The next few weeks of NBC’s The Voice won’t see massive cuts for the teams of Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton, but during the Top 13 Live performances, the three lowest scorers will have to compete for an “instant save” to remain in the competition. However, this night was all about being inspired, and the performances from all 13 contestants certainly did that. It was “special dedications” night and in addition to hearing some great performances, viewers also heard some touching stories.
Team Blake kicked things off with Wisconsin’s Chris Kroeze who dedicated his performance of “Let it Be” by The Beatles to his hometown of Barron. “There was an abduction of a 13-year-old girl from Barron,” he explained. “Her name is Jayme Closs and she still hasn’t been found. It’s just unsettling. It doesn’t happen there.” He went on to say, “Barron has always been there for me and I’ve got an opportunity to be there for them.”
Following his performance, Blake told Chris, “Hopefully, this tonight will have a happy ending, that little 13-year-old girl will be found and there will be a happy ending.”
Team Adam’s Tyke James was up next and with a performance of Bryan Adams “Everything I Do I Do For You” for his mother, Mel, who tagged along to the rehearsal to thank Adam. “She inspired me to follow my dreams,” Tyke said. “Me and my mom hang out. We’ve been stuck at the hotel for a month. We have to hang out.”
“With Tyke, there’s nothing straightforward about him,” Adam said of his young charge. “He’s a total weirdo and that’s why I love him. And taking that and injecting some of that into the music has lifted me because I could never have stomached him singing a song a generic way.”
“This is my favorite thing you’ve done,” Kelly told Tyke after the performance.
Adam’s team was back up immediately with DeAndre Nico, whose story of heartbreak went beyond the Houston hurricane he had already survived. Dedicating MercyMe’s “I Can Only Imagine” for his girlfriend, Christal, DeAndre said, “She got pregnant while I was doing my knockouts. She lost the baby and I didn’t know how to handle it. She’s a strong lady.”
Following his performance, Adam said, “I think the best thing about you is the fact that when you hear DeAndre sing, you know it’s him. And to have an identifiable voice like that, which you could hear anywhere, anytime and know that’s DeAndre singing, to me, that’s the vehicle you have to drive through this whole career.”
Team Kelly’s Kymberli Joye dedicated her performance of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” to her younger sister who also wants to be a singer. “I want to show her we can break those barriers,” she said. “The sky’s not the limit, it’s the goal.” She went on to say, “This song lays me bare. It’s really vulnerable and it’s scary to be that open with the world, but that’s why I’m here.”
“You’re the best kind of vocalist in the sense that you sing it different every time, and so it’s a show every time,” Kelly told her following the performance. “You love to sing, you love to be in the moment, and it’s so beautiful to watch.”
Young Kennedy Holmes from Team J-Hud was next and she dedicated Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” to her parents. “My parents have sacrificed a lot just to get me where I am today. They’re the best people I know,” she said. Jennifer advised the 13-year-old, “Don’t think of it as a song, think of it as an emotion.”
Afterward, Jennifer said, “I can’t even begin to imagine what your mom and your dad feel like. I feel like they should speak. Seeing their baby up here shining like the star that you are and you were clearly born to be, it’s so beautiful to witness.”
Looking incredibly ethereal Team J-Hud’s SandyRedd chose “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” by Boyz II Men as a dedication to preserving her late mother’s legacy. And although it was obviously emotional, she held back her tears until the last few notes.
It wasn’t wasted on Blake. He told the singer, “I love seeing that emotional side and I loved J-Hud’s advice to you to keep in touch with that while you’re performing and don’t try to suppress that and hold it back, and let it come out in your performance.”
Not all of the performances were emotional, though. Chevel Shepherd, the 16-year-old from Team Kelly, picked Little Big Town’s “Little White Church” to sing for her dad simply because he likes the song.
Following the rowdy rendition, Kelly told her, “You are so magnificent. Y’all, she is like 16-years-old and she just threw down.” Before she could continue, Adam interrupted his fellow coach to declare, “I am obsessed with you. You are amazing.”
MaKenzie Thomas may have been the most courageous performer of the night, dedicating her coach’s own song, “I Am Changing” to Jennifer herself.
“First of all MaKenzie, thank you so much for that beautiful dedication,” Jennifer told her. “And I got to sit here and learn as much as I can from you. Your skill is just bananas, your voice is crystal clear, it’s just beautiful, and I can’t get enough of hearing. You make me proud each and every time you step on this stage.”
Diminutive blues singer Sarah Grace was up next and was dedicating her performance of Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” to her fellow students and dreamers at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. “What makes Sarah special in this competition is that she’s a very talented musician on top of being a really great singer. She’s a 16-year-old girl, so that’s kind of insane,” Kelly said before thanking her for choosing Team Kelly.
Team Blake’s Dave Fenley went for the romance when he performed Lee Brice’s “Hard to Love” for his wife. He explained, “I really wanted to sing something for my wife that lets her know I’m conscious that I make decisions that make it hard sometimes. She doesn’t ask for much. I’m so damn lucky to have a girl like her.”
When his song was finished, Blake told him, “I think that was an incredibly important performance to establish yourself as a rock solid vocalist. I mean, from top to bottom, you hold your own in this competition. And I don’t think you’re that hard to love. I love the hell out of you.”
From the Comeback Stage to Team Kelly, Lynnea Moorer selected “Wolves” by Selena Gomez and Marshmello dedicating it to her mother in prison. Following their rehearsal, Kelly said, “Lynnea might be coming in as the underdog, but she’s going to shock everyone.”
“I am just so blown away by you,” Jennifer told her after the performance. “You’re precious, you’ve got such great star quality, you’re beautiful, and you remind me of Rihanna, you’ve got a little Rihanna thing to your swag.”
Kelly added, “You’re so inspiring. I could not be more happy that you picked me.”
Team Blake’s Kirk Jay sang Lonestar’s “I’m Already There” for his dedication to his mother who was seeing him perform live for the first time ever. “Kirk is what this show is all about,” Blake said. “He’s this undiscovered talent from Alabama, he doesn’t look the way he sounds, and he has a legitimate shot at making it in country music.”
After the compelling performance, cameras spotted his mother wiping tears away. Jennifer told the young singer, “You don’t understand what you just did to me, Kirk. I’ve got so many things I want to say to you.” She went on, “I ain’t never heard a yodel have an anointing until you sang it. And then, it looked like you could taste, y’all see him licking his lips after every note.” “It felt ashy,” he replied laughing. Jennifer continued, “I don’t care whose team you are on, but boy you are bad, bad, bad, and I am your biggest fan.”
“Could we get Jennifer a bag of ice,” Blake chimed in. “It’s not even fair,” he continued. “To do that great song and do it like you did it and knock it out of the park and throw mama in there, too, it’s not even fair.”
The final singer of the night was 14-year-old Reagan Strange from Team Adam. Singing “You Say” by Lauren Daigle for her grandparents, Adam compared her to Danielle Bradbery, who also competed on The Voice. He also commented, “Reagan is becoming the star I knew she was the second I laid eyes on her.”
Following her performance, he told her, “Reagan, you epitomize everything that this show stands for because of the purity of what you do. And the clarity of how you do it is just astounding, and it filled this entire room with your voice.”
The November 20 show will reveal the results of the Top 13 lives, as well as the three performers who will compete for an instant save to move on to the Live Top 11 next week.