Alicia Keys lost her only previous season of “The Voice.” Which of her two remaining artists — Chris Blue and Vanessa Ferguson — do you think could win her the competition this season? Below, a description of what each of these has sung so far this season. Be sure to cast your vote in our poll and then sound off in the comments section.
Top 11: “When a Man Loves a Woman” (May 1)
Blue rocked the house with his version of Percy Sledge‘s 1966 chart-topper “When a Man Loves a Woman.” His powerful performance won him plaudits from all the coaches including Keys who concluded, “When you just came out here, I felt like I was watching Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Nat King Cole, the greats.”
Top 12: “Love and Happiness” (April 24)
Just before the halfway point of the evening, Blue stopped the show with his rollicking version of “Love and Happiness,” a 1972 song for Al Green that became a signature tune for Etta James. Blue was one of the best of the night and guest coach Shania Twain agreed. “You brought everybody from a real cool, collective place and built the room up and exploded.” Likewise, Keys admitted, ““It is just incredible to watch you. You have this uncanny ability to make things electric.
Live Playoff 1: “Love on the Brain” (April 17)
Keys kicked off her sextet by having her strongest male artist sing a song that would have been a big ask for any of the women: Rihanna‘s top five 2016 soul hit “Love on the Brain.” That Blue was able to make this music his own is a testament to his talent. He handled the falsetto with ease and earned praise from Keys, “There is not a soul on this planet that can deny the gift that you are offering here,” before winning the public vote.
Knockout Round: vs. Quizz Swanigan (April 3)
Blue went with “Superstition,” a 1973 No. 1 for singer/songwriter Stevie Wonder. It worked well for him, especially after Keys counseled him to concentrate on conveying the lyrics rather than showboating. Thirteen-year-old Swanigan opted for “Chains” by Nick Jonas, a one-time member of a boy band who released this track when he went solo in 2014. After Keys finally chose to go with Blue, Stefani stole Swanigan as she was impressed when he had combined song and dance so effortlessly.
Battle Round: “Adorn” vs. RJ Collins (March 21)
Singer/songwriter Miguel had a big hit in 2012 with this chart-topping soul song. Blue dominated the duet while Collins struggled to connect with the lyrics. Gwen Stefani left no doubt which artist she preferred, gushing to Blue, “I don’t even know if I was listening to your voice, because I was so mesmerized by your body.” Not surprisingly, Keys picked him. And with no other coach wanting to steal Collins, he left the competition.
Blind Audition: “Tracks of My Tears” (March 14)
When Blue sang, Keys was the only coach still in need of an artist. The Knoxville native, 26, sang the blues with his rendition of “Tracks of My Tears,” the 1965 hit for Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. Even though no other coach was contending for this talent, he is a good fit with Keys.
Top 11: “Diamonds” (May 1)
Just after the halfway point of the evening, Ferguson stopped the show with her version of “Diamonds,” a 2012 No. 1 for Rihanna. She gave one of the best performances of the night and Levine was the first to tell her :”You really stand alone in a lot of ways, because you know yourself.” And Keys concurred, “You have this thing about you; it is so effortless.”
Top 12: “A Song for You” (April 24)
Ferguson found her voice with this stirring rendition of Leon Russell‘s 1970 track “A Song for You.” The tune has been covered by a wide array of artists from crooner Andy Williams to soul singer Ray Charles, who won a Grammy in 1993 for his version. Twain praised her performance, “You really know who you are, and that comes out in your voice and your delivery” as did Keys “you are committing to yourself every time, and it comes off so beautifully.”
Live Playoff 1: “Lean On” (April 17
Ferguson took the 2015 dance hit “Lean On” by Major Lazer & DJ Snake and slowed it right down, turning it into a smooth jazz-themed number. Keys endorsed this risky move, “I love how you are breaking all the rules.” After her coach declared, “I love that you have no limits,” the public followed suit and voted to keep her on the show.
Knockout Round: vs. Jack Cassidy (April 10)
Cassidy was, as the song title says, “Unsteady,” on this 2015 hit for the rockers X Ambassadors. Ferguson delivered an emotional performance of the soul song “If I Were Your Woman,” which had been a big hit for Gladys Knight and the Pips back in 1970. With Keys choosing to take Ferguson to the live shows, Cassidy was done.
Battle Round: “Killing Me Softly with His Song” vs. Autumn Turner (March 27)
Roberta Flack had a huge hit in 1973 with this chart-topping soul song, which won both Record and Song of the Year at the Grammys. In 1997, the Fugees did a cover that won them a Grammy for Best R&B Duo/Group Performance. Ferguson masterfully blended the two versions and got the backing of Keys while Turner struggled to connect with the lyrics. However, Levine and Stefani saw potential in her and she chose to work with the former, becoming the first of his steals.
Blind Audition: “Don’t Let Me Down” (March 13)
This 31-year-old from Greensboro, NC is classically trained and knows her way around a song. She rocked the house with her performance of “Don’t Let Me Down,” the 2016 hit for The Chainsmokers. While Levine took a pass, Ferguson had Keys, Shelton and Stefani fighting for her affections. Shelton tried to make his case that he would not try to countrify her but ,in the end, she went with her idol, Keys.