This has been a good season for Atlantans on the 18th season of NBC’s “The Voice.” Four of the top 20 are from the area.
Three metro Atlantans on “The Voice” made it through to the live rounds on Monday night.
Last week, Megan Danielle of Douglasville also won her knockout round. (A fifth Georgian, Mike Jerel, lives not far from Albany in Ashburn.)
Here's a summary of the three knockout rounds that helped Arei Moon, Toneisha Harris and Micah Iverson make it to whatever the live shows will look like in this pandemic world. NBC will air a clip show scheduled for April 27, then the first "remote" live voting show on Monday, May 4. The finale is set for May 18.
First up: Arei Moon (Team Nick Jonas)
Arei feels a connection to Alicia Keys, so she opts for "You Don't Know My Name."
During rehearsals, feedback from the coaches is largely positive.
Nick Jonas: "The exponential growth you've shown is so fun to watch."
James Taylor: "I can see the music working through you. The stage presence is very direct. The first time you say 'You don't know my name,' it's in a lower octave. Can you sing that very straightforward? The rest of the song is in a higher register and is much easier for you."
Nick agrees: “I want to feel a crescendo of a song. Don’t be afraid to be more tied to the original melody in the first verse and chorus so we have someplace to go.”
He also says she needs to be more “melody conscious” and use that “as your runway... You’re starting to unlock a new part of your voice that is more powerful than before.”
The advice is smart. She starts at a medium pace, sounding smooth and cool. She then lets loose during the second chorus and hits the high notes at the end just right.
Her rival, Jon Mullins, possesses great tone and "incredible filigree. He's very dexterous with his upper register," Taylor says. But his rendition of "Living Out Loud" is a bit over the top with some rough vocal spots.
Kelly Clarkson prefers Arei. Blake Shelton opts for Jon for going big. John Legend likes their energies and didn't pick one over the other. So it comes down to Nick, who loves the joy Arei brings to the process. He picks her, and Jon is out.
Nick: “Arei and Jon put two stellar performances together, but Arei is a superstar. I couldn’t let her go.”
Next up: Micah Iverson ( Team Kelly Clarkson)
- Micah, from Tokyo but now an Atlanta resident, decided to go outside his comfort zone by picking Halsey's "Graveyard."
Kelly raves about his tone and how he sings with passion and heart.
Micah says this song speaks to him because he fell in love with somebody and that person did not treat him well.
“He is present, and presence is so important,” Taylor says.
Kelly says “Graveyard” is a difficult song to sing, and there is nowhere to breathe.
Her one suggestion: create some darker notes, which feels more current.
His rival is Tayler Green, who goes for the well-worn Cyndi Lauper classic"Time After Time."
Once they sing, I find Micah’s rendition of Halsey more compelling, and Tyler’s slowed-down version of “Time After Time” a bit blah. But both John Legend and Blake Shelton rave about Tayler over Micah, criticizing his song choice. Nick provides both positive remarks.
Kelly, after a rather length deliberation, sees more potential in Micah for the live shows and strategically picks him. None of the other judges could steal Tayler at this stage, and she is left on the cutting floor.
“Micah is one of the best singers on the show,” Kelly says.
“She sees my potential,” Micah says.
The third Atlantan Monday night: Toneisha Harris (Team Blake Shelton)
Toneisha chose Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” a choice that is a message from her late father who always wanted her to “shine.”
Taylor says she may have the best voice in the competition, comparing her to Aretha Franklin and Barbra Streisand. "It seems so effortless," he says.
Blake catches her during rehearsal going sharp “just a hair.” He wants her to calm her down during her performance to lower the chance of that happening.
Toneisha is up against Cedrice, who also picked a Rihanna song "Love on the Brain." Blake thinks the quick notes have to be sharper. Taylor likes how she can belt with dexterity and fluidity.
Cedrice feels her song with aplomb, but Toneisha’s superior vocal power is readily evident during her performance. She just blows away “The Voice” coaches, who give Toneisha a standing ovation.
John says Toneisha should be in the finale. Nick says he can’t do remotely what she can vocally. Kelly says they both could be in the finale.
Blake picks Toneisha, which is not a surprise. Good news for Cedrice: Kelly steals her.
The other competitions:
- Team John Legend's Mandi Castillo ("Stand By Me") vs. Thunderstorm Artis ( "Preach") "Stand By Me" is too well known, and while she did a pretty good job, Thunderstoms' "Preach' was more alluring. Legend ended up keeping Mandi, and Nick "stole" Thunderstorm.
- Team Nick Jonas' Allegra Miles ("Chandelier") vs. Jacob Miller ("Better Now"). Nick likes Allegra's vocals, but during the coaching said she needs to enunciate better. Allegra's take on Sia's song is so different and interesting. It works. Jacob successfully reinterprets Lauv's "Better Now." It's a close call, the other judges said. Nick says Jacob came out of his shell, but Allegra's voice is "magical." So he chooses Allegra.
-Team Kelly: Mandi Thomas gets selected over Anaya Cheyenne in a quick-speed moment.
- And the four-way knockout competition in which America will vote:
Team Blake's Todd Michael Hall ("Somebody to Love" OneRepublic) - Some of his high notes sound strained, not pure. It's pretty good, not great.
Team Legend's Nelson Cade III ( "Best Part" Daniel Caesar with H.E.R) - Absolutely beautiful but not the type of song that will generate votes.
Team Nick's Michael Williams – ("You are the Reason" Calum Scott) - He is like Nick 2.0 visually. Very soulful and his vocals are spot on.
Team Kelly's Samantha Howell ("Always on My Mind" Willie Nelson) - Surprisingly effective and different from the original.
My vote: Michael Williams though nobody did a terrible job.
About the Author
Rodney Ho writes about entertainment for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A native New Yorker, he has covered education at The Virginian-Pilot, small business for The Wall Street Journal and a host of beats at the AJC over 20-plus years.