Yep, The Voice playoffs begin Monday night.
Nope, you won’t get to start voting for your favorites.
That’s because The Voice has pre-taped the playoffs for the first time since Season 6.
And that means each coach will hand-pick the three artists who advance to the finals.
It’s a major step in the wrong direction for the show.
But, on the bright side, you can’t look at the list of playoff contenders without thinking we’re going to be in for three nights of excellent music.
The members of Team Blake Shelton and Team Jennifer Hudson perform during a two-hour show Monday night. That will be followed by the members of Team Miley Cyrus Tuesday at 8 p.m. and the members of Team Adam Levine Wednesday at 9.
Here’s a look at what I expect — and in some cases, hope — happens in those playoffs.
Team Adam Levine
Addison Agen was one of the smartest steals from the battle rounds. She’s been impressive on the show. She’s been at or near the top of the iTunes rankings in the last two rounds. Her debut album, released at age 15, is superb. She should be in the finals.
Jon Mero was montaged during the knockouts, which surprised me, because it looked like he put on one heck of a show. Emily Luther was montaged during the battles. Both are top-notch vocalists; Jon might have the edge in stage presence.
If that trifecta is broken up, it might be by Adam Cunningham. He’s an impressive country singer, and anyone who has watched much of The Voice knows how much Adam Levine would like to challenge Blake Shelton in the finals with a country singer. Anthony Alexander and Whitney Fenimore round out Adam’s playoff team. Of the comeback artists, Whitney might have the best shot of advancing if another Team Adam member stumbles in the playoffs.
Team Blake Shelton
I’m pretty sure I’ll be disappointed here, because I’d advance Red Marlow, Natalie Stovall and Chloe Kohanski. Red’s the best male country singer on a show where male country singers have a history of suceess. Natalie was impressive the only time we saw her. You know what’s more impressive? The original music she’s already released. Chloe delivered on of the most magical moments of Season 13 with her performance of “Landslide” in the knockouts.
Why will I be disappointed? I think Red will advance. Chloe might, though the pre-taping means Blake is oblivious to just how well received Chloe’s “Landslide” was on iTunes. I doubt comeback artist Natalie will; The Voice seems oblivious to her resume.
The others vying for the finals include Keisha Renee, Mitchell Lee and Esera Tuaolo. I’m pretty sure The Voice has Keisha penciled in for the finals. She has finalist level vocal talent, but I’m not yet buying her as the country artist she’s trying to be.
Team Jennifer Hudson
The Voice has already posted Noah Mac’s performance of “In the Air Tonight.” I’m pretty sure that’s a sign Noah advances. When it comes to spoiling suspense, The Voice just can’t help itself. LOL. Anyway, Noah’s a special find, so I have no problem with him in the finals.
But this team is another example of why I have a problem with the lack of fan voting in the playoffs. Davon Fleming and Chris Weaver have been so, so good. Both come from a church background; both take us to church every time they sing. Without fan voting, you almost have to advance both. With fan voting, Jennifer would get a clue as to who fans prefer and perhaps move forward with a more diverse final three.
Shi’Ann Jones, newly stolen Hannah Mrozak and comeback artist Luke Holliday round out Jennifer’s Top 6. Shi’Ann, the youngest of the Season 13 cast, might have the best bet of breaking into the finals. Much was made of Shi’Ann’s shyness in the playoffs, but she doesn’t look it when she takes the stage.
Team Miley Cyrus
Brooke Simpson has backed up her four-chair-turn pedigree every time she’s taken the stage. Miley will want to challenge Blake Shelton’s country pedigree with Ashland Craft, and Ashland has earned the opportunity.
The third spot is a tough call, but I don’t know how you deny Janice Freeman’s incredible vocals, even though Voice voters have a history of dismal support for mega talented female R&B artists over age 18. (See Amanda Brown, Sasha Allen, Sisaundra Lewis, Ali Caldwell as examples. All have finalist-level talent).
That trio advancing would mean the elimination of young rocker Moriah Formica, male rocker Adam Pearce and comeback artist Karli Webster. Based on her iTunes performances, Karli would have a better shot at advancing if fans were voting.