The Voice: Did the Right 6 Contestants Make It Through to the Lives? (2024)

Monday’s episode of The Voice — and the end of Season 25’s Playoffs — served up a painful reminder that sometimes it’s not enough to be “cute as a button.” Chance the Rapper and Reba McEntire had to shrink their teams of five contestants apiece to just three each. Along the way, some promising singers were cut (although, to be honest, none that I was as sorry to see go as Anya True and Mafe last week). Which six acts were the last put through to the Lives? Read on…

The Voice: Did the Right 6 Contestants Make It Through to the Lives? (1)

The Voice’s Best Performances of All Time, Ranked: The Good, the Badass and the Downright Amazing

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Josh Sanders, “Black Water” — Grade: A- | Josh’s rendition of The Doobie Brothers’ classic wasn’t the most exciting performance I’ve ever seen or heard, but it was awfully good nonetheless. And I definitely appreciated the extra helping of personality that the country boy put on display; that goes a long way with me. The only thing that worked against Josh, really, was probably that the song wasn’t the most explosive number that he could have chosen. Don’t take us to the pony rides, man, take us to a horse race!

Justin and Jeremy Garcia, “Castle On the Hill” — Grade: A | Dunno how the endearing tag team managed to navigate those soft-as-a-summer-breeze harmonies, but they pulled it off like it was no harder for them than pulling off the inhale/exhale combo. The brothers even did an amazing job of maintaining the quality of their vocals as they dashed around the stage. Really sincere, really sweet and just a really lovely performance. They’re much more than, as Reba loves to tell them that they are, cute as a button.

Jackie Romeo, “The Story” — Grade: C+ | Damn, after knocking it outta the park last week (and getting stolen by Reba), I had high hopes for Jackie. Alas, her take on Brandi Carlisle’s ballad was impassioned, for sure, but shaky as hell. The more Jackie got to belt, the more comfortable she seemed to get, but the overall impression that this performance gave was that the pieces might have all been there, they just didn’t quite fit together. Reba disagreed (but, as you’ll read below, not that strongly).

The Voice: Did the Right 6 Contestants Make It Through to the Lives? (4)

L. Rodgers, “All I Know So Far” — Grade: A+ | Damn! L. hit that stage breathing fire, like she knew we’d been like, “Really, Reba, that’s who you’re giving your Playoff Pass to?” and utterly destroyed her Pink cover. L. didn’t so much sing as roar, thrillingly pouring into her performance enough soul for half a dozen people. Is it too late to go back and have her do Brandi Carlile instead of Jackie?

Asher HaVon, “Titanium” — Grade: A | On a stripped-back, piano-only intro, Asher showed us once again just how gorgeous and emotion-filled his voice is. Perhaps even more impressive, when the band kicked in, his vocal didn’t fade into the background, it surged forward, expanding to fill the room to the point where the producers had to have started worrying that he was gonna blow out the doors. Massive voice, massive talent.

Reba’s Picks | Asher HaVon, Josh Sanders, L. Rodgers

Eliminated | Justin and Jeremy Garcia, Jackie Romeo


Nadège, “Clocks” — Grade: B- | It feels odd when we so often complain about contestants’ lack of enunciation to now gripe about Nadège taking too much care to make sure that we could make out every syllable of her Coldplay cover, but I’ve gotta do it, anyway: It was distracting. Moreover, this was altogether the wrong song choice for her. John suggested that she’d taken too many melodic liberties, but I had a feeling that even if she’d taken none, she still would’ve sounded pretty but just pretty on it.

Kyle Schuesler, “Something in the Orange” — Grade: A | After opening his Zach Bryan cover on harmonica, Kyle delivered a flat-out captivating performance. Without ever moving from his spot behind the mic, he reeled me right in with a vocal that sounded like he’d been around the block more times than someone his age could possibly have. It was so good, in fact, that I’d have added this number to a Spotify playlist if The Voice still released its singers’ numbers.

Serenity Arce, “Lose You to Love Me” — Grade: A+ | Excellent song choice! On Selena Gomez’s ballad, Serenity absolutely soared. Not only was her vocal damn close to perfect —powerful, passionate, ear-popping! — but the performance that she gave was just incredibly in-the-moment. Her gestures and facial expressions were so spot on, so evocative that even if you’d been watching with the sound off, you would’ve known exactly how she was feeling. Of course, if you’d been watching the with the sound off, you wound’ve missed a helluva number. Final Five for sure!

The Voice: Did the Right 6 Contestants Make It Through to the Lives? (5)

RLETTO, “Holy” — Grade: B+ | Although the self-proclaimed “pop oddball of Team Chance” was undermined by a kinda dull song selection (by J.Biebs and his own coach), it hardly mattered. The moment that the spotlight landed on him, he reminded us that he doesn’t just look like a superstar, he sounds like one, too. When you’re that strong, I figured, it doesn’t make a difference whether your number has given you one or 100 opportunities to really show off. (Although Chance did note that he’d wished RLETTO had shown off more of his range…hmm… )

Maddi Jane, “Stay” — Grade: A | Man, this kid —she never just sings a song, she lets it explode out of her. Here, she slayed Rihanna’s ballad, performing with an intensity that demanded that you stop playing on your phone and give her your full attention. Stunning vocal, compelling presence, the total package. Shay told her afterwards that the show included a number of hidden gems, but she wasn’t one of them —she was a straight-up diamond. Agreed.

Chance’s Picks | Serenity Arce, Maddi Jane, Nadège

Eliminated | Kyle Schuesler, RLETTO

So, did any of Reba and Chance’s decisions surprise you? Reba cutting J&J surprised me, although that said, I can’t imagine who she would’ve cut to make room for them. I think it’s a strategical error on Chance’s part to have kept Nadège; her tone is as lovely as she is, but there’s no “wow” there. RLETTO stood a better chance of putting on the kind of show that might win viewer votes. Anyway…

Vote for your favorite of the night in the below poll, then hit the comments with your thoughts.

The Voice: Did the Right 6 Contestants Make It Through to the Lives? (2024)


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