‘The Voice’: Did Sundance Head’s Original Song “Darlin’ Don’t Go” Seal The Deal?
It may not be clear which contestant will take home the trophy during tonight’s final results show of The Voice, but one thing was crystal clear on Monday (December 12): There was a surplus in the fog budget leftover from the season. There were heavenly vibes all over the place during the final performances of Season 11 as the four contestants on Teams Adam Levine, Alicia Keys and Blake Shelton (and none for Miley Cyrus) duked it out for the greatest honor NBC bestows to amateur singers and former Grammy winners.
Wé McDonald, Billy Gilman Josh Gallagher and Sundance Head each belted out a cover, a coach duet and an original song in their last efforts to earn votes. Here’s how they fare going into tonight’s results.
Team Adam: Billy Gilman
COVER: Billy begins the night with one of the strongest performances of his season — and that’s saying a lot! Starting off a cappella and building to a big finish, he absolutely crushes Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” The former country child star throws in some soaring notes that would even impress Ol’ Blue Eyes, and manages to make it sound effortless (though it’s anything but).
“Everything this guy has been through was just poured out on this stage,” says Adam. “Regardless of the outcome, how do you not feel like you’ve just won The Voice right now?”
(Cool it, Levine: Only the winner is allowed to feel like a winner.)
COACH DUET: Billy and Adam join forces to sing “Bye Bye Love” by The Everly Brothers. It’s not life changing, by any means, but it’s a totally passable number that fits the Coach Duet qualifications: filling up time to bring the show to two hours without making the contestant look bad. Success!
NEW ORIGINAL SONG: Billy embraces his pop ambitions with his original song, “Because Of Me.” It’s not the undeniable vocal wonder that “My Way” as, but a radio-worthy pop ditty nonetheless.
“This moment is one of the most definitive moments of your career, and I think you are going to see the results every day after today,” says Adam.
Team Adam: Josh Gallagher
COVER: Josh Gallagher reaches peak Josh Gallagher when he covers John Mellencamp’s “Jack And Diane.” It’s a feel-good fun time that, although it arguably could have been executed by any of the Top 20, perfectly encapsulates the country-meets-rock vibe that the former Team Blake singer strives for.
“That song and you are like meant to be together,” says Adam. “You brought this song back that we’ve just been missing for so long.”
COACH DUET: You can’t completely fault Josh for the unraveling that is his coach performance of Santana’s “Smooth.” It’s unclear who is the Carlos Santana and who is the Rob Thomas in this situation (okay, it’s clear and they’re both the Rob Thomas), but the duet is a bit of an unrehearsed cacophony. Josh struggles in his lower register, and Adam doesn’t have a lower register. Best to wipe that one from your memory if you’re a Josh Gallagher supporter.
NEW ORIGINAL SONG: Was Josh auditioning for the Make America Great Again theme song? His “Pick Any Small Town” is filled with lyrics like “where the way it is, is the way it was,” and “we’re the middle of nowhere everyone sings about,” and oozes proud vintage Americana. Fun fact: he wrote the country song with former Team Adam member Nolan Neal. (What do you mean, you don’t remember Nolan Neal?)
“I just feel so proud of everyone on my team, and you’re just killing it dude,” Adam tells him.
Team Alicia: Wé McDonald
COVER: With the aim of “showcasing the many sides of Wé,” Alicia Keys assigns a showtune for her final cover performance. Wé knocks Barbara Streisand’s “Don’t Rain On My Parade” out of the park, although it doesn’t exactly feel like a top download contender. Purity over strategy might work against Team Alicia on this one.
“This song shows everybody whoever ever didn’t understand who you are, how diverse you are, how unique you are, how special you are. It gives everybody a chance to know that nothing can stop you,” says Alicia.
COACH DUET: Wé and Alicia Keys’s coach duet is the reason that coach duets were invented. The pair get in the Christmas spirit with a duet of “Ave Maria.” There are a few minor falters, but Wé’s opera background really works in her favor.
NEW ORIGINAL SONG: Wé’s original song is a bit of a disappointment. The focus was more on putting as many relevant lyrics as possible into “Wishes,” and less on finding moments for her voice to shine. She finds her footing during the chorus, but it’s overall underwhelming.
“It takes a lot of endurance to stand here every week and to stand the test of time,” says Alicia. “No ceiling for you, Wé.”
Team Blake: Sundance Head
COVER: File this under “I did not see that coming!” Soulful country singer Sundance Head gives a country twang to Etta James’ “At Last,” and it’s fantastic. Yes, Wé McDonald and Billy Gillman have been favorites for weeks, but Sundance is really making a dark horse push.
“Someone reached back in time and found this classic iconic vocalist and plopped him on our stage,” says Blake. “It’s absolutely unbelievable.”
COACH DUET: Sundance keeps it in the family for his coach duet, choosing a song written by his dad, Roy Head. Blake and Sundance sing “Treat Her Right” — popularized by Otis Redding — and make it work by giving the heavy lifting high range parts to Sundance.
NEW ORIGINAL SONG: If the competition were judged exclusively on the new original song, Sundance would have it with “Darlin’ Don’t Go,” a tune he wrote for his wife. It’s the right mix of blues, country and soul, and is executed perfectly, thanks in part to the years he’s had to practice it.
“What I’m most impressed with is that this show has finally discovered somebody that is beyond me how in the hell this guy has not been discovered before,” says Blake.
Will that last push be enough to catapult Sundance to (very temporary) stardom? Or will the season-long frontrunner narrative give Wé McDonald or Billy Gilman the big win? Or will the Russians get involved and somehow manage a Josh Gallagher victory? Hit us up below with who you think should win, and who you think will win.