It all comes down to tonight, people. Our final four artists — Katie Kadan, Rose Short, Jake Hoot, and Ricky Duran — will each perform three times in hopes of winning enough votes to be named champion of The Voice.
What a journey it’s been! One thing that’s got me truly excited is that for the first time in SEVEN SEASONS, all four of our coaches have an artist competing in the finals, and all four of our finalists represent different corners of the music industry. Things could get interesting! Here’s how the finale performance night is going down: Each of the finalists will be performing one more solo cover (so, business as usual), as well as an original song, and for something more festive, each artist will be joined by his or her coach for a holiday-themed duet. Then it’s up to you to vote your little hearts out for the person you think should be left standing tomorrow night. So, pay attention!
Solo Cover: Ricky Duran, “Runnin’ Down A Dream” (Team Blake)
Aw, Blake’s little four-chair turn that could. He’s a reliable rock stud, what more could you need? According to Blake, out of everyone on The Voice, people most ask him about Cee-Lo Green and Ricky Duran. From his Leon Bridges audition moment, Ricky has felt like an industry pro ready to hit the ground running, and this Tom Petty song is a great choice to help remind us of that in the finale. Plus, the guy has on a sequin blazer and leather pants —he means business. It all feels very Ricky, meaning if you’re already a fan, you’ll stay one, but will our rocker win over any new ones?
Original Song: Jake Hoot, “Better Off Without You” (Team Kelly)
Jake Hoot is the only one of our finalists who is a writer on his original song, which is a risk maybe? Although, all season long, Jake’s been spot-on with his song choices, so I doubt this will be any different. Coach Kelly Clarkson calls it radio-ready, which is a great sign. Hoot’s even on the guitar for this one! It’s a mid-tempo country song (natch), and it’s definitely not his best vocal of the competition — and once you see what song he’s doing for the solo cover round, you’ll see why they’re having him do this one first. What’s really great about the performance — and what Gwen Stefani points out — is how comfortable Hoot is up on that stage. He’s come so far!
Christmas Duet: Katie Kadan & John Legend, “Merry Christmas Baby”
YES. Yes. Yes to this song choice. Coach John Legend and his final artist Katie Kadan are singing a classic blues Christmas song, which is going to be the perfect blend of what each of them does best. What do I love more? The slow, soulful opening, or when John, Katie, and the tempo all kick it up a notch? Not only do they sound great together (does Katie’s power sound best on blues tracks? Discuss!), but they are having a ball on stage. Katie is crossing her fingers for more duets with her coach, and so am I.
Original Song: Rose Short, “Steamroller” (Team Gwen)
Both Rose and her coach Gwen Stefani are excited about this song because it encapsulates so much of what Rose has gone through in her life. For them, the sultry anthem is a nice note to end Rose’s journey on The Voice. It does everything Rose needs it to: It shows off her full range (her low register all day, every day), gives her room to connect emotionally, and, obviously, gives her some big ol’ notes to completely crush. It’s a good way for Rose Short to begin the night.
Christmas Duet: Ricky Duran & Blake Shelton, “Run Rudolph Run”
Yes, okay, this is the perfect holiday song for Blake and Ricky to take on together. Blake chose it because he knew Ricky could “melt faces” while singing this song, and he’s not wrong. Ricky’s covered Chuck Berry before, and you can tell he’s comfortable here—it’s much better than his previous performance. The party’s back, ya know?
Original Song: Katie Kadan, “All Better” (Team Legend)
The writers of this song have worked with Kelly Clarkson and Christina Aguilera, so you know it’s going to serve Katie’s power. It’s moody and dark, forcing Katie to give us some real attitude. Some of the first verse sounds a little garbled, but it perfectly builds up to big moments. Kelly Clarkson already wants this song on her “sexy” playlist. John Legend couldn’t be happier — for him, Katie sells the attitude and the emotion of that song perfectly. It was a very, very good choice for Katie Kadan. But honestly, forget everything else, Katie’s dad is in the audience and he’s wearing his own Katie Kadan glasses. Be still my heart!
Christmas Duet: Jake Hoot & Kelly Clarkson, “Wintersong”
Kelly Clarkson and Jake Hoot (#TeamJelly, make it happen) are doing Sarah McLachlan’s gorgeous holiday song, which means we’re all going to cry. How else could this end? No other way. It’s hard to pick a favorite of these artist/coach duets, but this one…might be tops? It’s a much better representation of what Jake can do, and he and Kelly sound great together. I sense a duet on at least one of their albums in the future.
Christmas Duet: Rose Short & Gwen Stefani, “My Gift Is You”
Let’s keep the holiday spirit rolling, right? Rose and her coach are doing a Christmas song…by Gwen Stefani. Funny how that works out. Rose and Gwen have such different voices, so not every song would work as a duet for them. But this one does! Especially with our little American Bandstand staging — I’m here for this! Their harmonies are gorgeous and Rose gets a few moments to showcase her range. What a lovely little collab!
Solo Cover: Jake Hoot, “Amazed” (Team Kelly)
Sure, they keep reminding us that Jake Hoot was just a one-chair turn, but honestly: Can you believe he was a one-chair turn? From that moment on, he’s dominated in the country lane of this competition, and, let’s get real, dominated regardless of genre. Choosing a country ballad for the finale is super smart — “Amazed” is going to satisfy all the Hooters out there (and then some!). What can be said? Jake turns in another reliably great performance and especially shines in those final few money notes. It’s a great finale moment for the country guy.
Solo Cover: Katie Kadan, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” (Team Legend)
Aw, friends, Katie was the first audition, setting us off on this whole journey, and now here she is, performing her final competitive song. Not one to slack, Katie and John have selected “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” Katie’s been really smart with song selection this evening — her duet was an upbeat party, her original allowed her to show off some real sass, and here she is closing it out with a ballad. This is a Diane Warren song made famous by Aerosmith, but, um, was it also written for Katie Kadan? She throws down and honestly, I can’t imagine what’s left tonight if this wasn’t the performance selected to close out the evening.
Original Song: Ricky Duran, “A Woman Like Her” (Team Blake)
Ricky loves this song because it reflects what kind of artist he wants to be, which is interesting since it’s not a hard-hitting rock-n-roll number, but a softer, little love song. It’s getting Ricky into the storyteller zone, which isn’t a bad thing. Like, at all. It shows off a much more emotional side to him. John Legend is jealous that he hasn’t been pitched this song — he loves it so much he wants it for himself. He predicts it will be the most-streamed original of the bunch…and he probably isn’t wrong? Blake Shelton tells his artist it was his best performance of the competition.
Solo Cover: Rose Short, “Border Song” (Team Gwen)
Rose and Gwen acknowledge that they’re an unlikely pair, but their partnership has been lovely to watch throughout season 17. Gwen is the perfect coach for Rose. To close out her time on The Voice, Rose, who has done pretty much every genre on the show, is doing Elton John’s “Border Song,” but using the Aretha Franklin version of the song. Giving us the gospel singer flanked by back-up singers wearing all white is a moment singing competition finales are made for. John Legend says it sweetly and succinctly: “It was a special moment.” Rose’s coach Gwen Stefani continues to be in awe of her artist, “a magical human being.” So, uh, yeah, everyone loved it.
And that’s that, my friends. Our final four have done all they can to win over The Voice voters. Honestly, tomorrow night’s big finale could go any which way at this point, but who do you hope takes the title?
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