The Voice Recap: Top Ten-sion Mounts as the Singers Aim for the Semi-Finals

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Not to be too specific, but season 22 of The Voice is a tricky one. On the one hand, we have a handful of seriously talented candidates. On the other hand - as always, I suppose - we have no guarantee that our fellow viewers will vote by the seriously talented ones (like Team Camila Cabello's Devix, who I already miss) rather than just, say, the cute ones ( Team Blake Shelton). Brayden Lape) or the Country One (Team Blake's Bryce Leatherwood).
Still, Monday's top 10 had nothing to do but do their best, hoping to impress the audience enough that it would be forced to vote en masse to send them through to next week's semifinals. Who sounded like they did just that? Read on and we'll discuss it.
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Parijita Bastola (Team Legend), "Scars to Your Beautiful" - Grade: B+ | For Fan Week, Parijita's admirers assigned her the hit song by Alessia Cara. And for the most part, the teenager managed to infuse her performance with emotion and show us a more spunky side of her singing. But — and it's a big "but" — she also got a bit uncomfortably yelling, and some of those yells didn't quite sound like they were in pitch. Not Parijita's strongest performance (although I'll have a fit if she doesn't make it to the semifinals).
Rowan Grace (Team Blake), "I Love You" - Grade: C | Before Rowan took the stage, I wanted her to really crush the Billie Eilish cover her fans chose for her. I wanted to see/hear again the Rowan that was so great in the blinds. And now and then she delivered. There was just a tremor in her voice that went beyond vulnerability or vibrato, sounding like insecurity. And do you know how you know the performance wasn't all that? Two coaches (Camila and John Legend) called the song "a challenge" — code for "hey, you tried."
The Voice recaps Justin Aaron Kim Cruse's top 10 performances
Justin Aaron (Team Gwen), "Just Once" - Grade: A- |
What were fans thinking as they gave Justin Quincy Jones/James Ingram's classic ballad? It's pretty and all, but it doesn't really give him room to unleash the vocal firepower that made his Top 13 performance so memorable, does it? Wrong, Justin proved on stage. After a somewhat shaky start, he delivered a performance that was not only lovely and soulful, but also gave him space to really relax and sing with a passion that required sitting up and paying attention.
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Brayden Lape (Team Blake), "Homesick" - Grade: A- | Smart, Brayden fans — they've assigned teen country star Kane Brown's hit song. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Team Blake + cute kid + country number = see you in the semifinals. Also, Brayden sounded delightful and, ironically given the title, at home on the song. He seems unlikely to develop into one of our more dynamic cast members, but this was a really solid performance. Not the most challenging number ever, but doing well on an easy song is better than doing poorly on a tricky one. (Right, Bryce Leatherwood?)
Kim Cruse (Team Legend), "Love on the Brain" - Grade: A+ | Ha — it seems like every season someone makes Rihanna's hit, doesn't it? And while no one will do it better than Chris Blue—at least for my money—Kim's performance was massive: rich, stirring, robust. Typical awesome Kim. But who would have thought that doing the first third of the song with their backs to us would be a good idea for them? It didn't detract from that great voice, but come on Kim, take some time for your face! Blake might have summed up Kim's talent best when he said her voice could probably kill things and bring her back to life.
The Voice recaps Justin Aaron Kim Cruse's top 10 performances
Bryce Leatherwood (Team Blake), "Sand in My Boots" - Grade: C+ |
First, how weird was it to see Bryce without his Stetson? I have a feeling we've never seen him without a hat or cap (have we?). But I digress. His fans did him a huge favor by giving him credit for Morgan Wallen's hit; it was perfect for Bryce, who sang it with the charm of a tongue-in-cheek storyteller. That is, was it the best voice ever? Or even the night? no Was it the most exciting? no But it was okay and almost certainly good enough to get him into the semifinals.
Kique (Team Gwen), "Call Out My Name" — Grade: B+ | Oh man - the moment it was announced that fans had chosen The Weeknd's hit for Kique, I knew it would be perfect for him. But since he tested positive for COVID, he didn't sing live; Instead, a pandemic season-style performance was broadcast elsewhere. In any case, Kique kicked ass and went from intense as hell to whisper soft. Which was actually quite impressive considering he was ill.
Morgan Myles (Team Camila), "Tennessee Whiskey" — Grade: A+ | Another solid song choice from fans. Even in rehearsals, Morgan blew Camila away at how in the zone she was - that's how ideal Chris Stapleton's hit was for her. On stage, Morgan looked like she was having a blast, as if despite the song's severity, she wasn't the least bit concerned that she wouldn't be up to the challenge. Perhaps because she was rightly certain that she would master the task. She fucking did. Her voice was, and I don't think I use that word often, ridiculous. Massive, powerful and [beeping] nuanced. An overwhelming achievement.
the voice recap justin aaron kim cruse top 10 performances
bodie (Team Blake), "golden hour" — Grade: A+ |
As we neared the end of the night, I thought, "Have the fan-chosen songs ever been so well-chosen before?" Pretty good night! On his JVKE cover, Bodie went from rapping to...holy shit! To roll such a powerful, open and soulful voice that it almost brought tears to my eyes. If Bodie hadn't already been a shoo-in to reach the semifinals (and let's be honest, the finals), it certainly would have sealed the deal. A stunning performance, raw and beautiful at the same time.
Omar Jose Cardona (Team Legend), "I want to know what love is" - Grade: B- | Puppy, if Omar could make me like Foreigner's chewy '80s hit, that would be a really great trick. Didn't like it in the 80's and still don't like it. (TMI?) When the spotlight fell on Omar, oh dear. It wasn't a disaster or anything, it just wasn't the home run he needed. The performance was a little sing-along, a little shaky and very loud. A real let down after last week.
Who showed the best performance on Monday? Vote in the poll below, then click on the comments to explain why you feel this way.
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