To be a contestant on The Voice Monday was probably like being equal parts gigantic ball of nerves and someone with the patience of a Zen master. On the one hand, you're singing for your life, fighting to stay in the game. Conversely, it's been readily apparent who the real superstars of the competition are, and that became even more apparent during the performances ahead of Tuesday's Big Chop. Who's got the best chance at winning this thing? Here are Season 11's strongest contenders, ranked from weakest on up.
Aaron Gibson, Team Miley Cyrus
He's been hanging by a thread for several weeks now, and his solo rendition of "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" caught him at a worst moment. He had a good, long run but he'll be gone Tuesday.
Brendan Fletcher, Team Adam
His lovely and touching take on Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" again showcased how distinctive his smokey, gravelly voice sounds. But Blake gave us a clue about his future by mentioning his "continued growth," and Adam said he believes his deserves to be in the finale. At this point, if you're not a clear contender for winner then you're preparing to say goodbye.
Christian Ceuvas, Team Alicia
He's a moving, powerful and heartfelt singer, and his haunting take on "To Worship You I Live" was a near-tear jerker. He certainly has a lane as an artist, demonstrating flexibility and warmth again and again. Can he beat the contenders below though? It'll be tough.
Josh Gallagher, Team Adam
With his sexy black getups and perfect country twang, Josh is one of the most appealing in the running — although no match for the country superstar Sundance Head.
Ali Caldwell, Team Miley
Up until tonight, Ali Caldwell might've seemed like the next neck on the chopping block but her "I Will Always Love You" was a game changer. Taking on that song was a huge risk becuase it's no longer a song but a brick in the pop culture pyramid. Throughout it though, Ali handled Dolly's ditty with finesse and fluidity; it sounded like her own take and not an (unwise) attempt to copy Whitney. She nailed that last verse, and those final notes. It was a forceful yet restrained performance — and she sailed through the rest of the night too. She very likely got herself a spot in the finalist's circle.
Wé McDonald, Team Alicia
Young Wé sang circles around Aaron on "FourFiveSeconds," arguably sounding better than Rihanna on the original. While the rest of her night wasn't quite as magical as Ali's, she's built up so much consistent love over the past few weeks, it's hard to see her not hanging with the big kids until the moment of truth.
Billy Gilman, Team Adam
That Billy was chosen to close out the show, singing Celine Dion of all people, says everything. "I Surrender" flaunted the booming strength of his voice, and the straight-outta-Vegas chandelier, the smoke and dramatic choir only enhanced his natural showmanship ability. The guy's ready for the big league. If he doesn't win, it's going to be...
Sundance Head, Team Blake
This guy. It's not just that his voice has wide range and dexterity, he sounds like he has the entirety of the roots of music — gospel, blues, rock, soul and Southern country — in his voice. He's the perhaps the most versatile of the entire bunch and a bona fide star.
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC.