We knew this night was coming, but the gravity of it didn’t sink in until host Carson Daly said it. During the Nov. 13 episode of NBC’s The Voice, the teams were literally cut in half. Yes, after America voted for two members per team and coaches Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton saved one more, the contestants went from 24 to 12, plus a bonus contestant from The Comeback Stage.
It was brutal. And, just like ripping off a Band-aid, it happened fast.
But prior to announcing the Top 13 finalists, Carson asked the coaches for their thoughts, and they all were encouraging to those who would stay as well as those who were going home. “I want them just to remember this experience and no matter what happens tonight or who ends up in the finale, what a gift this is to any artist that is trying to make a name for themselves and move forward,” Blake reminded them. “This is a really amazing opportunity even if you don’t win,” Kelly added. “You’ve got to explain to them that this is a competition, so half of y’all are going home tonight. That doesn’t mean that you’re bad if you’re going home, it just means it wasn’t your night tonight.”
Adam also added some perspective. He said, “It’s a beautiful thing to make it this far, making it to the end is great, but it’s not totally necessary to have an amazing career.”
And as if this show weren’t difficult enough, Carson also shared the sad news that Beverly McClellan from season one had passed away just two weeks earlier from cancer.
Team Blake had the ominous task of being the first to go through the eliminations. Receiving the most votes from the American viewers were Kirk Jay and Chris Kroeze. That left Natasia GreyCloud, Michael Lee, Funsho and Dave Fenley for Blake to choose from, and after declaring “I hate this so much,” he saved Dave Fenley.
A quick break gave Kane Brown a chance to sing his hit single, “Lose It,” then Adam’s team was on the chopping block and it was obvious how difficult this night is on the coaches.
After announcing that the public had chosen DeAndre Nico and Reagan Strange to continue, Adam lamented, “It’s almost like at this point in the competition, it’s too early to make these types of decisions. You keep whittling away and then over time you get to this moment, and then all of the sudden, once you’ve gotten to this great group, it’s just brutal.” He continued, “I think that all four of you guys have so much more to do and so much more to offer, so it makes this decision impossible, as Blake said, and kinda unfair because we’d be unfairly judging you guys in a moment when I truly believe it’s not time for that.”
With the clock ticking and Tyke James, Steve Memmelo, Radha, and Kameron Marlow remaining, Adam chose Tyke.
Before Jennifer and Kelly went through the emotional process of downsizing their teams, Kelsea Ballerini offered up her two proteges from The Comeback Stage to perform for a slot in the show. Ayanna Joni sang Ariana Grande’s “No Tears Left to Cry,” while Lynnea Moorer sang “Bood’ Up” by Ella Mai.
After Lynnea’s performance, and before viewers cast their votes, Kelly explained why The Comeback Stage was such an important addition to the show. “Why is because we’re all human here and sometimes we make mistakes and people should get through and they didn’t,” she said.
With five minutes to vote via Twitter, viewers selected Lynnea to continue in the competition and, in turn, Lynnea pledged her allegiance to Team Kelly.
Team J-Hud was next on the chopping block and the ladies won big. America voted for MaKenzie Thomas and Kennedy Holmes to continue on, then, with SandyRedd, Patrique Fortson, Franc West, and Colton Smith remaining, Jennifer added SandyRedd to the mix. But before she bid her team farewell, she said, “It’s good to be able to take your opportunity and make something out of it. So, it doesn’t matter if you go home tonight, you still walk away with your gift, your talent, and your desire and passion, so keep going. And if you keep at it, it has no choice but to give in.”
Following Backstreet Boys performance of “Chances,” Kelly closed out the anxiety-filled show.
Receiving the most public votes for Team Kelly were Chevel Shepherd and Sarah Grace. With talented Zaxai, Kymberli Joye, Keith Paluso, and Abby Cates remaining, Kelly offered up some final words. “I’m not going to cry, I’m not going to be dramatic,” she said. “I hope every team heard Jennifer when she said she’s been y’all, this is not the end. I can only pick one of you, but that doesn’t mean that you have no other options in life to pursue music.” And with the final credits rolling, she picked Kymberli to continue.
Standing ovation to all of the contestants who have auditioned and competed so far, and truckloads of credit to the coaches whose words of encouragement will, hopefully, inspire those who are leaving the competition to continue chasing their dream.