If OG. Trainer which had attracted a huge, dedicated country audience The voice and had coached six country singers to victory over the past 12 years, eventually retiring from the show, much ado was made of his successor: an even bigger country music legend, . On Monday of this week, as the Knockout Rounds of Season 24 began, The voice boosted the country’s star power by welcoming mega-mentor Wynonna Judd. And on Tuesday, two more Nashville veterans arrived to make up for Blake’s still-noticeable absence.
Country duo Dan + Shay will do it Agree Story next season, in the spring of 2024, when they become the first pair to join the coaching staff full-time (presumably in some kind of buddy system, a sidecar-style double chair). But they were at it for a full season earlier this week when current panelist Niall Horan couldn’t make it to his team’s Knockouts rehearsals in favor of training Team Niall’s contestants instead.
Niall’s absence, which he explained was due to his touring schedule, was glaring and just plain strange considering how committed the reigning champion coach had been so far. But Niall Is next season (Season 25’s panel will consist of Dan + Shay, Reba, and returning Season 23 coach Chance the Rapper), so this week’s mentoring sessions would, as he told Dan + Shay over FaceTime, be “good practice” for the duo.
And Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney were already a perfect fit. After Team Niall’s first three Knockout contenders took the stage and wowed everyone, John actually exclaimed, “Dan + Shay are training this.” hell get out of these artists!” If Niall wants to return The voice After his break in season 25, he may be out of a job for good.
But before we get to Team Niall’s performances, coached by Dan + Shay… When we last left the show on Monday, Team Legend’s Mara Justine had just lost her hard-fought three-way knockout to Kaylee Shimizu, despite putting on a spectacular performance had performed an extremely challenging song, the Mariah Carey version of Badfinger/Harry Nilsson’s “Without You”. But Mara was still in the race, because both and Niall had rushed in to steal them, and the episode unexpectedly ended with Mara weighing up between these two trainers. It seemed likely that Mara would choose Gwen, who had made the more passionate and aggressive sales pitch. But no. Mara surprisingly chose Niall instead.
“I thought she was going to pick you!” A shocked John gasped at Gwen, and Gwen seemed crushed at the loss, sighing, “I didn’t know it was that important to me! I’m literally having a heart attack right now!” (Side note: Gwen, much like her hyperbolic husband Blake, tends to use the word “literally” quite liberally. Viewers can be sure that she did not suffered a cardiac arrest on Tuesday.)
So now Mara is an official member of Team Niall… although depending on her new coach’s upcoming concert schedule, she may end up working with Dan + Shay instead. Meanwhile, here’s how Tuesday’s Knockouts unfolded:
TEAM NIALL: Nini Iris vs. Azán vs. Olivia Minogue
Self-proclaimed “dark pop” artist Nini had the most interesting cover: “Karma Police” (Finally a Radiohead reality show cover not “Creep”!), which she chose herself. And Wynonna agreed, loving the masterful way Nini built the tension until that crucial whistle, explaining: “Some of this darkness drives myself.” Britpop fan Niall seemed thrilled by Nini’s performance and probably regretted not being in town earlier to attend her rehearsal in person.
Azán smoldered and sizzled on Anita Baker’s “Caught Up in the Rapture” (I have one word: sexxxxy” purred an impressed Wynonna during rehearsals), really feeling and actually being caught up in the moment.
So the weakest link here was clearly the pop singer Olivia, who took a big risk with Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life” and didn’t do anything with the brand, but couldn’t quite cope with the operatic rock ballad and cried almost uncontrollably at the end of the song. Niall ultimately chose the singer, whose talents he described as “supernatural.”
WINNER: Nini Iris
TEAM GWEN: Tanner Massey vs. Chechi Sarai vs. Rudi
Nineteen-year-old handsome Tanner slowly started singing Shawn Mendes’ “In My Blood,” but its raw and heightened final chorus was a revelation when he finally got going; Gwen, who recently became Tanner’s trainer after stealing him at the Battles, admitted she didn’t know the boy had what it took, and Wynonna was so touched by Tanner’s performance that she reminded her how she felt “a year ago when my mom died.”
The weakest link of this trio was Chechi, who – despite possessing a voice that John described as “crazy” and Gwen as “that vintage thing” and which seemed tailor-made for the Jackson 5’s “Never Can Say Goodbye” – never did Her sweet and overly relaxed number gained momentum. In contrast, Rudi seemed to be the obvious standout here, performing Silk Sonic’s “Smokin’ Out the Window,” a hard-hitting and idiosyncratic showstopper that Gwen described as “so flashy and unexpected” and a “threat to everyone” in the competition .
But Then Gwen explained: “This is bizarre. I kind of have a plan. I just want everyone to know that!” – before the election Tanner. Luckily for Rudi, she had options as both Niall and Reba swooped in to steal her. Gwen also tried to use her saving throw, explaining that it was her “plan” all along to save Rudi. And luckily for Gwen, everything went according to plan.
WINNER: Tanner Massey / SAVED: Rudi remains on Team Gwen
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