I hate to say “I told you so,” but….ah, who am I kidding? I love to say I told you so…I’m a TV critic. That’s what we do.
So, as the world prepares for tonight’s final round of “The Voice,” it seems worth reminding the world that I correctly picked the Final Four way back at the beginning of the battle rounds.
Well, more or less, anyway…..I had Jermaine Paul, Juliet Simms and Tony Lucca in my Top 10 months ago, with Chris Mann standing tall in my Top 20. So I think I deserve at least a little credit, and a job as a Vegas oddsmaker, given my accuracy here.
It’s wrong to just rest on my laurels, though, so I’m going to take one last shot at this. So, here are my odds for the Final Four…..
Juliet Simms, 2:1
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Considering that she’s the only female left in the competition, and it’s usually the calls by boy crazy pre-teen girls that drive the voting for these sorts of things, it would seem like Juliet doesn’t have a chance. However, she’s clearly been the star the past few weeks, with incredibly strong performances of “Crying” and “It’s A Man’s World.” She’s got the power in her voice. She’s got the intensity in her stage presence. And she’s got Cee Lo Green as her coach, who will no doubt dream up some even more outrageous thing for her to do that will make even singing with wings while having feathers dumped on her look silly. (Oh, wait. That already looked silly when it happened two weeks ago…never mind!) Look for her to surprise the boys and be The Voice.
Jermaine Paul, 5:2
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It’s a close call. I’m betting (see? More proof of my oddsmaking future) that most viewers have him as the odds-on favorite. The ex-backup singer for Alicia Keys has been pretty amazing every week, taking songs from ‘80s suburban icons by like Phil Collins, Bon Jovi into supremely soulful numbers that have made him a fan favorite. Plus, whether you can see it on television or not, he’s always the one who will start motioning to the crowd to stand up and start cheering before every performance. He’s got the energy to win. He’s got the talent to win. He’s got the back story to win (gave up a promising music career at the urging of his young daughters, and dedicates his songs to his loving wife). It’ll be close, and there’s always a chance he’ll pull it out if Juliet falters.
Tony Lucca, 7:1
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Another favorite of the pre-teen girl set, no doubt going back to his Mickey Mouse Club days, Lucca has made the show interesting, I’ll say that. That’s in large part to the ongoing feud with Christina Aguilera. For reasons only she knows (at least I assume she knows…), she has been picking on Lucca from the beginning and has only stepped up her criticism of him the better her go. His breakthrough performance of ex-MMC mate Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time may well be the top highlight on “The Voice” this season, and his crazy kinetic “How You Like Me Now” last week proved the guy’s no fluke. He’s admitted that Aguilera’s attitude has inspired him with his song choices and his performances, but as good as he’s been lately, feuds can only power you for so long before you run out of steam. Even Jon Hamm and Kim Kardashian are friends now. So odds are against Lucca stoking the fire one more time and taking home the top prize.
Chris Mann, 10:1
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Don’t get me wrong. This opera singer from Kansas may well be the nicest guy in the competition. He’s certainly the sharpest dresser, looking every week like a Ralph Lauren ad that also knows how to belt out “Ave Maria.” I wish him well, and think he’ll do a fine job with whatever he chooses to sing tonight. No matter what happens, he’s also got a big future ahead of him because, given his background as an ex-performer on “Glee,” he can clearly do some acting as well as sing. The only drawback is that no matter what he sings, it becomes so big and so operatic and traditional, that might ultimately be a turnoff for a younger voting audience that ultimately prefers performers who will somehow find a way to work rap into all their hits. Although, come to think of it, if he could pull of an opera-rap hybrid, he could move all the way up to the top here.