Eleven artists took the stage on Monday night’s episode of “The Voice,” so which singer rose to the top this week and who faltered? Coaches Blake Shelton, Alicia Keys and Adam Levine each have three contestants remaining in the competition while Gwen Stefani is down to just two. Viewers at home will have until noon on Tuesday (ET) to vote for their favorite before one is eliminated during the live results show that evening. Below are my rankings for Monday night’s powerful showdowns, from top to bottom, beginning with the best of the night from Team Alicia. Let us know if you agree or disagree in the comments section. And be sure to make your predictions of who will be eliminated from Season 12 next (see rules below).
1. Chris Blue (Team Alicia) – “When a Man Loves a Woman”
On this series called “The Voice” it is refreshing when an artist comes along that truly has the vocal capacity to deliver mind-blowing performance week in and week out based purely on their voice. It shouldn’t go unnoticed how rare it is to hear a singer like this in modern popular music and it’s a shame. The body and soul Chris put into this performance of a Percy Sledge classic was spine-tingling. He is the best singer in the competition and possesses something truly special. That doesn’t always translate into the best performance on a given night, but on this one, it did.
2 . Brennley Brown (Team Gwen) – “River”
The youngest artist in the competition certainly doesn’t seem fazed as she continues to grow each week into a serious frontrunner. This soft-spoken Joni Mitchell cover was a welcome diversion from her typical country tunes but was just as effective. I’m more impressed with this young singer each time she takes the stage and wouldn’t be at all surprised if she takes the crown at the end.
3. Lauren Duski (Team Blake) – “Somewhere In My Broken Heart”
I can’t stress enough that the tone of Lauren’s voice is what has always differentiated her from other contestants. The natural warmth and richness when she sings is something that can’t be learned, it just exists within her. This beautiful song was the perfect choice to put her talent on full display and put her right back in position as one of the artists to beat. I suspect iTunes sales will be Lauren’s friend this week.
4. Lilli Passero (Team Adam) – “Town Without Pity”
After struggling through last week’s performance due to illness, Lilli was back with a jazzy tour de force and singing in the style viewers first came to know her for. The sultry songstress glided across the stage like a sexy vixen from a James Bond film and used her intense gaze to draw fans deeper into her performance. If Lilli was looking to re-establish herself as a contender in this competition she did just that.
5. Vanessa Ferguson (Team Alicia) – “Diamonds”
It was fun to hear Vanessa sing a contemporary pop hit and put her gritty, alternative spin on it. She always comes out in some cool pant suit and, if I’m being honest, part of what I look forward to most with her is what she’s wearing each week. This performance seemed easy, but at the same time she displayed more star quality than we may have seen from her in the past. I still feel like she could come out of her shell just a little bit more on stage.
6. Hunter Plake (Team Gwen) – “All I Want”
Hunter has the folk-rocker style down to a science and once again he delivered a believable, heartfelt ballad. I was particularly impressed with his upper register and vocal control he displayed throughout this performance. My only criticism is that his personal arrangements and style have a tendency to make many of his performances sound the same. Although this was good, it felt like we have already seen him do this before.
7. Stephanie Rice (Team Alicia) – “Behind Blue Eyes”
After weeks of emotional, heart-wrenching and pain-inspired performances Stephanie was determined to finally rock out and have some fun. But this wasn’t fun enough. Vocally, as usual, she was spot on and I love her unique presence. But if she wanted to show another side of herself I would have preferred to have seen her do a full up-tempo number instead this half-baked performance.
8. Mark Isaiah (Team Adam) – “How to Love”
There is no question Mark will never be considered the best vocalist of this season, but it’s hard to deny the kid has some serious charisma. Simplifying his performance by staying seated on a chair for the first half before slowly perusing the stage, Mark gave his most entertaining performance to date. Not because he has the best voice or the most theatrics, but simply because he is genuine and looks like a star.
9. TSoul (Team Blake) – “Lay Me Down”
This soulful song was the perfect choice for the R&B singer who gave his best performance of the season. Starting at the piano, TSoul was able to relax and sing the lyrics with meaning and depth. As he began working the stage, some of his antics, which included literally lying down on the stage, seemed to veer his vocals off a bit but overall this was still TSoul at his best.
10. Aliyah Moulden (Team Blake) – “Take It Back”
For the second week in a row Blake failed Aliyah by choosing a bad song. He continues to push a “throwback” vibe on her while I think she could use some more contemporary material. This typically fierce, spitfire of a singer appeared disinterested throughout the performance and likely failed to resonate with as many viewers as she could have with a better song choice.
11. Jesse Larson (Team Adam) – “Human”
Jesse has made a name for himself this season by belting out bluesy songs with conviction and grit. This rock performance was his edgiest to date and a big step in the wrong direction. His voice failed to resonate on the verses and I found it distracting. The coaches really seemed sold on this performance, but I felt nothing.
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