It was Fan Night on NBC’s The Voice and that meant that the Top 11 finalists would perform songs selected by super fans of the contestants and the show. In addition, host Carson Daly checked in with watch parties that were taking place around the country, and celebrity fans like Today’s Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb.
It’s worth noting that the coaches on The Voice have taken to providing great background distraction while Carson does his intros after each commercial break. It’s worth watching just for that.
The night started with Team Blake’s Dave Fenley onstage. So far, Dave has leaned heavily on his country influences for his selections, but on Fan Night, he showcased his diversity performing Bill Withers’ “Use Me.” And, to everyone’s surprise, he added a bit of beat-boxing to his performance. He also put in a solid work-out, crisscrossing the stage to high-five the audience.
Afterward, Adam Levine told Fenley, “It makes me happy to see you doing, seemingly, whatever you want. That’s so cool. People fall into a rut at this point and feel like they have to be so safe.”
Next up was Team Kelly’s country girl Chevel Shepherd and fans selected Kacey Musgraves’ “Space Cowboy” for her piece. During rehearsals, Shepherd pointed out, “I sing a lot of older country and newer country, and this is like a mix between both, so it shows that my fans get me.” Known for a tender ache and effortless vibrato, Chevel brought her coach to her feet with a glory note that was unsuspected.
Coach Kelly Clarkson told the young artist, “Yes with that note. I love it! It’s like, I want you to go for a bit note, and you did it, and you nailed it baby girl. I’m so proud of you.”
Team Adam’s Reagan Strange had the spotlight next. The 14-year-old’s growing fanbase, who affectionately refer to themselves as “Strangers,” chose Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” for their artist. Delighted with their pick, Adam said, “Avril was about the same age when she released the song, so I think it’s perfect.” He went on to say, “I like to think that Regan could leave here tomorrow and be a huge star but bigger than that, I think she’s an inspiration to young kids, especially young girls. She’s focused and poised, but also epically talented.”
“I’m glad they’re letting me talk because it’s Fan Week and I’m honestly such a fan of yours,” Blake Shelton told her. “I have been since day one, since the blind auditions. I just think there’s something really special about you. There’s a ton of charisma. When you step on that stage, everybody can see it. And you sing perfectly.”
Kymberli Joye of Team Kelly scored the next slot and fans heard the call of this gospel singer, requesting that she sing Tasha Cobb Leonard’s “Break Every Chain.” Following rehearsals, Coach Kelly said, “You’re really getting to see who Kymberli is as a singer and what she wants to do after this. Everyone’s about to be saved and blessed.”
Receiving a standing ovation from all four coaches, it was Carson who was the first to speak saying, “I felt like we had a real moment here. I feel like I should say thank you to you and the fans who picked that song for you.” Coach J-Hud followed that up saying, “Let me tell you how you should have introduced her, Carson. Before you got up there and did what you did, first of all, you should have said, ‘The doors of The Voice Baptist Church is now open.’ And then you should have said, ‘Sister Kymberli is going to come on this stage and render us an anointed selection.’”
Team Blake was back up with Kirk Jay and fans picked the Sam Hunt smash “Body Like a Back Road” for the aspiring young country artist’s song. And while Blake offered to show Kirk some dance moves to incorporate on stage, Kirk very politely declined. Instead, he began his performance at the keyboards, before moving to the stage’s edge to interact with fans who had pushed their way to the front.
Following, Blake told Kirk, “What the hell are you doing up there, man? That was incredible!” He then turned to his fellow coaches and said, “Somehow, he has mixed George Strait with Rascal Flatts and he’s got all of these different influences that are happening up there. Man, you are one of a kind. I’m so happy for you and I’m so proud to be your coach.”
It was back-to-back for Blake’s team when Chris Kroeze took the next spot. Fans appropriately chose the Doobie Brothers’ “Long Train Runnin’” for Kroeze to perform and a viewing party from Chris’ Barron, Wisconsin hometown showed the natives agreed. “Country music is evolving right now and Chris is definitely a guy who can bring back that 70s rock influence,” Blake said.
Full of grit and heart, the singer put his own spin on the original tune, even ripping off his own guitar solo and earning another standing ovation from the coaches.
Blake wasted no time endorsing his contestant—“America, did you see that? I mean, holy…that is incredible. You can see Barron, Wisconsin from space right now. You just keep getting better with every performance.”
“Comeback Kid” Lynnea Moorer was Team Kelly’s next competitor and fans picked “Consequences” by Camila Cabello for the young beauty to perform. At rehearsals, Moorer was excited that her mom called from prison to offer her support, and Kelly added, “My hope for Lynnea this week is that people are captivating by the vulnerability because it’s authentic pain.”
After the song, Jennifer told Lynnea, “You surprise me every time, Lynnea. First of all, you look like a star and you sound like a star, and each and every time you continue to raise the bar, and raise the bar, and raise the bar, which is what you should be doing at this phase of the competition, so you should be very proud of yourself. I thought you were amazing tonight.”
Sweet soprano MaKenzie Thomas was the first to represent Team J-Hud. Delighted with the fans pick of “Emotion” by the Bee Gees, Thomas explained, “I want to be a gospel artist that has an R-and-B acoustic vibe, and this song has both genres in it.” And the best advice Jennifer had for her was to “be MaKenzie.” She also told the singer, “I cannot wait until the day I get to buy your album.”
“Oh my god,” Jennifer exclaimed, collapsing back in her seat, spent. “You are so skilled. And then I just love how you just set in your stride. I could tell this was your lane. I hope your fans are happy because I’m one of them and I’m happy.” She also said, “It was amazing, it was flawless, and your voice is like butter, baby.”
Team Kelly’s bluesy teen Sarah Grace stepped up to the mic next with a Fan Pick of Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over,” and the petite young singer was up to the challenge, even stepping from behind the piano for the performance. “This song is so hard, it’s so wordy, so big,” she said before adding, “but I’m doing something different with it, so I’m really excited about it.” So were her fans from her viewing party in Houston, Texas.
After she finished, Blake declared it his favorite performance of hers so far. Coach Kelly added, “I think both of us were shocked. I wouldn’t have given her this song, fans picked this song, she wouldn’t have picked this song, and now she’s found this whole sound that she loves and adores, and this is her best moment.”
Coming down the homestretch, Team Adam’s DeAndre Nico was given Jodeci’s “Cry for You” for his Fan Pick selection. “I think this really does paint the perfect picture of who DeAndre is as a singer,” Adam said. “He just used all the tricks in his bag, which is great.” And enthusiastic introduction from his Port Arthur hometown viewing party kicked off Nico’s groovy, soulful performance of the 1993 R&B hit.
Carson singled out Jennifer, who seemed to be having a moment during the song. “Watching you was like watching a girl in the front row at a Jodeci show in 1993,” he said. “I have to say, it took me back to those days,” she replied. Adam told the young man, “DeAndre, I believe that you have all of the elements. You’re more driven than anybody. You have an incredible and unique tone to your voice. You can sing, obviously, anything but you do it with this command that demands the whole world’s attention.”
Young Kennedy Holmes from Team J-Hud closed out the night with the fan’s pick of the great Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All.” Jennifer described the 13-year-old saying, “What Kennedy has that reminds me of Whitney is this natural ability to just caress the notes, and it’s so pure and so commanding. She’s only 13, but she’s ready for the competition. She’s ready for a career.”
Beginning with just a string accompaniment, the poised teenager, the youngest in the competition, gave a stirring and effortless performance reminiscent of the queen herself.
With just seconds left, Jennifer told Kennedy, “I am just so proud of you. You look beautiful, I know Mama Whitney is proud somewhere up there. You are a shining star in your own right and I love how you command the stage. We will see your name in lights.”
When The Voice returns on November 27, Blake and Jennifer will perform with their teams, while Kelsea Ballerini returns to the show for her own performance. And, sadly, one contestant will be sent home. Tune in!