The Voice has gone through blind auditions, battle rounds, knockout rounds and live playoffs to whittle a field of 64 contestants to just 12.
The finals begin Monday night at 8 p.m., with each singer taking the stage in hopes of gaining viewers’ support.
Because now there are apparently no saves left. Viewers decide who stays and who goes, with the bottom two vote-getters heading home this week, regardless of which team(s) they represent.
Here are my rankings for the Top 12, some odd sort of combination of personnel preference, each contestant’s performances to date and how I think they’ll finish on the show.
Ranking them isn’t exactly easy. This is an incredibly talented dozen. Heck, you could put together a cast of 12 contestants already eliminated from the show and they’d outshine the cast of most seasons of most singing shows I’ve watched.
1. Amanda Brown: I wholeheartedly agree with Adam Levine’s assessment. If the show ended today, Amanda should be declared the winner. For years I’ve been writing that singing show contestants should avoid attempting the Steven Tyler shriek. She pulled it off.
2. Trevin Hunte: Cassadee Pope calls him “scary” good. The fact that he was chosen to close Wednesday’s show tells you what producers think. And they’re all correct. But he’s probably going to need fresher material than “How am I Supposed to Live Without You” and “Against All Odds” to pull it off.
3. Cassadee Pope: She’s been solid, not spectacular, to date. But the pop-rocker and her Hey Monday fan base could easily win this thing if she can create a couple of moments between now and the finals. It’s a shame we won’t get to hear her sing original material.
4. Dez Duron: How far can ridiculously good looks take a contestant on a show where the focus is supposed to be on ridiculously good vocals? We’re about to find out. Oh, and Dez can sing. Good thing there’s a limit on votes, or some young girls might do nothing else from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m.
5. Cody Belew: Between the bizarre blind audition reaction and the bam-bam babble, I figured he was cannon fodder. Au contraire. He’s been shockingly good the last two weeks. The fact that he needed a save shows he still might be under-appreciated as a singer.
6. Bryan Keith: He’s got the pedigree, the voice and a coolness on stage that seems to indicate he’s unflappable. That could come in awfully handy as the pressure ramps up with double eliminations and no saves from this point on.
7. Terry McDermott: He looks like he climbed off a late 1970s album cover, but they call this The Voice and he can deliver that with as pure a tone as any male contestant still around. It’s a shame Amanda Brown got to “Dream On” first.
8. Melanie Martinez: If she has another blind audition “Toxic” in her repertoire, she might want to pull it out now. Her sound is unique, but it could also be easily overshadowed by some of the singers bringing bigger and flashier voices to The Voice stage.
9. Sylvia Yacoub: So, is the real Sylvia the one who wowed us sitting by the piano and delivering a passion-filled “The One that Got Away” last Monday? Or the Sylvia who had shown little finesse in belting out everything until that point in the competition?
10. Nicholas David: He’s not smooth on stage. He barely opens his eyes when he sings. He doesn’t look like a guy who would attract tons of votes. So will the votes fade away if he stumbles? Of course, he hasn’t stumbled yet.
11. Michaela Paige: She made it into the finals with a mohawk, spunk and stage presence you wouldn’t expect from a 16-year-old. Bottom line: She’s fearless, but might need some more vocal seasoning to compete with the best of this bunch.
12. Adriana Louise: She’s got a big voice and a pop star look, but her rendition of “Fireworks” misfired and her save was perhaps the most surprising on Thursday. Her biggest obstacle is her battle with own nerves, which she recounts in detail in her Voice blog.