By Jennifer Arellano
November 11, 2013 at 10:41 PM EST
Trae Patton/NBC
  • TV Show

Voice fans: I know it’s a tad early in the game, but is season 5 shaping up to be the most interesting season of the highly rated reality competition yet?

After the reveal of last week’s top 12, it’s apparent that this season is already breaking two important trends. One, with only four female singers remaining, is it safe to say we can expect The Voice to be a male one? There hasn’t been a male winner since season 1’s Javier Colon and season 2’s Jermaine Paul. Factors of probability aside, has there ever been a season with male singers of this caliber of talent? Week to week, I find myself scurrying from Matthew Schuler’s indie-rock power-ballad camp to favoring James Wolpert’s versatile vibrato, to even rooting for clutch player Will Champlin, who many times seemed a goner without a coach’s save. Now I’d wouldn’t be so careless to rule out Tessanne — who’s been a favorite this entire season — but it’s not going to be easy for the powerhouse diva to steamroll past these guys. This talent pool runs deep.

Secondly, in addition, to the dearth of ladies in the competition, there’s also a noticeable lack of a female country singer. As my colleague Samantha Highfill wrote in her analysis of season 4’s artists, The Voice looked like it was on the the fast track to becoming a single-genre show with the purpose of exclusively catapulting country singers. While there’s nothing wrong with discovering another country star, this departure can only signal good things for Voice viewers. It will force Blake to rejigger his coaching sensibilities, give more screen time to idiosyncratic voices, and make it more fun to watch without the looming threat of winner déjà vu.

Here’s a refresher on the current top 12 (and the order I would rank them):

  • Matthew Schuler
  • James Wolpert
  • Tessanne Chin
  • Austin Jenckes
  • Caroline Pennell
  • Cole Vosbury
  • Will Champlin
  • Jacquie Lee
  • Kat Robichaud
  • Ray Boudreaux
  • Josh Logan
  • Jonny Gray

    Now that we’ve gotten a taste of how the performers handle a live audience, who do you think will survive Tuesday night’s eliminations? Disagree with my rankings? (There’s a comments section for that.) Let us know who you think will win it all in the poll below. (And check back tonight for my full recap.)

    A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.
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