who got 62% of your vote while Moulden got 33% and TSoul just 5%. Below, a description of what each of this trio has sung so far this season. If you haven’t yet, be sure to cast your vote in our poll and then sound off in the comments section.
Top 11: “Somewhere in My Broken Heart” (May 1)
Singing seventh as she did last week, Duski did herself proud with her version of Billy Dean‘s’ “Somewhere in My Broken Heart.” This 1991 No. 3 country hit was covered by Randy Travis and Duski was equal to both men. Levine enthused, “There is nothing I love more than when someone can get up there and sing a song and make us all feel the way that we feel right now.” And her coach was equally enthusiastic. “You’re special, you are different, your voice sounds classic, but it doesn’t sound like anybody else.”
Top 12: Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good” (April 24)
Duski did herself proud with her version of Don Williams‘ “Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good.” This 1981 No. 1 country hit has been covered by the likes of Anne Murray and Lee Ann Womack and Duski was equal to them. Guest coach Shania Twain agreed, “I think this song was so perfect for you. You have a real true spirit, an honest spirit. This is a song you could have written.” And Shelton said, “All this girl needs is a microphone and a country song, and she lights the place up. I’ve been waiting on somebody like this here.”
Live Playoff 1: “Someone Else’s Star” (April 17)
Saving the best for last, Shelton did well by Duski by having her sing the plaintive “Someone Else’s Star” which had been a country No. 1 for Bryan White in 1995. The singer and song were perfectly matched and Shelton gushed, “You are going to see from that performance a tidal wave of support from country music fans, mark my words.” And he was soon proven right as she won the public vote.
Knockout Round: vs. Andrea Thomas (April 10)
Duski went with “When You Say Nothing At All,” a 1995 country hit for Alison Krauss that Irish singer Ronan Keating turned into a pop hit in 1999 when it was featured in the film “Notting Hill.” It worked well for her, especially after Shelton counseled her to concentrate on conveying the lyrics. Thomas opted for a pop version of “Cry” a 2002 country No. 1 for Faith Hill. After Shelton finally chose to go with Duski, Thomas was hoping for a steal from Keys but it was not to be.
Battle Round: “Better Man” vs. Brennley Brown (March 20)
Duski did an outstanding job conveying the emotional intricacies of this 2016 Little Big Town tune about a break-up while 15-year-old Brown, whose never had a boyfriend, struggled to connect to the lyrics written by Taylor Swift. After Shelton sided with Duski, Levine and Stefani tried to rescue Brown. Stefani won her over in the end by telling her, “There something about your innocence that I would want to work with.”
Blind Audition – “You Were Meant for Me” (February 27)
The unique tone of this country singer from Gaylord, MI will make her stand out. Duski, 25, incorporated pop and soul into her performance of “You Were Meant For Me,” which was Jewel‘s first big hit back in 1996. She was able to convince Levine, Stefani and Shelton to all turn their chairs. After a strong debate between the coaches, Duski went the predictable country route in choosing Shelton as her coach.
Top 11: “Take It Back” (May 1)
Shelton has saddled his teen talent with songs that were written long before she was born, including last week’s sixties classic “Heatwave.” This week, she had to sing the 1993 Reba McEntire track “Take It Back,” which Shelton characterized as “a throwback to that Motown sound.” Moulden handled the tune with style and had Stefani raving, “You are adorable, and very, very talented.” And Shelton said the audience was “becoming invested in you as an artist, because they can literally hear you getting better every week that goes by.”
Top 12: “Heat Wave” (April 24)
There was little logic to 15-year-old Moulden performing the 1963 No. 1 “Heat Wave,” the first hit for Motown group Martha & The Vandellas. She brought little of herself to the song but Twain praised her performance — ““You come out and command the stage. You have such poise” — as did Shelton who enthused, “You are becoming a performer in front of America’s eyes. It’s so exciting.”
Live Playoff 1: “Mercy” (April 17)
Moulden made merry with “Mercy,” a 2008 Grammy-nominated hit for Welsh songstress Duffy. The tune was a good choice for this 15-year-old with a grown-up voice. Indeed, Shelton observed, “that’s the best I’ve seen you sing so far on this show.” And the public agreed, putting her through to the top 12.
Knockout Round: vs. Caroline Sky (April 10)
Moulden connected with the crowd with her rendition of Carrie Underwood‘s Grammy-winning”Before He Cheats.” With the guidance of her coach, she gave this 2005 country tune an edge. Sky tried her best with “At Last,” the 1941 big band tune that Etta James made her own in 1960. Even though did a decent job, her coach opted for Moulden, who had been with his team from the blind auditions.
Battle Round: “Walking on Sunshine” vs. Dawson Coyle (March 21)
Inexplicably, Shelton chose to showcase his two teen talents with a song that was a hit way back in 1985 for the new wave band Katrina and the Waves. After being denied three full performances in a row, we saw Moulden and Coyle having fun with this dance tune. Shelton opted to keep Moulden, who sounded stronger in the choruses, while Keys opted to use her second and final steal on Coyle.
Blind Audition – “Hound Dog” (February 28)
Though she’s only 15, this powerhouse from La Habra, CA has a lot of experience under her belt already. Moulden showcased her voice with a take on the 1956 Elvis Presley hit “Hound Dog” and convinced Shelton to turn quickly. The only surprise was that it took so long for Keys and Stefani to join him.
Top 11: “Lay Me Down” (May 1)
TSoul delivered a stripped-down version of “Lay Me Down,” the 2013 signature tune for English singer/songwriter Sam Smith. He mesmerized with his soulful rendition. Keys observed, “it is not easy to do crunches and sing, so your gymnastic game while singing is really mind-bending” while Shelton concluded, “You always get lost in the moment, but you just let your voice go. You didn’t hold anything back.”
Top 12: “Always on My Mind” (April 24)
TSoul tackled “Always on My Mind,” the 1972 country tune that has been covered more than 300 times including, most memorably by Willie Nelson in a 1982 Grammy-winning version. The song and singer were an odd pairing but Twain was upbeat about the performance, “You really do put your soul into what you sing.” as was Shelton who observed, ““I have never seen anybody that gets lost in their performances like you do.”
Live Playoff 1: “Knock on Wood” (April 17)
TSoul had the joint rocking with “Knock on Wood,” a No. 1 hit for soul singer Eddie Floyd back in 1966. TSoul made the music come alive and updated the signature sound of the song. Shelton was impressed with his rendition, noting, “That was so much fun. That is what performing is supposed to be all about.” After the public passed on him, Shelton threw TSoul a lifeline and chose him from the four eliminated artists to continue on in the show.
Knockout Round: vs. Enid Ortiz (April 4)
Ortiz had gotten Shelton to turn for her in the blind audition with “All I Ask,” a track off of Adele‘s Grammy-winning album “25.” She returned to that disc in this round and went with the No. 1 tune “When We Were Young.” While she delivered an emotional rendition of this ballad, TSoul stole the show with his powerhouse performance of the 1962 Otis Redding classic soul song, “These Arms of Mine.” With Shelton choosing to take TSoul to the live shows, Ortiz needed Keys to thrown her a lifeline but it was not to be.
Battle Round: “In the Midnight Hour” vs. Josh Hoyer (March 27)
Shelton pitted two of his strongest artists against each other on this 1965 hit for Wilson Pickett. Not surprisingly, TSoul connected with this similarly styled song as that of his blind audition and was Shelton’s pick. Although Stefani praised Hoyer neither she nor Levine used one of their steals on him.
Blind Audition: “Take Me to the River” (March 13)
This Richmond, VA native made Al Green‘s 1974 hit “Take Me to the River” sound like a contemporary tune with his unique song stylings. The 29-year-old went with Shelton over Adam Levine as he liked his endorsement of his sound.