By the time I write this, The Voice finale will have begun. Being in PST, I won’t see it for another three hours.
Part of me thinks they should just give it to Jordan Smith based on his performance last week of “Somebody to Love,” but the show doesn’t work that way. Given this week’s performance, Smith is longer a lock to win.
His performance of “Mary, Do You Know,” was gentle and lyrical. He underscored the drama of the lyrics with the simplicity of his delivery. He and Adam Levine likewise showed restraint in their duet of “God Only Knows.” Lovely.
But Smith chose to sing “Climb Every Mountain.” While this song is well-suited to his ability to belt and soar, it is still the most treacly song ever written by Rogers and Hammerstein. That I hated his version less than I have hated any other version I’ve heard is damning with faint praise.
Barret Baber doesn’t even merit consideration as a winner. His “Rhinestone Cowboy” duet with Blake Shelton reminded me just why I detested mid-seventies country. Sadly, this is now considered “classic.” As far as his “Silent Night”: no. Just no. There are songs you do NOT muck around with and this is one of them.
Which means that Emily Ann Roberts and Jeffrey Austin both have a shot. Neither of them sang their holiday songs particularly well, although Jeffery did a little better on “O Holy Night” than Emily Ann did on “Blue Christmas.” I would have loved to hear Emily Ann take on “Silent Night”: she could have done it justice.
Their individual choice songs both showcased their strengths. Jeffrey’s “Stay” turned a country song into a Sam Smith type heartstring tugger. You would never have thought of this as a country song. I loved Kristen Merlin’s version of this two seasons ago, but Jeffrey’s blew hers out of the water. And Emily Ann’s clear voice was supplemented by a nuanced reading of the lyrics of a song I’ve never heard before. I really can’t think that the original could be much better than this. As Gwen said, “She’s 17?”
So it comes down to Coach Duets as the tiebreaker. Emily Ann and Blake on “Islands In the Stream” was kind of creepy: I really wish he wouldn’t choose love songs to sing with his underage finalists. The performance was simply okay.
But Gwen and Jeffrey on “Leather and Lace,” whew. Jeffrey out-sang Gwen, clearly. The staging sucked, but it didn’t matter. Jeffrey sang as though his life depended upon it. I was never fond of the Don Henley/Stevie Nicks original, but I loved this.
So, my final prediction: Jordan Smith, followed by Jeffrey Austin, with Emily Ann Roberts and Barrett Baber splitting the Team Blake vote.