‘I can’t believe you’re in a box still’

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The bottom three Rowan Grace and Kim Cruse await their fate, as Kiqué waits in COVID lockdown, in the top 10 results show of ‘The Voice’ season 22. (Photo: NBC)

brought on tuesday The voice Season 22’s top 10 results show, which determined which eight contestants advanced to the semifinals. But unfortunately one of the participants who did not go through, a former leader, did not even get a proper goodbye.

Early in the evening, host Carson Daly explained that seven singers would be voted through by America, based on Monday’s mostly outstanding top 10 performances. And of course, the first artist to go through was the most outstanding of them all, the true original and consummate risk taker Bodie. Bodie’s lightning fast rapped/sung cover of TikTok star JVKE’s “Golden Hour” on Monday caused his proud and bewildered coach, Blake Shelton, to not only declare it as possibly “the hardest song I’ve ever heard anyone try to do in this show”, but arguably “the best performance I’ve ever seen on this show”. Fortunately, America agreed with that assessment. And already I can’t wait to see what Bodie does next week – and in two weeks in the finals, because I can’t imagine him not going all the way at this point.

This week’s other standout rock star, Team Camila’s guitar goddess Morgan Michaels, also advanced straight to the semifinals before Tuesday’s first commercial break. This meant that rookie coach Camila Cabello would still be represented going forward. Poor Camila started off with such a strong team that I once predicted she would win this entire season, but then she quickly lost three of her four performers in the Live Playoffs, leaving her alone with Morgan, her “last woman standing.” ‘. But Camilla could still winning everything with Morgan… and honestly, a top two consisting of Bodie and Morgan would make for one of the most exciting Voice finals in years.

Two contestants I had hoped would be in the top four of that final with Bodie and Morgan were Team Gwen’s indie-soul maverick Kiqué and Team Legend’s “Velvet Powerhouse” Kim Cruse — but frustratingly, both singers landed on the bottom Tuesday, despite giving dynamite performances the night before. Kim’s result was shocking, considering that her cover of Rihanna’s “Love on the Brain” had been so exciting that Carson actually believed Rihanna herself would approve. Gwen Stefani had even commented that Kim was “underrated” this season, but “now everyone’s waking up and saying, ‘Why didn’t we make a bigger deal on Kim?'” But apparently Gwen’s statement was only half-true.

As for Gwen’s own risk contestant, Kiqué, I thought he got back on track admirably this week after landing on the bottom last week. But perhaps the fact that NBC was forced to air a pre-recorded Kiqué studio performance on Monday — because he’d tested positive for COVID-19 and couldn’t appear on the live show — stymied his chances. As Kiqué listened to Carson read the bottom three results while he waited in seclusion, my heart went out to the boy…

Instead, the show aired another pre-recorded performance, this time by Kiqué covering Leon Bridges’ “River”. The visuals were quietly compelling, but I think Kiqué is the type of artist who runs on adrenaline — he won the Save last week, for example — and I think if he in at the time, live on television, the end result would have been much fiercer, more like a fight song. This footage appeared to have been filmed at the same time, last Friday, that Kiqué had performed “in front of robot cameras” (as he explained on social media) when recording his concluded top 10 performance – as in, the performance that had finally landed him on the chopping block. So he seemed doomed tonight.

Team Blake’s Rowan Grace was the third singer in danger on Tuesday, which wasn’t a shock — although she put on a solid Billie Eilish performance on Monday and I honestly would have traded her spot in the bottom three for her handsome but bland teammate , Brayden Lape, which I think peaked weeks ago. Rowan was the first of the bottom three contestants to compete for that final spot in the top eight, and while her cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” was pleasant and beautiful, it didn’t have the grit, gravitas, or blood/sweat/tears to make a to become a full-fledged save-me performance. Rowan was unlikely to win this showdown, landslide or otherwise.

And then there was Kim, who did a gospel-inspired version of Brooks & Dunn’s “Believe” (perhaps a shrewd strategy to The voice‘s core country audience?). And while she seemed underpowered, especially at first, she had the sheer lung power to handle any faulty mic issues. She received a standing ovation from all four coaches and her own coach, John Legend, told her, “I truly believe you are one of the best vocalists I’ve ever worked with.”

Five minutes and a commercial break later, the votes were counted and America saved…Kim Cruse. I certainly couldn’t argue with that judgment, and I hope viewers finally realize how special she is and don’t take her immense talent for granted again. But I felt terrible for Kiqué, whose remote connection was cut during the last few minutes of the episode, so he only got 20 seconds to say goodbye to his coach and probably didn’t get to hear Gwen’s kind words of praise at this point.

Hopefully Kiqué can watch this episode back and see Gwen gush about him. “I can’t believe you’re still in a box,” she complained, disappointed she couldn’t address him personally. “I’ve been on this show for six seasons, and [Kiqué is] probably the first artist I’ve ever worked with that I was really blown away by his own artistry. I learned to trust him right away. Whatever he wants to do, he’ll come up with a vision, and it’s just super exciting to work with someone who’s such a pure artist.”

So now Blake has three artists in the top eight (Bodie, Brayden, and Bryce Leatherwood), John also has three (Parijita Bastola, Omar José Cardona, and Kim), and Camila and Gwen have only one contestant each. Hopefully all eight singers stay healthy and can finish live next week. But as a side note, I have to say that I enjoyed Gwen’s quirky and chaotic funhouse/house-party rendition of Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House” with her last man standing, Justin Aaron, much more than I expected (even though I kept wishing that Kiqué could have been there for what should be a group number). At this point in the game, Justin probably shouldn’t be taking any major risks and straying too far from his classic R&B streak on competitive episodes, but it was great to see him rock like that. And I dare say he almost dwarfed rocker girl Gwen with his vivacious performance.

Check back next Monday to see who rocks and sets the mood The voice Season 22 finale.

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The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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