With the Top 12 chopped in half and Season 4 of “The Voice” just a few brief weeks away from naming a winner, it’s time we take stock of where the competition stands. Which artist holds the most power in the game? And what should each sing next week in hopes of sticking around? Below are our thoughts.
Why: Let’s just come out and say it: Zach and Colton are only the longest-standing duo in “Voice” history because they’re country artists and this season’s voting audience is clearly dominated by country fans. (How else do you explain a Top 6 that is two-thirds country?) Of all the country still in the game, these brothers are the weakest. Their harmonies and timing often falter and, of anyone, they seem the most adverse to taking any sort of risk.
What to sing next: “Ten Thousand Words” by The Avett Brothers
While they don’t really deserve to stick around much longer, it would at least be interesting to see the Swons push the envelope a little bit. I’d like to see them try a song from another group of brothers, off The Avett Brothers’ 2009 album, “I And Love And You.” And it’s not like this is much of a stretch, anyway. It’s folk, there’s guitar, and there are harmonies. It’s just not so down-home country, which at this point seems like all the Swons are able to do.
5. Sasha Allen
Why: First, I must say that I’m personally backing Sasha, now that Judith Hill and Sarah Simmons got the boot. But, I’m also no fool — I can see the writing on the wall. Sasha’s not long for this competition, despite her powerhouse vocals. I fear she’s due the same fate as Judith. Like that former Michael Jackson backup vocalist, Sasha doesn’t connect much with the audience, always seeming a little removed, a little cold — let’s face it, a little above it all. She’d better wise up and change fast if she wants to stick around.
What to sing next: “Powerless (Say What You Want)” by Nelly Furtado
I’d like to see what Sasha can do with something a little earthier, a little warmer. Also, the lyrics are particularly appropriate because girl is powerless in this game. A shame.
4. Holly Tucker
Why: I mean, Holly who? Sure she has a great voice, but of the four country artists left standing, she’s most definitely the most devoid of personality. She’s a sweet girl, but in a season of riches for country fans, I’m almost certain that she’ll be the one to fall by the wayside quickest.
What to sing next: “Stuck Like Glue” by Sugarland
It was nice to see Holly show some strength and some anger this week on “Done,” but it’s also time she show some personality. It all always seems a little too precise with her, but it’s almost impossible to sing this Jennifer Nettles vocal without at least a little silliness seeping through. I mean, there’s a rap verse, after all! It’s time for some fun, Holly.
Why: Michelle is the dark horse of the competition. For voters who crave a personality to latch on to, but don’t necessarily love country music, she’s their winner. She’s had some missteps (Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend”), but moments like her “True Colors” performance have endeared to the outsiders who watch “The Voice” and don’t feel as if they have a place in Uncle Blake Shelton’s All-American Bonanza.
What to sing next: “Are We All We Are” by Pink
Michelle excels with moody pop and she’s due to have an anthemic moment. Like Pink, she’s a pop star who doesn’t entirely fit the pop star mold. This song will give Michelle plenty of opportunities for her signature squatting belts and will only further endear her to the fans who identify with her.
Why: Amber is Season 4’s rare country artist who has never been afraid to try on any other genre, often to great result. Her performance this week of “Skyfall” was the rare instance of someone tackling an Adele song without it backfiring. With one foot firmly in the country pool and the other in pop, she appeals to just about everyone.
What to sing next: “Uncharted” by Sara Bareilles
Like Amber, this song will appeal to both her pop and country fans. Rather than continuing to alternate genres, it’s time she meld them together. As the final member of coach Adam Levine’s team, there’s no room left to give votes away. It’ll also give her a chance to belt her face off, which never hurts. (Fun fact: Mr. Levine pops up in that music video!)
Why: In a country year, can anyone beat this preternaturally talented teenager? I wouldn’t bet on it. In the right hands, she will be the next Taylor Swift — only better. She could be the first winner of “The Voice” to actually have a career if managed properly. As such, she needs to keep it young, light and country. Recent attempts by Blake to prove she’s an artist have only aged her miserably. If she hasn’t had the life experience in the lyric yet, there’s no need to feign it. She and her coach need to celebrate her youth.
What to sing next: “Starlight” by Taylor Swift
It’s time to take Taylor head-on. This song, off 2012’s “Red,” may not be a well-known single, but Danielle’s fans will almost certainly know it and it’s just the right amount of youth, country, pop and fun. It’s just what Danielle needs to shine and win this thing.
Who do you think will win Season 4, “Voice” fans?