On Feb. 23, millions of Americans tuned into NBC to watch the season premiere of “The Voice.”
The show’s eighth season brought back Christina Aguilera, reuniting the female vocalist with voice coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton from season one. The premiere also debuted new coach, singer and producer Pharrell Williams.
After eight seasons, it may seem that the obnoxious button pressing, nauseating chair spinning and sassy banter between Levine and Shelton would bore viewers. But with the immense amount of talent this season, viewers can’t turn away as coaches pick and steal contestants from each other to form their teams for the live shows.
Five contestants per coach are selected to go through the lives. Normally by this time in the season, viewers have a solid idea of who will win it all; however, with each team having at least two strong vocalists and performers, the contest is truly up in the air.
The following is a list I’ve compiled about the strongest two contestants for Team Christina, Pharrell, Adam and Blake. This list is based off of my opinion.
India Carney: Carney is a powerhouse. After getting a four-chair turn during her audition in which she sang “New York State of Mind,” Carney has continued to impress the coaches and audience. Her musical background has definitely paid off: Carney attended a performing arts high school where she was classically trained in opera, and is a senior at UCLA’s prestigious classical music program. Her technique, range and emotional capability makes her a standout on Team Xtina.
Rob Taylor: Taylor might just have a higher falsetto than Adam Levine himself and he’s owning it. The strength behind his falsetto and ability to reach such high notes then drop to a lower register has wowed coaches. Taylor’s control with his voice comes from years of singing in church choir. In addition to control, Taylor’s passion is extremely evident onstage. The passion behind his performances has been attributed to making his mother proud and his hope to become a professional singer.
Sawyer Fredericks: In my opinion, Fredericks will be the winner of season 8. The melancholic tone, grit and artistry he possesses can’t be denied. Fredericks’ rendition of “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow” got him a four-chair turn in under two minutes. The fifteen-year-old plans to bring soul and blues to “The Voice,” and we must say he’s been doing incredibly well so far.
Mia Z: Another young artist, Mia Z is a third generation singer in her family. Her mother inspired her to become a blues singer, and at only fifteen, she’s managed to hit notes that in the words of Blake Shelton, “even bees can’t hit that note.” Her unusual tone, vocal maturity and range defies what singers, especially at her age, can do.
Joshua Davis: Davis is an underdog this season. Possessing a strong voice with raspy tendencies (in the best way possible), Davis is almost incapable of performing poorly. Pharrell Williams stated after his blind performance, “Tone, control and character- A+, A+, A.”He brings all kinds of rock- ballads and classics to “The Voice.” With Coach Adam’s guidance, Davis could be the next rocker alongside Levine.
Deanna Johnson: Johnson should be called “the comeback kid.” After her audition in Season 5 with no chairs turned, Johnson came back three years later to get a whopping four-chair turn. Her strong, distinct tone resembles singers Florence and The Machine and even Cher at times. Johnson’s redemption has led her all the way to the lives, and I doubt she plans to stop there.
Sarah Potenza: When you think of the word “rocker,” Potenza is exactly what comes to mind. She brings edge, a raspy yet cutthroat tone, and such strength in her voice that she immediately brings you off your seat to stand and cheer. As an older contestant, she has a lot more experience not only musically but with performing. Potenza always manages to entertain the audience while giving everything she has. Her four-chair turn performances prove that she has the skills and capability to win this season.
Meghan Linsey: Linsey and her coach go way back- she opened for Shelton about ten years ago on tour. From there, she’s toured on her own doing country music. However, she wanted to go back to her roots by bringing some blues to country. The emotion, spunk and ferociousness she brings during her performances got her a three-chair turn which later led to a steal for Shelton. Linsey is an artist that can’t be turned down or turned away from.