“The Voice” brought out nine wonderful singers Monday night to vie for five finalist spots next week. There were some spot-on performances and a couple of duller ones, hampered by poor song choice.
And for the first time in years, the show rejiggered its finale so every coach is guaranteed a singer in the finale. The top vote getter on each team gets in automatically Tuesday and the other five will have to battle for a single wild-card pick from the voters.
Typically there is a top four for the finale. This season there will be a top five before the winner is selected next Tuesday.
Three of the finalists are from Atlanta, which is the city’s biggest bounty at this stage in the show’s nine-year, 18-season history. Two of them are in position to make the finals: Micah Iversion on Team Kelly Clarkson and Toneisha Harris on Team Blake. Toneisha of Roswell may have to grab the wild-card spot because she is unlikely to beat teammate Todd Tilghman in votes.
And Douglasville’s Megan Danielle, despite a strong performance Monday, will have to a tough time beating out fellow teammate and Georgian Micah. And if she does end up in the wild-card fight, she will have to beat the likes of Allegra and Toneisha.
My predictions for tomorrow:
Team Blake winner: Todd Tilghman
Team Kelly winner: Micah Iverson
Team Nick winner: Thunderstorm Arts
Team John winner: Cammweiss
Instant Save wild-card winner: Toneisha Harris (hedging my bets, Allegra Miles might get it, too)
Here are my personal rankings of the top 9:
1. Thunderstom Artis, Team Nick, "Home" Michael Buble.
He is my favorite singer in the competition and my pick to win it all. He has such a buttery, whispery voice that just hugs you. I latch onto every nuance of every note he sings. And he does some amazing acoustic guitar work sans back-up band. Nick said he cleared a path for himself to the finale.
2. Cammwess, Team Legend, "Rainbow" Kacey Musgraves.
During rehearsal, John told Cammwess to add “some stank” to it, some more urgency for a song about hope through dark times. And while he doesn’t quite hit the peaks of the original Kacey version, he pulls off an impressive interpretation. John: “You took us on a journey. Your voice is like honey butter. It flows. Powerful, emotional, beautiful. America, you know what to do. Vote for this man!”
3. Allegra Miles, Team Nick, "Overjoyed" Stevie Wonder.
This show is truly called “The Voice” for a reason. Her voice is special. There’s beauty; there’s pain; there’s sweetness all melded in one. John noted how difficult the song is and lauded her for navigating it so effortlessly. Nick loved that she came out swinging.
4. Todd Tilghman, Team Blake, "Love, Me" Collin Raye.
He opted to sing a nearly 30-year-old country ballad full of sappiness and make it work for himself. Surrounded by his kids (including his youngest daughter adorably sleeping), he imbues genuine feeling through his wonderfully gravelly voice. Kelly loves his believability.
5. Megan Danielle, Team Kelly, "What Hurts the Most' Rascal Flatts.
I prefer her crackly, cool voice to that of Rascal Flatts lead singer Gary LeVox. The teen brings just the right amount of pathos to it. Kelly loves her distinct tone and says she sounds like a broken heart trying to fly.
6. Toneisha Harris, Team Blake, "Because You Loved Me" Celine Dion.
This is the type of song that would work better on a big stage. It started a bit humdrum until she began wandering from the original, revving up with her runs and playing around with the vocal arrangement. Still, I wish I felt more emotionally connected with the performance. As Kelly said, this set up didn’t do the song justice or highlight how powerful her voice really is. A better song choice might have helped her out.
7. Micah Iverson, Team Kelly, "I Will Follow You In The Dark" Death Cab for Cutie.
The original is so gorgeous. I’m not entirely sold on this arrangement, but he gets better as he goes along and ends strong. Nick likes his creativity. Kelly said he loves how Micah keeps learning and lauded his execution.
8. Zan Fiskum, Team Legend, "Never Be The Same" Camila Cabello.
She brings her own indie sensibility to this difficult pop hit, and the arrangement melds well with her from high to low. John said she gives a master class moving between her head voice and her chest voice.
9. Joanna Serenko (last week's America's Save), Team Blake, "Lean on Me," Bill Withers.
This song has been over-done by reality show contestants. This was decent but ultimately nothing special and borderline blah. John: “I just love how much heart, honesty and soul in your voice.”
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.