See which four contestants had to sing for their life, and who came out on top in America's five-minute vote!
Once again, it was an instant-save situation on “The Voice” as we prepared to say goodbye to eight contestants, revealing the Top 9.
Making it even harder on the Coaches -- and our predictions -- America’s vote only advances four contestants on the night. The top vote-getter on each team will move into the Top 9, but it’s the Coaches who pick their second contestant.
That will leave nine people left, with one from each team competing for a single Wild Card spot (presumably the top vote-getters on each team from those remaining. America will at least get to choose this artist, so picking five out of nine isn’t terrible, right?
Unfortunately, it turned out to be very hard indeed, as several of our favorites failed to make the cut -- and somehow, the artist we think had the absolute worst performance of the night on Monday moved easily into the Top 9. Welcome to the madhouse!
Now that we’re into the live rounds, things are going to be moving fast with big cuts each week. That means every single performance has to be the best performance of your life, and it just doesn’t feel like everyone did that on Monday night.
As such, we felt pretty confident that about half of the contestants really brought their best, and the others showed how they’re not quite there yet -- or got clearly rattled under the big lights and the live-ness of it all. But, of course, that’s just what we thought. It’s all down to what you did!
So let’s take one last look at what our picks were, and then see how we did.
Blake: Cam, Anna
Nick: Dana, Rachel
John: Ryleigh, Victor
Kelly: Kenzie, Corey
Wild Card: Jordan, Pia, Jose, Zae (Jose wins, Jordan dark horse)
Team Blake: We were feeling pretty confident, after Blake predicted he might be the first superstar to ever come out of this show, that Cam scored America’s vote, and that’e exactly what happened as Cam Anthony was the first finalist to advance -- with a huge vote of confidence from America.
That meant it was up to Blake to save just one more, and we also have to consider the strategy of putting a stronger singer in the Wild Card battle if you really believe they can overcome the competition. But there are some great singers tonight, so we suspect he might go the safe route and pick Anna, unless his history with Pete is too strong.
But as it turned out, neither of things left Blake hung up, as he instead advanced our predicted dark horse winner, Jordan Matthew Blake. Does that mean Anna gets to fight for the Wild Card?
Team Nick: An absolute no-brainer and one of the best voices to ever hit any talent competition stage, so of course America put Dana through. They sure didn’t, and what the hell is wrong with you all? We’re not mad at Rachel Mac getting through, she was our second pick, but ahead of Dana?
That made Nick’s job the easiest it could possibly be, as he had to pick up America’s slack and put Dana into the next round. It’s too risky to send her to the Wild Card if America already didn’t get just how great her performance was. Thankfully, he did the right thing and Dana Monique moves forward.
Team Legend: Victor fully embodied the art of performance in a way we’ve never seen before when he tackled Stevie Wonder. At the same time, Ryleigh is an exciting, fresh-faced young artist who feels very current. We couldn’t help but think America would side with her, but instead, they went with our second choice, awarding Victor Solomon that spot in the Top 9.
Honestly, it felt like Pia faltered in a way we’ve not seen from her before on Monday night, and in a competition this tight, that should matter. But Zania was no better, coming at her performance in a way that lacked authenticity. With two strong performances on his team, this should have been fairly obvious, but was John as connected to the teen?
He’s always forged his own path musically, not caring so much about sounding super-current, so maybe he wasn’t feeling how excitingly fresh she sounded. She’s also a transplant from Team Kelly, so his connection might be stronger with Pia and Zania.
Whatever the reason, that’s exactly what happened, as John’s heart took him away from Ryleigh and toward Pia Renee, with whom he’s felt a strong connection since the jump. That left Ryleigh to have to hope America would support her in the Wild Card.
Team Kelly: America got it dead wrong by not voting Dana through -- thankfully, Nick fixed their error -- but we could not fathom them doing the same thing with Kenzie, as country has alway done well on this show and he may be the best, most authentic country artist they’ve ever had.
Thankfully, America got this one right and Kenzie Wheeler was the top spot on Team Kelly. As we felt Gihanna really dropped the ball, we were left wondering if it would be Corey or Zae. Ultimately, we suspected Corey would get her support as the more unique artist of those remaining, even though she was touched by Zae’s emotions (Monday and tonight).
But she pulled the rug out from under us, and especially as she said it was based on last night’s performance. Gihanna Zoë did not have a great night on Monday, so we have to wonder if this is perhaps a residual of Kelly’s penchant for wanting to support women from previous seasons.
After America and the Coaches messed up our predictions by selecting some of our Wild Card contenders to advance outright -- and Kelly chose Gihanna -- we reassessed and made new Wild Card choices. Maybe we just like to be disappointed, as we fully expect to get it wrong again.
Nevertheless, our picks from each team based on what we saw America do to this point were Team Blake’s Anna, Team Nick’s Andrew, Team Legend’s Ryleigh and Team Kelly’s Corey. We know not a single of those picks were in our initial picks, but we didn’t expect half of our Wild Cards to make it immediately, causing us to second guess everything.
And we were still dead wrong, as Pete Mroz scored the first spot for Team Blake. He was followed by Jose Figeuroa Jr. for Team Nick (making us 0 for 2), and our first right pick in Team Legend’s Ryleigh Modig. Finally, Corey Ward helped us earn some redemption on Team Kelly.
Pete Mroz [Team Blake]
(“Speechless,” Dan + Shay) We’d have liked Pete to have a little more stage presence as he navigated through this song from his former mentors. We can’t take away from the tender strength of his voice, which was perfectly suited for this track. He sounded absolutely mesmerizing toward the end. This was one of his strongest vocal performances, for sure, right when he needed it.
Jose Figueroa Jr. [Team Nick]
(“Superstition,” Stevie Wonder) We’re not sure if it’s his new hairstyle or something else, but Jose has been stronger and more connected as an artist this week, delivering again on an incredible challenging song. He moved effortlessly through all of the vocal acrobatics, even adding a few signature runs of his own. On top of that, he owned that stage with a sense of abandon and joyousness we’re not sure we’ve seen from him before. This is how you make the most of a second chance.
(“Lose You to Love Me,” Selena Gomez) This is such a signature vocal from Selena, Corey really needed to make it his own. It took him about halfway through it to really put his own stamp on it, but it was beautiful when he finally did so. The song naturally fits that cry in his voice that Kelly loves so much. While the whole thing didn’t work as well as we’d hoped it would, he still had some great moments throughout, showing different facets to his voice, which is what he needed to do.
Ryleigh Modig [Team Legend]
(“It Will Rain,” Bruno Mars) Ryleigh went with pure emotion in her performance, and she really delivered from the start. It wasn’t perfect note for note, but the passion never wavered and we felt the same sort of emotional pain that Bruno had in the original. The fact she owned the tenderness throughout actually helped her stand out from her competitors in an exciting way, as it showed her own individual artistry.
After a five-minute voting window, it was time to see who America chose. Our favorite was probably Ryleigh, just slighting edging out Corey. We loved that she took a chance in a different way, but connected so authentically to the emotion and story of her song. That’s the kind of artist that excites us.
As such, we fully expected her to get the boot because we have clearly not been on the same page as America all night. And you did not disappoint.
Even as we were disappointed to see one of our favorites leaving the competition, we can’t be mad that Corey Ward earned America’s vote of confidence. He was our second favorite of the four based on how he commanded the back half of his song and put his own stamp on an unexpected choice for him.
Next week, “The Voice” whittles it down to the Top 5 on Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.