Four of the eight remaining finalists on The Voice Season 15 went home on Tuesday’s tense and drama-filled results show, and among them was Team Adam’s last girl standing, Reagan Strange. This means he'll be the one coach not represented in next week’s finale. And, judging from all the hate he’s gotten online for the past week, I am sure many Voice viewers are perfectly pleased with that outcome.
So, the middle pack of singers performing Tuesday for a wild-card spot in the finale were Team J.Hud’s MaKenzie Thomas and Kennedy Holmes, along with Reagan. I’d totally assumed that last week’s #Bathrobegate scandal (when Reagan bowed out of the Instant Save singoff, but controversially advanced to the top eight anyway), and its continued fallout, had doomed Reagan to this week’s bottom two and automatic elimination. Instead, it was a pair of Team Kelly contestants, Sarah Grace (arguably the most interesting song stylist left on the show) and Kymberli Joye (arguably the best vocalist of this entire season), who went home instead as the lowest two vote-getters.
Well, I will give Reagan credit this time for actually, you know, singing in the Instant Save singoff, instead of just sitting on the sidelines with her mom, in tears and in a bathrobe, expecting the Voice rules to be bent to accommodate her. Reagan’s Instant Save performance of the Calling’s “Wherever You Will Go” this week was really rough and shaky, and she seemed to be fighting back sobs throughout, but at least she powered through and held it together. If she’d done this last week, she may have still gotten the top eight Instant Save, based on her past popularity -- but with much less outrage directed at herself or at her coach, Adam Levine.
Still, Reagan was no match for MaKenzie (a diva I’d predicted would be a dark-horse top four finalist, based on her superb Mariah cover Monday), who rose to the occasion with a spectacular and soaring “Up to the Mountain.” As for Kennedy, her “How Do I Live” wasn’t as amazing as I’d expected -- it seemed too mature and staid for a spunky 13-year-old -- but she easily vocally outclassed Reagan as well. (Side note: Kudos to Jennifer Hudson, who had two contestants up for elimination this week, for keeping it classy and not urging America to vote for one over the other -- the way a certain other coach did last week. Adam, are you taking notes?)
In the end, Reagan went home (in last place, with only 14 percent of the vote), and Kennedy prevailed. Reagan is a talented kid, and at age 14 -- ironically, a full year older than preternaturally mature wunderkind Kennedy -- she has plenty of time to develop as an artist (and develop her coping skills in high-pressure showbiz situations). “Your strength, your poise, your grace and your elegance, through all of this, has been truly remarkable -- better than mine, in a lot of instances,” Adam told Reagan. “That's a lot for a 14-year-old to deal with. I'm almost 40, and I can't do it as well as you can.”
While Adam will have to sit out next week's finale, his longtime onscreen rival, Blake Shelton, will have two contestants in the running -- because automatically advancing to the top three Tuesday via America’s vote were Team Kelly’s Chevel Shepherd and Team Blake’s Kirk Jay and Chris Kroeze. The latter may have seemed like a curveball too, but Chris was the No. 1 Apple Music streamer (for the second week in a row, this time around with a competent but unremarkable Marshall Tucker Band cover), so that meant Chris earned the five-time votes multiplier, and that helped him edge out more obvious frontrunners. I suppose we should never underestimate the vote-pulling power of a likable, Blake-coached, white country everyman on The Voice.
Actually, we should never underestimate the power of country contestants in general -- the top three were all country singers, of different races and genders. Will those three split the country vote, allowing Kennedy to slip through to victory? Tune in next week and find out.