Season 13’s top 20 semifinalists were revealed this Tuesday, and The Voice Reality Rocks has their exclusive cast photos … and, of course, some opinions as well. Check out this definitive ranking of the contestants so you can make an informed vote next week!
Chloe is this year’s Jeffery Austin: a sleeper contestant absolutely no one saw coming (who was even montaged in the Battles),
until she showed up at the Knockout Rounds in a snazzy suit and slayyyyed. Her gorgeous, goosebump-inducing Knockout cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landside” was the standout performance of Season 13 — and the season’s highest iTunes charter so far, peaking at No. 12. Shockingly, Chloe’s doppelganger and original coach, Miley Cyrus, gave her up, but Miley’s loss is definitely Blake Shelton’s gain. Blake could pull off a six-peat win with this exquisite young songstress. (Photo: NBC)
Jennifer Hudson will probably land an endorsement deal with Zappos before Season 13 is over — because as long as she has fellow Whitney Houston fan Davon (and his nearly Whitney-level vocals) on her side, she’s sure to be throwing designer shoes left and right. This charismatic entertainer is a force to be reckoned with, the real deal, and the total package. Jennifer, a former
Voice U.K. coach, may soon be bragging about winning The Voice on both sides of the pond. (Photo: NBC)
While there is a risk that Addison and Chloe, both indie-leaning songbirds, will cancel each other out in the Playoffs, I feel there is room for both in the Season 13 finale. With a natural “melody in her voice” (according to J.Hud, in one of the most astute comments of the season), Addison has also experienced early iTunes success, with her “Beneath Your Beautiful” hitting No. 38 and her Battle Rounds duet of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” going to No. 36. Interestingly, Addison is another Team Miley castoff; Miley apparently came in like a wrecking ball and wrecked her chances of winning this season, by getting rid of two of her star players!
He’s got Harry Styles hair — and Harry Styles charisma. But did Harry Styles ever make Kelly Clarkson
cry? Because that’s just what Noah did with his soulful Knockout performance of James Bay’s “Hold Back the River.” I’ll be crying a river myself if this talented kid doesn’t make it to the top six. (Photo: NBC)
A rock ‘n’ soul powerhouse channeling Mary J. Blige and Tina Turner, a cancer survior, and a mother, Janice is a true fighter. She pours every ounce of her pain and passion into go-for-broke, gauntlet-throwing performances like “I’m Goin’ Down” and “Radioactive,” and it’s always good TV. I would love to see Janice differentiate herself in the Playoffs with more left-field, alt-rock choices, à la her “Imagine Dragons” cover; if she does that, there’s no way she’s goin’ down any time soon.
Moriah is, as Blake might say, BAD. ASS. And she’s as tough as her surname implies. A guitar-slinging 16-year-old raised on ’80s hair metal (she even once guested on a solo album by Stryper singer Michael Sweet!), Moriah nailed every note of Heart’s “Crazy on You” in her Blind Audition. Granted, she sounded a
lot like Heart’s Ann Wilson, but in her Knockout performance, she started to find her own voice with a fierce take on a contemporary Kelly Clarkson classic. (Photo: NBC)
Chris is a worship leader by day and a drag queen (Nedra Belle, the drag daughter of
RuPaul’s Drag Race veteran Sasha Belle) by night. Can I get an amen, literally? With a pedigree like that, Chris makes for good TV, but he also has vocal chops — no lip-syncing for this guy! However, with dual backgrounds in church and NYC drag clubs, Chris’s performance style is, shall we say, far from subtle. He’ll have to work on his oversinging tendencies, which could alienate viewers — otherwise he might sashay away from the competition way too soon. (Photo: NBC)
During a mentoring session, Kelly Clarkson said, “Not only does Brooke have what it takes to be in the industry, I think the industry needs people like her. She’s so lovable on top of being an amazing vocalist.” High praise from one America’s sweetheart to another! Brooke might fade into the background as she goes up against some of this season’s flashier personalities, but like Kelly on
American Idol Season 1, she has chops and charm. Don’t underestmate her. (Photo: NBC)
Miley is determined to win with a country contestant this season, which would bring her career’s
Joanne-reminiscent, return-to-roots story arc to its logical conclusion. With fellow sassy rebel girl Ashland, Miley may get her wish. Ashland has enough Gretchen Wilsonesque sass to please diehard country fans, plus the rock ‘n’ roll edge (note her Skynyrd-style cover of Bon Jovi’s road-weary “Wanted Dead or Alive”) to cross over. I’m interested to see if she can pull off a ballad, however — at some point, America will yearn to connect with kinder, gentler Ashland underneath all that leather. (Photo: NBC)
The onetime Adam Lambert/Nicki Minaj backup singer-turned-country contender occupies a lane all her own, and she’s certainly interesting and unique. But will country fans, and Blake Shelton fans, embrace her? I’m concerned they’ll cast their votes for the more traditional country contestants … like Adam Cunningham.
Adam has a fantastic, ferocious rock voice, but the Led Zep cover band frontman has some corny onstage habits he needs to kick — like his tendecy to prowl the stage in endless, nervous circles, not to mention all that excessive hairography. However, every
Voice season needs a long-haired rocker dude, and Adam P. is the only long-haired rocker dude of Season 13. I think if Miley, a rock chick herself with impeccable taste, gives him some newer tunes that prove he’s more than just a Foreigner/Deep Purple karaoke type, he could stick around a while. (Photo: NBC)
Hannah is a classic Clarkson-style pop/soul balladeer, and though she has faded into the background for much of this season, her Knockout Rounds performance of Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain,” which resulted in the final dramatic Steal of Season 13, established her as a strong contender — and Brooke Simpson’s stiffest competition this season.
Like Miley, Adam Levine is
determined to win with a country contestant (and rub it in his longtime rival Blake’s face, of course). Adam almost achieved this goal in Season 11, when his bro-country contender Josh Gallagher placed fourth and country-crossover pop singer Billy Gilman was runnerup, but maybe his dastardly dream will come true with this guy. While Adam the C’s earlier performances were generic meat-and-potatoes country, his gruff Lee Ann Womack/Chris Stapleton remake in the Knockouts was a revelation. If Adam the L continues to push Adam the C down that singer-songwriter lane, that lane just might lead to the finale. (Making the victory even more sweet would be the fact that Cunningham was originally a member of Team Blake.) Song choice will be key here. (Photo: NBC)
Shi’Ann, at age 15, is the youngest semifinalist in the top 20 — a fun fact that will surely be trotted out at every opportunity this season. (“
I can’t believe you are only 15!!!“) Obviously Shi’Ann’s inexperience may hinder her, and the novelty of her youth will only get her so far; from this point onward, she must be graded on the same curve as everyone else, even 40-year-olds Red Marlow and Esera Tuaolo. But Jennifer Hudson sees a version of herself in Shi’Ann, and is therefore likely to give this girl special guidance — so Shi’Ann could be this year’s Wé McDonald or Jacqui Lee. (Photo: NBC)
There’s no doubt that this theater-trained, Berklee-schooled jazz chanteuse is one of Season 13’s most techincally skilled vocalists. But even her own coach Adam said she’s “almost too perfect.” She lacks charisma and doesn’t
pop onscreen like some of her opponents, and she seems much older than her 24 years. It’s easy to see why her former YouTube duet partner Charlie Puth’s career soared, while hers has stalled. I think Emily could have a bright future on Broadway, but sadly, I don’t know how far she can go on this show. (Photo: NBC)
This dyed-in-the-flannel everyman could not be more obvious Team Blake material if he’d showed up wearing an “Ol’ Red”-era mullet and drinking a Starbucks cup filled with whiskey. A “country as cornbread” (or “country as a wheelbarrow full of turnip greens”) dude who rattles off one-liners like “I’m as excited as a fat kid at a candy store,” he sure has a big, made-for-TV personality, and Middle America will love the lug. Until this week, I’ve found his performances to be typical weeknight bar-band fare and corny as cornbread, so I’d rather Middle America’s country votes go to Ashland Craft or Adam Cunningham —
but Red’s “Outskirts of Heaven” Knockout performance proved that he has a softer side and doesn’t always have to be the Season 13 class clown. (Photo: NBC)
Mitchell has the cougar-baiting, hunky good looks to make America’s housewives swoon, and with his excellent pitch, he’s easy on the ears as well as the eyes. He’s already shaping up to be the Barrett Baber of Season 13. However, there’s a Ken-doll slickness, forced smiley-ness, and smugness to his performances that I find off-putting, and he plays it safe with his song choices. I’d love to see more grit and gravitas from Mitchell, so he can become the Brendan Fletcher of Season 13 instead.
Young Anthony has teen-heartthrob appeal and tons of potential, but even his coach Adam admits that he’s “not fully cooked yet.” With only four weeks of Playoffs, will Anthony have the time to catch up with his more, um, seasoned opponents? I am not so sure. Anthony has talent, but he may have been better off waiting to try out for Season 14.
Jon’s confidence can sometimes come across as cockiness, and the professional corporate gig singer’s performances (
“Blame It on the Boogie”? really??) don’t feel modern or relevant. It doesn’t bode well for his chances that his Knockout Round performance was montaged — a rarity on this series — and not even uploaded by NBC to YouTube. (Photo: NBC)
As an openly gay former NFL player, Esera has by far this season’s most fascinating (and timely) backstory. Does he have the pipes to back that up, though? I sense that he’s made it this far mainly because he makes for compelling television. It’s unlikely that there’s a
Voice touchdown in his future. (Photo: NBC)