The Voice recap: The final five sing for the win
For better or worse, we're getting some original singles tonight.
It's certainly not the way we thought The Voice season 18 finals would go down, but we're here nonetheless, and tomorrow night one of our five remaining artists will be named the winner of this whole shebang. Before we get to that, however, each artist still has two performances left to prove why he or she deserves our votes. Toneisha Harris, Todd Tilghman, Micah Iverson, CammWess, and Thunderstorm Artis will each be singing one cover and one original single that's been produced by some of the folks over at Songland, because that's synergy people! (But also that show is a delight and I treasure it.) After one group performance to Collective Soul's "Shine" at the top, we get right into the final round of competition. Here we go!
Team Legend: CammWess // "Purple Rain" by Prince
Full disclosure: They showed an extremely short clip of CammWess performing “Say Something” in the Knockouts and I teared up immediately. In case you want to know my emotional state at the moment. They announce CammWess will be singing Prince’s “Purple Rain" and this is the first time the song has ever been cleared for The Voice. It was only because John Legend vouched for the guy, and all of CammWess’s dreams are coming true. Anyway, I'm totally fine, guys. Not only is Camm clad in a purple blazer, there’s a fog machine and purple lights going and it is a show. John couldn’t be more pleased with the performance, and applauds CammWess’s “artistry” and “passion.”
Team Blake: Todd Tilghman // "I Can Only Imagine" by MercyMe
Last week, Todd was moved to tears after watching back his performance while surrounded by his eight kids, and that level of emotion follows him into the finals. Todd has selected a Christian rock song and his coach Blake Shelton knows that Todd must really connect to the lyrics and message. He wants Todd to convey that in his performance. The back half of the performance, especially, is full of all the "enthusiasm, heart, and soul" that John Legend mentions in his critique. Kelly Clarkson is especially moved by Todd's performance — she can't even get through her critique because she starts tearing up while talking about how special Todd is.
Team Kelly: Micah Iverson // "Butterflies" by Micah Iverson
It’s the first of the five original singles we’ll be hearing tonight! Micah’s song was produced with the help of Shane McAnally from Songland. They chose it to highlight his pop tone and because it feels radio-ready. Coach Kelly Clarkson says its the perfect song for Micah to help “lead [him] into what [he’s] going to do” career-wise after the show, but it doesn’t feel like that strong of a statement. It’s not Micah’s best performance vocally and the song gets a little repetitive. Still, both Nick Jonas and Coach Kelly think Micah has a great pop voice. He’s “one to watch,” says Nick.
Team Nick: Thunderstorm Artis // "Sedona" by Thunderstorm Artis
Thunderstorm’s original single is a song he wrote himself, but he’ll be getting a little creative input from Ryan Tedder (songwriter, OneRepublic frontman, and producer/writer on Songland). He doesn’t need much guidance: This song is quiet and beautiful and perfectly shows off what John Legend calls a “magical tone” in that Thunderstorm's voice is somehow “both raspy and angelic at the same time.” This is a great example of not needing big flashy notes or complicated runs to move people. John also praises Thunderstorm’s songwriting skills, and Thunderstorm’s own coach Nick Jonas declares this his “best performance yet.”
Team Blake: Toneisha Harris // "Faithfully" by Journey
Toneisha’s journey on The Voice still gives me chills: She was supposed to audition for season 2, but because her son got sick, she stepped back, not knowing if she’d ever get another shot at a music career. Now, here she is in the season 18 finals. Come on! As soon as Toneisha starts this Journey cover, her crystal clear powerhouse vocals make it seem like this song was always meant to be sung this way. By the end, all four of the judges are going crazy. Clarkson compares her tone to Chaka Khan and can’t get over how effortless she makes these intricate arrangements feel. Coach Shelton couldn’t be prouder: He thinks it's her best performance yet.
Team Blake: Todd Tilghman // “Long Way Home” by Todd Tilghman
Todd’s original song was written by Ester Dean (from Songland and, like, a whole lot of songs you love) and, funny enough, Voice alum Ryan Innes. The song really does feel like a perfect fit for both Todd’s voice and his story. It’s not as electrifying as his first performance this evening, but Todd’s voice does no wrong. Blake tells him that his voice is so good he “can take an original and breath so much life into it, it feels familiar.”
Team Legend: CammWess // "Save It For Tomorrow" by CammWess
CammWess wrote his original song as well. Camm has never been shy about telling John Legend that he’s an influence on his music and here in “Save it for Tomorrow” you really feel that. It’s a sexy mid-tempo jam and I have no doubt that it will be stuck in my head for the next few days. It doesn’t have the theatrics of Prince, but it does his voice justice and allows him to give us some cool runs and show off his falsetto. Legend tells CammWess that he’s ready. He’s ready for a career in music. He’s ready for whatever comes next.
Team Kelly: Micah Iverson // "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol
Clarkson is thrilled about Micah’s song choice for his final performance because she thinks this Snow Patrol song is the perfect way to show off that Micah excels in the pop-rock-alt lane. It’s another song that has never been cleared for The Voice before, so this is a big deal! Micah is so good at moving between his head and chest voice and honestly, I wish he didn’t save that trick for just the end of this song. Kelly gushes about how “effortless” Micah's performance feels and it's nice that he had this second chance to show off what he's all about.
Team Blake: Toneisha Harris // "My Superhero" by Toneisha Harris
Toneisha wrote this song for her son, so you know it’s going to be an emotional one. Shane McAnally is definitely moved by it when he hears it and thinks it could be a song that easily resonates with a lot of people. The song finally opens up at the very end and holy hell, Toneisha just pours her complete heart out on the floor. It's no surprise that Kelly's crying, but the other judges seem emotionally-stirred as well. Blake tells her that her performance is “as good as it gets.”
Team Nick: Thunderstorm Artis // "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong
Once again, Thunderstorm proves that you don’t need powerhouse vocals to have an impact. Nick is extra-proud to have Thunderstorm representing his team in the finals because he represents a different type of singer. He picks a perfect song to end the night — both because it captures a feeling we all need at the moment and because it reminds us of how talented he is. I mean, that high note at the end? I’m still weeping over it. Nick says the performance was “pure,” full of “emotional artistry” and “vocal excellence.” Thunderstorm steals the show tonight.
Well friends, you have five very different singers to choose from this season, but who do you want to see take the title?