From Queen to Harry Styles, Michael Jackson, Bonnie Tyler and Elvis Presley, the finalists laid it all on the stage and gave us what could be one of the tightest finales ever.
Talk about saving the best for lost, “The Voice” performance finale delivered some of the season’s strongest performances and we are shooketh.
It also featured a great holiday quartet featuring this season’s Coaches that has to stand as one of the best Coach performances across the past 22 seasons. Everyone sounded so different and yet the melded together into a truly memorable musical number.
As for the contestants, with Omar Jose Cardona finally taking on Queen, Morgan Myles belting “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” Brayden Lape being “Humble and Kind,” Bryce Leatherwood spelling “T-R-O-U-B-L-E” and bodie showing “Gratitude,” the Top 5 did not come to play.
They each performed twice on the night and really showcased different sides of themselves and their artistry. Several offered a cappella moments to put their voices front and center while some crooners showed off their up-tempo potential and others peeled back their hearts.
The result was an incredibly close finale that truly feels like anybody could win it all! Okay, check that. We can go so far as to say it truly feels like four of the five could win it all. Sorry, but one of these artists was definitely not like the others tonight!
John Legend, Camila Cabello, Gwen Stefani & Blake Shelton
(“The Christmas Song”) One thing that’s fun about this batch of coaches is how very different they are musically. Those different backgrounds and musical styles were on full display as they made their way through the song one by one and it was interesting with each transition the varied interpretations they each put on one of the most well-known holiday classics. Each of them was in great voice for this one, too, creating a classic “Voice” moment.
ROUND 1 – FINALE SONG
Brayden Lape [Team Blake]
(“Wild as Her,” Tyler Joe Miller [as performed by Corey Kent] – 16, Grass Lake, MI) Corey’s take on the song has that thinner voice, as well, making this a pretty good track for Brayden to show that what he brings to the stage is commercially viable. Still, Blake urged him to push himself to put more grit and oomph in this performance (we’d argue he’s needed a bit of it in most of them).
He tried a bit when that first chorus hit but he never seems to be able to push it all the way there. We’re not sure if his voice just doesn’t have it, or maybe the fact that he’s a teenager has him in his head and in his own way a bit (we remember teen anxiety well). He did have a good sound on the verses, but that weakness betrayed him a bit on the verses as it always seems to do. He’s got that sweet tenderness thing down, but he needs to work on pushing himself vocally to be a more well-rounded singer.
bodie [Team Blake]
(“Late Night Talking,” Harry Styles – 29, Ladera Ranch, CA) For the first time on the show, bodie decided to kick up the tempo and go with a lighter song, and we’re not entirely sure what to think about it. Obviously, he can sing anything and do it well, but we can’t say we completely bought that joyousness from him throughout.
This had moments that were really great and moments that just felt a little awkward. We also have to say that the dancers were a little too much and too distracting. We understand the bodie hair and caps, but it doesn’t feel right for him and was a bit distracting.
(“Total Eclipse of the Heart,” Bonnie Tyler – 35, Nashville, TN) Talk about putting every little bit of yourself into a performance, she almost fell off the stage, lost her breath and nearly passed out from the effort, but she definitely had an almost flawless performance. We’d have loved to see her hold out some of those notes in the heavier part of the song, but she was also dancing around and it looked like she slipped on breath control a bit.
This was the first time we thought maybe the pressure and emotion and that knot of anxiety in her stomach from being here showed through just a little bit. The big wasn’t quite as big as we expected in this, but she is still incredible and the audacity to even take on this song — and then do this well on it — is commendable.
Bryce Leatherwood [Team Blake]
(“T-R-O-U-B-L-E,” Elvis Presley [as performed by Travis Tritt] – 22, Woodstock, GA) We’ve heard a lot of old-school heart from Bryce, but he’s rarely pushed the tempo to this level to give us a rockabilly anthem — and it’s about damned time! From Elvis to Travis, he’s standing on the shoulders of giants with this track, but from note one Bryce was in total control of the track.
He felt and sounded as comfortable getting people up and moving as he did slowing it down and touching our hearts. We love that he’s so ingrained in the roots of country music, and yet manages to sound youthful and exciting on these songs. It’s not always easy to have a rich, full voice on a song like this, but Bryce definitely delivered with his most confident performance yet.
Omar Jose Cardona [Team Legend]
(“Somebody to Love,” Queen – 34, Orlando, FL) Not since Adam Lambert has a reality show contestant been so tailor-made to take on Freddie Mercury, and we kind of love that he waited until this finale to do it. Adam went on to sing for the actual band. We’re not saying that’ll happen for Omar, but he has that perfect hybrid of soaring power and theatricality that made Freddie so magical.
From the opening number to moments throughout, Omar found ways to stand out and really shine. What we liked about this for him was that it didn’t need to be so heartfelt and connect with us emotionally — because we still feel he’s struggled to do that. Instead, this was all showing off how incredibly gifted he is. He held some notes to incredible length and effortlessly soared through his range with no lapse in power. He’s definitely a special kind of singer.
(“Humble and Kind,” Tim McGraw – 16, Grass Lake, MI) A little off-key in places and never quite finding that full-hearted performance that Tim puts on the original, this was definitely another sweet delivery with Brayden’s signature innocence. This time, though, it didn’t quite sit as well on the track as it felt like it should have a little more vocal push. He may not even have that in him, but its absence left this sounding okay and pleasant, but unremarkable.
When the Coaches started talking to him, he decided to call out Gwen when she said she felt like she was his number one fan on the show. “Then why didn’t you turn?” he shot at her, giving himself an “ooh!” “What are you talking about?” she hit back defensively, before saying she doesn’t remember that far back.
Omar Jose Cardona [Team Legend]
(“The Way You Make Me Feel,” Michael Jackson – 34, Orlando, FL) Omar didn’t need to start at a 7 on this track as it works better with a build. We know he’s got that stratospheric theatrical voice, but we were hoping for a more subtle approach at least in the verses of this one. Instead, there was a strange disconnect from his physicality and the choices he made with his voice.
We loved seeing him show off some dance moves and this whole other side of who he is as an artist, but it would have been more effective if he hadn’t tried to sing the whole thing at or near full throttle. This would have been a great opportunity to showcase this more tender, intimate and even sensual side to his voice (if it’s in there). We are glad he didn’t drop the mic on that flip, though, as it was pretty close. All in all, though, while he sounded great, it left us scratching our head a little bit.
Bryce Leatherwood [Team Blake]
(“Don’t Close Your Eyes,” Keith Whitley – 22, Woodstock, GA) From the rich tone of that very first note, it was clear that Bryce was ready to make a statement with this performance. He sounded so polished and assured, it grabbed our attention immediately and did not let go. This was a radio-ready performance that sounded so clean and rich, it could have been mixed and released as a single sounding just like this.
Bryce has always had this throwback sound to him, and he does carry that classic country sound. But he definitely came out here to prove that this sound is just as relevant and cool today as it was decades ago (even as he did so on a song nearly 35 years old). Bryce took control of this song in a way we didn’t really expect from him. He’s always been solid, but we admit to questioning him making it to this finale. We won’t back down on the singers eliminated last week being incredibly worthy, but Bryce made a strong case for himself just then.
(“Gratitude,” Brandon Lake – 29, Ladera Ranch, CA) Dipping into a Christian music side, bodie definitely poured all of his emotions into this song he dedicated to his three children. It was a beautifully heartfelt performance from beginning to end, but especially in the closing lines which he delivered a cappella.
At the same time, we found ourselves feeling that we’ve seen bodie wow us so many times this season, and we weren’t left breathless with his final solo performance. Perhaps it’s because we felt like we’d been seeing his artistry shine through most of his performances and this felt more like a straight delivery. It was very well done, but lacked that bodie spark.
Morgan Myles [Team Camila]
(“Girl Crush,” Little Big Town – 35, Nashville, TN) A mesmerizing performance that held onto our hearts from those opening a cappella notes through every magical moment she gave us. Morgan delivered a true finale-worthy performance that showed so many layers to her voice and sounded like an awards show moment. That was the voice of every show she’s ever done toward this moment.
Morgan has been a force all season long, and she still managed to save her best moment for her final solo performance. We loved the power she showed in her frantic Round 1 showcase, but this is where she shines the brightest. Morgan is everything these shows is looking for, someone with the potential to be another Kelly or Carrie. She has the grace, poise, presence and most importantly, the voice, to take the music industry by storm.
With wildly different rankings for each round, our weighted average created a very tight race among four of the five, with poor Brayden bringing up the rear. Remarkably, our rankings put bodie in fourth place, though we acknowledge he has a very real chance of winning.
We also saw a surprise second place tie between two very different artists with Omar Jose Cardona and Bryce Leatherwood sharing that honor. That means Morgan Myles emerged as our overall winner for Monday’s show.
At the same time, we have to note that they were all separated by just one point in our weighted scores, so it really is anybody’s game. Throughout the early part of the season, we were really leaning on bodie to win this season as he was so exciting to watch. But as the weeks went by, our attitude changed.
Omar has always blown us away with his talent, but he’s also left us feeling flat at times. Bryce has grown each week and really peaked right here and right now. But we stand by our rankings in that Morgan has risen to hold our heart with beautifully heartfelt performances week in and week out. On top of that, her voice holds just about as much power and potential as Omar.
We’d love to see Morgan pull off an upset win over Blake Shelton. Yes, we say Blake because his three finalists did not all deserve to make it to this point, suggesting that it is Blake’s star power that catapulted them to the forefront.
So, if it’s about the actual voice, we have to sidestep John a bit. Yes, Omar has the overall most impressive voice, but our girl Morgan has the more complete package. For overall talent and readiness to go forth and be great, our money’s on Morgan.
If it’s more about the Coaches, then that means one of Blake’s three boys will win. Based on Tuesday night’s performances, we could make an argument for Bryce, but we’ll stand by the overall season performance of bodie. There is magic inside of him; we just didn’t see as much of it tonight as we would have liked.
“The Voice” crowns its Season 22 winner Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.