'Voice' Bummers: Kimberly Nichole Leaves Show, Craig Wayne Boyd Leaves Label

·Editor in Chief, Yahoo Music

She sang that a seven nation army couldn’t hold her back, but apparently a nation of tweeters and Voice viewers can. On Tuesday night, Season 8’s Rock Ballerina, Kimberly Nichole, danced her last Voice dance, going home in sixth place after a super-close Instant Save sing-off against India Carney.

I could get into conspiracy-theorizing here. How could the woman who absolutely slayed Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana” Monday night, in what was easily that evening’s best performance, be dead last on the iTunes chart? How could America choose the technically proficient but bland India over a fire-spitter like Kimberly, who clearly outsang India on Tuesday?

But seeing how things have panned out on rival show American Idol lately, with practically every interesting contestant of that season going home in quick succession, I’ll just come to the logical conclusion that America doesn’t dig charisma.

It probably didn’t help, with a nail-biting, down-to-the-wire vote that was split straight down the middle, that Kimberly tweeted out the wrong Instant Save hashtag to her 21,000 fans. Whoops. But for what it’s worth, I used the correct hashtag. I tried. Oh well. (UPDATE: Kimberly later tweeted that her incorrect hashtag actually counted after all. So there blows that theory.)

But perhaps Kimberly is better off not winning this show after all. Also on Tuesday night, recent “winner” Craig Wayne Boyd, amid rumors that he has already parted ways with Dot Records/Big Machine only five months after his Season 7 victory — rumors confirmed to Yahoo Music’s Reality Rocks by a Big Machine source on Tuesday — returned to the show. And it was awkward.

After performing his ironically/sadly titled new single “I’m Still Here,” released on the independent Long Haul Records and seemingly all about his career struggles, he had to engage in a nicey-nice, muzzled interview with host Carson Daly about all of his supposed post-Voice success… all the while knowing that he has joined Season 2’s Jermaine Paul and Season 6’s Josh Kaufman on a growing, non-illustrious list of Voice champs who never got to release a major-label album. (UPDATE: Craig later tweeted that it was his choice to leave his label contract.)

And Craig actually seemed like one Voice contestant that could actually sell some records, too. I guess now we’ll have to depend on runner-up Matt McAndrew to keep the spirit of Season 7 alive.

Really, it seems like the contestants who don’t win this show are at an odd advantage, as evidenced by the other three alums that guest-performed on Tuesday’s results show. For instance, Season 5’s Jacqui Lee, now signed to Atlantic Records and fresh off a tour with Vine sensation Sean Mendes, performed her Sia-penned single “Tears Fall.” The girl can sang. Let’s hope Jacqui gets a better shot than the woman she lost to in Season 5, Tessanne Chin, whose disgustingly under-promoted album sadly came and went without a trace.

Season 1’s Vicci Martinez, who was fiercely independent long before going on The Voice, stole the show with her tribal performance of “Bad News Breaker.” Go, Vicci, go! Stay indie forever. You do you.

And Avery Wilson, who didn’t even make it past the Knockout Rounds in Season 3 but landed a deal with RCA Records anyway, performed his debut single “If I Have To,” complete with a fawning introduction by BMG’s Clive Davis.

(Side note: Was it just me, or was it totally weird and just a little icky seeing longtime Idol affiliate Clive on Voice territory? I still haven’t forgotten about Kellygate, around the time of Kelly Clarkson’s “controversial” My December release, so I’d just advise Avery to be afraid. Be very afraid. But he’s probably still better off than Craig.)

So now we are down to the top five. Will the Season 8 winner be India Carney, Joshua Davis, Koryn Hawthorne, Sawyer Fredericks, or Meghan Linsey? And will that winner actually get to release an album, when all is said and done? Watch this space. In the meantime, I’ll be watching Kimberly Nichole, to see what the Rock Ballerina’s next steps will be.

(photos courtesy of NBC)

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