The Voice

Ranking the Top 8, and unfairness on The Voice

The Top 8 on Season 15 of The Voice inclue Kennedy Holmes, MaKenzie Thomas, Sarah Grace, Chevel Shepherd, Kymberli Joye, Reagan Strange, Kirk Jay and Chris Kroeze. (NBC Photo)

The Top 8 on Season 15 of The Voice inclue Kennedy Holmes, MaKenzie Thomas, Sarah Grace, Chevel Shepherd, Kymberli Joye, Reagan Strange, Kirk Jay and Chris Kroeze. (NBC Photo)


When the Top 8 return to The Voice stage Monday night, all eyes and ears will be on Adam Levine and Reagan Strange to see what transpires after Tuesday’s end-of-show weirdness.

Which is sorta a shame, because Season 15 features a cast where there shouldn’t be a clear favorite and where seven of the eight remaining contestants have shown themselves deserving of a Top 4 finish at one point or another.

Of course, The Voice has only itself to blame for what happened, and I’m not just talking about the decision to make Reagan eligible for a save even though she couldn’t sing Tuesday night.

I’ve long argued the instant save is not only unnecessary, but blatantly unfair, especially to West Coast contestants. Did you realize that up until Lynnea Moorer’s Week 13 success a West Coast contestant had never earned an instant save? Could that be because instant save voting takes place a bit before 6 p.m. West Coast time?

The save is unnecessary because voters spend hours voting for their favorites during and after the end of the Monday performance show. The Voice could use those results to determine who goes home on results night.

If the show did, that Tuesday night drama never would have transpired. The singers who finished ninth and tenth in the overnight voting would have automatically been eliminated.

But noooo. Several season back, The Voice decided to add some drama to results night via the instant save, which amounts to a five-minute do-over.

Fair? Who cares?

Clearly the answer is no one with The Voice production team.

Well, The Voice got its drama, didn’t it?

And while we’re on the subject of unfairness, Top 8 night will include duets, which are inherently unfair and have always seemed an odd way to help select finalists in an individual singing competition. (More on those in another blog.)

And perhaps producers can explain why one show favorite gets to close his team’s performances in the live playoffs, then sing next to last twice in three weeks of the finals. Especially since two other members of the Top 8 have yet to perform anywhere near the end of a show.

In other words, folks, if you’re looking for fairness from The Voice, the problems run deeper than those misguided comments from Adam at the end of last week’s show.

On with this week’s rankings.

1. Kymberli Joye (Team Kelly) (1): I’m still convinced this young woman has the best voice on the voice. I’m also heartened to see Voice fans embrace it. I was a bit fearful that wouldn’t be the case after she needed a coach’s save to survive the live playoffs. Just one little question, producers. How does the best singer on the show wind up singing fourth three straight weeks?

2. Kennedy Holmes (Team Jennifer) (2): Honestly, I was as impressed with Kennedy’s performance this week as with her acclaimed cover of “The Greatest Love of All” from the week before. Post-Voice, she’ll need to do more than sing Whitney Houston songs to succeed. “Me Too” proved she can, with plenty of nifty dance moves thrown in for good measure.

3. Sarah Grace (Team Kelly) (6): That version of “Amazing Grace?” One word: Wow. Okay, more than one word: The best performance of Season 15. In fact, one more performance like that, and I’ll proclaim Sarah as the singer who should win Season 15. For her age, her musicianship is off the charts. Judge her regardless of age, and she still measures up.

4. Kirk Jay (Team Blake) (5): The Voice is doing its best to tilt Season 15 toward Kirk. He’s gotten the best performance placement of any singer on the show (Chris and Kymberli have gotten the worse). Fortunately, he turned in a finalist’s quality performance this week with his cover of “Tomorrow,” landing in the Top 10 on iTunes for a second time.

5. Chris Kroeze (Team Blake) (3): Now that his remarkably avid fan base has solved the streaming riddle, don’t be shocked if Chris makes the finals. He’s been solid every time out, but I’m still waiting for another performance like his knockout round cover of Cam’s “Burning House.” If he does that, I’d welcome him to the finals.

6. Chevel Shepherd (Team Kelly) (4): Something rubbed me the wrong way about last week’s performance, and I’m pretty sure it had less to do with Chevel and more to do with costume and staging. Kelly dubbed her country Tinker Bell. Then Chevel took the stage looking like a smaller version of Loretta Lynn, almost like a little Loretta Lynn doll. Let Chevel be Chevel.

7. MaKenzie Thomas (Team Jennifer) (8): She failed to make the show in Season 14, now she’s one step from the Season 15 finals. MaKenzie can belt out a power ballad with the best of them. She lands here simply because that’s all she’s done — albeit very well — during the lives, showing less versatility than the other singers on this list.

8. Reagan Strange (Team Adam) (10): This ranking has nothing to do with not singing, a bathrobe or comments made by her coach. It has everything to do with Reagan’s vocals, which simply haven’t been Top 4 quality since the live shows began. She’s talented for 14, seems like a fine young lady, but she doesn’t belong in the Season 15 finals.

See also …
Social media surge shows support for Reagan Strange
Duet pairings to Top 8 night
DeAndre Nico on Adam Levine: ‘He sold me out’
iTunes results for the Top 10
iTunes results for the Top 11
iTunes results for the Top 13

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  1. John cannon December 7, 2018 at 1:28 am -  Reply

    I enjoy most of your articles but your rankings are whacked this season. Looks more like wishful thinking than anything that resembles reality.

    • Mark Franklin December 7, 2018 at 2:11 am -  Reply

      They are based on where I think the contestants should finish, not where I logically think they will after all The Voice’s viewer manipulations.

  2. Cathy December 7, 2018 at 10:10 am -  Reply

    As if the Voice isn’t bad enough already!
    How anyone could like Sarah Grace’s performance is baffling. Every single person l have talked to (and l definitely have a big mouth so I’m a talker) is amazed that anyone could like the horrible murder job that Sarah Grace did on a beautifulclassic song????? You have to make a song your own but to make an amazing song into a slutty sounding rendition is a disgrace!

    • Mark Franklin December 7, 2018 at 12:01 pm -  Reply

      I for one loved it and thought it was the best performance of Season 15 so far. And, yep, I also love the classic version of Amazing Grace. Apparently, lots of other folks loved what Sarah did too. She was the top performer on iTunes and was voted through to this week’s competition.

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