The Voice season 9 has its finalists. On Tuesday night (Dec. 8), the show made its massive slaughter cuts from nine to four. While there were definitely two expected finalists, the Twitter save and one shocking Team Blake pass through made for the sort of exciting semi-final that you know the network was hoping for.
Of course, The Voice had an hour to fill before unveiling its four finalists. When NBC wasn't filling the show with lengthy commercial breaks, we got performances from The Voice alumna Cassadee Pope and this week's mentor (and upcoming biopic subject) Dolly Parton, who brought out a beautiful rendition of her iconic song "Coat of Many Colors." No snark here, Parton is a legend and delivered her song like one.
The first announced finalist was the least surprising one... Jordan Smith. His cover of Queen's "Somebody to Love" was so hyped on Monday night that it seemed like The Voice was ready to hand him his trophy and whatever else these kids win right then and there. With the full support of the producers, a No. 1 slot on iTunes and a growing number of fans, Jordan is the obvious frontrunner for this show and was a clear pick for the finale by America's vote.
The second finalist felt a little less obvious: Team Blake's Emily Ann Roberts. She was her peppiest self on Monday night, giving a jovial take on her idol Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" (on the week Parton was visiting too, which is ballsy).Her bright energy and her matching bouncy yet dynamic vocals helped to land her straight in to America's heart and into the finale. If one person can beat the Jordan juggernaut, it may very well be little ol' Emily Ann. Remember the Matt McAndrew/Craig Wayne Boyd upset of season 7? Don't be surprised when Blake's country mafia comes for the trophy again on the merits of Emily Ann.
But, her country vote may be split in two because she is joined by her fellow Team Blake country singer, Barrett Baber. He honestly felt like a shocking pick - Jeffery Austin's performance of "Believe" felt like the bigger moment, but he seems to have been killed by his opening performance slot.
But, just because he didn't make it through on the America's vote didn't mean he wouldn't have a chance. Jeffery was chosen to sing for a Twitter vote into the finale alongside Madi Davis (who gave a unique rendition of "Big Girls Don't Cry" set in a Parisian café). The biggest surprise of the Twitter save portion was that Zach Seabaugh, who got in over who felt like the more obvious choice, Amy Vachal of Team Adam.
But, Amy was sent packing alongside the always fumbling Braiden Sunshine and Shelby Brown.
When it came to the Twitter save performances, Zach went first (because three country singers in the finale and a Team Blake sweep would be insane). He went for "Live Like You're Dying" by Tim McGraw. This performance, like his take on "The Climb," relied less on his sexy hip-shaking Elvis impersonations and more on his pure vocals. He had a nice tone, dipping into McGraw's original, but he faltered a little on his high notes. This was not finale-worthy.
Madi went into her love of old school pop and offered up Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over." She gave a little indie acoustic spin on this '80s hit, and her sense of vulnerability was quite effective and well beyond her teenage years. She seemed to have a little trouble connecting to a passion that lies within this song but she did some really nice, sweet runs that felt like money grabs that very well could work.
Team Gwen's Jeffery was the finale singer to go and he tapped into his soulfulness with Foy Vance's (or Ed Sheeran's) "Make it Rain." Jeffery really reached into his gut for this one, throwing every ounce of his soul and body into this performance. It was crazy to see and hear and it felt like something on par with a real professional musician. Jeffery has been a bit of a dark horse in this competition, offering up some of the boldest and most original performances, all while keeping on the down low. But, he peaked at just the right time.
And got in to the finale, because there is justice in the world.