When "The Voice" crowns its new champion on Tuesday, it will either be Blake Shelton 3.0 or a shocking upset by Usher. Much as coach Adam Levine likely would prefer not to have to listen to his fellow original coach brag about his three consecutive victories, odds are that one of Blake's two remaining acts will be crowned the winner and given a recording contract.
Here’s a closer look at the finalists' chances of walking away victorious:
Odds of winning : 60 percent
If you squint a little bit when Danielle sings, do you see Carrie Underwood or Taylor Swift? Probably neither, but it seems the show really hopes you see one or both of them.
For a program that’s got the ratings to be noticed but not the superstar champion that brings credibility (yet), Danielle offers the best chance of being that winning lottery ticket. She’s poised beyond her years and has an incredibly bright future. You can see the potential of what she could become every time she takes the stage. She’s clearly been able to reach the audience regularly, as she's had the most singles in the top 10 on iTunes this season. And the little moves like going into the crowd to hug her family don’t hurt.
Moreover, she has to be considered the heavy favorite given the show’s audience. This is a country crowd, and Danielle’s a country singer. Country superstar Blake has seen his acts win in each of the past two seasons. This year, three of his acts -- all country -- made the final six. Another country singer, Adam’s Amber Carrington, might still be in the game if she’d stuck to that genre.
The downside, of course, is that Danielle is 16. This is her first extended experience performing live, and sometimes that shows. If the pressure gets to her, she could falter and lose enough ground that one of the other acts could pass her. But that’s not the way to bet.
Odds of winning: 25 percent
It was no accident that Michelle got the chance to sing with Fall Out Boy last week. “The Voice” is doing its part to show how Usher’s protégé can make it in music after this week.
Of all the singers in the competition, she did the best job of picking who to work with. Only she could have pulled off dedicating “Time After Time” to her coach without sounding cloying. Rather than try to mold her into something more obviously commercial, Usher has helped her use her uniqueness as an advantage. She’s the most likely to be memorable each week, and the fact that her coach is willing to stand behind her so resolutely (he even wore her glasses!) helps.
Now that we’re reaching the endgame, he’s also looking to give her an avenue to success. Taylor Swift blessed her cover of “Trouble,” and it ranked as a top 10 iTunes download. But that also shows Michelle's challenge here – it’s her only song to reach the top 10 in iTunes this season, and it was a cover of a country-pop artist's tune.
Michelle’s the most prepared for the challenges that will follow the finale, and might be the best bet to start strong in her post-“Voice” career, but probably not as the champion.
The Swon Brothers
Odds of winning: 15 percent
These guys have been underestimated every step of the way. How many who watched the auditions even predicted the brothers would last longer than Midas Whale among the duos? But here they are, just a day away from a possible victory.
Zach and Colton Swon are Oklahomans from Muskogee, and bonded quickly with Blake, their fellow Oklahoma native. They’ve been nothing but fun every week, entertaining while onstage, in the video clips and when asked questions by host Carson Daly.
What’s working against them? For starters, they haven’t gotten many favors from the show itself. They’ve performed in the first half of “The Voice” each week, and it’s a tribute to them that they’ve lasted as long as they have considering those early slots have been fatal for everyone else who has had them.
They also have the look of an act that’s really good on television and not as good once the show is over. That might make the difference in how they’re treated by both the coaches and the producers, especially since Blake’s got a great chance of winning even if the Swon Brothers don’t.
'The Voice's' two-night finale airs Monday at 8 p.m. and Tuesday at 9 p.m. on NBC.