It’s all been leading up to this and on Monday’s episode of The Voice (Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on CTV2), the final four singers got their last shot at convincing viewers why they should be crowned the Season 17 winner on Tuesday night. Capping off one of the most evenly run races in The Voice history, all four coaches, including Gwen Stefani, John Legend, Blake Shelton and Kelly Clarkson have team members in the finale, with no clear winner stepping out from the hugely talented final four.
Monday’s episode featured Jake Hoot, Rose Short, Ricky Duran and Katie Kadan taking the stage three times, once to perform a cover, once for a holiday-themed duet with their coach, and once to sing their original track. While Katie and Rose continue to be the most original singers in the competition, Ricky’s impressive original number may help him edge out the competition.
RICKY DURAN – TEAM BLAKE
Blake described Ricky as an artist who never wavers, so it was no surprise when Ricky delivered three pitch perfect performances on Monday night. He kicked off the episode with the aptly chosen “Running Down a Dream” by Tom Petty, a fitting cover for a finale of a singing competition. Ricky’s years of performing in bars continued to serve him well, with the Texas singer expertly working the stage without sacrificing his vocal performance for his physical interaction with the crowd.
As for Ricky’s original song “A Woman Like Her,” John predicted it would be the most streamed original song this season and he’s probably right. “A Woman Like Her” sounds both fresh and timeless and could easily be on the charts right now with Ed Sheeran or Niall Horan on vocals. Ricky’s strength all season has been his consistency in hiss showmanship and professional-sounding vocals, but knowing who he is as an artist hasn’t been clear. With “A Woman Like Her,” Ricky finally gave viewers an idea of what they could expect from an original album and it could be what he needs to take the win on Tuesday.
ROSE SHORT – TEAM GWEN
Rose Short has touched on gospel, soul, blues, pop, rock and even country this season, but she’s at her best when she has a song that gives her the space to express her emotions. Thankfully, her original song “Steamroller” has that space. Blake said he hasn’t heard a better pairing between an original song and an artist on The Voice in 17 seasons, which is also a testament to Rose’s incredible gift of taking ownership over whatever she sings.
Closing out Monday’s show, Rose took on Elton John’s “Border Song,” bringing in a full orchestra and gospel choir, a fitting send off for an artist who has taken viewers to church on a weekly basis. Preach, Rose.
JAKE HOOT – TEAM KELLY
Jake Hoot is the only singer in the top four who co-wrote his original track and the country singer used the heartbreak of his divorce to fuel his new single. Taking a stab at songwriting is impressive if not a little awkward for the ex-Mrs. Hoot.
If Jake does remarry, he’s got his final wedding song with Lonestar’s “Amazed,” which was required listening for the end of any wedding party/junior school dance in the early 2000s. It appears Jake was trying to bridge the gap between country fans and pop fans with a song that listeners of all genres are probably tired of by now. But at least it’s recognizable, right? Jake’s voice has such a classic country sound and would sound good on just about everything, which is why it would have been more memorable to hear him on a song that isn’t so overplayed.
KATIE KADAN – TEAM LEGEND
It’s always exciting to hear what Katie is going to sing because the powerhouse from Chicago can make any song sound bluesy and cool thanks to her distinct grit, soaring notes and effortless air of cool. Case in point, Aerosmith’s “Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.” Like Jake, Katie also went back for her pick, this time to the late 1990s for another wedding/school dance staple. Backed by an orchestra and choir, Katie’s performance brought the song into the 2000s. Not quite the 2010s, but at least 2009.
As for Katie’s original song “All Better,” it was high on the ‘Cool Scale,’ with Kelly immediately adding the song to her Sexy Playlist. As John said, the attitude, vibe and energy of “All Better” was a perfect fit for Katie, who got to show off her distinct growl and big notes for the gut-punch single that is also a must-have on the Breakup Playlist. It appeared as though Katie’s mic dropped her voice during higher notes near the opening of the track, but Katie pushed through, looking better, feeling better, sounding better. All better.
The Voice finale airs Tuesday, December 17 at 8 p.m. ET on CTV2.