Televised Talent: The Voice Top 12

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published:

Finally! After months that seemed like years worth of Blind Auditions, Battle Rounds, More Battle Rounds and Playoffs, the judges of The Voice are finally giving us a chance to vote on their picks for the top 12.

Now it will be mere weeks that seem like days until one wins The Voice, along with the recording contract that goes with it. And then, if they're anything like the previous winners, they'll go off into obscurity.

So now, it's time to get to know these contestants, and not lament the ones that should have been among them (Stevie Jo) and how they were eliminated too soon (Stevie Jo) no matter how much we thought they could have won the whole thing (Stevie Jo) and not the ones that should have been eliminated instead (T.J. Wilkins) and realize that we need a few duds in there so we can quickly eliminate them ourselves. (Nice knowing you, T.J.)

The public will pick a Bottom 3 based on tonight's performances, and those contestants will have a chance to sing for the "instant save" on Tuesday.

So here are the contestants:

TEAM ADAM

Christina Grimmie, Delvin Choice and Kat Perkins

Who are they?

Christina Grimmie: The 20-year-old from New Jersey shot to fame on YouTube and now has 2 million subscribers. Her online popularity landed her a spot as Selena Gomez's opening act.

Delvin Choice of South Carolina wasn't anybody's choice when he failed to turn a chair when he auditioned for "The Voice" Season 5. He worked with two bands to prep for a second chance on the show and wowed all four judges.

Kat Perkins, 33, of Minnesota, had a band with her ex that dissolved along with the relationship. She's now known as the "singing nanny."

The one to watch: Christina killed it in this performance of "I Won't Give Up" in the playoffs. She also should be commended for putting up with Blake's patronizing "You're so little!" comments.

TEAM BLAKE

Sisaundra Lewis, Audra McLaughlin and Jake Worthington

Sisaundra spent years touring and working with Celine Dion as a backup singer, vocal director and choreographer. She stepped down to raise her children, and those children, now adults, encouraged her to try out for The Voice. You may have heard her singing jingles for Folgers, Sprite, Slimfast, Doublemint Gum, Sears and more.

Audra McLaughlin is a country starlet, songwriter and supporter of the anti-bullying efforts. The Philadelphia resident was juggling college with her dreams of becoming a professional singer before putting college aside to sing on The Voice.

Jake Worthington is a country boy from Texas who tried out for "The Voice" in Season 5, but didn't make it.

The one to watch: Could it be anybody else? Sissaundra Lewis may be the only non-country singer left on Team Blake, but she stands a serious chance of winning the whole thing. She can teach the younger contestants a lesson, or two, or three.

TEAM SHAKIRA

Tess Boyer, Kristen Merlin and Dani Moz

Tess Boyer, 21, has a background in pageants and cheerleading for the St. Louis Rams. Now, she works with special needs children and is studying pre-law.

Kristen Merlin, of New England, a self-taught guitar player with a degree in music and sound recording from the University of New Haven in Connecticut. She even performed with Sugarland in 2012.

Dani Moz spent three years in public relations before moving to L.A. to pursue singing full-time. She released her debut album, "Untamed," in 2010 and is working on her second.

The one to watch: Tess' peformance of 'Human' held my attention for sure. She didn't over-sing it, held the low notes well and was clearly the strongest of her team.

TEAM USHER

Bria Kelly, T.J. Wilkins, and Josh Kaufman

Who are they?

Bria Kelly: The 18-year-old native of Smithfield, Virginia secured her top 12 spot with a performance that Blake declared was "as golden as (Usher's) shoes. She has performed the national anthem more than 40 times and has opened for Miranda Lambert. She's the front woman for her own band.

T.J. Wilkins grew up in South Central Los Angeles, and his mom encouraged him to get into music to avoid gang violence. Her encouragement helped him win a singing competition, where he had the opportunity to play with his biggest idol, Stevie Wonder. Now he wants make it on the national stage to help get his mom into a safer environment.

Josh Kaufman has been singing on-and-off his entire life. He supports his wife and three kids by playing local gigs and working as an SAT prep tutor. The soul singer was snatched up by Usher after Adam chose Delvin over him.

The one to watch: Josh got the judges to turn around with his performance of "One More Try" and secured his seat with this cover of a Bruno Mars hit. I know from experience how hard it is to cover a Bruno song, so he earned his place. I hope he sticks around.

TAKING A HIATUS FROM 'DANCING'

Dancing with the Stars, in its constant effort to get people under the age of 62 to watch its show, has jumped the shark. Redfoo of the band LMFAO will be the guest judge this week for the 'Party Anthems' night.

I am LMFAO at the thought of watching this train wreck. Even another Macy's Stars of Dance performance with Derek Hough isn't enough to make me watch this. I will be watching The Voice.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1139 or dsmith@recordpub.com

Facebook: Diane Smith, Record-Courier

Twitter: @DianeSmith_RC

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