Last Tuesday we learned for the first time which way America’s votes were leaning in the 17th season of NBC’s “The Voice.” After the top 20 performed live for the first time, each team of five was narrowed down to three each based on audience vote (two from each team advanced) and a coach’s save (one from each team advanced). Then four artists (one from each team) sang live for a wild card save with Kelly Clarkson‘s teenage duo Hello Sunday winning that contest to become the 13th artist, and a lucky 4th from Team Kelly.
Now with a bit of information on our plate we look ahead to the Top 13 performances and predict who has what it takes to advance to the next stage, the Top 11. After the artists perform again on Monday, November 18, the public will vote again and the 10 artists with the most support will move on, leaving three to sing Tuesday, November 19, for the instant save. Only one of those three will earn enough support in the live vote to join the Top 11.
Below we rank the Top 13 from best to worst, pinpointing the 10 we think will advance on public vote and then the three that we imagine will sing for the save. We also acknowledge how wrong we were about Katie and Jake in particular when we ranked them both 4th on Team Legend and Team Kelly prior to the live playoffs.
from Team Legend
1. Katie Kadan – (Top 20: “Always Remember Us This Way”)
2. Marybeth Byrd – (Top 20: “Love Me Like You Do”)
3. Will Breman – (Top 20: “Style”)
When it was revealed that Team Legend was closing out the first night of the live playoffs it became pretty apparent that they’d be the ones to deliver the night’s showstopping performances. As the ultimate encore of the night, Katie’s blow-the-house-down rendition of Lady Gaga’s “A Star Is Born” song did not disappoint and made me immediately eat my words when I ranked her outside Team Legend’s top 3 prior to the episode. My call was so bad that even Marcus James Dixon sent me a text to gloat about how wrong I was! On every season the one thing that drives artists to the finale are performances that earn so much good will with the audience that they maintain support up until the end. I think Katie was the only artist to secure such support in the Top 20 and has taken her rightful spot as the season’s singer to beat. But Team Legend is so strong that I’m willing to bet that both Marybeth, who advanced on the public vote, and Will, who was saved by John, were both near the top of the audience vote across all teams. The structure of the Top 20 results makes it hard to say how strong Will’s support actually is, since he wasn’t top 2 on his own team, but we actually have no idea where he ranks among the rest of the field. He’s so good and his on stage energy is so good that I’m willing to bet he’s way up there. But Marybeth we know is above him and she is the most like recent winners of the last four seasons so she could very well be the artist that brings John Legend his second win.
from Team Kelly
4. Jake Hoot – (Top 20: “You Lie”)
5. Max Boyle – (Top 20: “Falling Slowly”)
6. Hello Sunday – (Top 20: “Hello”)
Team Kelly is the only group with four artists in this round, so three of them earning safety through the public vote isn’t hard to imagine. Jake and Max both won the public vote in the Top 20 so barring a huge dip in their performance quality they should skate through easily. Hello Sunday is a little harder to predict, but I was admittedly shocked by their wild card save success which has me thinking they might have actually had more support in the public vote than some of the artists who advanced on other teams. What makes them so unique isn’t their age, but that they’re the only duo in the competition this year and the only duo to succeed on the show in quite some time. I think they could be a bit smarter about their song choices (they’ve skewed pretty mature so far) in order to solidify what kind of artist they want to be, but there’s no denying after a wonderful wild card performance that they have what it takes to go from dark horse to true finale contenders. That being said, Jake’s carved out a pretty nice path for himself as the only rock-country male vocalist this season and we know how viable of a demographic he’ll be tapping into as such.
from Team Blake
7. Kat Hammock – (Top 20: “God Only Knows”)
8. Ricky Duran – (Top 20: “Small Town”)
Team Blake strikes me as uncharacteristically weak this year, especially as a follow-up to last season where he had three out of the four finalists. But his three male vocalist finalists of season 16 all lost to the fourth straight female winner in Maelyn Jarmon, so it stands to reason that of all Blake’s artists this year his best bet at another win is Kat. She’s been pretty good at diversifying her song selection, which can be good for bringing in new fans across multiple genres, but I wonder if it’s also isolated people who are looking for consistency from her. Ricky on the other hand is very clear about what kind of artist he is and we can pretty much guess what we’ll get from him each week. I was honestly surprised that we earned the public vote, especially after being the first performance of the night, but at this point in the competition we should never underestimate the power that a good looking, clean cut guy with a great voice has in a popularity contest.
from Team Gwen
9. Rose Short – (Top 20: “What Have You Done for Me Lately”)
10. Joana Martinez – (Top 20: “You Can’t Stop the Girl”)
As sure as I am that the winner of this season is probably coming from Team Legend, I’m equally sure that the winner is not coming from Team Gwen. As a coach, Gwen has never performed very well–in her three previous seasons she’s only produced a finalist once and he got 4th place (Jeffery Austin, season 9). But more importantly, her artists this season just seem out of their league compared to the other teams. Rose and Joana have tremendous voices, but their song choices are not doing them any favors. That being said, I think they’re both strong enough to deliver performances worthy of Top 10 placement and could totally turn the fortunes of Team Gwen around. To catapult themselves to the top of the pack though they’ll need masterful performances that destroy the iTunes charts and people remember for weeks to come.
11. Cali Wilson – Team Blake (Top 20: “Toxic”)
12. Shane Q – Team Kelly (Top 20: “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”)
13. Myracle Holloway – Team Gwen (Top 20: “Get Here”)
My prediction is that no one team sends two artists into the instant save sing-off this week. Here I think we find out that Kelly’s save, Shane Q, might have actually been her weakest showing in the public vote (not Hello Sunday) and it’s reinforced that Cali and Myracle are currently at the bottom of their respective teams. Myracle’s biggest roadblock in gaining momentum is that she shares a team with Rose, another soul artist, who we already know got more support even for a midtempo, not exactly vocally challenging Janet Jackson song. Cali is an interesting artist choosing interesting songs, but for some reason she didn’t connect with the public despite flipping an iconic Britney Spears pop song into something more alternative. I think Cali has the best shot of rebounding with the next performance and even if she does fall into the bottom can do something worthy of instant votes coming in to save her.
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