Radio and TV Talk

Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

Is Jordan Smith an unstoppable force to win 'The Voice season 9?

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Monday, December 14, 2015

Jordan Smith has a resonant voice that shakes the rafters, one that embodies his spiritual nature. And there appears to be nothing the other three finalists can do to stop him from cruising to a victory on "The Voice" tomorrow night.

The show is giving him plenty of love. They replayed the comments made by Adam Levine, his coach, after his initial audition: "The world needs a person like you. You are the most important person who has ever been on the show."

Levine may have said that not just because Smith could sing but partly because Smith looks like he could be your IT guy, not a "Voice" contestant. He upends expectations. He inspires.

His iTunes power has been unprecedented, his songs landing time after time at No. 1 every Monday night.

Finale night was no exception. In fact, he had FOUR tunes in the top 10. All three he sang Monday and his Queen song a week earlier. His "Mary Did You Know" jumped straight to No. 1 on the iTunes chart, bumping "Hello" by Adele. At No. 3? His "Climb Every Mountain" and at No. 5 "God Only Knows" with Levine. And last week's "Somebody To Love" remains at No. 10.

Emily Ann Roberts' duet with coach Blake Shelton "Islands in the Stream" is the only other "Voice" performance in the top 10 at No. 7. Barrett Barber's "Die a Happy Man" is at No. 12, just ahead of Jeffery Austin's "Sorry" at No. 13.

This was a tough night for the contestants. They had to sing a new song, a Christmas classic and a duet with their coach.

My quick takes on the 12 performances Monday night:

Jordan ("Climb Every Mountain") - Nerves, emotions and expectations are clearly weighing on him. After a strong start, he actually got a big wobbly toward the end. But hey, who needs perfection at this stage? Does it matter? A-minus

Emily ("Blue Christmas" Elvis Presley) - Pretty but also mildly dull. B-plus

Barrett (duet with Blake "Rhinestone Cowboy") - The song suited Blake's lower register better but overall, a very respectful cover of this Glen Campbell classic. B-plus

Jeffery ("O Holy Night") - He seems to be missing notes, which is easy to catch since most everyone knows this song extremely well. It's okay but far from his best. B/B-plus

Jordin ("God Only Knows" with Adam) - Like the Glen Campbell cover earlier, this one is a very respectful copy of the original, which is one of the best Beach Boys songs ever. But it doesn't rise above the original, which would have been difficult no matter who tried. Still, it doesn't quite land. B-plus.

Barrett ("Die a Happy Man" Thomas Rhett) - Finally, we have something that isn't so solemn. He brought spirit and life, along with sincerity, to this song. A-minus

Emily ("Islands in the Stream" with Blake) - Sure, this isn't exactly an appropriate song to sing for these two to sing. (They changed the lines "making love with each other" and "from one lover to another," thank goodness.) But it's Dolly and I love this song. Smart play for votes, that's for sure. This is right in Emily's pocket. Lovely vocal blending. A-minus

Jeffery ("Stay" Sugarland) - Another season, Jeffery could win this entire competition. He channels his inner Sam Smith and pours out his emotions for his final performance of the night. Good timing. A-minus/A

Barrett ("Silent Night") - It's often hard to judge Christmas songs like this one having heard 1,000 covers of it. He gives it a palatable country spin and brings some affecting vocal moves that makes it work. B-plus/A-minus

Jeffery ("Leather & Lace" duet with Gwen) - This song doesn't quite fit Jeffery's voice. They make an odd couple to say the least. B.

Jordin ("Mary Did You Know") - This is his strongest performance of the night. Mesmerizing. A/A-minus

Emily ("Burning House" Cam) - Blake knows country and he picked a perfect song for her. She could very well become a country artist with Scott Borchetta. She brings surprisingly supple maturity to this song. As Blake noted, she has the best shot at pulling off an upset. It's a distant shot but the producers gave her the pimp spot for a reason. A/A-minus.



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Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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