When the live playoffs kick off Monday night on “The Voice,” we’ll get our first glimpse at how the five artists of Season 17 manage the pressure of live television. For Team John Legend, the team I think is by far has the most depth to it, this is going to be a chance to solidify themselves as the team to beat. I mean… on the team are three artists that earned four chair turns in the blind auditions and all of them chose John as a coach. That says a lot about the quality of his team, and his value as a coach.
John, in his second time coaching, is looking for his second consecutive win. If he does that, he’d match Kelly Clarkson who won in her first two seasons as a coach as well. Does he have a winner in Will Breman, Marybeth Byrd, Katie Kadan, Khalea Lynee or her newly stolen artist Alex Guthrie? Read my thoughts and ranking of Team John below and then let me know what you think down in the comments!
1. Will Breman
(Blinds: “Say You’ll Be There”; Battles: “Treat You Better”; Knockouts: “I Don’t Care”)
No one has been more electric and exciting on stage this season than Will. In all three of his performances both Gwen and Kelly have been vocal about their support of him. In fact, after his blind audition, Kelly — one of two judges that didn’t turn around for him (Blake was the other) — even said that she thinks he’ll be in the finale. He’s managed to flip well known pop songs on their heads with his unique sound and by injecting ad-libs, runs and dynamic key changes in unexpected spots. He’s got a ton of charisma and that should go a loooong way in the live shows. I’m with Kelly — Will is a finale contender.
2. Marybeth Byrd
(Blinds: “Angel from Montgomery”; Battles: “Burning House”; Knockouts: “All I Ask”)
After four straight seasons of young women winning the show, Marybeth may very well be John’s best shot at bringing home back-to-back crowns. She introduced herself to the coaches with a sweet country song and earned a four chair turn (though Blake was blocked) and then followed that up with a gorgeous duet in the battles that got all four coaches on their feet in appreciation. When she upped the risk factor in the knockouts with an Adele song she further proved that she is the real deal.
3. Khalea Lynee
(Blinds: “Best Part”; Battles: “The Boy Is Mine”; Knockouts: “Because You Loved Me”)
After nailing two R&B hits, Khalea switched it up for the knockouts in order to show the power in her voice. That she was able to succeed so easily in two different lanes speaks volumes about her ability to show the versatility she’ll need to remain exciting in the live playoffs. She began the competition as a four chair turn and has remained in John’s good graces ever since, handily winning both of her duet rounds. I think she’s likeliest John’s choice for a save if it comes to that, but I hope that she can wow us in the playoffs and earn her own spot outright because she’s more than deserving.
4. Katie Kadan
(Blinds: “Baby I Love You”; Battles: “Tiny Dancer”; Knockouts: “Piece of My Heart”)
There is no denying that Katie has a voice for the ages — I mean look at the names she’s already taken on: Aretha! Elton! Janis! and she’s nailed each and every single one of them while still sounding like a different beast entirely. Her voice is powerful and unique, surely, but I question how well the public will take to the theatrics of her performance style. I can see it being a hate it or love it type thing and if that’s the case she could be in jeopardy much sooner than expected. That being said, she is a strong contender for that voice alone, my god!
5. Alex Guthrie
(Blinds: “Love and Happiness”; Battles: “Home”; Knockouts: “I’m Not the Only One”)
Alex gave us his best performance in the knockouts, finally winning over John who hadn’t turned for him in the blinds and told him after his battle performance that his personality wasn’t coming through on stage. He destroyed the Sam Smith song in that third round though and became John’s steal, which is a double-edged sword because without the support of the public it’s gonna be a tough call for John to save him if it gets to that in the first results of the playoffs.