Can 'The Voice' deliver a winner?
Will "The Voice" (Monday at 8 p.m. on NBC/4) finally get a winner with a big mainstream future?
By all other accounts, Season 3 of "The Voice" has been a success -- leading NBC from fourth place to first in the fall ratings and surviving the challenge of "The X Factor" adding Britney Spears and Demi Lovato to its judges' table. But to be fully considered the equivalent of "American Idol," the show needs a winner who can rival Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood instead of Taylor Hicks and Lee DeWyze. (Sorry, Javier Colon and Jermaine Paul.) That may happen.
Judging from iTunes sales, "The Voice" has certainly gotten its fans in the habit of shelling out cash -- an increasing rarity in today's music industry -- for their favorite artists. All three of the finalists have cracked the iTunes Top 10, beating Psy, Taylor Swift and Rihanna in sales on some days. Even Baldwin's Melanie Martinez, who reached the Top 6, can say she has had a Top 10 single -- before leaving high school.
Here's a look at "The Voice" Top 3 and their chances of winning it all Tuesday night:
TEAM Blake Shelton
BACKGROUND The Florida pop-rocker has already had a major-label deal with the early Aughts band Hey Monday and joined the show seeking a boost for her solo career. She found it.
SOUNDS LIKE A sweeter, more powerful Avril Lavigne
CHANCES Pope has won over the teenage market and has been the front-runner for weeks, after hitting No. 1 on iTunes with her moving cover of Miranda Lambert's "Over You."
ODDS OF WINNING Even
TEAM Blake Shelton
BACKGROUND The Scottish singer already has had a major-label deal with rockers Driveblind in 2006, though on the show he has taken on more of a classic-rock bent.
SOUNDS LIKE A Scottish John Waite
CHANCES He's a total pro, knocking off one classic rock song after another. If Pope stumbles, he'll certainly be able to step in with his polished, throwback vocals.
ODDS OF WINNING 5-1
TEAM Cee Lo Green
BACKGROUND The lead singer of Minnesota band The Feelin, David has released four albums as a solo artist or with the band.
SOUNDS LIKE An R&B Ray LaMontagne or a more folk-oriented Daryl Hall
CHANCES He's definitely the long shot, but David also is the most unpredictable of the finalists. If he channels his emotional vocals into the right song, he could connect with voters for a surprise win.
ODDS OF WINNING 10-1