NBC’s hit singing competition TV show The Voice continues to kill it in 2016, and things are starting to get intense with The Voice Top 8 finalists being revealed on Tuesday night.
Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton teamed up to perform Parton’s hit “Jolene” in front of the nation, as the show paved the way for a rockin’ night ahead of the full Top 8 reveal:
It was an epic performance from a country legend in Parton, as well as one of the most iconic music presences of this generation in Cyrus.
But Tuesday night’s edition of The Voice was more than just a fun cover of a classic. It also got us one step closer to a new voice being crowned the champion of the top singing competition on television.
The Voice – Double Elimination
From the very beginning of the blind auditions, there was a feeling in the air that this season was going to be special. With the show cutting down to just 8 finalists, two heads had to roll and that ended up meaning early exits for Austin Allsup and Courtney Harrell – both of Team Blake (Blake Shelton).
That meant another day to fight for Miley Cyrus’ Aaron Gibson, who survived by the skin of his teeth for the third elimination show in a row.
The voting was arguably spot on, as Harrell had run her course and Allsup was never long for a contest that is heavy on truly unique voices and superior versatility. Don’t get us wrong, Harrell and Allsup belonged here until this point. Harrell was amazing in her audition and throughout the first three rounds earned her keep, but her song choice and overall performance fell flat the rest of the way.
There wasn’t anything wrong with Allsup’s last few performances. Of this trio, he’s easily the best musician and in terms of great live music, he’s absolutely the type of singer you want to see when you go out for a good time.
He’s not a unique talent, unfortunately. Aaron Gibson, for all of his flaws and hiccups, has a gravel voice that is unforgettable. His main knock? Emotion and connection. He slayed “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails, but the one thing holding him back even after that was his inconsistency with connecting to the audience and making you believe he’s feeling what he’s singing.
Gibson has clearly worked at improving, however, and could be a contender for “most improved” in this competition already.
The Voice Top 8
Gibson ultimately survived and sneaks into the Top 8:
Brendan Fletcher – Team Adam
Sundance Head – Team Blake
Christian Cuevas – Team Alicia
Ali Caldwell – Team Miley
Billy Gilman – Team Adam
We’ McDonald – Team Alicia
Aaron Gibson – Team Miley
Josh Gallagher – Team Adam
This is a very eclectic Top 8, but the writing’s on the wall for several contestants. The most obvious odd singer out looks to be Aaron Gibson, who has a unique tone and is undoubtedly getting better, but simply isn’t the best talent here and easily could have been gone by now.
Likely joining Gibson in the near future are Billy Gilman and Ali Caldwell. Giman is a former child star who absolutely has a powerful voice and some flair to him, but it really has felt throughout this entire competition that his skill-set is geared more towards theater singing, rather than piecing together a record America would purchase.
That’s not the case with Caldwell, who carries a tone similar to Florence Welch of Florence and The Machine. Unfortunately, she’s rather raw and appears light years from the type of stage presence and range Welch provides. Caldwell killed her audition and has had some nice moments, but she sometimes seems to be shouting, rather than singing. She’s good, but probably not good enough to go the distance.
Our Top 5, then boils down to Brendan Fletcher, Sundance Head, Christian Cuevas, We’ McDonald and Josh Gallagher.
In that group, the next two out are probably Sundance Head and Josh Gallagher. Both are very good, but both are also strictly country singers and neither seem to have the sheer talent to emerge as the winner.
The reality is, Gallagher has made mistakes on the show and while he’s a very nice modern day country voice, it’s tough to differentiate him from any other decent country singer you’ve ever heard. That’s not so with Sundance Head, who is pretty unique in just about every way, but adds a folksy edge that Gallagher simply can’t.
Both could surprise and run the table and win The Voice, but ultimately, this is going to be a three-person race between Cuevas, McDonald and Fletcher.
The Voice – Winner Prediction
Of our favorite three singers, the one least likely to go the distance is Cuevas, who has amazing power and can sing effortlessly, but simply doesn’t have the tone or versatility McDonald and Fletcher have.
That leaves us with a heavyweight bout between McDonald and Fletcher, who both look like seasoned pros in their own right. Fletcher has progressed steadily throughout and has a tortured voice, as well as an ability to connect with the audience without even trying.
This rendition of “The River” just gives you chills:
Of course, few The Voice contestants can send chills up and down your spine like We’ McDonald, we is the youngest singer in this thing at 17 and has crushed every song she’s taken on. Her take on “Take Me to Church” seemed to be out of her wheelhouse, but as you can see, that just wasn’t the case:
These two singers are extremely special in their own ways. Fletcher is that rare breed who sounds precisely like an icon (Bruce Springsteen) but still carries himself in his own way and appears to have the ability to leak his own personality into every song he does. It will be very interesting to see what he does when he finally makes his own record.
But so does McDonald. And she’s just 17.
It’s obvious that McDonald has work to do, as she can be a little pitchy and generally off in spots, but her performances are always entertaining because of the spunk and energy she provides. But the voice is where it’s at, as McDonald has without a doubt the best blend of power, range and tone in this entire competition.
There is still a ways to go, but as things stand, there are two clear front-runners in McDonald and Fletcher. We wouldn’t at all be disappointed if Fletcher ended up winning, but if we’re going off of one epic voice that reigns supreme above the others, it’s McDonald’s.
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