The Voice Performance Finale Recap: Which of the Top 5 Sang Like a Winner?

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The Voice on Monday began the ending of a season of firsts: its first with a Final Five instead of a Final Four; its first with pandemic-necessitated remote performances; its first with a swivel chair for Nick Jonas (and his oh-so-helpful Nick’s Notes); its first, at least that I can remember, with Kelly Clarkson Wine Goblets™; its first with the coaches making one boneheaded move (John Legend dropping Thunderstorm Artis from his team) after another (Cedrice and not Tayler Green being stolen during the Knockouts)…

Hey, wait. We always get at least a few face-palm-inducing decisions from the coaches, don’t we? (Glad some things never change!) We also always get at least a few truly excellent performances from the contestants, especially come finale time. Read on, and we’ll discuss which of Monday’s fell into that category following an eye- and ear-popping cover of Collective Soul’s “Shine” by the Final Five. (Kudos, production department; way to make the most of what you had to work with!)

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CammWess (Team Legend), “Purple Rain” — Grade: C+ | Before CammWess’ performance, his coach revealed that he’d vouched for his talent in order to get the Prince classic cleared for the first time for use on The Voice. (Damn, if ever I’d wished we were on the actual stage with all its pyrotechnics for a number, this was it.) CammWess sounded good-ish but took liberties with the iconic song’s melody that distracted from the overall strength of his vocal rather than make his artistry stand out. And unfortunately, his falsetto toward the end was so dicey, it made me look up, wondering, “Umm… is he OK?” Not the showstopper that CammWess needed (or that the hit deserved).

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the-voice-recap-top-5-performances-thunderstorm-artis-cammwessTodd Tilghman (Team Blake), “I Can Only Imagine” — Grade: B | I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve long liked but not loved Todd. But I’ll be damned if he isn’t winning me over. There’s a sincerity to his husky vocals that challenges even a dyed-in-the-wool cynic like me. And he definitely has a voice that’s big enough to fill a church (or auditorium, stadium, you name it). Moreover, whereas some of his competitors sing their songs, it seems like he feels them, lives them. “You sing with so much passion,” his coach told him afterwards. “You’re just a special dude.”

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Micah Iverson (Team Kelly), “Butterflies” — Grade: C | Rehearsing his single with Songland’s Shane McAnally, Micah benefited from his coach chiming in with what she called big Coldplay kinda notes. But how would he do without her assist? Pretty good, it seemed, at least at first. He talk-sang the verse and pre-chorus with a casual ease. Yet he never got to go for broke in that way that has won us over in the past. Maybe “Butterflies” just wasn’t that good a number; was that why Kelly was chugging throughout his performance? She insisted when he was done that it had been the perfect song for Micah. Mm-hmm. Sure, it was, Kel. Come to think of it, I need a refill, too.

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Thunderstorm Artis (Team Nick), “Sedona” — Grade: A | Before his performance, Thunderstorm explained that he’d written his single about his love of the mountains of Hawaii. Yes, he knew that Sedona was in Arizona; he’d seen a picture of its peaks and had gotten inspired. In the moment of truth, Thunderstorm… well, he Thunderstormed. He sang in sorta hushed, altogether flawless tones that reinforced the notion that he’s a master of his craft, not a mere wannabe on a TV sing-off. Dunno if it was the catchiest song ever — “Uptown Funk,” it wasn’t. But then, it wasn’t trying to be. It was an artist’s song rendered with a presence and authenticity that was impossible to ignore.

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Toneisha Harris (Team Blake), “Faithfully” — Grade: A | After Toneisha’s practice session with Blake reminded us that she’d put her initial plans to try out for the show — back in Season 2 — on hold when her son took ill, she delivered a fabulous, full-throated rendition of Journey’s golden oldie. Unlike CammWess, she stuck close to the original melody, yet still managed to make her version distinctly hers. I might’ve given her the win just on the strength of her amazing, low “Oh oh oh ohs.” When she was done, Blake called her performance her best of the season. He might have meant the best of the season, but in any case, he liked it. (Well, duh!)

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Todd Tilghman (Team Blake), “Long Way Home” — Grade: A | Even just as Todd ran through his original, I couldn’t help but think, “Aw, man, this so, so, so in his pocket, it might as well be his wallet.” I couldn’t imagine any way that he wasn’t going to nail it. On stage… or, well, in his basement (?), Todd sounded like a million bucks, kinda like a lovely, earthy mix of Michael McDonald and Kenny Rogers with some Joe Cocker on top to add a smidgen of edge. Utterly disarming. Or, as his coach put it, Todd has the ability to make a new song feel comforting and familiar.

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CammWess (Team Legend), “Save It For Tomorrow” — Grade: B | In rehearsal, CammWess told us that his self-penned song was, in a way, about an argument with the future. He might’ve had more to say, but Songland’s Ryan Tedder kinda interrupted. In any case, the number had a sick beat and allowed CammWess to let his vocals trickle down like so much caramel on a scoop of ice cream. Trouble was, the song never really peaked — it didn’t allow CammWess to make us go, “Holy crap! Did you hear that?” Cool groove, smooth vocal but, ultimately, about as memorable as that bowl of ice cream once the caramel sauce is gone.

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Micah Iverson (Team Kelly), “Chasing Cars” — Grade: C- | Before Micah went on, Kelly made sure to mention that Snow Patrol had never before OK’d their song for use on The Voice. In other words, “Don’t screw it up, kid.” Micah started off unremarkably, the Grey’s Anatomy-ness of the classic doing the heavy lifting for him. It was all gonna come down to whether or not he could slay the big notes. And? Alas, he could not slay them. He was pitchy and, worse, devoid of depth. Maybe it was just as well Nick couldn’t hear when Carson Daly asked what he’d thought of the performance. Kelly said that Micah had sung better than most people on the radio right now. “Ha, pull the other one,” replied most people on the radio. “You’re funny.”

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Toneisha Harris (Team Blake), “My Superhero” — Grade: B+ | Performing an original that she wrote just after her son’s diagnosis, Toneisha gave me Oleta Adams vibes. She was definitely feeling it; it sounded like a heartfelt lullaby that she might have sung to her baby boy. Tasteful and emotional, if maybe a little lacking in the fireworks that might move a viewer to cast their vote for Toneisha. When she was done, her coach reminded her that we were all supposed to be social-distancing, yet “she literally just touched millions of people.”

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Thunderstorm Artis (Team Nick), “What a Wonderful World” — Grade: A | Strange to think that, as Nick noted, he never actually got to work in person with the contestant that he stole from Team Legend! Didn’t seem to hurt Thunderstorm any, though. In his final performance before we all voted for the winner, he sang so sweetly, so sincerely, we — at least I — could almost forget for a minute that we had a pandemic going on right outside our doors. Frankly, if Tuesday’s whole show was just Thunderstorm numbers back to back, I’d be a happy camper.

So, did the singer for whom you’re rooting change after this episode? Vote for the singer you want to — and the one you think will — win below, then hit the comments with the order in which you predict the contestants will finish.