The Voice spent its first five episodes adding singers to this year’s roster of hopefuls yearning to make it big. When the Blind Auditions came to a close, we were left with four teams of 12 talented performers, and we know the winner of The Voice’s ninth season is somewhere in that group. Here’s our preliminary ranking of the 10 singers you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on (and, a very premature prediction of who will take it all).
10. Jeffery Austin – Team Gwen
Jeffery auditioned with Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down.” That is not a tune you take on unless you know what you’re doing. From his first note, Jeffery maintained complete control not only of the notes he hit, but also of the emotional resonance of the song as well. He only had one coach turn, which might mean Blake, Pharrell, and Adam are less likely to steal him in the Battle Rounds should Gwen drop him. But look out for a longer run for the soulful singer.
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9. Andi & Alex – Team Adam
In their audition, these twins showed off not just their vocal ability (of which they have plenty), but their talent at arranging music, as well. Let’s hope that Adam gets out of their way when they get going in this competition because their version of Dido’s “Thank You” was masterful. What they need to do now is let their individual personalities show and show the audience what they can do with an up-tempo number.
8. Tyler Dickerson – Team Blake
Tyler has one of the biggest presences on stage of any singer we saw this season. He’s been in the biz since he was just a kid, so he has years of practice rocking an audience. That ability becomes much more important now that the Blinds are over. Along with great energy comes a voice with both depth and range to spare. Tyler is also one of the few true Southern rock singers this season, and we all saw how well that worked out for Craig Wayne Boyd.
NEXT: A natural and a big belter [pagebreak]
7. Madi Davis – Team Pharrell
Madi has the kind of voice this show pats itself on the back for exposing. She fully personifies the “otherness” that Pharrell is always going on about: an original tone that immediately jumps out as something unique. Madi almost sounds like a female Frankie Valli, if the Four Seasons were teenage girls who sang melancholy folk music. She might be polarizing, but she’s definitely one to watch.
6. Shelby Brown – Team Adam
A big belter who also has an interesting tone and perfect instincts when it comes to cherry picking her moments? Check, check, and check. At just 16, Shelby is one of the youngest singers on The Voice, but her raw talent makes up for her lack of experience. As one of just two country singers on Adam’s team, she’s also in a plum position right now.
5. Chase Kerby – Team Gwen
Like Jeffery, Chase also got scooped up by Gwen when no other coach pressed their button. But that doesn’t mean you should count him out. His expressive, intimate voice and high register set him apart from the other male singers in the competition. Chase could be a dark horse this year.
4. Ellie Lawrence – Team Gwen
Her hoarse, raspy voice gives her a natural edge, but it’s what Ellie does with that tone that makes her stand out. Her audition song, Ella Eyre’s “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off,” was a smart choice: It allowed Ellie to tell a story that built up to a powerful high point, before smoothly settling into a softer, more intimate conclusion. She had the audience enraptured the entire time.
NEXT: Whose team is strongest? [pagebreak]
3. Jordan Smith – Team Adam
Jordan got the special “Extra Blind” Audition treatment during the season premiere: Like the coaches, viewers also didn’t get to see what he looks like before he started singing. The gimmick wasn’t ever necessary. Jordan has enough going on vocally to earn a four-chair turn and plenty of Internet buzz all on his own. His operatic voice and crazy range are unique this season.
2. Krista Hughes – Team Blake
Sometimes, a classic really is cooler than the newest trend. Even if she’d been born 30 years ago (or 30 years from now), Krista would still have a sound that moves people. Her old-school rendition of “Angel from Montgomery” displayed her deep, melodic voice, and the feeling she brought to the song resonated throughout the theater and through the television screen.
1. Darius Scott – Team Pharrell
This early in the season, the order of this list is impossible to nail down. Picking a No. 1 at all is probably a terrible idea, but let’s live on the edge. Darius has all the raw ingredients to become the next Voice champion: a smooth, modern tone; an impressive range, which he knows exactly how to employ; and serious stage swag. He also has the experience producing his own music and charisma to charm the pants off America. His influences are diverse enough to attract a variety of fans, and to keep us excited during the long haul.
So, does this mean a win for Team Pharrell? Not necessarily. Overall, Adam has the strongest group of 12 competitors. It all comes down to who gets cut, saved, and stolen during the Battle Rounds.
Agree? Disagree? Who’d we miss? Tell us who you think stands the best shot. Now we’re off to the Battles…