If you don’t know who Jordan Smith is by now, within the next 48 hours he should be crowned the Season 9 singing champion of “The Voice,” be bestowed a major recording contract, and become the winner of $100,000 as well. The 22-year-old Kentucky inspirational singer has dominated Season 9 and should coast to victory, but we’ve all been here before with these reality show singing competitions: The clear frontrunner eventually loses. (Remember: Susan Boyle from “X Factor UK,” Clay Aiken and Adam Lambert from “American Idol,” and Season 7 of “The Voice,” where Craig Wayne Boyd, Blake Shelton’s only entrant in the contest beat out three Adam Levine-coached contenders.) But that can’t happen this time? Right? Let’s take a look at some indicators that might make the prediction of a winner more certain.
Let’s start with some odds to win. Over at GoldDerby.com, posting odds on December 14 prior to the Monday night finale, the site has Jordan Smith of Team Adam (Levine) as the clear predicted winner of Season 9 with 1/4 odds to win. Jeffery Austin of Team Gwen (Stefani) posts 11/1 odds. Team Blake (Shelton)’s two finalists pull the least likely odds to win, 20/1 and 100/1 odds for Emily Ann Roberts and Barrett Baber, respectively. There’s a bit of disconnect with the placement of the other three finalists, but even a runner-up position for Jordan Smith seems unlikely. (He had the worst odds, 15/2, of coming in second place.)
One of the most accurate indicators of where an artist will eventually place on “The Voice” is the iTunes Top 200 Singles chart. Thus far, Jordan Smith is the only artist in the finale to score a Top 10 entry for each of his five live performances. Two of them, covers of the traditional hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” and Queen’s “Somebody To Love,” have displaced Adele at the top of the iTunes chart, if but momentarily. Last week’s “Somebody To Love” stayed in the No. 1 position for more than four days (and is currently still in the Top 30 and at No. 111 with “Hallelujah” — with no other “The Voice” finalist in the iTunes Top 200). And Smith also has several of his songs continually making the iTunes chart each week, pulled in by the gravity of his current song. (For example, “Somebody To Love,” as reported by TV Media Insights, took with it six other songs, five of which made the Top 100.) The rules of “The Voice” state that all downloads from an artist’s songs, which count as votes, will become part of the final vote tally.
To put Jordan Smith’s dominance of the iTunes Top 200 Singles Chart into perspective, Team Blake’s Emily Ann Roberts placed four songs in the Top 10, but none topped the chart. Jeffery Austin posted three. Barrett Baber has only posted two, each of which ranked lowest of that week’s entries. Still, making the Top 10 gave each artist the all-important multiplier bump, which multiplied the number of downloads by a factor of 10. (This is why Baber’s making the finale over Team Adam’s Amy Vachal was so surprising, since she had four well-placed Top 10 hits as well.)
Another way to make a prediction concerning the ultimate winner is to check on their social media following. The more followers sometimes can be a good indicator of a loyal following that will get an artist the votes they need to win. And in this regard, Jordan Smith still tops the Top 4 with over 66,000 followers on Facebook and over 60,000 on Twitter. This is also where one might find the answer to how Barrett Baber made the Top 4, because he has over 48,000 Twitter followers and nearly 47,000 on Facebook.
And it is also in the social media pages where we see why there could be a real battle, seeing as though there isn’t much difference in the number of followers among the top three contestants. Emily Ann Roberts has over 44,000 Twitter and almost 36,000 Facebook followers, a bit less than Baber on both counts. Jeffery Austin has nearly 23,000 Twitter followers and nearly 8,000 followers on Facebook. (Given these stats, it would appear that the final finish would see Smith in first, Baber second, Roberts third, and Austin as the fourth-place finisher.)
Still, there are other factors that will weigh in on the final vote counts. Song selection and the number of iTunes downloads each generates for the competing artists. How many of those social media followers actually get behind their favorite artists and buy songs or vote via phone and the internet. And just how many of the undecided cast their votes for a particular artist in the finale (such as a die-hard Amy Vachal or Madi Davis fan going all-in for, say, Jeffery Austin after the finale performance show).
But given the factors covered, it is easy to predict that Jordan Smith (and coach Adam Levine) will be the Season 9 winner of “The Voice.” It is only the next three places where a voting dogfight will likely occur. Remember also: Although Baber pulled a shocking upset to make the Top 4 and the finale, he did so with the popular vote, because his Semifinals song, even multiplied by 10, sold the least, meaning he had far more votes to overcome. He did so and displaced artists that looked as if they were headed to the finale ahead of him, like Team Pharrell’s Madi Davis and Team Adam’s Amy Vachal. He’ll have to jump an even more impressive vote count to win it all, given that all downloads throughout the season will count toward the final vote — and Jordan Smith has put together an massive download count. Although Baber just might be able to pull it off against Roberts and Austin, especially given his larger social media following, it is difficult seeing him garnering that many votes to take the winner’s spot from Smith. (Besides, take a look at the number of views of Jordan Smith’s performance videos on YouTube. His rendition of Sia’s “Chandelier,” Smith’s Blind Audition, has nearly 21 million views to date.)
Finale prediction: Winner: Jordan Smith. Runner-up: Should be Emily Ann Roberts but will likely be Barrett Baber. Third place: Talent-wise, should be Jeffery Austin but will likely be Emily Ann Roberts. Fourth: Should be Barrett Baber, but will likely be Jeffery Austin.
“The Voice” Season 9 two-night, five-hour finale starts Monday night on NBC Television at 8 p.m. (EST). By 11 p.m. (EST) Tuesday, December 15, host Carson Daly will have announced a season winner and we’ll see if Jordan Smith has become another Adam Lambert or if his fans will get him what all indicators already say is rightfully his.