‘The Voice’: Jesse Larson is best singer on Team Adam Levine in Top 11, say 44% of readers

Adam Levine has won three of his 11 previous seasons on “The Voice.”  We asked you which of his three remaining artists — Mark Isaiah, Jesse Larson and Lilli Passero — could win him the competition this season. Your first choice was Larson who got 44% of your vote, followed by Isaiah at 33% and Passero with 23%.

Below, a description of what each of this trio did to get his attention. If you haven’t voted in our poll yet, be sure to do so at the bottom of this post and also sound off in the comments section.

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Mark Isaiah
Blind Audition – “Mercy” (February 27)
Despite being only 19, this pop singer from Mt Pocono, PA showed off his vocal control with his rendition of the Shawn Mendes 2016 hit “Mercy.” While Levine and Stefani both wanted to mentor him, Isaiah opted for the former, who spoke glowingly of his radio-friendly voice.

Battle Round: “Pillowtalk” vs. Gaby Borromeo (March 20)
While Borromeo had once been signed to Legend’s label, that didn’t give her the edge when faced with singing this Zayn Malik ballad, which hit No. 1 last year. Rather, Isaiah, who has the look of a teen idol as Malik once did as part of boy band One Direction, was the clear winner. And with none of the other coaches wanting to use a steal, Borromeo exited.

Knockout Round: vs. Malik Davage (April 10)
Davage had a good time with “Rock With You,” which had been a hit for his idol, Michael Jackson, back in 1979. Levine had warned him to make sure that we could hear every word of the lyrics and he tried hard to deliver on his promise to do so. Isaiah went with “Love Yourself,” a 2015 No. 1 for Justin Bieber. Under the guidance of his coach, Isaiah worked on structuring the tune so that it built to a climax and on the night, he wowed all the coaches with his powerhouse performance.

Live Playoff 2: “All Time Low” (April 18)
Isaish tried his best with”All Time Low,” the 2016 hit that launched singer/songwriter Jon Bellion but he was in over his head. Levine realized this and pleaded with viewers to “please vote for him, because I will do good.” When the public didn’t come through with the votes needed, Levine chose to bring him through to the next round.

Top 12: “One Dance” (April 24)
The 2016 Drake dance hit “One Dance” should have been a perfect fit for Isaiah but this teen talent struggled with it. He didn’t have the confidence to do much dancing and the few moves he attempted took away from his singing. He did a boost from guest coach Shania Twain who declared, “You present yourself with dynamics. You move at the right times. You have a really good sense of where you are in the song, and it is just really nice to see you come to life here on this stage.” And Levine lavished him with praise too: “He just came out here and acted like he was just visiting ‘The Voice’ and doing a performance and he has a record coming out.”

POLL: Who is the greatest ‘The Voice’ champion of all time?

Jesse Larson
Blind Audition: “Jealous Guy” (February 28)
Levine was the only coach who liked Larson’s version of the 1971 John Lennon classic “Jealous Guy.” This Minneapolis native, 34, is a lifelong music fan who builds his own guitars and fronts a garage band. While his looks are similar to those of last year’s winner, Sundance Head, his sound is uniquely his own.

Battle Audition: “Shameless” vs. Taylor Alexander (March 28)
Garth Brooks had a huge hit in 1991 with this chart-topping song, which Billy Joel had written and recorded two years earlier for his album “Storm Front.” While the countrified tune was more in Alexander’s wheelhouse, it was Larson that dominated the duet. Keys was effusive in her praise of the latter, “I think that your voice has such a unique style to it,” as was Stefani who gushed, ” you can do anything with your voice.”

Knockout Round: vs. Davina Leone (April 10)
Larson rocked the house with “The Letter,” a 1967 No. 1 for The Box Tops that Joe Cocker covered in 1970. His singing was matched by his guitar playing. As Leone got her start as a YouTube star with her covers of Britney Spears tunes it made sense for this teen singing sensation to pick Spears’ 2004 top 10 hit “Toxic” as her knockout song. After Levine went Larson, she needed Keys to steal her but that didn’t happen.

Live Playoff 2: “Sir Duke” (April 18)
Larson took a risk by tackling “Sir Duke” Stevie Wonder‘s 1976 tribute to bandleader Duke Ellington. Choosing to accompany himself on guitar, Larson delivered a raw version of this classic that won praise from Levine who described him for “by far the best vocal of the night.” And the public agreed.

Top 12: “Make You Feel My Love” (April 24)
Larson tackled “Make You Feel My Love,” a 1997 Bob Dylan track that has been covered by Billy Joel, Garth Brooks and, perhaps most famously, Adele. Referencing the performance by the latter, Levine said that this song “would be the kiss of death for a female, but as a male vocalist, you have the ability to make it something else.” To that end, he made Larson perform without this guitar. This savvy move meant that the singer had to focus on the lyrics and he wowed the crowd and Twain who declared, “I could read that emotion. I love you without the guitar. I love you with the guitar! It was really coming from down within you, and I was very moved.”

Photo Gallery: ‘The Voice’ past winners for seasons 1-11

Lilli Passero (Steal from Alicia Keys)
Blind Audition: “A Love of My Own” (February 28)
This Los Angeleno, 26, impressed all the judges but Levine with her rendition of soul singer Carla Thomas‘ 1961 signature tune “A Love of My Own.” Keys convinced her to join forces by engaging her in a little sing-song repartee.

Battle Audition:”Every Little Bit Hurts” vs. Lauryn Judd (March 28)
Keys showcased these two singers with this 1964 Motown hit for Brenda Holloway. Passero was in her comfort zone while teenager Judd struggled. After Keys went with Passero, Judd’s only hope was if Levine used his last steal but he passed.

Knockout Round: vs. Ashley Levin (April 3)
Levin tackled “Fancy,” a 1969 hit for Bobbie Gentry that Reba McEntire had made her own in 1991. She decided to add some soul to this country tune and the combo worked wonders. Passero took on “Tears Dry on Their Own,” a 2007 R&B hit for Amy Winehouse, and was a revelation. Keys struggled with her decision before choosing Levin. After Levine and Shelton made their case to Passero, she opted to become part of Team Adam Levine.

Live Playoff 2: “It’s Too Late” (April 18)
Passero had everyone cheering when she finished her pitch perfect performance of Carole King‘s iconic “It’s Too Late,” which won Record of the Year at the 1972 Grammys. After Levine declared her to be “a world-class singer,” the public agreed and she won the popular vote.

Top 12: “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” (April 24)
Passero was so ill that she had to rehearse with Levine via Skype. She must have been sick at the thought of singing one of Twain’s biggest hits, “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” While she gave it her all, she fell far short of the standard set by Twain back in 1999. However, Twain encouraged her, “It’s really fun to hear it in person and a huge compliment to hear it done so well” as did Levine: “I’m impressed that you can kind of do whatever you want to do.”

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