The Voice 23 Contestant List – Contestant Preview and Guide
Check out the The Voice 23 contestant list Top 40 preview. This season has a smaller group of artists (similar to the COVID cycles). Being Blake Shelton’s final season, the return of Kelly Clarkson and the addition of new coaches Niall Horan and Chance The Rapper, it should be an exciting season.
Will some artists bring hip hop influences due to the addition of the first rapping coach Chance The Rapper? I doubt it. So far, no artist appears to be a clear cut rapper, so the best chances are probably one singer attempting to flip a rap song or someone attempting a rap in a single performance. With Blake ending his long The Voice run, the show may very well want him to win. But if so, how far would producers go to make that happen?
The Voice makes history as a previous chair-turner returns!
There are a few familiar faces this season. For the first time EVER an artist who previously earned a chair is back to compete again! Season 16 artist Jej Vinson is back as part of a trio. American Idol fans may remember Savion Wright from season 14. He’s on a new show, with a new moniker! Also Kason Laster from season 17 got no air time after his audition that season. And two season 22 no chair turns, Manasseh Samone and Tiana Goss have better luck this time!
The Voice season 23 premieres on NBC Monday March 6 and Tuesday March 7 at 8 pm
The Voice 23 Contestant List Top 40 Preview
As Seen on TV
Whether it was American Idol or a past season of The Voice, these artists have competed before and their performances aired. Some were rather successful, and others were not.
Kason Lester is a strawberry farmer and southern rock vocalist from Lebanon, Tennessee, who appeared on Season 17 of American Idol. Katy Perry called him top 10, but only his audition aired. He was 28 at the time, and he made it all the way to the Top 40 Hawaii round where he was cut. Although he was positioned as country on Idol, his covers lean more rock and more in the style of 2000s rock bands Daughtry and 3 Doors Down. In recent years, not a lot of rock vocalists have gone far, but maybe Kason can go further.
American Idol Audition:
NOIVAS (Savion Wright)
NOIVAS is Savion spelled backwards, and American Idol fans may remember, Savion Wright, who was a fan favorite on Season 13 and 14 of American Idol. Cut before the Top 30 on season 13, he made the top 24 in Season 14, but he was a part of the terrible rush week, where 8 of the competitors were sent home and not chosen to perform. On season 13 he shared his story about being diagnosed with ADHD and how music helped him, and in Season 14, he sang an original titled “Breathing Underwater” which was a song about losing his brother two weeks prior to a brutal hate crime murder. Since Idol, Savion released a few songs under the name of NOIVAS, became a dad, and he has continued to develop his soulful indie style which mixes a bit of a soul with folk sounds.
“Breathing Underwater” Idol HW:
“A Change Is Going To Come” Cover:
Manasseh, 23-years-old, auditioned in Season 22 with Lauren Daigle’s “Rescue” and showed some of the most potential out of any of the no-chair turners. Her tone stood out, but nerves led to a somewhat shaky audition even while showcasing a powerful voice and a unique vibrato. If she can control her quivery vibrato and gospel inspired voice, her rich tone could take her far.
Season 21 Audition:
“I’m Tired” Cover:
Jej Vinson, a top 13 contestant from Season 16 is about to make The Voice history. He will be the first chair-turner to compete on multiple seasons. Jej is competing in a trio this time around with fellow group members Izzy Kaye and Tabon Ward who he met at USC. Tabon is strongest vocalist in the group with crazy range and often sings lead. Jej’s silky vocals, which include a strong lower range, that fans loved in Season 16, and Izzy’s bright R&B sound, combine for beautiful harmonies with a nice poppy R&B sound. Their cover of The Bee Gees’ “How Deep Is Your Love” has racked up 388K streams on Spotify and they have 140K followers on Tik Tok.
Jej’s Season 16 Audition:
“How Deep Is Your Love”:
Sorelle is made up of the three Heichel Sisters (Bella, 15, Ana, 20, and Madi, 22). They competed three years ago on the short-lived one season Nickelodeon show, America’s Most Musical Family where they got cut after the Semifinals round following a performance of “Everybody” by the Backstreet Boys. The group has built up a large social media following with 3.2 million followers on Tik Tok and several viral singing and dancing videos. The group is great at harmonizing and has a soft and smooth poppy style that has 90s and early 2000s influences. Their stage presence is incredible, so they should be fun to watch. They remind me a bit of Wilson Phillips‘ style with their pop forward sound and super in-sync harmonies. Sorelle has released a few songs, including “Ghost” which has 126K streams on Spotify.
“How Deep Is Your Love”:
Tiana, a Los Angeles singer, is another Season 22 no-chair turner who aired with her audition of Nelly Furtado’s “Say It Right.” Her audition featured a beautiful modern R&B tone, but the song pick wasn’t the best choice for her, as she struggled with some control issues and lack of dynamic moments. A quick look at her socials and YouTube page, Tiana is capable of so much more. Her transitions from high to low, including her rich lower range and execution of intricate runs, could allow her to be a standout competitor in Season 23.
Season 21 Audition:
“How Much Can A Heart Take” Cover:
These singers have competed before and won big. One is a pageant winner, another won a local competition, and another is a talented athlete. These singers bring their A game.
Competition isn’t new for Chloe, who is a professional sprinter for On Running and also happens to be a very talented singer. She ran track at Purdue and then University of Kentucky, before becoming a professional sprinter and is now pursuing music as well in Los Angeles. Chloe’s released music is urban and modern R&B and showcases her radio ready tone, which is one of the best of all singers this season with her soothing soulful sound.
“Good Days” Rewrite Cover:
Holly Brand, a singer from Meridian, Mississippi, is a powerhouse vocalist with a tone that is country infused. Competing is not new for her, as she was crowned Miss Mississippi 2021. Her signature song for the talent portion of the Miss America pageant was “House of The Rising Sun.” Her belts are strong and her voice is versatile, so she could take on anything from a classic power ballad, to a country ditty, to a pop song. Performing since a young age, Holly won an audition pass to the 2013 X Factor auditions as a teenager. She wasn’t aired, but there are several videos of Holly performing at a young age and wowing crowds.
“House Of The Rising Sun”:
Kylee is a Baylor student who has one of the prettiest indie pop tones of the season. Her voice shines on acoustic pop numbers, she has great control, and her runs and range are sure to impress the audience this season. Kylee also has some local wins under her belt at a young age. She won Hebron’s Got Talent back in 2016, when she was only 12.
“In The Kitchen”:
These singers have notes of rock with influences that are of the folk-rock or pop-rock genre. Fans of rock may gravitate towards them.
Neil Salsich is a folksy rock singer that is sure to impress on this season as he is quite the storyteller singer, and can take on a several genres with his timeless sound. The singer is based in St. Louis and is the lead singer of The Mighty Pines. The band describes their latest album as being “roots and folk ballads to rock and soul,” and that describes Neil’s style perfectly too. According to their website, his band has opened for several popular indie acts such as, “JJ Grey & Mofro, The Dead South, Parker Millsap, Fruition and Sam Bush.” Neil’s classic style is 60s and 70s infused, and if he makes it far, it could resonate with the core audience of the show.
“Jealous Guy” Cover:
Rachel Christine Gebel plays with her sister, Micah Lynn, as a part of the Gebel Girls, a cover duo. She is from Burlington, Wisconsin and a pop rock vocalist who sometimes also sings a bit of country. Her voice is a bit raw, but her tone reminds me of early 2000s pop rock which is perfect for the return of Kelly Clarkson as she fits right in with her early 2000s music. Based on clips, Rachel also has great stage presence and can do rangey rock belts! Although not necessarily super professional, Rachel’s experience constantly playing local gigs should benefit her on the show.
“The Only Exception” Cover:
Country has always been big on The Voice, with nearly a finalist or two every year. Eight country (or somewhat country) singers have gone on to win the show with Bryce Leatherwood being the latest. That is 8/22 which is about 36%, so expect country to reign superior once again, especially with this being country coach Blake Shelton’s last season.
Alex is a gritty country singer infused with a little bit of rock gravel in his voice. His powerful voice can take on both country and rock numbers. The singer has been playing acoustic gigs around Florida beach cities the past few years. It could be just his long beard ponytail, but vocally, he reminds me a bit of Season 11 winner Sundance Head. But instead of the soul infused country, Alex is a bit more rock.
Allie Keck, a Nashville based singer, has a soulful country sound. Based on some original material she has out, she is one of the more marketable contestants, featuring a beautiful, piercing tone. She is versatile and can sing pop, rock, and country, so it’ll be interesting to see what she tackles on the show. Her original “Not Your Problem” is a standout piece that fits right in with the current country scene. Her other originals often mix an indie pop or soul tone with a country beat.
“Not Your Problem”:
Grace Rembinski, who goes by the stage name of Grace West, is the most polished sounding country vocalist this season as she has great control over her sound and style. She grew up with a Motown and Gospel upbringing in Detroit suburb Canton, before relocating to Nashville to pursue country music after graduation. She signed a publishing and recording deal at 16 years old with Nashville-based Mucho Love Music and sang the national anthem at Detroit Tigers games at a young age.
On her website, she describes her style as “pop-country with an old-school vibe.” Her sound reminds me a bit of Carly Pearce who infuses an old-country tone with modern pop-country sounds. Grace has released two originals under Grace Rembinski, both for soundtracks. “Halfway Over” was for the movie Old Henry and “Drive” was for the movie Spirit Halloween.
Record Contract Article:
“By The Way” Original:
Pre-pandemic, Ross performed gigs as the Ross Clayton Band around the Oklahoma City area. Ross stands out with a twangy infused rock sound. His 2017 single “Turn Up Again” sounds like an early 2000s country hit. His sound is reminiscent of country infused hitmakers that use rock elements, like Kid Rock, Darius Rucker, and Uncle Kracker. It’s tough to find what he’s been doing recently, as he appears to have taken a bit of a break from music. It’ll be interesting to see if his sound has evolved in the past few years.
Walker is a 24-year-old, Nashville based country singer, with a raspy voice that boasts a storyteller quality. He has released two singles, “Little Less Here” and “Dear Raymond,” both which fit in the modern country scene and feature his gritty voice. On his website, he describes his style as the “new southern rock.” American Idol recently has gravitated towards raspy country voices that lean Americana and feature rock vibes. The two most recent winners Chayce Beckham and Noah Thompson are examples. Maybe this season of The Voice, Walker will wow viewers and go far.
Live Performance of Originals:
These singers have notes of soul in them, whether it’s R&B, blues, gospel, or soul. Typically, one or two soul singers make it far, so expect one or two of them to achieve great heights, even if they fall short from winning.
Ali (Alyssa Ibarra)
Ali, also known as Alyssa Ibarra, is a 24-year-old Los Angeles based singer. Her vocal style compares to soulful singers like Madison Ryann Ward and Allen Stone. The amount of soul and power in her voice is almost shocking, and she navigates runs and low notes like a pro. Her backstory may have to do with her being hard of hearing. On her socials, she goes by the name @alicanyouhearme, and on a posting of an original on Tik Tok, she said she just “got new hearing aids.”
David Mitchell who goes by D. Smooth is an R&B singer who was on the Season 21 shortlist of auditioners, but his audition was never aired. D Smooth’s name describes a bit about his musical style. His voice is smooth, but also has a richness and power to it. His creative covers feature him adding new runs and changing the arrangements.
Jamar is an R&B singer who is originally from North Carolina and is now based in Atlanta. His song “Highlight Girl” has over 400K streams on Spotify. The singer’s style is often laid back, utilizing his guitar skills, with a chill, almost beachy-like vibe to his sound. His rangy voice can impressively hit super high notes. His personality shines through his music and socials, as he seems like the type of person that will have great, relatable stage presence. According to his Spotify bio, he has been singing since a young age, beginning at the age of 6 in church.
Jerome, a soulful R&B and gospel singer, is a student at Auburn University at Montgomery. He was on the shortlist of auditioners for Season 19 but wasn’t aired, and according to his Spotify profile, he has also auditioned for American Idol. Jerome has released one song, the gospel influenced “My Everything” which features a choir. He was brought up in the church, and his sound is heavily influenced by that background, featuring a rich tone and well-executed runs.
Magnus Martin has a smooth and classic sounding R&B voice. His sound is nice and deep, like a crooner, but he has the impressive ability to do vocal flips going from super low to a high falsetto. Also, Magnus has performed with some big names like Pharrell, and in theater productions at Norfolk State where he graduated from with a Music Education degree. On his Instagram, he posted about performing with former coach Pharrell on a performance of “Letter To My Godfather” from Voices of Fire for his appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. After that, it appears he has backed up Pharrell in other performances as part of Voices of Fire choir.
“You and I” Audition Clip:
Whether it is being vocally gifted, being talented beyond their years, or having a tone or style that appeals to a lot of people, this is the group that stands out by representing what the show is about. These singers have The Voice.
Caitlyn Martin, an Atlanta based theater actress and singer, has a gorgeous tone with an angelic sound. Sporting bright red hair, her voice stands out with a gorgeous soft head voice and great control over her sound! She has been in several local theater shows, has done voice over work, and has toured on cruise ships. Her style is a mix of theater, pop, with a little bit of R&B too.
Michael B. Williams
Michael B. Williams is one powerhouse of a vocalist! This LA based singer has a rich tone and is a bit dramatic at times. I have a feeling fans of fan favorite Ryan Gallagher (who was on a few seasons ago) will like Michael. People who enjoyed former winner, Jordan Smith’s big pop vocals, may also like Michael. He has the chops to do both classical style music similar to Josh Groban and pop-forward music like Sam Smith. He is sure to wow on this upcoming season.
An interesting tidbit I have on Michael is that his favorite collaborator and best friend is American Idol Season 11 fourth place finisher Hollie Cavanagh who he has released multiple covers with, including a rendition of “The Prayer” linked below.
“Our Day Will Come”:
“The Prayer” with Hollie:
NariYella is an R&B singer who attends the University of Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has released two songs on Spotify including her mid-tempo R&B song, “What You Like” which displays her smooth vocals. Some of her music also has some urban R&B and hip hop influences. From a vocal standpoint, NariYella is one of the best singers this season. She is emotive, has tons of soul, and has a lot of power in her voice.
“Find Your Love” Cover:
Ray, a pop and R&B vocalist, has one of the most chilling voices this season. Based on his covers, he likes to put soulful touches on pop songs. He’s incredible at portraying the lyric and really making the listener feel every word. I expect him to be even better than expected too, as the clips found of Ray are over 3 years old, and he has most likely grown since then. His original music showcases his gorgeous tone, with a beautiful falsetto and a bit of grit in his vocals. His acoustic forward ballad, “Escaped (We Don’t),” displays his beautiful natural tone and his ability to sing runs.
“Ocean Eyes” Cover:
Ryley Tate Wilson
Ryley, an indie pop and folk singer-songwriter, is this season’s prodigy. Recent cycles have brought us winner Carter Rubin, finalists Hailey Mia and Brayden Lape. Ryley will follow in their footsteps at the age of 15. His musical skill is showcased in his original, “Anna Magdalena” which is a beauty. Ryley’s musical style is a bit reminiscent of indie pop singers like Conan Gray and FINNEAS, meshing indie sounds with pop forward sounds. His voice is beyond his years with the ability to emote to lyrics, and he displays a natural ache in his voice at times.
Tasha is a singer from Woodland Park, Colorado. There aren’t a lot of clips of Tasha singing, but a clip where she sings with her husband Maverek on “House of The Rising Sun” indicates that she has a very strong voice with a hint of rasp. Her style appears to be a bit folksy with hints of pop, soul, and rock. There are a few clips of Tasha singing worship music too, and her tone is one of the most beautiful of the season. It is soft, with chill-worthy runs. There is also a story featuring her singing Demi Lovato’s “Stone Cold,” and it displays her impressive range with the ability to belt it out. She is one to watch, as her vocal abilities could make her a standout.
“House of The Rising Sun”:
Eccentric Artists/Fun Personalities
These categories go hand and hand as they are both fun. The artists either stand out by being quirky–standing out from the norm of today’s music. Or they are loads of fun and are sure to bring spunk and stage presence to the competition. Some may find them a bit over the top, but they are sure to keep the competition exciting.
Alyssa Lazar is a retro Nashville-based musician, with her Tik Tok description being a “nash vegas showgirl” which describes a bit of her style. Alyssa’s song “Maybe I Did Change” has over 150K streams on Spotify. Her style invokes soft rock and pop, with a lot of retro sounds and is a bit similar to Gaga’s “Joanne” and “A Star Is Born” work. Her music seems influenced by 1970s and 1980s music, and an interview with The Abington Journal, she stated that she is influenced by “classic rock artists, like Elton John and Billy Joel, as well as more contemporary artists, like Lady Gaga.”
“Maybe I Did Change” Live:
Kate, a Belmont alumni and Nashville based indie pop singer, has a quirky style that stands out amongst this season’s competitors. Her covers are entertaining, and I don’t recall having someone who has as much fun on stage as Kate since Kim Cherry. If I had a guess who would attempt rapping on a season with new rap coach Chance The Rapper, it would be Kate. The singer has released several singles, along with an EP titled Note to Self. According to her website, influences include popular indie acts like “Regina Spektor, Norah Jones, Phoebe Bridgers, St. Vincent.”
Marcos is a Dallas based fashion and beauty photographer who has, according to his website, been published in over 50 publications internationally. Most of his postings focus on photography, but he has some singing videos out there. He is a chameleon when it comes to his style, as his videos feature Spanish music covers, country covers, and more soulful numbers. I would also put Marcos on Kelly’s watchlist as some of his covers are Spanish, and we all know how quickly she turns for Spanish auditions.
“Jesus Take The Wheel”:
Mariah is a 16-year-old singer from Orlando, Florida. She doesn’t have a ton of singing videos on her socials, but what I could find shows a soulful pop singer. Her voice is very natural sounding, and she appears to be a raw talent with a lot of potential. She is also an outstanding dancer with several videos of her performing choreography to upbeat songs. Maybe she’ll bring some energy to the stage.
Indie Pop Singers
These singers, featuring an indie-forward pop sound, fit in today’s music scene. This style was once considered alternative. But recently, singers like Olivia Rodrigo and in the 2010s, Lorde, made this style popular. These singers have some of the best shots to sell records after the show.
Gina is from the Midwest and made the move to California to pursue her music dreams. The singer is a compelling songwriter who is a great storyteller, and her tone has a bit of jazziness to it, which lends itself perfect to acoustic indie music. Her first EP titled Who Are You is led by upbeat pop number, “I Can Feel It,” which utilizes a pop rock beat and her jazzy pop vocals. It has over 120K streams on Spotify.
“Ends With You”:
Kala is an Orlando based indie pop singer-songwriter. Her style is playful and her originals remind me a bit of artists like Ingrid Michaelson. Although not all indie songwriters who have unique tones like Kala have the ability to belt, Kala can. Her unique tone and her technical ability make her one of the most intriguing contestants this season. She also has some experience competing, as she was a member of University of Florida’s Gestalt Acapella, an all-gender acapella group. She sang lead for them on some songs.
Mary Kate Connor
Mary Kate is a high-school singer from Virginia. Her favorite genres to cover appear to be country and indie pop or folk. She has appeared in stage productions and has performed at church. Mary Kate was on the shortlist to audition for Season 19, but she was never aired, meaning she either didn’t get a chance to audition or didn’t turn a chair. Her tone is one of the purest of this season; it’s a bit raw and has a cool cry to it when she belts. It is versatile and could sound good on several music styles.
These singers’ strengths come in their tones. On the content they have posted, they have shown they have tones that either are emotive or stand out in some way which often is in the pureness or natural quality of their voices.
Carlos is a rootsy R&B, CCM, and soul singer based in Wilmington, North Carolina. He is a talented singer who has released music under his own name and as a member of the bands Re.Created and Holy Heat with his most prominent song being “Peacemaker.” According to his bio from his Spotify profile, he is a “charted Billboard Top 50 credited songwriter” and has gained attention from several media outlets including Good Morning America. One of his strengths as a vocalist is how he conveys emotion whether it’s about worshipping, grief, or joy.
“Good Ole Days”:
EJ is a Utah based, experienced singer and vocal coach. He is in a band called Foreign Figures and their song, “Cold War” has over 5 million streams. He also has a few solo songs with over 100K streams. His voice is a mixture of pop, rock, and singer-songwriter styles, and truly stands out on piano ballads. On certain songs from his band, the style, he is going for seems to be similar to singers like Dan Reynolds from Imagine Dragons. On some of his solo work, his tone is more soulful and has notes of John Mayer. His experience coupled with his vocal abilities could take him far this season.
JB is a Nashville based pop singer-songwriter who has an incredible falsetto. According to his website, he started to pursue music in 2016 after the death of his sister. He has appeared on Songhouse where Kyndal Inskeep has built her career and other past The Voice contestants have appeared. On his website it notes that his sound is influenced by gospel and soul. His music sounds like something pop hitmaker Lauv would put out. It has a lot of dance beats with soulful pop tones.
Katie Beth Forakis
Katie Beth is a 25-year-old singer based in Savannah, Tennessee whose crystal-clear tone is gorgeous. Her audition story may include that a special bond with God and her sisters helped her get through losing her mother 10 years ago. Her style suits CCM well and has some old-school jazz and soul influences, especially on her collaboration song titled “Rejected Heart” with Joseph Crook.
“When She Loved Me” Cover:
Laura is a photographer and singer from Dickson, Tennessee who doesn’t have a lot of singing content on her social media pages. From the few videos posted, it appears she is a folk singer with a slight twang, so she might be country adjacent. Her tone displays slight lilt, which Is beautiful.
“Dust to Dust” Cover:
Talia is an army recruiter and vocalist who doesn’t post a lot of her singing on her social media. It’s tough to tell her style, but from postings it appears she has a voice that is soft and clear and a bit soulful. It’ll be exciting to find out what exactly her style is on the show.