One artist from each Team battles it out in a Wild Card Instant Save round with the winner of America's Comeback vote from last week -- five enter but only one advances to make the Top 13.
After a stiff and packed night of competition as “The Voice” went live with the Top 20 for the first time this season, it was time for the first round of hack-and-slash.
By the end of this results show, we’ll have seen five new performances -- including one face we’ve not seen in quite some time -- and we’ll have sent seven artists into heartbreak. It’s all a little complicated, but in the end we emerge with a Top 13.
Along the way, Ariana Grande proved how invested she is in her team by crying her way through every step of the process tonight, and then also managing to lighten the mood with one of the best and dirtiest jokes -- if your mind is wrong -- we’ve ever seen on one of these shows. Somewhere, Kelly Clarkson is probably still dying laughing about it.
So how does all this mess work tonight? The Top 2 from each artist advanced automatically, but it was up to the Coaches to fill that third slot that automatically advances. Then, it went back to America’s choice. The top vote-getter of the remaining two artists on each team heeded into the Wild Card Instant Save Round that played out tonight.
And those four people had to face off against one other singer, America’s Comeback choice after a Twitter vote last week. It’s all pretty convoluted, but it does help pad out an hour-long results show. There’s a reason why shows like “Dancing with the Stars” and “American Idol” did away with these years ago (beyond declining ratings). They’re so filled with nonsense!
Nothing to do but wade in...
Fair warning, since I'm safe at home, I'm probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Ariana Grande and Blake Shelton.
And just for fun, I'm going to rank the performances from worst to first for the Insta-Save to see who my favorites are, and then see how close you were to getting it right with your votes (i.e., agreeing with me).
Kelly had a strong night her first time out, with even her “weakest” competitor really delivering a confident performance. It just wasn’t memorable enough, by our measuring. We also don’t think she’s done enough to capture Kelly’s support for either automatic advancement or Wild Card.
Here’s how we ranked the performances last night:
5 - Katie Rae 4 - Girl Named Tom 3 - Jeremy Rosado 2 - Gymani 1 - Hailey Mia
We predicted that Hailey, Gymani and Jeremy would advance on America’s Vote, but as only two are going through, we’re going to shift that to Gymani and Jeremy. Honestly, as great as Hailey was on the night, we have a feeling this show’s demo skews older and that could hurt her. If she does wind up missing out, then Kelly should absolutely put her through.
From there, it would be up to America, which would probably be good news for Hailey Mia. As she definitely resonated more with Katie Rae. If it comes down to the two of them, we just don’t see Katie coming out on top.
The first to move on was Girl Named Tom, which threw all of our theories out of the water -- and made us a little worried for Gymani, as well. Jeremy had to be a lock, right? He’s so beloved. And that’s just what happened. He wasn’t the strongest, but Jeremy Rosado is probably the most liked.
At this point, we know Kelly was looking at Gymani and Hailey Mia, her two strongest performers from Monday night and neither of them safe. We’d send Hailey on as she’s unique in the whole competition, and expect that Gymani would get the vote for the battle.
But that’s not what happened at all! It turns out that the deciding factor for Kelly was who’d been with her since the beginning, and so it was Gymani who carried on. We can’t fault the choice, but we’re already sweating poor Hailey (likely) having to fight her way back. She’s got the goods, but it won’t be easy!
We found ourselves a little disappointed with some of John’s team after Monday’s performance. In particular, we feel that Samuel Harness, who has been stellar to this point, just picked the wrong song. And Shadale didn’t showcase enough of herself.
Here’s how we ranked the performances last night:
5 - Shadale 4 - Samuel Harness 3 - David Vogel 2 - Joshua Vacanti 1 - Jershika Maple
Of that group, we were confident that Jershika Maple would slide right through after yet another powerhouse performance. David Vogel had enough artistry -- and hair -- that we were feeling confident about him advancing, too.
Based on subpar work from our Bottom 2, it was looking good for Joshua Vacanti. We haven’t been on board with him all season long, but bringing his dramatic theatricality to Lady Gaga finally brought it together for us and we could see the draw.
With only two advancing, we suspect those two would probably be Jershika and David. From there, we have a feeling John is going to support Samuel as he’s had such stellar moments all season long, thus sending Joshua off to war as we don’t see Shadale beating him in the votes.
America’s first save was Jershika Maple, as it should be because she dominated John’s team last night! Then, it was time to breathe again for Joshua Vacanti, which caught us by surprise. We really thought he would be more divisive. Okay, we can accept it. It must just be us.
Those were our Top 2 artists, so we’re happy to see this. But that probably spells doom for David, as we know how much John has adored Shadale and her journey -- and he just got David in the last round.
As expected, John did pick Shadale, leaving the two guys to wonder who’s got one last shot at their dream. That leaves David and Sameul to face the guillotine, and we just don’t see America voting for David over Samuel’s incredible season journey.
Ariana’s team was a little all over the place last night, with both Raquel Trinidad and Bella DeNapoli really leaving us disappointed, while Holly Forbes killed us with her soulful performance and Ryleigh was pitch-perfect.
Sasha Allen really rocked it out, and we think that alone will be enough to keep him and his dad Jim alive in this competition from America’s vote. After that, it’ll probably be Holly because she was kind of in a class of her own. From there, it’s going to be harder to predict.
Even though Bella didn’t have her best night, she is basically Ariana’s sister from another Italian mister at this point, so we can’t see Ariana doing anything but carrying her bestie forward. That would leave Raquel and Ryleigh, with Ryleigh likely coming out on top for the Wild Card slot.
Ariana was already in tears as they were walking out, so America saved her a little pain by automatically saving Jim & Sasha Allen, which we fully expected. They’re great together for sure, but Sasha is a breakout star just waiting to break out even more! They were joined quickly by Holly Forbes, which is exactly what we were expecting.
Their Coach then struggled tremendously faced with this impossible choice, and then she made the strongest choice -- which we honestly didn’t think she would -- and sent Ryleigh Plank into the next round. We couldn’t be happier, as Ryleigh was fantastic!
Raquel remains the more compelling artist between her and Bella, but which direction did America go, as neither of them were at their best Monday night. We’d probably give the edge to Raquel.
The cowboy really came through this season with one of the strongest teams ever assembled on this show -- and it’s led by two powerhouse vocalists who can break our hearts every time they open their mouths: Wendy Moten and Paris Winningham.
Here’s how we ranked the performances last night:
5 - Lana Scott 4 - Peedy Chavis 3 - Libianca 2 - Paris Winningham 1 - Wendy Moten
Both Wendy and Paris deserve to get that automatic vote from America, though we could see Lana as a country dark horse here. If she is, Blake would surely snatch the odd person out (probably Paris as Wendy is in a class of her own this season).
But we stand by Wendy and Paris getting America’s vote, then Blake saving the only country artist in the show because he has to represent. That leaves Peedy and Libianca for the Wild Card. While we finally saw Peedy evolve beyond an Elvis impression, we still think Libianca’s heart is what’s going to stand a stronger chance.
We’re glad to hear that America was watching the same show we were and put Wendy Moten into the next round, because she has been slaying this competition. They then followed it up by keeping strength with strength, as Paris Winningham was next through. Could we have predicted this exactly right?
As we predicted, the cowboy kept it country and carried Lana Scott right into the Top 13. He’s got a very strong team already, which is probably for the best as we don’t see Peedy or Libianca emerging triumphant from the Wild Card, no matter who goes there.
Bella DeNapoli has long been a favorite for Ariana herself, but we feel that Raquel Trinidad has showcased more artistry and energy and a really unique vibe on this show that would resonate better with audiences. But what do we know? Ari’s fans clearly wanted to keep her favorite alive, and so Bella DeNapoli moved on.
(“Ain’t No Other Man,” Christina Aguilera) Bella has a lot of confidence and a fun stage presence, but this song was definitely a little bigger than her vocally. On top of that, it did very little to show her true artistry. Instead, it sounded like a talented singer bringing the house down at karaoke -- and that’s not enough at this stage. Like last night, she had a few pitch problems and … well, we hope she enjoyed her time on the show.
“America whip it out and get busy for Bella,” said Ariana, referring to phones and devices -- but she also knew exactly what she was saying, as Kelly couldn’t even stop laughing long enough to breathe. Ariana’s joke is a winner, this performance not so much.
We enjoyed Peedy Chavis for the first time Monday night, but Libianca has had our hearts since Day 1 and surely that’s how America has felt, too. Unless love for the King of Rock-and-Roll is even stronger than we expected? It apparently is, or maybe it’s that Peedy Chavis finally shed his Elvis persona Monday night to show who he was. Either way, it’s all on the line now.
(“Stranger in My House,” Ronnie Milsap) An odd song choice that did Peedy no favors as it exposed how thin his voice is at times. There was just no real depth or texture for us to hang onto and believe in with this performance. It was pleasant enough, and performed well enough, but now we’re even more confused as to who he is as an artist as this was just a pleasant singing moment. We need more at this stage.
David Vogel and Samuel Harness hit the stage together, but there was no way we could see David taking this one. As compelling and interesting as he is artistically, Samuel has been magical through much of his journey (except last night). Nevertheless, Samuel Harness got the nod.
(“Before You Go,” Lewis Capaldi) A much stronger choice for Samuel, as he could tap into the pain of the lyric with that beautiful texture in his voice. We respected the build he put in it, and all of the different textures he featured. Samuel has been a favorite all season, and with just one bad performance Monday night, here he was. He needed a redemption moment, and that was a great shot.
There were four contestants cut in either the Knockout or Battle Rounds who were picked by their Coaches to battle it out on Twitter based on their previous work on the show. This included Team Ariana’s Vaughn Mugol, Team Kelly’s Aaron Hines, Team Blake’s Hailey Green and Team Legend’s Samara Brown.
We had Vaughn as a possible dark horse in our prediction last week, but thought Hailey would be the one to nab America’s vote. We felt both were robbed in their respective rounds by poor Coach choices. Which did America correct? They wanted more from Vaughn Mugol.
(“Lay Me Down,” Sam Smith) Vaughn always had one of the smoothest voices in the competition, and it was both exciting to see him back on the stage and heartbreaking to think that we missed any performances with him. His voice is so rich and pure and passionate, he’s seasoned and professional and emotional. How did Ari ever let him go?
Hailey Mia was our top artist from Team Kelly Monday night, while Katie Rae was at the bottom for us, and a little boring. This should be Hailey’s to win, and it was. Hailey Mia lives to fight at least one more time!
(“Jar of Hearts,” Christina Perri) We’re still not sure how Hailey even wound up in a spot where she had to fight for her spot, but she gave about as good a performance as she could have. The song wasn’t as good a fit as Olivia Rodrigo, but she still had us feeling palpable emotions by the time she got to the end. Her voice has so many layers and levels -- and then you remember she’s just turned 14 and you’re just awestruck at what she can do already.
WILD CARD INSTANT SAVE RESULTS
No offense to Peedy Chavis or Bella DeNapoli, but this was a three-way race and they weren’t even in the running. Vaugh Mugol came out with something to prove and he did it. Samuel Harness needed redemption and he found it. Hailey Mia wanted to prove she’s bigger than her age, and she did.
Any of the three is totally worthy of continuing. But as much as we love Samuel, and as much as we felt Vaughn was robbed, we’re not ready to close the book on Hailey’s incredible journey through this show at such a tender age. What she does is incredible.
We’d love to save all three of them, but reality competition shows are cruel. With only five minutes to vote, is that enough time for America to get this one right? It totally is!
The Wild Card winner, rounding out the Top 13 after a brutal round of play, is the youngest singer in the competition, and we believe the most worthy at this stage. Congratulations to Hailey Mia.
“The Voice” continues Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.