It's down to just three in the final week of "The Voice": funny Oklahoma siblings the Swon Brothers and 16-year-old country cutie Danielle Bradbery, of Team Blake, and Team Usher's expressive, earnest Michelle Chamuel.
On Monday night, each of them sang one new song, selected either by or with input from the contestant's coach; one old song, reprising a "defining moment" from the season; a duet with the coach; and a group number with the other finalists and, ultimately, with this season's top 16 contestants.
The coaches also joined together to sing a group number, launching the show with a messy, though energetic "With a Little Help From My Friends." Oh, and Blake Shelton and Usher met with their contestants' families.
In short, it was a night of many songs, generally well sung and performed.
The Swon Brothers sang a version of the Eagles' "I Can't Tell You Why," with which Adam Levine, a devoted fan of the iconic rock band, said they'd done themselves proud. They also reprised their take on Loggins and Messina's "Danny's Song"; Shelton felt they'd showed off their harmonies and continued their upward trajectory. And on their duet with Shelton, Brad Paisley's "Celebrity," their charm and way with a lyric were on full display -- as was Shelton's. The coach seemed to particularly enjoy a lyric that skewered the tabloids.
Why they could win: They're cute and cuddly, funny, warm and likable. And they can sing and play instruments (piano, guitar).
Interesting family revelation: When they were kids, the brothers' punishment for squabbling was to be sent to their room with the directive not to come out until they'd written a song.
Michelle Chamuel reprised her take on Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble," then tackled Annie Lennox's "Why." As always, she wowed the coaches with her originality, energy, humility, talent and what Usher said was a combination of "likability and capability." Her duet with Usher, U2's "One," was electric and made clear how much each had learned from the other. Usher even honored Chamuel with a mid-performance deep-knee bend.
Why she could win: Her quirky, lovable-geek style and earnest dedication seems to have made her a fan favorite, and her energy is truly contagious. What's more, her voice is solid and her stage moves never fail to impress -- so much more organic and infectious than that singing-into-the-mirror thing Usher keeps having her do, this time with a hokey added twist.
Interesting family revelation: Her mother was an Egyptian Jew who fled to the U.S. as a refugee.
Danielle Bradbery sang a rousing duet of Patty Loveless's "Timber, I'm Falling in Love" with Shelton, on which he showed, as he always does, his generosity as a coach and a performer, by letting his contestant shine brighter than he. She reprised her breakout version of Pam Tillis' "Maybe It Was Memphis," prompting Levine to declare her to be this season's rightful winner and gush that her voice was "so unbelievably perfect and powerful," perhaps "one of the better voices I think I've ever heard live." Then she capped the night with Sara Evans' "Born to Fly," which prompted Usher to call her "a special thing," Levine to say she was "almost too perfect" (apparently meaning it as a compliment) and Shelton to say Bradbery was so dazzling a star that he could barely look at her.
Why she could win: She has the most amazing voice. Plus country music fans. Plus she's adorable and young and has Shelton as a coach. Plus not only do the coaches love her (Levine has already declared her to be the winner, don't forget), the "Voice" producers love her too, giving her the final spot and letting her voice be the last one heard on this all-important final performance show.
Interesting family revelation: She has a mom, a dad, a stepmom and a stepdad -- four parents, all of whom showed up to meet with Shelton. It seemed only a little awkward.
And so on Tuesday night, we'll see one of these worthy contestants crowned the Season 4 winner of "The Voice." Also? Cher -- live!
Will Bradbery prove Levine (and others) right and waltz off with the win? Will Chamuel's quirky-outsider fan base propel her to victory? Will the Swon Brothers pull off a charming-guys-with-guitars coup? What do you predict?
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