We're not sure what America was watching Monday night, but it definitely wasn't this show based on who they put in the Bottom 3.
We’re still processing what just happened on “The Voice” Top 10 elimination show as America apparently lost its collective mind after Monday night’s show.
Tonight was the last shot for some of the artists ahead of next week’s semi-finals. Seven would advance automatically, leaving the remaining three artists to battle it out for the last slot in the Top 8. With only two weeks until the finale, the pressure was higher than ever!
There was also pressure for the coaches to continue to have at least one representative on the show. Camila was already down to one going into the show, while Gwen had two. John was holding strong at three while Blake carried all four of his artists into the Top 10.
That meant both Camila and Gwen were staring down the real possibility of being completely eliminated from the competition. We’d argue Gwen was more in danger, though, because Camila’s Morgan Myles is one of this season’s breakout stars.
That makes sense in a world that makes sense, but after seeing who America put in their Bottom 3 this week, we’re not sure we’re living in that world anymore. Luckily, everyone got a shot to perform again in the Instant-Save -- but if America can make terrible decisions once, they could do it again.
(“The Weight,” The Band) Incredibly, John has built one of the strongest teams at this stage of the competition we’ve ever seen on this show. Even with an oddball song choice that didn’t really work for any of them (including John), all three of his remaining singers still managed to shine as bright as the one next to them. There’s a reason we had all three in our personal Top 5 after Monday’s competition, and believe they’ll all sail through. Each is so different in approach and style, yet they all share the gift of power, control and passion for what they do -- all three could make a case for the finale (and we wouldn’t be stunned to see them all there).
Justin Aaron (w/ Gwen Stefani)
(“Burning Down the House,” Talking Heads) With Kique still isolated due to his positive Covid test, Gwen was down to just one team member to perform with for her big “Team Gwen” moment. Maybe she should have gone last week and Team Blake could have performed this week, as he came into this week with all four of his team members intact. They managed to pull it off, thanks to Justin being such a versatile talent. This song was a good fit for Gwen’s alternative style, but Justin surprised us by equally commanding this memorably bizarre MTV-inspired madhouse.
Barmageddon: The Voice Edition
This is ripped from a new show Carson Daly and Blake are doing together, with WWE Superstar Nikki Bella hosting, that takes bar games and amps them up. So they decided to put their fellow “Voice” coaches to the test and see how they’d fare in this new setting. Blake and Camila were paired up opposite Gwen and John for Keg Kurling, which was brilliantly simple but a lot of fun to watch -- and now we want the home version!
This week, only three artists would see themselves in danger and facing the Instant-Save performance of their lives -- with only one staying alive and moving into next week’s Semi-Finals as part of the Top 8.
Admittedly, we were kind of all over the place trying to predict how this would play out, as we weren’t confident that America saw the acts the same way we did. If they did, the Bottom 3 would be Justin Aaron, Brayden Lape and Rowan Grace. We only felt confident about Rowan.
We also had a feeling that Kique (despite coming in sixth for us) could repeat in the Bottom after an uninspired isolated Covid-induced performance … unless he picked up some sympathy votes for his unique situation.
Ultimately, though, we went with Bryce Leatherwood and Rowan Grace for sure in the Bottom 3, joined by either Kique or Justin Aaron, leaning toward Justin for that sympathy factor we mentioned above.
The first artist sent to safety was no real surprise, as we fully expected bodie to make it to the semi-finals, and probably the finals after that. He was followed by Morgan Myles, who had one of the night’s breakout performances.
Another top performer was next to safety, with Omar Jose Cardona looking genuinely stunned and relieved to be moving on. His euphoria was followed by Justin Aaron’s, who deserves this shot based on his overall journey thus far, if not necessarily for what happened Monday.
As we expected, the “it factor” of Brayden Lape was enough to send the 16 year old into the Top 8, despite a very shaky night. Parajita Bastola was next to get the good word, leaving our (almost) predicted Bottom 3 in danger next to the night’s strongest singer.
But then, it was total madness as Kim Cruse wasn’t the next person sent to safety. That bone went to Bryce Leatherwood, meaning both of Blake’s country singers were safe and the best damned voice of this entire season was in danger!
Kim Cruse somehow landed in the Bottom 3 alongside Rowan Grace and Kique. We can’t even wrap our minds around it. It defies all logic. And yet, we can’t fathom a world where she doesn’t win this three-way battle. Rowan is well out of her league at this point and Kique has been inconsistent -- and was in the bottom already last week, so he’s clearly not connecting.
Rowan Grace [Team Blake]
(“Landslide,” Fleetwood Mac) Rowan has a very sweet demeanor and an innocent charm to her that didn’t quite fit this song, which she picked herself, and it was again clear that she’s just not quite up to the level of the rest of her competition at this point. She’s got a lot to be proud of making the Top 10 at her young age, but she needs to work on projection and creating her musical identity. This was a better fit for her range and tone, but it still didn’t have that commanding presence so many of her competitors bring each and every week.
Kique [Team Gwen]
(“RIver,” Leon Bridges) Again due to Covid, Kique’s performance was pre-recorded in preparation for the chance he was in the Bottom 3. In one way, it’s a disadvantage he didn’t have the live crowd to play off of, but he also didn’t have to perform knowing that his “Voice” life was on the line -- so it’s a double-edged sword. He’s got that incredibly rich tone that fit this track perfectly, but he was oversinging almost every syllable, and his physical presentation still leaves a lot to be desired. If we close our eyes, though, he’s such an interesting vocalist. If he’d stop showing off his range in those low-to-high runs all the time and lean more into that emotional connection he captures from time to time, he could find real magic.
Kim Cruse [Team Legend]
(“Believe,” Brooks & Dunn) There is one perk of the travesty of justice that somehow saw Kim land in this position. We got another incredible performance from her. Here’s the difference between a true artist who knows themself and someone who is still finding their way, or just showing off. Kim’s runs are so tasteful and subtle. Her choices serve the song and the overall journey she’s taking us on. This was another masterclass in how to take a song and make it something magical. Kim can take any song, take a laser focus on the message and the lyric and create undeniable performances -- that somehow go right over America’s head, apparently.
All we can say is America had better have gotten this right. There was such a huge gap in readiness between Rowan and Kique, but the gap was just as wide between him and Kim. She’s just on another level, so ready for a real shot at her dreams. It’s more than just an incredible voice, because Kique has that, as well, but the entire package and how she expresses herself through her artistry.
Thankfully, America corrected the wrongs of Monday night and rightfully saved Kim Cruse from a position she should have never been in to begin with. We’re not saying Kim is going to win this season, but there is no reason she should not be in the finale. She earns it over and over again every time she sings, including twice this week!
“The Voice” moves to its Top 8 Semi-Finals next Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.