The Voice

Predicting who will make the Top 12 on The Voice

The Voice coaches Adam Levine, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton each will exercise one last save next week in the live playoffs. (NBC Photo)

The Voice coaches Adam Levine, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton each will exercise one last save next week in the live playoffs. (NBC Photo)


Who’s the favorite to win Season 14 of The Voice?

Who knows?

After three rounds, there isn’t a clear front-runner.

Terrence Cunningham made the biggest splash during the blinds with that wonderful rendition of “My Girl.” D.R King and Jackie Foster stole the thunder in the battle round with their cover of “Sign of the Times.” Brynn Cartelli, just 14 when she auditioned, scored the biggest hit in the knockout round.

And don’t forget Pryor Baird, Johnny Bliss, both of whom turned four chairs in the blinds and are still with their original teams.

Twenty-four talented singers remain, but only 12 will survive the upcoming three-night live playoffs, which come complete with a brand new format.

All 24 singers will perform Monday. One from each team will advance based on live fan voting.

The remaining contestants from Team Blake and Team Alicia will perform during a one-hour show Tuesday; the remaining contestants from Team Adam and Team Kelly on Tuesday. After which two more singers from each team advance, one based on fan voting, one via a coach’s save.

After 13 seasons of Voice watching, here’s what I expect will happen.

Team Adam Levine

Look at the social media stats I posted Thursday and you’ll see why I expect Drew Cole to be voted into the Top 12 — if he can get enough of his California fan base to vote on East Coast time. Look at the iTunes results after Reid Umstattd was montaged in the knockout round and you’ll see why I expect him to join Drew in the finals.

Team Adam is rounded out by Mia Boostrom, Rayshun LaMarr, Sharane Calister and Jackie Verna. Of that quartet, I think Rayshun’s been the most consistently impressive to this point. But Adam can’t discount the potential popularity of Jackie, a traditional country singer in a season where there’s a dearth of traditional country singers. (Was that intentional, Voice producers? My guess is yes.)

Prediction: Drew, Reid and Jackie advance.

Team Alicia Keys

First off, it’s a shame this team gets only three spots in the finals. It’s unquestionably the strongest. Terrence Cunningham and Johnny Bliss have been fan and show favorites. Britton Buchanan is one of the top young talents on the show.

Into this mix jumps Jackie Foster, one of the most sought-after singers in the show’s history. Three coaches tried to steal her at the end of a battle round match; three tried to steal her and one (Adam) tried to save her at the end of her knockout round performance.

The coaches have been so effusive about Terrence’s musical ability, I’m pretty sure he’ll make the finals. I’ll be surprised if Britton isn’t voted through. That leaves one spot for Johnny, Jackie, Kelsea Johnson and Christiana Danielle to compete for. In hindsight, Jackie might have been better off making any other choice in the knockouts.

Prediction: Terrence, Britton and Johnny advance.

Team Blake Shelton

It should not take a blogger from Pennsylvania to point out producers’ folly in allowing Kyla Jade to compete on Season 14. If she does well, of course people are going to suspect favoritism. For crying out loud, she’s a background singer for Jennifer Hudson, who just coached Season 13, then went on to coach The Voice’s show in the U.K.

And this is a show with a history of playing favorites, from pre-picking a winner in Season 9 (Jordan Smith) to perhaps the most suspect singing show outcome ever in Season 12 when Chris Blue was announced as the winner despite being beaten on the charts by Lauren Duski every single week of the live shows.

But Kyla was allowed to compete, so the show’s best approach is to make sure its handling of her is above reproach. No save in the live playoffs. No pimp spots. No overblown hyperbole. Let the fans decide. This fan thinks Kyla certainly demonstrated Top 12 talent in the knockout round.

Moving beyond Kyla, this, oddly, is a Team Blake lineup without an established country singer. Yep, Spensha Baker is trying for forge a country career after being a gospel star as a child. Yep, Wilkes is taking his original music in a country-pop direction. But I suspect both still need to do more to firm up their country stamp of approval among Voice fans.

Meanwhile, Pryor Baird, the team’s four-chair turn, has yet to make a big splash on the iTunes charts. Still, I’ll be surprised it two of those three singers do not advance. Austin Giorgio and Gary Edwards? They need to hope for fan support because I have a feeling Blake’s save inclination will fall elsewhere.

Prediction: Kyla, Spensha and Pryor advance.

Team Kelly Clarkson

Brynn Cartelli, the youngest singer on the show, will make the Top 12. In fact, I won’t be surprised if she’s voted through on opening night. For her age, and considering the fact that she’s up against the most seasoned cast in Voice history, she’s shown immense poise.

Tish Haynes Keys is a vocal force to be reckoned with; I don’t know how you keep her out of the Top 12. And in Kaleb Lee, Kelly might reasonably see an artist who could catch fire with the show’s country fans. (Not to mention continue one of the show’s favorite narratives, someone else with a country singer going up against Team Blake). Kaleb already has the second highest charting oountry song so far in Season 14.

The wild card is Dylan Hartigan. He’s talented, charismatic and a social media favorite. What happens if he’s voted through along with Brynn? Does Kelly move forward with Kaleb’s country potential or Tish, knowing Voice fans haven’t been nearly so appreciative of talented female R&B singers? D.R. King and Alexa Cappelli are the other singers hoping to advance.

Prediction: Brynn, Dylan and Tish advance.

Coming next: The pros and cons of the new live playoff format
Next week: Song by song grades on all three nights of The Voice

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