What to expect from The Voice this week?
Well, we’ll get four hours of what’s become the best singing show on TV.
If Monday’s two-hour performance finale follows the same format as the show’s first three-contestant showdown in Season 3, each act will sing solo twice and perform one song with their coach.
In Season 3, one of those songs was a repeat from earlier in the season.
I’m hoping The Voice tweaks that. Magical performances never seem quite so magical the second time around.
Besides, I think viewers look forward to hearing new songs from their favorite artists, not another version of a song they’ve probably already downloaded.
No repeats also adds more suspense to the proceedings — another chance for a favorite to stumble, another chance for the non-favorites to gain ground with a superlative performance.
And note this: Tuesday’s two-hour results show starts at 9 p.m. after two weeks of starting an hour earlier.
Apparently the folks at NBC like to keep us guessing.
On to the rankings …
1. Michelle Chamuel (2): Yep, I’m parking the electro pop singer from Amherst, Mass., in the number one spot for the first time. Why? She’s shown the most versatility over the course of the competition. More importantly, given a chance to select songs for herself the last two weeks, she’s shown the capability to do it very well. Her renditions of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” and Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” were two of her best performances to date. Usher did her no favor by giving her the more obscure “Clarity” to show off her electro pop side last week. Michelle did herself no favor by looking like a bum on her trip home. But that’s been about her only misstep recently. Can she really overtake Danielle? It’s a long-shot. But she might pick up some support from fans of Amber Carrington and Sasha Allen. And she’s got a lock on the non-country votes Monday night while Danielle and The Swon Brothers try to play to the same voting base. I’m just hoping those big dark-rimmed glasses don’t catch on as a fashion trend.
2. Danielle Bradbery (1): And why in the world would I bump the sweet-voiced 16-year-old from Texas into the number two spot after having her at number one almost all season? Simple. I think the singer who wins The Voice should be showing progress. And should deliver a moment or two heading into the finals. At this point in Season 3, Cassadee Pope was coming off a “Stupid Boy” performance that I thought was the best single singing show effort of 2012. Danielle? Over the past two weeks, she’s been solid, not spectacular. Both weeks, another singer has topped her on the iTunes chart in her chosen genre. I’m hoping Blake challenges her with this week’s song selections. I’d love to see her give a country bent to a song that isn’t country. If she delivers a moment Monday, I’ll jump back on the Danielle bandwagon in a heartbeat. Because there’s no doubting this: She’s poised well beyond age 16 when she steps on The Voice stage.
3. The Swon Brothers (5): You know what? If I were going to pay money to see any of the top three, my choice just might be The Swon Brothers. Yep, a Swon-cert. They might not be the most scintillating singers on a show called The Voice, but they’re fun, they know their sweet spot and they’re coming off their best week yet. And consider the songs they performed to impress us last week — “Danny’s Song” by Loggins and Messina and “Turn the Page” by Bob Segar. Neither one a country song. The Swon Brothers would have a much better chance of winning if Danielle weren’t in the finals, because she’s going to draw the bulk of the country vote. But remember this: Before Zach and Colton showed up on the scene, a duo had never gotten past the battle round on The Voice. They’ve made it all the way to the finals. That’s quite an accomplishment.
Check back Monday night for song-by-song grades and all week for complete coverage of The Voice finale.