That’s what’s in store for tonight.
You can thank a combination of great performances, a coach’s missteps and The Voice’s unfair decision to allow voting on duets.
To say Gwen Stefani had a rough week as coach would be an understatement.
Since the finals began, Hunter Plake had never finished lower than third on iTunes among the show’s contestants. Her decision to have him play it straight with a U2 song rather than change it up, as he normally does, landed him fifth best on iTunes, trailing Chris Blue and Aliyah Moulden for the first time.
More disastrous was her decision to have Brennley Brown change it up and sing the fun “Suds in Bucket” on Top 8 night rather than, oh, let’s say something that might have had an emotional impact. Like Hunter, Brennley had never finished lower than third on iTunes. This week, her solo landed second to last on the chart. Once, she seemed assured of a spot in the finals. No more.
Meanwhile, Chris Blue and Aliyah Moulden are coming on fast. Both landed in the Top 10 on iTunes, earning bonus points in the process. Chris did it with his splendid version of “Take Me to the King,” landing at number two on the overall singles chart, trailing only Lauren Duski.
Chris and Aliyah also benefited from the brand new voting or duets. Chris’ duet with Vanessa Ferguson landed in the Top 10 — chalk up more bonus points. Aliyah’s duet of “Let It Go” with Hunter Plake landed at number 19.
Of course, voting shouldn’t be allowed on the duets, because not all singers can be matched with someone of equal popularity, and a vote for the duet means a vote for both contestants.
But apparently The Voice didn’t like the way the finale was shaping up and decided to change things up to help create the finale it wanted. It reminds me of Season 6, when it looked like Kirsten Merlin might bump the late Christina Grimmie from the finals. The Twitter save was supposed to end before the semifinals that year. The vote opted to extend it. And Christina was promptly rescued by her army of Twitter followers.
I don’t know why The Voice doesn’t just end the pretense and pick its own finalists, then pretend to let us vote for the winner.Anyway, here’s how it’s shaping up going into tonight.
1. Lauren Duski will sail into the finale. She landed at number one on iTunes today, thanks to her superb performance on a very wise song choice by coach Blake Shelton.
2. In spite of his slip on the charts, Hunter Plake should be voted through. He still finished at number 10 on iTunes, giving him his third bonus song of the season. Only Lauren can match that.
3. The third spot looked like it belonged to Brennley. Chris Blue, who hadn’t landed in the Top 10 on iTunes all season, might now have the inside track. He earned bonus points with both of his Monday night performances; Brennley has visited the Top 10 just once.
4. Aliyah Moulden and Brennley might have to hope for the season’s final Twitter save, which will determine the fourth spot in the finals. Jesse Larson, who has been gaining momentum during the finals, might be in that mix too. But he was hurt by a subpar chart performance for his duet with TSoul. So might Vanessa Ferguson.
5. If Aliyah and Brennley are in the Twitter save mix, keep this is mind. Both are from Cali. A West Coast singer has never won a Twitter save on The Voice, partly because West Coast viewers aren’t watching when the Twitter save is happening live. They don’t watch until three hours later, when it’s way too late to cast a save vote. That said, both Aliyah and Brennley advanced from the playoffs via live voting earlier this season.
And the results begin:
* Chris Blue: He advances. He deserved it based on talent. Not thrilled with the way The Voice ensured it happened.
* Lauren Duski: Well, that doesn’t come as a surprise. Well deserved and the favorite to win at this point. Of course, The Voice will probably come up with some odd twist to affect the outcome.
* Aliyah Moulden: Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? That came out of nowhere, again thanks to The Voice machinations.
And now we find out who still has a chance for the fourth spot in the finals.
Performing for the instant save: Jesse Larson, Hunter Plake, Brennley Brown.
That means TSoul and Vanessa Ferguson are eliminated.
Time for a performance. And no, it isn’t a former contestant. So mute The Voice and listen to this superb song from Season 1 runner-up Dia Frampton.
Time for another performance. And, no, it isn’t a former contestant. So mute The Voice and listen to this fabulous single from Season 7 finalist John Taylor Williams.