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The Voice Performance Finale Recap: Did Maelyn Jarmon Sound Unbeatable?

the voice recap top 4 performances maelyn jarmon dexter roberts

Ahead of Monday’s Season 16 Finals of The Voice, I was feeling pretty — eh, make that extremely — eh, make that totally sure that Maelyn Jarmon was a lock to win. Why? For starters, she’d been the standout after the Blinds (and even topped TVLine’s countdown of the most promising auditioners). Over the course of the season, she’d never gotten a grade that was less than a B+. She’d consistently topped TVLine’s “Who gave the best performance?” polls. And unlike Blake Shelton’s country boys, she was in a lane of her own. All she had to do was not trip herself up in her last performances. Even if she did, I suspected she could still beat the guys. (On the other hand, I thought there was no way that Season 15’s Kennedy Holmes could lose, either… ) How’d Maelyn and Team Blake fare? Read on, we’ll discuss, then you can offer your predictions in the comments.

Original Single
Maelyn Jarmon (Team Legend), “Wait for You” — Grade: A- | Maelyn’s single, which she told us reminded her of her faraway boyfriend, landed squarely in the vein of singer-songwriter-y pop classics like Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” (though with a bit more energy than that particular number). It wasn’t hard to imagine “Wait for You” being the theme to whatever the next Dawson’s Creek might be; it was that sorta anthem. Needless to say, Maelyn sang the living daylights out of it. There were a couple of moments that veered a little close to pitchy, but overall, this was typical Maelyn. In other words, gorgeous.

the voice recap top 4 performances maelyn jarmon dexter robertsDuet With Coach
Andrew Sevener and Blake Shelton, “All Right Now” — Andrew’s Grade: B+ | After Blake told us that his first impression of Andrew was damn, what a sexy voice, the two of them took to the stage, and Andrew came alive. They didn’t really gel when they sang together on the choruses, but when Andrew sang by himself, it was clear that he was trying to wake us up and shake us up — mission accomplished. There was a lotta extra gravel in his vocal, and I loved it. Overall, the Free cover was just kinda eh, but I majorly appreciated the oomph that Andrew gave it (as well as the room that Blake gave his contestant to shine).

Cover
Dexter Roberts (Team Blake), “Anything Goes” — Grade: A | Before Dexter went on, Blake suggested that this Randy Houser song was the ideal choice for him, because he tends to really pour his heart into a performance, and this one has a whole lotta heart — broken, but still. On stage, Dexter sounded entirely radio-ready; like, they could just slap this performance unsweetened on iTunes, and nobody would bat an eyelash. What I especially loved about it was that there was a one-whiskey-too-many quality to his voice. He sounded like a man ruined — and I mean that as a compliment. He didn’t just sing the ballad, he inhabited it, and the result was a thing of crushing beauty.

the voice recap top 4 performances maelyn jarmon dexter robertsDuet With Coach
Gyth Rigdon and Blake Shelton, “Take It Easy” — Gyth’s Grade: B- | Before the duo took to the stage with the Travis Tritt version of The Eagles classic, Blake praised Gyth’s “willingness to embrace the Amish culture with the beard.” Ha. When the spotlight fell on them, Gyth looked like he was having a blast and acquitted himself nicely. But there was just no way that his voice was gonna stack up against Blake’s, even if Blake wasn’t trying to show off (which he wasn’t). Blake could walk through a song and still sound like a million bucks. Gyth, while a fine singer, has a thinner, less memorable voice, simple as that. He sounds like a good backup singer, not a future superstar. So of the country boys, Dexter was definitely the frontrunner for me at this point.

Original Single
Andrew Sevener (Team Blake), “Rural Route Raising” — Grade: B | “The music is kinda what I wanna do as an artist,” said Andrew while recording his rollicking single with Blake. Right off the bat, it was gonna be hard for me not to be distracted by the fact that Andrew kept pronouncing “rural” as a one-syllable word. On stage, he started off kinda restrained, but I hoped that was OK; it would give him somewhere to go with the number. And it did build as it went along, leading to a chorus that reminded me totally of some other song. (Anyone else get that feeling? I couldn’t think of the song, though.) Anyway, this was good, but I didn’t think Andrew was gonna win over, say, any Dexter fans with a performance whose smoke mostly came from the fog machines, not his voice. This needed to have more fire for him to have a chance at the title.

the voice recap top 4 performances maelyn jarmon dexter robertsDuet With Coach
Maelyn Jarmon and John Legend, “Unforgettable” — Maelyn’s Grade: A | When John started singing, I totally heard what Maelyn had been talking about before they hit the stage: He really does sound like Nat King Cole. Maelyn’s vocal was as silky-smooth as the evening gown she was wearing (though I wouldn’t have objected if her mic had been turned up a smidgen). By the time they were through, I was thinking that this might be the best duet cover of a classic since Kristin Chenoweth and Matthew Morrison’s “A House Is Not a Home” on Glee once upon a time.

Cover
Gyth Rigdon (Team Blake), “Once in a Blue Moon” — Grade: C | In rehearsal, Gyth felt the pressure. It had been nerve-racking enough for him to do a song of his coach’s, but to do a song by his coach’s hero, the late Earl Thomas Conley? Yikes. I felt for him. And I really wanted to love this — it played to Gyth’s strength, emotional ballads. But I kinda didn’t even like it. He wasn’t horrible — this wasn’t a Talon Cardon situation or anything. Gyth just lacked the confidence, not to mention the vocal chops, to really do the number justice. Tellingly, Kelly Clarkson said more about the song and Gyth’s tux than she did about his singing.

the voice recap top 4 performances maelyn jarmon dexter robertsOriginal Single
Dexter Roberts (Team Blake), “Looking Back” — Grade: A | When Dexter was in the studio working on his single with Blake, I thought it sounded like a smash — like it coulda been a No. 1 for Aerosmith. On stage, the number started off a little mumbly, but there was no denying that chorus — it was massive, and Dexter sounded flippin’ tremendous on it. On top of that, he looked on stage like he knew, “Yeah, this is working.” He was totally in the zone. So much so, as a matter of fact, that I was starting to think hmm, maybe that win for Maelyn wasn’t quite such a lock. After the performance, Blake said that he thought Dexter was the most ready of all the contestants to record an album and become a megastar.

Cover
Andrew Sevener (Team Blake), “Lips of an Angel” — Grade: C | Holy Waylon Jennings, I do love Andrew’s voice; it sounds as well-worn as your favorite pair of jeans. Still, I worried when he told his coach in rehearsal that he wasn’t going to attack Hinder’s song as he usually would but go for a more emotional approach. And it turned out I was right to worry. The idea was sound. Unfortunately, Andrew was a little off. And even if he’d sung it perfectly, the number didn’t have the energy or the “wow” factor to lure any votes away from the frontrunners. “You’re having a breakout night tonight,” Blake told Andrew afterward. But as big a fan of Andrew’s as I am, all I could think was, “A breakout night? As in break out the beer, because he won’t be winning Tuesday?”

the voice recap top 4 performances maelyn jarmon dexter robertsDuet With Coach
Dexter Roberts and Blake Shelton, “Hard-Workin’ Man” — Dexter’s Grade: A- | I might be Team Maelyn, but especially after Monday, I can’t say that Dexter wouldn’t make an absolutely credible victor. And his performance with his coach just dropped an exclamation point at the tail end of that thought. Tackling Brooks & Dunn with Blake, Dexter sounded as casual as his mentor. Like, “Yup, I always sound this good, no big whoop. We’re just having some fun up here.” And he certainly looked like he was having fun. That combo in my mind is money in the bank — and it could lead to an upset Tuesday.

Original Single
Gyth Rigdon (Team Blake), “Proof I’ve Always Loved You” — Grade: B+ | Credit where it’s due: The single Gyth wrote was solid — and smart, too. As you’d hope he would, he played to his strengths, not challenging himself vocally to stretch any further than he comfortably could. So this was his strongest vocal of the night. On top of that, the rapid-fire parts of the number were edgy and cool, like he was occasionally an alt-country auctioneer or something. I still don’t think, vocally, he’s any competition for Dexter. But this was pretty damn good.

Cover
Maelyn Jarmon (Team Legend), “Hallelujah” — Grade: A+ | Well, if you wanna show that you’re a singer with a capital S, Leonard Cohen’s classic is the song to do it with! “I felt the pain,” said her coach as she packed the number with longing in rehearsal. On stage, Maelyn sounded like she had a trophy case full of Grammys at home — or soon would. She sang with an emotion that drew me in (and made me freaking cry, no less!) and a precision that made me think future studio engineers working on her records were going to love her — how much easier could she make their jobs?!? There’d be nothing to fix! Needless to say, I hereby take back everything I said previously about Dexter being a viable winner; it has to be Maelyn. Has. To.

So, who stood out for you overall Monday? Vote in the poll below, then hit the comments with the order you think the Final Four will finish in. (Good as Dexter was, I’m still going with: 4. Gyth. 3. Andrew. 2. Dexter. 1. Maelyn.)