Adam Levine throws DeAndre Nico under the bus, Reagan Strange sits out Instant Save singoff on most awkward ‘Voice’ of all time

Well, Adam Levine so completely threw his poor team member DeAndre Nico under the bus on this week’s top 10 The Voice results show, the episode may as well have been sponsored by Greyhound. It was the most awkward elimination night in the history of the series, and according to at least one irate fan on Twitter, one of the lowest moments in the series overall.

So, this is what happened. Try to keep up:

When Carson Daly announced the bottom three contestants Tuesday, one of those three was in the building, in a bathrobe — but not onstage. Team Adam’s 14-year-old Reagan Strange was “under the weather,” Carson explained. And while she would be unable to sing for the Instant Save (the other two singers up for elimination, Team Blake’s Dave Fenley and another of Adam’s contestants, DeAndre, would perform as planned), voters would still be able to vote for Reagan on Twitter. Carson divulged no additional details about Reagan’s condition, although she obviously wasn’t so ill that she couldn’t attend the show at all.

I wasn’t quite sure what to think here. On the one hand, never before had this happened on The Voice, so perhaps producers just didn’t know what to do. And of course my heart went out to Reagan, who looked despondent and teary-eyed, and surely would have performed if she had been able and allowed. But I didn’t think this was exactly fair. After all, I can recall other talent shows, namely So You Think You Can Dance, on which contestants were eliminated if they were unable to perform.

Dave proceeded to sing Lonestar’s “Amazed” and DeAndre did John Legend’s “All of Me” (DeAndre was definitely the superior of the two), after which their coaches attempted to rally the masses for votes. I say “attempted” because, while Blake Shelton did his darnedest for Dave, Adam basically told everyone to vote for the silenced Reagan, the contestant with whom he has a “very special relationship.”

“There is an unbelievably talented little girl right now who is not able to fight for her position on this show,” Adam said to a dumbfounded DeAndre, adding, “I have two little girls at home. The thought of breaking [Reagan’s] heart by not urging everyone to give this girl a shot to redeem herself next week would be too far beneath me. I want you to know I love you. I appreciate what you did here tonight. Honestly, I think you should both be there. But I’ve got tonight for my girl. I have to fight for her properly, because she didn’t have a voice to fight tonight. That’s all I can say. It’s weird.”

Weird, indeed. Twitter understandably and immediately exploded with outrage over Adam’s blatant favoritism. Coming back from the break, with Reagan actually leading in the votes, Kelly Clarkson tried to defend Adam (thankfully she stood up for DeAndre as well) and ease the molasses-thick tension. “I know Adam loves his team,” Kelly insisted. “He feels really bad for Reagan. DeAndre, you just sang the hell out of that song. … I just wanted to say I know it’s so horrible that Reagan is not able to present herself. That’s where it’s coming from. He’s bummed for her.”

Adam continued to make himself look like a jerk by prematurely DeAndre bidding farewell. “Everyone likes to win. I know how competitive you are,” Adam told DeAndre. “I thoroughly understand. I am competitive as well. … You have a lot of fans. Take those fans and build upon those fans and make a career for yourself, regardless of what the outcome is right now.”

Clearly the “competitive” Adam thought he had a better chance of making it to the finale with Reagan, the golden child who had been the show’s No. 1 Apple Music streamer for the past two consecutive weeks, than DeAndre, who was in the bottom two last week. That made sense, but his comments seemed less about professional strategy and more about his personal affection for one contestant over the other, and that was simply uncool.

DeAndre Nico’s #mood on “The Voice” on Tuesday. (Photo: NBC)
DeAndre Nico’s #mood on “The Voice” on Tuesday. (Photo: NBC)

DeAndre replied to Adam — unsmilingly and unconvincingly — ”Thank you for your support and everything you’ve done so far.”

When the results were tallied, Reagan edged out DeAndre — but only by 1 percentage point (the vote breakdown was Reagan with 38 percent, DeAndre with 37 percent and Dave with 24 percent). As Reagan sobbed with relief in her robe and the credits rolled, Adam hopped onstage to smooth things over with DeAndre — but the atmosphere seemed so chilly, I practically saw frost form on my TV screen.

Reagan Strange wins the Instant Save, despite not singing for the Instant Save. (Photo: NBC)
Reagan Strange wins the Instant Save, despite not singing for the Instant Save. (Photo: NBC)
Compare and contrast the body language of Blake Shelton saying goodbye to Dave Fenley and Adam Levine with DeAndre Nico. (Photo: NBC)
Compare and contrast the body language of Blake Shelton saying goodbye to Dave Fenley and Adam Levine with DeAndre Nico. (Photo: NBC)

If you think this double-elimination week was crazy, just wait until next week, when four contestants go home. Will Reagan survive, or will she be the unwitting victim of a backlash to her coach’s controversial and frankly just plain awful behavior? That remains to be seen, but she better be ready to sing, and truly prove herself, in six days’ time.

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