Search for a superstar: who will win The Voice US?

Our vote is with Iraqi contestant Laith Al-Saadi. While he’s not your typical pop star, he would certainly stand out when compared to the show’s previous winners, who were either country crooners or pop balladeers.

Left to right, The Voice contestants Adam Wakefield, Hannah Huston, Laith Al-Saadi and Alisan Porter. Photo by Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

James Gabrillo

After 13 weeks of competition featuring thrilling blind auditions, brutal knockout rounds and multiple live-show eliminations, we have reached the end of the line.

A two-part final on Monday and Tuesday (May 23 and 24) will determine the champion of the 10th series of the American edition of The Voice, with the winner awarded with a recording contract.

Meet the mentors

Adam Levine, the frontman of Maroon 5, returned for his 10th consecutive season on the show. His team has won the competition three times in the past.

Country music sensation Blake Shelton has also been with the show since the very beginning. His team holds the most successful record on The Voice, having won four seasons.

Pop superstar Christina Aguilera, the show’s only female coach, is back after a season’s hiatus, while musician and producer Pharrell Williams returned for his fourth season.

On The Voice's forthcoming 11th edition – set to air in September – Levine and Shelton will return, while Aguilera and Williams will be replaced by Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys.

Fantastic four

All four coaches are coming into the final with one contestant each – a rare occurrence that has not happened since the second season, as some teams often get wiped out through the public voting.

Representing Levine’s team, Laith Al-Saadi is a 38-year-old blues and jazz guitarist whose father is an immigrant from Iraq. Al-Saadi’s sound is all soul and growl, but he’s also influenced by the musical taste of his father, who only listened to Arabic classical music while Al-Saadi was growing up.

"I really like the sound of a lot of Middle Eastern scales. I do try to incorporate elements of that," Al-Saadi told Metro Times. "I grew up on Fairuz, a Lebanese singer."

Alisan Porter, the competition’s best belter, is aptly coached by Aguilera, the most powerful vocalist on the panel. She starred in the lead role of the 1991 John Hughes rom-com Curly Sue. The 34-year-old mother of three is big on ballads and showcasing vocal pyrotechnics.

Mentored by Williams, Hannah Huston is the show’s remaining pop singer. The 24-year-old preschool teacher is a dynamic, and often fiery, performer on stage.

The fourth finalist is Adam Wakefield, a country rocker mentored by no less than the show’s resident cowboy, Shelton. Wakefield started playing the guitar at the age of 4 and is currently based in Nashville, Tennessee, known as the centre of the country music industry.

What to look out for

Wakefield is the current frontrunner, with his semi-final performance of I'm Sorry – a cover of his coach's hit track – peaking at No 2 on this week's iTunes Singles Chart.

But don’t be surprised if Porter takes the crown – she’s been the quiet fan favourite all season. Her victory would also be a remarkable feat for Aguilera, since no female coach has won the competition in the previous nine seasons. The show’s last four winners have also been male, so Porter would break that trend.

The Voice has been criticised in the past for not having produced an actual star in the way that its rival American Idol has with Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. Among the nine winners it has anointed, only two have made a real mark on the music charts: season three's Cassadee Pope and most recent winner Jordan Smith. Among the current four finalists, Wakefield is the most marketable.

That said, our vote is with Al-Saadi. While he’s not your typical pop star, he would certainly stand out when compared to the show’s previous winners, who were either country crooners or pop balladeers.

Catching up

Missed some episodes – or perhaps the entire season? If you’d like to be on track in time for the final, watch or listen to these standout performances from the four finalists.

• Laith Al-Saadi: Bob Seger's We've Got Tonight (Top 9 show)

• Alisan Porter: Janis Joplin's Cry Baby (playoffs)

• Hanna Huston: Adele's Rolling in the Deep (Top 10 show)

• Adam Wakefield: Sam Cooke's Bring It On Home to Me (knockout round)

• Recordings can be accessed on YouTube, iTunes or The Voice's official website

artslife@thenational.ae