Four saved by America, four saved by their Coaches, and four battling head-to-head for one final slot in the Top 9 -- we're exhausted from just watching!
This week on “The Voice” has just about been pure chaos, with a convoluted system in place for reducing the remaining artists from 17 to 9.
Monday night’s wall-to-wall performance show was almost exhausting, making it even more challenging for the Top 17 to stand out among so many others. Luckily for them, they only had to beat their fellow teammates in the vote.
Tonight, the top vote-getter from each team advanced automatically, followed by a Coach’s save. That created eight of the nine slots needed. The last was the result of a live Wild Card Round and an insta-save vote from America.
Of the artists who didn’t advance by America’s vote or their Coach’s save, the top vote-getter remaining on each team advanced into the Wild Card round. But only one would come out of it unscathed.
With eight artists getting the boot, it was a brutal night of reality television, and one particularly hard on us as a couple of our favorites to make a run for the finale wound up getting the boot tonight.
Seriously, with one artist in particular we’re still scratching our heads that they weren’t an automatic advance into the next round. Easily one of the favorites this season from the beginning, and yet here we are, saying goodbye.
One contestant who didn't even appear on the show this week, Ryan Gallagher, was also removed by production -- according to a PEOPLE report that dropped Tuesday night. The publication said Gallagher, who was on Kelly Clarkson's team, had broken the show's coronavirus protocols and was pulled. On Instagram, Gallagher simply said, "I didn't drop out of the show. Details are still to come" -- and neither he or the show have officially confirmed PEOPLE's report.
Fair warning, since I'm safe at home, I'm probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani, John Legend and Blake Shelton.
As a reminder, we thought we had this all figured out after last night’s performances. But we also thought Taryn Papa was the weakest singer in that 4-Way Knockout, so we clearly don’t have a pulse on what this show’s audience is watching.
Nevertheless, for fear of embarrassing ourselves any more, we now present again our unvarnished predictions from Monday night. Let’s see how (not) well they’ve aged, shall we?
Kelly: Cami Clune (America’s Vote), Desz (Kelly’s Vote)
Gwen: Carter Rubin (America’s Vote), Payge Turner (Gwen’s Vote)
Blake: Worth the Wait (America’s Vote), Ian Flanigan (Blake’s Vote)
John: Bailey Rae (America’s Vote), John Holiday (America’s Vote)
Wild Cards: Madeline Consoer, Ben Allen, Jim Ranger, Chloé Hogan
Winner: Jim Ranger
Honestly, we felt this was going to come down to Cami or Desz, as no one else on Kelly’s team was really in their league. And Monday night, we felt that Cami gave a little more artistry. But America disagreed, sending Desz into the Top 9. She has been a powerhouse all season, so we don’t fault it at all.
That left the next choice up for Kelly to make, and as much as she loves this team, we can’t imagine her leaving Cami after that mesmerizing performance. We’ll take getting it wrong, but still right overall!
And that’s exactly what happened, with Kelly saying that strategically Cami Clune just made the most sense as there’s no one else quite in her lane. We couldn’t agree more, as hers was the most memorable performance on Kelly’s team Monday night.
Gwen came into the lives with a very strong team, but not everyone lived fully up to their potential. We felt confident that Carter and Payge were going to carry through in this first round, but couldn’t completely rule Ben out as a potential spoiler.
But we’ve seen enough “America’s Got Talent” to know that America loves kid singers, and Carter is one of the most incredible kid singers we’ve seen on any of these shows. They followed through, too, quickly sending Carter Rubin into the Top 9.
Of her remaining contestants, Payge really seemed like the only one that Gwen could really advance. She’s the most consistent, the most singular and she said such nice things about Gwen before the results were revealed.
Okay, we doubt that last had anything to do with it. Gwen is such a unique artist in her own right, so we suspected she saw enough of that individuality in Payge to really feel a connection. But then she flipped the script and went with Ben Allen, which we did not see coming at all. He has a great, rich quality to his voice, but Monday was not his best night.
Blake had the most agonizing decision of the night, and not just because he had five people on his team. Four of those five turned in absolutely incredible performances that were equally worthy of advancing.
That said, we really feel that the novelty of Worth the Wait resonated with America. On any other team, they’d have probably been a lock to advance, but Ian and Sid and James were all so incredible, it’s hard to really imagine who connected more. We imagine it was close.
If it wasn’t going to be Worth the Wait, it had to be Ian Flanigan, the one-chair turn with the voice like no other. So we could still be half right (as we were with Kelly) if Blake saved Worth the Wait. But he did not. Instead, it was a very worthy Jim Ranger -- who really is a world-class vocalist, so we can’t even be mad about it.
There’s just no denying the authenticity of Bailey’s voice, but after seeing how well pure country has not been doing with America’s vote, we got less confident she could pull this out. And if not her, it would come down to Chloé and John.
Desz’ soaring vocals took her into the Top 9 for Kelly, so we quickly shifted our expectations to John following suit, though we think Chloé had a more compelling performance. America just loves those vocal gymnastics as John Holiday indeed secured that slot.
With John in control, it wasn’t looking any better for Bailey, as we don’t think he’s confident enough to choose a country artist to advance when he has Chloé and Tamara to choose from. Tamara Jade is the more traditional type of vocalist to compete on a show like this, and she was first on John’s team, so Chloé didn’t really stand a chance here.
Obviously our Wild Card picks aren’t accurate, as both Ben and Jim had already advanced before we even got to this around. If we could make quick adjustments, we’d put Payge in Ben’s slot (that’s a no-brainer), and Worth the Wait into Jim’s position.
The real heartbreaker is that as much as we hate to do it, we also had to bump poor Chloé for Bailey, because we really thought America was going to embrace her pure, classic country tones. Our revised winner was Payge, because she has such a cool individuality in her artistry.
So were our revised predictions right (Madeline, Payge, Worth the Wait, Bailey)?
Team Kelly came up first and it was Tanner Gomes who scored the most votes, so we were already off to a great start. Payge Turner headed into that Wild Card battle next, followed quickly by Worth the Wait, and we were feeling better. Finally, Bailey Rae rounded out the round.
So … that means there are three country acts going up against Payge. Will they cancel each other out? Will the family trio stand out just because they’re three singers in one act?
(“I’m Gonna Love You Through It,” Martina McBride) It looks like this wasn’t meant to be this season, as both of the daughters really faltered in their opening solo portions. Clearly nervous energy and nerves got the best of them here, which is a shame as they’re much better than this parting shot.
Payge Turner [Team Gwen]
(“Diamonds,” Rihanna) What an incredibly intimate and poignant performance. Payge just oozes a coolness most of us could only ever aspire to, and it looks so effortless on her. On top of that, she sank into a beautiful lower register with flawless control. She knows who she is up there and really connected with a powerful moment.
(“Pickin’ Wildflowers,” Keith Anderson) The uptempo party cowboy stuck to the same vibe that delivered him into this round, and he definitely does bring the honky tonk to the show each time. He’s a lot of fun to watch, extremely confident. It’s not the kind of voice you’ll remember in a week’s time, but he brings the good time for now.
Bailey Rae [Team Legend]
(“Never Again, Again,” Lee Ann Womack) It's just so effortless for Bailey, who manages to make the old sound fresh again. There's no sound quite like those old-school country singers, but Bailey has that same rich, full texture in her voice. And yet, she doesn't sound dated when she takes on these songs. Instead, she pulls them into the modern era and makes it sound as if she's doing something fresh and new. It's an impressive gift.
Did Gwen pick Ben over Payge because she maybe felt Payge would have a better chance at defeating everyone else in this Wild Card round? If that was strategy, it’s actually not that bad of one because Payge really is something special to watch -- but it could also backfire huge if she loses.
On top of that, Payge was the only non-country artist in the round. But then Tanner came out and brought the party, and Bailey again reminded us what class in country can sound like, so she definitely wasn't the only one who brought their best.
In our estimation, it came down to the two ladies on this one, and there really isn’t one who was better than the other. We’d still go with Payge just because she’s more exciting to watch -- but we’d also buy Bailey’s album tomorrow.
After five minutes of voting, and plenty of tears as all four of them spoke from their hearts to their coaches (possibly for the last time), it was time for the final result. Rounding out the Top 9 was Bailey Rae.
We’re crushed that Payge Turner’s time on the show comes to an end, as we feel she’s the biggest loss of the night, but Bailey Rae really is an incredible artist in her own right, firmly in her own lane bringing fresh voice and energy to songs decades older than even she is.
As for us, we didn’t do too badly, with seven of the nine artists we picked to advance moving on. Sure, not at all in the way we predicted they’d advance in many cases, but we’re not gonna nitpick on the details, are we?
“The Voice” Top 9 take the stage next week, Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.