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The Voice: Season 12, Final 8 (Semi-Finals), 5/15/17

May 16th, 2017 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

How predictable is The Voice this season? Suddenly the semi-finals are on us, and next week is the final four. Last week I thought Vanessa Ferguson would be eliminated and either Lilly Passero or Mark Isaiah would get the Twitter save. Instead Passero and Isaiah were eliminated and Ferguson got the Twitter save.

Will the finale consist of Blake’s country girl, Gwen’s country girl, Gwen’s Heartland wannabe American Idol guy, and whoever gets the most popular download with the conservative Christian wing? Ferguson is still the most likely person to be cut this week, but a peek at the iTunes chart shows some unexpected fan bases surging. How does that compare to last night’s performances?

1.  Hunter Plake (Team Gwen):  This season’s American Idol type is a U2 fan with a soft whispery voice, and U2 frontman Bono’s made a career of pushing his soft whispery voice into the far corners of rock. Gwen’s finally found a song that makes the most of Hunter’s alt-rock cred:  U2’s “With or Without You.” Blake says, “By far your best performance.” However, it’s not high on this morning’s iTunes chart, suggesting people prefer to download the original.

Tonight features the eight remaining contestants paired off for duets. The first one is Team Alicia’s Chris Blue and Vanessa Ferguson singing Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You.” Downloads and tweets count as votes.

2.  TSoul (Team Blake):  Unfortunately TSoul is out of his teens, so his age does not make him a prime candidate for winning a TV singing contest. He sings Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way.” It’s an easy song, not in an “easy to sing” way but in a “take it easy” way. Alicia comments, “An Otis Redding interpretation of Aretha … You always put something more into it.”

Second duet:  Hunter Plake and Aliyah Moulden do a sweetheart duet (or try to) of “Let it go.” Their styles make an awkward pairing and the song choice could’ve been better.

3.  Brennley Brown (Team Gwen):  We’ve seen this type before, and her name was Danielle Bradbery, season 4 winner. Does the country voting audience want another one just like her? I still think the most interesting country singer this season was Taylor Alexander, who Adam unwisely failed to keep.

4.  Lauren Duski (Team Blake):  The other country female vocalist who’s a favorite to win The Voice season 12 is a little more mature, a little more experienced, and she’s being coached by Blake Shelton. Gwen’s got the girl Blake discarded when he kept Duski. Chances are he saw something in Duski he didn’t see in Brown. Look at the iTunes chart this morning and you’ll see Duski’s breaking out (a #1 hit and more) while Brown is far down in the downloads.

Third duet:  Jesse Larson and TSoul rock the house and get souled out to Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish.”

5.  Chris Blue (Team Alicia):  Blue is currying favor with the Christian demographic like a RW Republican politician. He sings a gospel song, “Take Me to the King.”

6. Vanessa Ferguson (Team Alicia):  Although Ferguson’s doing better with iTunes downloads today than I expected, she’s still the artist I judge most likely to fall below the cut line. She sings “Superstar,” a big hit for the Carpenters in 1971, and it’s not age-appropriate for her. It’s a teen-crush song, more suited for one of this season’s teens.

Fourth duet:  Brennley Brown and Lauren Duski reunite for “Good Hearted Woman,” a song that may be too mature for them. Blake matched these two during the battle rounds and chose to advance Duski. Brown’s still around only because Gwen grabbed one of Blake’s leftovers.

7.  Jesse Larson (Team Adam):  This season’s one remaining rocker (and one remaining member of Team Adam) delves into a country-rock-blues sound for Chris Stapleton’s “I Was Wrong.” Adam offers the opinion that Larson is the best singer this season has. Interestingly, a look at this morning’s iTunes chart shows his performance to be a very popular download. Could he sneak into the fourth slot?

8.  Aliyah Moulden (Team Blake):  Singing the hymn “I Can Only Imagine,” which shows she’s going for the RW Christian vote just like Blue did. I didn’t think she’d get past the country girls but she could elbow someone aside, especially since she’ll pull young teens as fans, and young teens vote, vote, vote in singing contests.

This morning’s iTune charts shows the top downloads to be:  Lauren Duski, Chris Blue (twice), Aliyah Moulden, and Jesse Larson. Vanessa Ferguson muddies the picture but only as Blue’s duet partner. Her own solo performance is far back in the field. Will Brennley Brown and/or Hunter Plake get elbowed out of the final? That’s what tonight’s results show is for, to answer questions like that.

Tags: The Voice