Season 11 of The Voice is underway. Regardless of how I may feel about the show’s treatment of its singers, there’s no denying we have some solid talent this season. I did feel that aside from a few standouts, Seasons 8 through 10 were rather weak. With Season 11, The Voice could prove to be an amazing and truly competitive show.
The blind auditions continue this week, but before jumping ahead, why not look back on several of the best singers to grace the Voice stage thus far?
As someone who isn’t much of a country fan, it’s rare that a country singer grabs my attention almost immediately. Voice contestant Sundance Head blew me away. His rendition of “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” was perhaps the best country audition I’ve ever heard.
Sundance is a solid performer with a booming voice. He’s also a serious threat to other artists; despite his country look, he has cross-genre appeal. Someone like that can sing practically anything — and that type of versatility could help him go far in this competition.
What a voice this promising young crooner has! Riley Elmore sang “The Way You Look Tonight.” He doesn’t sound like anyone else this season, and crooners are a rarity on singing competitions like The Voice. Coach Adam Levine swung for the fences to get Riley on his team. That led to what will probably be one of the most memorable moments on the show.
The only thing that worries me with Elmore is if he’s forced into a situation where he has to hop genres. Song choice could prove his Achilles heel. If so, it will likely emerge during the duets portion of The Voice. Hopefully, Riley’s unique charm will help him progress, or at least get stolen by another coach.
This rendition of the Beatles’ classic “Come Together” borrowed heavily from the late Michael Jackson. However, the attitude and sass on display completely belonged to Sophia Urista. She’s clearly a natural and fearless performer, and she owned the stage.
Something else that worked to Sophia’s advantage is her unique sound. She’s unlike anyone I’ve heard thus far. Urista also really pulls off the rocker look. I’m interested to see in what direction Voice coach Miley Cyrus goes with her.
I was determined to make this a “Top 5” list. Then Billy Gilman and his version of “When We Were Young” ruined everything. I could not deny a voice so pure and powerful; Billy definitely belongs on this list and in this competition.
What’s especially interesting about this talented country singer is that he had a career as a child. It can be really tough to sing a certain way as a child and then navigate your maturing voice. Gilman must be commended for making the adjustment. It probably wasn’t easy, but he made it sound like a seamless process.
I usually hate it when someone sings a song created by one of the judges. I’ve always felt it was such a cringy act of desperation — especially when the person does a mediocre or bad job.
However, Lauren Diaz was simply phenomenal. Her rendition of the Alicia Keys hit “If I Ain’t Got You” was so outstanding, Keys herself was the first to turn around. That is a stunning testament to how gifted Lauren is.
I only hope that she’s encouraged to branch out a bit, as she really does have Voice-winning potential.
Seventeen-year-old Wé McDonald had the best audition of the season thus far. It was a moment almost as startling as the “blind” audition we got from Season 9 winner, Jordan Smith. Particularly, when you compare Wé McDonald’s speaking voice to her singing voice.
McDonald’s version of “Feeling Good” was flawless. It was certainly one of the best versions of the song I’ve ever heard anywhere. I really look forward to hearing more from Wé. Barring a bizarre disaster (usually in the form of godawful song choice), I see Wé McDonald on a route straight to the Season 11 finale. It was definitely a moment where you pondered whether you already heard the winning contestant.
So who were your favorite Season 11 auditions so far? Do you think we’ve already seen the singer who’ll win The Voice? Share your thoughts on these singers — and tonight’s auditions — in the comment section below!
[Featured Image by NBC’s The Voice]