By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
On Monday, Sundance Head, We McDonald, Billy Gilman, and Josh Gallagher will fight for the right to join Cassadee Pope, Tessanne Chin, Josh Kaufman, Sawyer Fredericks, Jordan Smith and Alisan Porter in the show’s winner circle.
But before the Season 11 Final Four takes the stage, Jake’s Take celebrates the Top 11 Performances from this season!
11) Nolan Neal: “Tiny Dancer” (Team Adam)
Nolan Neal kicks off our countdown! While he did not get any of the coaches to turn around for him during Season 10, he came back with a vengeance and earned redemption when his cover of “Tiny Dancer” caught all four coaches attention. Out of all the Season 11 Blind Auditions, I would probably remember Nolan’s the most for the fire, passion, and soul that he put behind Bernie Taupin’s immortal lyrics.
10) Austin Allsup: “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” (Team Blake)
Austin Allsup was one of my favorite artists from Team Blake this season. The seasoned singer-songwriter always put a smile on my face with his performances. My favorite performance of Austin’s was “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man.” When you cover the Queen of Soul, the bar is raised exponentially high. However, when Austin transformed the tune into a country-rock arrangement, I hoped that the track went directly to country music radio stations across the nation because it would have been a number one hit!
9) We McDonald: “Love on the Brain” (Team Alicia)
We McDonald’s first appearance on the countdown kicks off with her take on Rihanna’s latest hit from Anti. She used her bombastic vocals and transformed the destructive ballad of a relationship gone wrong into a beautiful three minute and 10-second performance that impressed both her mentor and Miley Cyrus.
8) Ali Caldwell & Brendan Fletcher: “It’s Only Love” (Team Miley/Team Adam)
I cringed when the show had this season’s Top Eight performed duets with each other. However, the duo that clearly stood out from the pack was Team Miley’s Ali Caldwell and Team Adam’s Brendan Fletcher, who performed an outstanding cover of Bryan Adams and Tina Turner’s 1985 duet. Between Brendan’s excellent guitar riffs and husky vocals and Ali’s powerhouse voice, the duo blew away their competition. While it is a shame that neither artists are in the Season 11 finale, but I believe that both artists will have great careers ahead of them.
7) Billy Gilman: “Fight Song” (Team Adam)
I honestly think that Billy Gilman’s path to The Voice: Season 11 finale started here! Billy elevated Rachel Platten’s anthem to whole new level of excellence, and when he got to the second chorus, I knew that Billy wanted to not only advance to the Live Playoffs, but possibly go for the title. Also, I loved his gorgeous giant note at the end of the performance.
6) Sundance Head: “The Climb” (Team Blake)
Team Blake’s Sundance Head continues our countdown with his compelling interpretation of Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.” It is always risky performing a coach’s song and with minimal help from the show’s band on the NBC competition series. Sundance brought country soul to one of Miley’s biggest anthems, and viewers can see how genuinely touched Miley was throughout the performance. I believe that “The Climb” kicked off Sundance’s journey to the Season 11 finale and it showed what kind of artist he will be once the season wraps up.
5) Brendan Fletcher: “True Colors” (Team Adam)
Brendan Fletcher was this season’s dark horse. He won new fans each week with his remarkable one-of-a-kind voice. The only time I questioned Brendan’s song choice was during Top 10 week, when he sang Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.” I still treasure friend to the blog and America’s Got Talent alum Emily West’s touching rendition with Ms. Lauper that they performed on the AGT: Season Nine finale, so Brendan had his work cut out for him. However, from the first note, I got instant chills, and he delivered one of the best performances of the night.
4) Christian Cuevas: “Million Reasons” (Team Alicia)
Christian Cuevas was one artist that polarized me throughout his run on the show. However, he finally won me over when he covered Lady Gaga’s “Million Reasons.” Every time he sang one of Gaga’s lyrics, he stabbed me in the gut. Christian sang with all of his being, and unlike some contestants who are currently in the finale, he showcased his soul in the song and delivered one of the best male vocalist moments in Voice history.
3) Sa’Rayah: “Ain’t Nobody” (Team Alicia)
I honestly believe that Sa’Rayah is one of the artists that got away this season. I was so disappointed with America when they eliminated this powerhouse from the show at the end of Top 12 week. One of my favorite performances was her dynamite interpretation of one of Chaka Khan’s signature classics. Sa’Rayah slayed that song and her upper vocal register breathed new life into me!
2) Ali Caldwell: “I Will Always Love You” (Team Miley)
Up until Top Eight week in The Voice: Season 11, I thought that friend of the blog, Jessica Sanchez, had the best cover of the Dolly Parton/Whitney Houston song that was performed on a singing competition. However, Team Miley’s Ali Caldwell may challenge Jessica for the title. Ali blended both Dolly and Whitney’s versions together in a harmonious cover that brilliantly showcased all of the colors of her beautiful vocal range.
1) We McDonald: ““No More Drama” (Team Alicia)
It’s hard to believe that in three days, Season 11 of the NBC singing competition will conclude. One of the best young guns to have ever auditioned for the show is We McDonald! The 17-year-old may have a Minnie Mouse-esque speaking voice, but her velvety omnipotent vocals have taken the Team Alicia artist extremely far in this competition. One of my favorite We performances was her cover of Mary J. Blige’s “No More Drama.’ I had high expectations for young We as a friend to the blog and Season Two alum Kim Yarbrough set the standard for performing the tune during the show’s sophomore season. We took the challenge by the horns and delivered an astonishing vocal performance that was the real highlight of the Season 11 Knockout Rounds.
I do not own any of the video clips that are featured in this article. They belong to NBC, MGM Television, & Syco Entertainment.