The Voice Season 18 had to switch to remote production last week due to coronavirus concerns, and the show undoubtedly suffered due to everything from bad green-screen effects to bad Wi-Fi connections. Bad singing, however, wasn’t an issue. This season’s top nine semifinalists -- particularly Team Blake’s Toneisha Harris, whom Mega-Mentor James Taylor once compared to Aretha Franklin and Barbra Streisand – are a strong bunch.
Thankfully, this week producers seemed to heed last week’s criticism, with most of the performances looking more like professional television productions and not like the product of some make-your-own-music-video kiosk at the local mall. But some contestants still fared better in the at-home format, while Toneisha, a classic pop/soul diva belting Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me,” couldn’t showcase her Barbra-levels the way we would have on a proper soundstage. That’s when her fellow diva, Kelly Clarkson, stepped in to right that wrong -- and make Toneisha an offer that, quite frankly, is probably a grander grand prize than actually winning The Voice.
“America, she ain’t even on my team. I’m keeping it real,” Kelly declared. “Because of how we’re doing the show, you couldn't tell the power that Toneisha has, the power that that song takes. Toneisha, this is my request: I hope you honor me by coming to my Vegas show in 2021 and just taking the stage over. I want people to hear just how big that song is, because I feel like people couldn’t hear how big you epically got. That was incredible. You are an incredibly gifted vocalist. You are so good.”
Toneisha just stood there in her living room, in understandable shock, before finally accepting Kelly’s generous invitation. Added Toneisha’s coach, Blake Shelton: “That's an awesome thing for Kelly to offer you. If I ever get to play again, you are welcome to come sing with me, too.”
it’s a good thing that Toneisha has a backup plan, because despite her undeniable talent, the odds are still stacked against her going into Tuesday’s results show, which will determine which five – yes, five – contestants move on to next week’s finale. With this derailed, curtailed pandemic-era season now rushing to wrap up, this time around there will be team quota in place, with the top vote-getter from each team automatically advancing to the finale -- and it’s unlikely that Toneisha, who had to be saved by Blake last week, will earn more votes than Team Blake’s perpetually grinning church pastor and father of eight, Todd Tilghman. One more wild-card contestant will make it to the finale via Tuesday night’s five-way Instant Save sing-off, and it’s possible with her mighty pipes, Toneisha could prevail in that round. But no matter what happens as host Carson Daly put it, “Toneisha has a gig in 2021!”