The Voice recap: The Top 8 pair up for Whitney Houston duets in the semifinals

We're down the wire now, people. It's The Voice season 22 semifinals, and our Top 8 will be singing their hearts out for a spot in the Top 5. They each get two chances to impress tonight: Each artist will not only be performing a new solo tonight, but everybody's getting paired up to sing Whitney Houston duets in honor of the new biopic I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

I've never been more excited for the duets — don't let me down, kids! Let's see how everyone did and who deserves to move on to next week's big finale.

Team Gwen: Justin Aaron, "Stand Up," by Cynthia Erivo (from Harriet)

As soon as I saw this song choice, I prepared my body for goosebumps. This man! Singing this song! It's a moment waiting to happen for Team Gwen's final member. Sure enough, by the time Justin hits the chorus, goosebumps, baby. The staging with the background singers is super effective, and of course Justin's vocals and passion are at top form by this point in the competition. Camila Cabello is impressed with how Justin can "leave it all out there every time," and Justin's coach Gwen Stefani tells him that he's "shining up there." He's a shoo-in for the Top 5, right?

Whitney Houston duet: Morgan Myles and Bryce Leatherwood, "Saving All My Love for You" 

The first duet of the night is our two country heavyweights, and this is a great song to switch up with a little country crooning. Not surprisingly, Morgan steals the performance — she's just the more exciting artist and backs that up with some real power. That said, their voices sound nice together and I wouldn't hate a real-world country duet by these two at some point the future, you know?

Blake Shelton, John Legend, Gwen Stefani, and Camila Cabello on 'The Voice'
Blake Shelton, John Legend, Gwen Stefani, and Camila Cabello on 'The Voice'

Trae Patton/NBC Blake Shelton, John Legend, Gwen Stefani, and Camila Cabello on 'The Voice'

Team Blake: Brayden Lape, "In Case You Didn't Know," by Brett Young

Blake Shelton's heartthrob artist has won over a lot of fans with his easygoing performances and likability, but in rehearsals even Blake is like — it's time to really push the vocals. "You know who you're singing against," Coach Blake tells his artist. Brayden's performance, though, winds up being more of the same. If anything, he should lean into more of what makes him popular with the crowd instead of trying out-sing some of his more polished competitors. The coaches don't seem to mind: Blake thought he "really stepped up" and hasn't heard him sing like that before. He's impressed.

Team Legend: Parijita Bastola, "Unstoppable," by Sia

Yes, definitely, Parijita should be taking on big pop anthems like this. A great song choice to make an impact in the semifinals. Her coach John Legend thinks this performance could "ratchet the energy up," and that's "exactly what [Parijita] needs" at this point in the competition. She pulls it off effortlessly, and the warmth and roundness in her voice are really highlighted here. All four coaches are up on their feet. Gwen reiterates just how "shocking" it is that at such a young age, Parijita is "able to connect with [her] body, [her] voice, and [her] heart" in such a "convincing" way.

Whitney Houston duet: Bodie and Brayden Lape, "I Wanna Dance With Somebody"

What is this pairing? It's chaos and I'm here for it. The Team Blake duo, not surprisingly, changes the arrangement on this Whitney bop in a big way. It works really well, especially — again not surprisingly — to highlight a lot of Bodie's strengths. Brayden isn't bad, but come on, that was Bodie's performance.

Team Legend: Kim Cruse, "Summertime," from Porgy and Bess

Not that Kim Cruse deserved to be in that Instant Save Round last week, but holy hell did she crush it. Now Kim wants to really show off who she is, which means this week she's going super jazzy. This song has been done so many times — in life, in reality shows (hello, Fantasia Barrino!) — and yet Kim somehow makes it feel like hers. You can't look away from what she's doing up there, which is mostly standing and singing her butt off. John tells her how every single note "felt so intentional and musical" and calls that performance "a masterclass in how you perform a song that's been performed a million times." It was "divine," he says.

Team Legend: Omar Jose Cardona, "My Heart Will Go On," by Celine Dion

I mean, okay, Omar! Taking on Celine! This Celine! In rehearsal, Omar says he's "up for the challenge" and he is… mostly. Maybe it's just me, but it felt like his vocals were a little overpowered by the band in the first half — which is wild to say — but Omar leaves nothing on the floor in the second half of the song. He hits one high note with such power, it should be impossible. As Gwen notes, the coaches are simply "moved to laughter" because they can't believe what just happened is real.

Team Blake: Bodie, "Without Me," by Halsey

In rehearsals, Blake says "it would be a disaster" if Bodie didn't make it into the finale, and he's right. It would be! For everyone involved! Bodie stands apart from our other finalists not just in his song choices and genre, but in his level of artistry. He knows exactly who he is and how to work songs to his advantage. This isn't his strongest performance, and yet it still reiterates exactly why he deserves a finale spot. He's somehow both surprising and always solid as a performer, and he has a real vision for what he wants to do. "You're a true artist," Camila tells him.

Whitney Houston duet: Justin Aaron and Omar Jose Cardona, "Greatest Love of All"

This is what they call a power duet, baby. Justin Aaron and Omar Jose Cardona? It's almost too much. But also, just enough. I don't know, did you ever doubt that these two power singers wouldn't be able to nail Whitney Houston? If you did, you can see yourself out now. What's there to say? Justin might shine just a smidge brighter, but they crush it. The high notes, the belting, all of it.

Team Blake: Bryce Leatherwood, "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away," by Justin Moore

There's a whole to-do made about Bryce's cowboy hat and how he didn't wear it last week and how he should bring it back, and then in the performance he has his hat sitting next to him until the big finale when he puts it on his head and it's a big thing that feels wildly unnecessary. One, Bryce has a great head of hair and I'm pro-No Hat, but more importantly because this is Bryce's best vocal of the season by far. Gwen tells him his vocals are "effortless" and yet he still has this "star quality," and John, who also believes this was Bryce's best performance, calls his vocals tonight "pitch-perfect… glorious, bold, and soulful." Who needs a hat?

Whitney Houston duet: Kim Cruse and Parijita Bastola, "I'm Every Woman"

Okay, this is another fun pairing and a great song match, but come on, they should've given these two "I Will Always Love You" and just let them soar. Can you imagine? The ladies sound good here and it's a little party, but no one has a huge standout moment.

Team Camila: Morgan Myles, "Always Remember Us This Way," by Lady Gaga

Speaking of having a moment, Morgan Myles is definitely going for hers with this performance. She's dedicating this performance to her late cousin and late grandfather, plus her parents are in the audience for the first time this season. Then you add in her choice to play the piano here and also that incredible train on her dress? Forget it. She knows exactly what she needs to do to make the biggest impact here in the semis. It doesn't hurt that her vocals remain incredibly impressive. Both Gwen and Camila note just how much Morgan has grown throughout this competition. Camila calls the performance "magical."

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