This has become an annual tradition (or, in the case of “The Voice,” a biannual one): listing the robbed finalists, semifinalists, and auditioners from any given talent show. Not all of my favorites can make a show’s top 10, and obviously, only one can win. So any singing-show season offers its unfair share of heartache.
It’s both a blessing and a curse on “The Voice” in particular that the talent level is so high and the talent pool so deep. This ensures that a lot of very worthy candidates will get cut in the Battle Rounds, the Knockout Rounds, or even in the Blind Auditions…while on other talent shows, they may have gone all the way.
There are definitely some singers from this “Voice” season that I would’ve liked to see go a lot further. So, without further ado, here is my list of the most-robbed contestants of “The Voice” Season 4. (Important side note: Judith Hill is not on this list because, according to various reports, she’s already signed a record deal, plus she is starring in the new documentary 20 Feet From Stardom and just performed an original song on “The Tonight Show.” That being said, she really should not have gone home in eighth place.)
10. Jane Smith – Jane is the only singer on this list who wasn’t even picked for a team, and I am still wondering why. Whyyyyyyy didn’t any of the coaches spin for this awesome girl? Obviously they could not see how adorable she was, with her perfect Marlo Thomas hair-flip, sweet Keane-painting eyes, and Zooey 101 style…but surely they must have heard the potential in her throaty performance of Florence + The Machine’s “You Got the Love.” Le sigh. If only Cee Lo Green hadn’t sat out Season 4. I have a feeling Cee Lo would have totally hit his button for Jane.
9. Jessica Childress – Usher pitted two of his best R&B singers, Jessica and Vedo, against each other in the Battle Rounds, which wasn’t exactly the shrewdest move. Why would he want to give up either of those contestants? Overall, though, I thought the adorable and intrinsically likable Jessica had the superior voice. Blake Shelton said there “wasn’t a right or wrong decision” here, but yes, there were actually two bad decisions: Usher’s decision to put both of these singers in the same ring in the first place, and the joint decision on the part of Adam Levine and Blake, who still had Steals up for grabs at this point, to let Jessica go. Someone really should have saved her. I bet if Shakira hadn’t blown all her Steals already, she would’ve poached Jessica right away.
8. Jess Kellner – Jess went home on an awful, awful Knockout Rounds night when quite a few of my “robbed” favorites were cut. (Read on for more heartbreak.) Usher picking bland pretty-boy Josiah Hawley over this sultry, silky-voiced chanteuse in the Knockout Rounds was just one decision that evening that totally knocked the wind out of my sails. Letting Jess go this soon was one of Usher’s biggest fails this season.
7. Savannah Berry – Savannah, a YouTube star who’d once performed with Sugarland on the ACM Awards, seemed like a frontrunner from the minute she auditioned, and she stood out even in a season packed with country talent. Her Knockout Rounds performance of a countrified version of Justin Bieber’s “As Long as You Love Me” was inventive and inspired. But her coach, Blake, bafflingly picked her boring and fodderish Knockout Rounds opponent, Justin Rivers, instead. I was hoping that when Blake said “Justin” had won, he was referring Savannah’s Justin Bieber cover. But he wasn’t. My poor brain is still boggling over this bad, bad call.
6. Shawna P. – The MuzikMafia lady had tons of grit and heart, and as a fortysomething contestant, she had the life experience (as well as professional experience) that some of the season’s youngster contestants did not. Shawna had a unique point of view to offer the show. But her coach, Shakira, foolishly pitted her against Sasha Allen in the Knockout Rounds. This Knockout pairing was really apples versus oranges — these ladies had nothing in common, and they had their own strengths and skill sets. In the end, Shakira picked Sasha. While I couldn’t really say that was the wrong decision, I was dejected to see Shawna go home so soon.
5. Warren Stone – One of Adam’s stupidest moves of the season was pitting two of his strongest contestants, Warren Stone and Sarah Simmons, against each other in the Knockout Rounds. This was an even dumber Knockouts pairing than Shawna versus Sasha. Warren, a handsome, country-singing fireman and single dad who pulled a David Cook and convincingly remade Cutting Crew’s “(I Just) Died in Your Arms” as a hard rock song, could have gone all the way to the finale. But instead, he had to sing against one of the best contestants on the entire show, Sarah, who did an amazing job with her ethereal cover of “Wild Horses.” Sarah was the obvious victor, but Warren leaving the competition this early was ridiculous. Adam messed this one up, big-time.
4. Sarah Simmons – Speaking of Sarah, she went home on another one of this season’s most gut-wrenching and shocking nights: the same night that above-mentioned former frontrunner Judith Hill also got the boot. The show was a lot less interesting after Sarah and Judith left. Where’s Sarah’s record deal and documentary, huh?
3. Luke Edgemon – Luke, a former “American Idol” contestant and “Glee” Warbler, was my favorite on Team Blake (and he was my favorite on Team Shakira, before Blake stole him). His Knockout Rounds sparring partner, Holly Tucker, did a great job (please, Blake Shelton, no need to spam me with hate-tweets), but still, I rooted for cool Luke that night. (Keep in mind this was the same night that Jess and Savannah went home, so I was already in a bad mood.) But Blake predictably ditched Luke in his mission to build an all-country team. I was sad, but not surprised. I had no reason to assume that Blake would choose a jazz-handy pop/rock maverick who sang a gender-flipped “Teenage Dream” (and wasn’t even one of Blake’s original team members) over a traditional country girl who covered Tim McGraw. Sigh.
2. Midas Whale – This folk-rock duo was one of the most original and entertaining acts to ever compete on “The Voice,” and they potentially had a built-in fanbase due to Midas member Jon Peter Lewis’s stint on Season 3 of “American Idol.” I’d really been rooting for the Midas boys and had been looking forward to all the exciting, wacky things they could get up to on the live shows. But then Adam pitted them against Amber Carrington in the Knockout Rounds, and they got knocked out. Oh, what might have been. I still miss these boys. I’ve had the Folsom Prison Blues ever since they left.
1. Grace Askew – The Swon Brothers are great and all. I’m happy for them that they made “Voice” history this season, as the first duo to get to the show’s finale. But. Grace Askew REALLY should have been in the finale. When Grace went up against the Swons in the Knockout Rounds, the bad-ass Memphis “bluntry” (blues + country) singer’s cover of “I Can’t Stand the Rain” by Ann Peebles/Tina Turner was so much more interesting and thrilling than the brothers’ pleasantly generic cover of Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away.” I would have preferred the Swons to make Blake’s top four over, say, Justin Rivers, of course. But not over Grace. However, Blake messed this one up too. Grace did not survive under pressure. Keep in mind, this was the SAME night that Jess Kellner, Savannah Berry, and Luke Edgemon all went home. Worst. Night. Ever.
Who do YOU think was robbed this season?