After a brutal Live Playoffs results episode on Tuesday night, we now know the Top 13 artists that will be competing to be named the Season 15 champion of “The Voice.” The four coaches, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, each cut their teams in half, having to choose between four of their artists to personally save after two others advanced based on audience votes. In addition, special coach Kelsea Ballerini helped lead two artists toward a comeback that resulted in a live Twitter save of Lynnea Moorer, who chose to join Team Kelly as a fourth artist for last year’s winning coach and the 13th artist overall.
Next Monday, November 19, “The Voice” Top 13 will once again perform for audience votes. On Tuesday, 10 artists will be automatically declared safe based on votes and iTunes streaming/sales while the other three will compete for the Instant Save by singing another song for a chance at being saved by live Twitter vote.
Below we rank the 13 artists based on our impressions of their performances so far this season as well as the likelihood that they’ll be one of only four to make it to the season finale. Each coach’s team is led by a clear frontrunner, but all four coaches rarely send an artist each to the finale. So how will this season shake down now that we’re in the final stretch of the competition?
See our ranking below, then let us know in the comments if you think we’re calling this race correctly!
1. Reagan Strange – Team Adam
(Blinds: “Meant to Be”; Battle: “Photograph”; Knockout: “Dancing on My Own”; Playoffs: “Worth It”)
When predicting a winner for each season I look for the artist that has the biggest breakthrough moment in the competition. By a long mile, the artist that delivered their breakthrough during the Live Playoffs was Reagan. Her performance of “Worth It” had clarity, confidence and felt like a star-making show. In terms of song selection, Reagan has been right on point so as long as she continues to deliver big vocals that show her range and her emotional depth then she’s just going to steamroll through straight to the finale.
2. Kennedy Holmes – Team Jennifer
(Blinds: “Turning Tables”; Battle: “Battlefield”; Knockout: “What About Us”; Playoffs: “Halo”)
Many, including and notably the coaches, have been declaring Kennedy a favorite to win since her epic four-chair turn blind audition to Adele. That young women have won the last two seasons and are now sitting atop our power rankings for this season is no mistake. Like Chloe Kohanski and Brynn Cartelli, as well as Reagan, Kennedy’s energy is exciting and her talent is right in line with what is trending in pop music right now. She has been the artist everyone is buzzing about and shows no signs that she’ll falter in the coming weeks.
3. Kirk Jay – Team Blake
(Blinds: “Bless the Broken Road”; Battle: “Let It Rain”; Knockout: “In Case You Didn’t Know”; Playoffs: “One More Day”)
Overall, Blake has one of his weakest teams ever that I can remember him having, but thankfully he’s got Kirk to elevate it. What Kirk brings to the table is unlike anything we’ve seen on the show before and so he feels not only fresh, but exciting. The way he bridges soul and country music together creates a holy marriage between wonderful and emotionally rich genres in one singer. He has everything it takes to get to the finale (and he will get there), but to win he’ll need a huge performance that exceeds our already high expectations.
4. Chevel Shepherd – Team Kelly
(Blinds: “If I Die Young”; Battle: “You Look So Good in Love”; Knockout: “Travelin’ Solider”; Playoffs: “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Ol’ Days)”)
In the Live Playoffs, Chevel was looking at stiff competition in her teammates Sarah Grace and Abby, who both appealed to the same demographic as her. But she easily bested both of them with a vocal-focused performance with minimal stage production and, I think, probably earned the most votes of all Kelly’s artists. That she reminds us that traditional country music is still relevant to the industry is a huge plus in her favor and carves out a special niche for her in the competition.
5. MaKenzie Thomas – Team Jennifer
(Blinds: “Big White Room”; Battle: “Always Be My Baby”; Knockout: “How Deep Is Your Love”; Playoffs: “I Believe in You and Me”)
MaKenzie has proven to be one of the boldest competitors this season in taking up songs by Mariah and Whitney, but she’s proving the big risks produce big rewards. I didn’t expect her to advance to this round after what I found to be a lackluster performance in the playoffs, but she impressed the public enough to pass through on votes so she obviously has the support. My concern is that she is the artist at the top most likely to have a bad week and if she does it could be a premature elimination for her. If not, she’ll make herself a tough one to beat for a spot in the finale.
6. Kymberli Joye – Team Kelly
(Blinds: “Run to You”; Battle: “Mercy”; Knockout: “The Middle”; Playoffs: “Radioactive”)
I was also surprised to find out that Kelly had to save Kymberli in order for her to make it, despite her unparalleled vocal range and power. If I had to guess what’s holding Kymberli back is her having picked out-of-the-box songs that require her to force her voice into the song rather than letting her voice feel natural within it. For her next performance I think she should scale it back and do something smaller so that we can hear her quality better. If she does that, I have no shame in my decision to rank her higher than many artists that earned their spot in the Top 13 on votes.
7. DeAndre Nico – Team Adam
(Blinds: “When I Was Your Man”‘ Battle: “Can You Stand the Rain”; Knockout: “Wanted”; Playoffs: “Ordinary People”)
For me, DeAndre still hasn’t matched the magic of his blind audition to Bruno Mars. In fact, I’ve been less impressed by him with each subsequent performance, but he still has a supportive fan base and definitely has the talent to claim one of the spots at the top. Before the Live Playoffs results he was facing a lot of internal competition in terms of his genre, but now he’s the only male R&B artist in the competition so he should enjoy a pretty good hold on that demo’s votes for a few rounds.
8. Sarah Grace – Team Kelly
(Blinds: “Ball and Chain”; Battle: “No Roots”; Knockout: “I’d Rather Go Blind”; Playoffs: “When Something Is Wrong with My Baby”)
There is no denying that Sarah Grace has the talent, personality and performance quality to win the whole show. My issue with her is that she’s never quite delivered on that promise. Her biggest strength is how deeply she connects emotionally to her music and I really liked that she got behind the piano in the Live Playoffs. Going forward, I’d say she needs to choose a song that will draw the audience in–perhaps something more current and popular that she can put her own spin on.
9. Chris Kroeze – Team Blake
(Blinds: “Pride and Joy”; Battle: “Back in the High Life Again”; Knockout: “Burning House”; Playoffs: “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”)
What works against Chris, I think, is that there was a decent stretch of seasons on the show where country-rock, instrument-playing, band-fronting men were all the rage. For whatever reason, that just isn’t the case any more and that type of artist is struggling to get as far in the competition as they once did, let alone win. But Chris is great in that style and makes it very clear what attending one of his shows would be like. The problem: is it exciting enough anymore for the show? (Answer: no)
10. SandyRedd – Team Jennifer
(Blinds: “River”; Battle: “Cry to Me”; Knockout: “Dangerous Woman”; Playoffs: “No More Drama”)
What is exciting for the show is someone like SandyRedd. For the playoffs she brought drama, drama, drama, but the problem was that the song relies way too much on adlibs and vocal runs. Voters want to connect to the song and hear the melody and tone of a voice, both of which are extremely hard to do in such a wild performance. Certainly SandyRedd has what it takes to be a star, but we need to know that she has what it takes to be the voice.
11. Tyke James – Team Adam
(Blinds: “Perfect”; Battle: “She’s Always a Woman”; Knockout: “Ring of Fire”; Playoffs: “Use Somebody”)
I’m actually still really upset that Adam saved Tyke of Kameron Marlowe (who I thought could have won the whole thing). But Adam is Adam and he wants to explore artistry and help develop an artist that he sees as still needing the guidance. That’s great and noble, but there just isn’t enough time for Adam and Tyke to figure out the best way to convey his message to the audience and inspire them to crown him the winner.
12. Lynnea Moorer – Team Kelly
(Blinds: “Location”; Comeback Battle: “My My My!”; Comeback Knockout: “In My Blood”; Playoffs: “Boo’d Up”)
To say that Lynnea has an extremely steep hill ahead of her isn’t fair. No one will have a harder time winning the competition than her because most people probably didn’t watch her battle and knockout performances on The Comeback Stage. That being said, I really loved her performance on the Live Playoffs and she did defeat her competition handily for the live Twitter save so if she shows up in the bottom I have confidence that she’ll be able to save herself again.
13. Dave Fenley – Team Blake
(Blinds: “Help Me Hold On”; Battle: “I’m a One-Woman Man”; Knockout: “Stuck on You”)
You know, I was not surprised to see that Dave didn’t earn his spot in the next round based on votes because I was not impressed by his performance–in fact, I was pretty let down by it because he otherwise seemed like someone who traditionally should do well. I was surprised, however, that after Chris had already advanced for the team that Blake chose Dave to join him, rather than one of his other artists that offered something different than Chris and Kirk. Dave and Chris are now competing on the same team, for the same demo of voters and Chris is leading that game 1-0. What else is there to say? Game over.
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