The Voice’s Tuesday results show determined which five (yes, five) contestants moved on to next week’s not-so-grand finale — which, like all live variety-format television shows right now, will take place remotely (or more specifically, on Microsoft Teams). You see, with this derailed, curtailed, pandemic-era season now rushing to wrap up, producers decided to reinstate the team quotas that haven’t been in place since Season 2’s finale, with the top vote-getter from each team automatically advancing.
This old/new policy ensured that all four of the coaches would be represented in next week’s finale (a fifth wild-card contestant advanced via Tuesday’s Instant Save sing-off, which I’ll get to in a moment). But unfortunately, it didn’t necessarily ensure that the four overall best singers would make the grade.
It also didn’t ensure that many female singers would make the grade. As it turned out, America voted through exclusively men — Team Nick’s Thunderstorm Artis, Team Legend’s Cammwess, Team Kelly’s Micah Iverson, and Team Blake’s Todd Tilghman — leaving five women to vie for that one remaining spot.
I knew that affable church pastor and father of eight Todd (imagine if a real-life Ned Flanders auditioned for The Voice) was a shoo-in. But I still thought that Kelly Clarkson’s mini-me Megan Danielle, John Legend’s ethereal granola girl Zan Fiskum, or Blake Shelton’s diva Toneisha Harris (a woman whose stellar vocals have elicited Aretha/Barbra comparisons from Mega-Mentor James Taylor and a personal invite to perform with Kelly in Las Vegas) would have been more interesting options than everyman Todd.
Honestly, I couldn’t get mad about some of these results, considering that Thunderstorm, Cammwess, and Micah gave my three of my favorite performances on Monday’s top nine show. But it was still disappointing to realize that, Smurfette-style, there would only be one token woman in the top five finale.
And many Voice fans on Twitter could get mad — and they did!
Anyway, for the (obviously pre-taped) Instant Save performances — all grimly shot, prison-lineup-style, against putty-colored walls with seemingly nothing but a single bare interrogation-room light bulb for ambience — Megan kicked things off with “Simple Man.” It was an effective showcase for her gravelly, bluesy voice, but there was a sense of defeat to her stoic performance; perhaps if she’d been in the moment, on a real stage, and in front of an audience, she would have dug in more and brought more fire. Zan’s “Always Remember Us This Way” was also on-brand for her (she’s basically the Ally Maine of this season) and sung beautifully — but this “closing statement,” as her coach awkwardly put it, felt like she was already saying goodbye and had already given up. As for Joanna’s “Unaware,” Allen Stone songs have been done to death on TV talent shows and make little impact at this point. Perhaps Joanna was (wait for it) unaware of that.
So, it really all came down to Allegra and Toneisha. Allegra chose an actual fight song, Shawn Mendes’s never-give-up anthem “In My Blood,” and she delivered it with actual urgency and passion; this felt like a true “save me” performance. But then… Toneisha threw down the gauntlet with Minnie Riperton’s “Lovin’ You.” She nailed the dog-whistle note (you know, the one that South Park once built an entire episode around), and then nailed it again.
“Part of me thinks she could hear the birds chirping on that track and she thought, ‘I could hit a higher note than that,’” Blake said of Toneisha’s tour de force. Kelly was so amazed that she threw up her hands and nearly spilled her wine. And so, it was time to pour some out for Allegra, Joanna, Megan, and Zan.
The top five ended up being fairly diverse, all things considered, but it seems like next week’s finale will be a mere formality — that is, a contest to see which singer places second to the seemingly unstoppable Todd, who’s apparently already stocked his rec room with Party City confetti. Does anyone else have a shot of winning this thing? Tune in next week, from home, and find out.