You might expect that Christina Aguilera would pick one of the Voice contestants from her team as this season’s singer to beat. But when asked, Aguilera first singled out Sawyer Fredericks, who’s on Pharrell Williams‘ team, as one of the top talents.
“I’ve been very open about the fact that I’ve been a huge fan of Sawyer since day one. He’s just definitely a frontrunner outside of my team,” Aguilera said in a press conference for The Voice this week. “But other than my team, because I’ve got to route for them first, I think Sawyer is definitely a stand out.”
Aguilera, 34, immediately afterward sang the praises of some of her own team members, whom she described with the words “winners,” “focused,” and “soulful.”
“I think they’ve done consistent, solid, performances thus far. India [Carney], Kimberly [Nichole] just continues to sort of reinventing herself and shining,” she said. “And I couldn’t be more proud of Rob [Taylor], who I’m really pushing to step out of his comfort zone to show new things of himself.”
Aguilera also said that five seasons of coaching on The Voice haven’t made it any easier to see contestants get sent home.
“I mean, it’s the really sucky part of what we have to do,” she said. “But it’s kind of the nature of the competition. What’s beautiful about what we do is that we at least give them a starting point with what we can offer them – the advice that we give and spending time and trying to encourage them in the right direction, but really it’s up to them with what happens.”
Upon being asked about Madonna‘s famous onstage kiss with Drake over the weekend at Coachella, Aguilera, who famously locked lips with Madonna during a performance at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, pled ignorance.
“I’m so under the radar,” she said. “I didn’t even know about it.”
• Reporting by CHRISTINA DUGAN