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The Voice: Season 9, Final Four Perform for Votes, 12/14/15

December 15th, 2015 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

Tonight we’ll learn who’s the winner of The Voice Season 9 and whose coach gets (another) Voice trophy. The winning singer gets some money and a contract with Republic Records. Last night the final four contestants performed three songs:  a holiday song, a song of their own choice, and a duet with their coach. So did anyone make a lasting impression on fans?  Let’s find out:

1.  Jordan Smith (Team Adam):  As the singer with the most promotion this season, and the one that’s topped the iTunes charts, Smith’s said to be the front-runner, but that doesn’t mean he’s the most likely breakout star. His song selection is “Climb Every Mountain,” from The Sound of Music, but his voice isn’t a legitimate theater voice. It’s a character voice, akin to having Bugs Bunny do Broadway. Gwen was stocking up on character voices this season, but the one on Team Adam is the one that made it to the end. The crowd loves the performance, though, and so do the judges.

2. Emily Ann Roberts (Team Blake): She picks “Blue Christmas” for her holiday song, and she’s no Elvis. I can’t hear any range, any melody, but the judges all gush over her.

3.  Blake Shelton and Barrett Baber duet “Rhinestone Cowboy.” Host Carson Daly introduces the segment as “two rhinestone cowboys.” Blake says, “People love a little bit of throwback to old-school country.” With this performance coming right after Roberts, it’s apparent that Baber’s the front-running old-school country singer on Team Blake.

4.  Jeffery Austin (Team Gwen):  Daly introduces him as “Team Gwen’s passionate pop singer.” His holiday song choice is “O Holy Night,” and he shows more range than Smith or Roberts. His coach Gwen thinks it’s beautiful. Adam finds the rendition unique and mentions, “that sweet spot in your voice that makes the room stop.”

5.  Adam Levine and Jordan Smith duet “God Only Knows How I Feel About You.” Once again, Jordan’s voice is more cartoon than superstar. It’s like Adam’s singing a duet with Bugs Bunny. Maybe it has some appeal in a “Gangnam Style” way.

6.  Barrett Baber (Team Blake):  Baber’s song choice is a very contemporary country hit, “Die a Happy Man,” which he gives a swamp-pop throwback vibe. He has a deceptively easy-going delivery–his range never feels forced. Gwen gushes afterward, “I feel like I was on another planet! Your vibe, your energy is so strong, it all came together!” Blake adds, “I don’t know that I’ve ever worked with anybody who puts more heart into their performance.” Considering Blake’s coached the most winners over the seasons, that’s saying something.

7.  Blake Shelton and Emily Ann Roberts duet “Islands in the Steam.” I was no fan of the original, but this version proved enjoyable–although more because of Shelton than Roberts. She’s been being compared to Dolly Parton (she has the same twang and that’s about it) but now Blake says she doesn’t sound like anybody else. Maybe he means she’s not nearly as distinctive as Dolly.

8.  Jeffery Austin (Team Gwen):  Now we hear Gwen’s passionate pop singer take a country song, Sugarland’s “Stay,” and flip it into George Michael territory. He was a one-chair turn, but he’s the only singer left who’s not country or cartoon-character novelty. Blake says he likes Jeffery doing country (of course). Gwen says her contestant has a voice that people will recognize on the radio.

9. Barrett Baber (Team Blake): The guy that sang bass in his church choir sings “Silent Night.” Pharrell comments afterward, “Your whole story comes out every time you sing.” Blake adds, “Everything you perform you make your own … Nobody else on radio sounds like you.”

10.  Gwen Stefani and Jeffery Austin duet “Leather and Lace.” During rehearsal she challenges him to keep up with her.  He does.

11.  Jordan Smith (Team Adam):  When Jordan sings his favorite Christmas song, the contemporary “Mary, Did You Know?” we finally hear a singer–not a cartoon, a church singer. The audience response verges on hysteria. So does the judges’ response.

12.  Emily Ann Roberts (Team Blake):   Finally Roberts sings like she should be in the top four, with her performance of the very contemporary country hit, “Burning House.” Blake gushes she could be the next Taylor Swift, the next Carrie Underwood, but I say she’s got a long way to go before she’s in that league. Pharrell finds her singing flawless. Gwen says, “My favorite of you so far. You know how to deliver the intensity of the lyric.” Blake thinks she may have pulled an upset.

Analysis:  No, Blake, I don’t think Roberts pulled an upset. More likely the fact that she’s a coach’s pick will finally catch up with her. As for Team Gwen, Austin’s not country and he’s gay. He can’t pull the all-important mid-America vote. I’m not sure a quirky character like Smith can, either, considering Team Adam’s contestant is directly competing with Team Blake’s army of hardcore country. I’m going to call an upset–for hardcore Team Blake country guy Barrett Baber. That said, let’s watch the finale tonight and see what happens!

Tags: The Voice