Since the moment Blake Shelton announced his decision to step away from The Voice, I’ve been convinced a Team Blake singer will win Season 23.
Say what you will about The Voice’s handling of the semifinal voting (it was atrocious), one rule change the show is retaining makes the Season 23 outcome a whole lot more suspenseful.
Fans will only be able to cast votes for one contestant. And Blake is the only coach with two singers in the finale.
So what, oh what, will Blake Shelton fans do?
Will they cast votes for Noivas, who puts on a show every time he steps on The Voice stage?
Or will they continue showing their preference for country singers, casting votes for Grace West instead?
Of will Grace and Noivas split the vote to the extent that someone else could wind up walking away with the title, denying Blake his 10th win as Voice coach.
Here’s how I’m ranking the singers heading into the Season 23 finale, when each will sing one ballad and one upbeat song.
1. Noivas, aka Savion Wright (Team Blake), 30, Hutto, Texas: Noivas has been stellar in every round of the competition, commanding attention with his stage presence and lifting the rafters with his booming vocals. One drawback of The Voice’s truncated Season 23 format is that it gives a huge edge to experienced performers, and Noivas showed up at The Voice knowing what to expect, having competed twice on American Idol. I imagine he’ll deliver two more standout performances Monday.
2. Sorelle (Team Chance), Lexington, Ohio: Think this sister trio is a novelty act? Madi, Ana and Bella should have shattered any such notion in the semifinals, covering Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’.” I mean, did you hear those harmonies? Did you see that choreography? In my mind, it was the most impressive performance of the night. As long as they keep the focus on their harmonies, I have no doubt this fun-to-watch trio will make a strong case for being deserving winners on Monday.
3. Gina Miles (Team Niall) 18, Sacramento, Calif.: Her voice is my favorite about the Top 5, especially when she’s singing softly with emotion. She’s also the last singer on this list who’s delivered a true Voice moment, something I think every winner should have to do at least once. That, of course, came with her celebrated playoff performance of “Wicked Game.” Can she also impress on an up-tempo song. Hopefully, she and Niall will find the right fit for that lovely voice.
4. Grace West (Team Blake), 19, Nashville, Tenn.: I’ve got her listed fourth on this list, but won’t be at all surprised if she finishes in the top 2. A victory? It’s possible, given Voice fans’ love of country singers. But they also seem more inclined to support male singers; five of the last six winners were guys and the only outlier in that stretch was the trio Girl Named Tom. Grace’s semifinal performance might have been her best yet. Fans’ preference for country singers aside, she’s been one of the show’s steadiest performers.
D. Smooth (Team Kelly), 25, Birmingham, Ala.: He’s been quite impressive in his last two performances. No doubt he knows how to work a stage. But my guess is he’s also the singer most in need of delivering two brilliant performances Monday night. Fortunately, he has a veteran coach to help him pick crowd-pleasing songs. One of D. Smooth’s problems is the playoff pass, which took him off the show for a month in the middle of the season while everyone else on this list was getting to perform in the knockout round.
Monday’s performance finale begins at 8 p.m. Voting runs from the end of the show (10 p.m. eastern time) to 7 a.m eastern time on Tuesday.