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Four vocal powerhouses go home all at once on polarizing ‘The Voice’ top 9 results show


Pictured: (l-r) Pia Renee, Corey Ward, Dana Monique, Jordan Matthew Young, Gihanna Zoe (Photo: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

On The Voice Season 20’s live results show Tuesday, when the top nine became the final five, team quotas were annoyingly in place to ensure that every coach would be represented in next week’s grand finale. However, Kelly Clarkson still seemingly had an advantage, because she had three worthy contestants on her team, while Blake Shelton, John Legend, and Nick Jonas only had two each. 

But in the end, of course, the show’s winningest and most popular O.G. coach, Blake, prevailed — even though one of his contestants gave arguably the least exciting Instant Save performance of the night.

So here’s how it worked: The top vote-getter from each team automatically advanced, and those contestants were Team Blake’s soul-pop superstar-in-training Cam Anthony, Team Kelly’s country revivalist Kenzie Wheeler, Team Legend’s gospel-crossover showman Victor Solomon, and Team Jonas’s folky songbird Rachel Mac. This was hardly a shocker. I’d predicted that the first three contestants, all of whom had won the public vote the week before, would make it through. And though I’d predicted that dynamite diva Dana Monique would be Team Jonas’s winner, Rachel was at the top of her game Monday night, so she earned her spot. Anyway, Dana, who’d also been fantastic Monday evening, still had a strong chance of being the fifth wild card contestant — even if she faced some stiff competition from fellow powerhouses Pia Renee (Team Legend), Gihanna Zoë (Team Kelly), and last week’s wild card (and Team Kelly’s third contestant), Corey Ward.

As it turned out, Dana faltered during the Instant Save sing-off, sounding surprisingly pitchy and froggy on a classic ballad that I had expected her to slay, Anita Baker’s “Caught Up in the Rapture.” But Dana’s two most direct competitors posed a true threat. Pia, who had been underwhelming on Monday, redeemed herself with a jazzy sophistipop version of Billie Eilish’s “Everything I Wanted.” And Gihanna, performing in what is known in the biz as the “pimp spot,” held nothing back during Lewis Capaldi’s “Someone You Loved,” making it seem likely that she’d be repping Team Kelly in the finale.

My vote, however, went to another Team Kelly hopeful, Corey, who did the impossible and somehow transformed one of the corniest songs in any singing show’s cleared catalog, the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris,” into something magical, gorgeously goosebump-raising, and actually cool. I knew his chances were slim, but this heart-on-sleeve indie balladeer had scraped and fought his way from the brink of elimination before, so I had hope.

But of course… I totally underestimated the power of the country-music voting block (or the power of Blake’s fanbase). While I was a fan of Team Blake roots-rocker Jordan Matthew Young’s past gritty Black Crowes and Fleetwood Mac performances and his bluegrassy John Conlee cover this week, his Instant Save song, Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away,” couldn’t have been lazier or duller. Here we had four power-singers who seemed really in it to win it, and a country dude acting like this was just another Tuesday night bar-band gig… and Jordan drifted through the finals. Sigh. Jordan seemed more surprised than anyone else, but perhaps we all should have seen this coming.

Pictured: (l-r) Dana Monique, Jordan Matthew Young, Gihanna Zoe (Photo: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Pictured: (l-r) Dana Monique, Jordan Matthew Young, Gihanna Zoe (Photo: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

However, on next week’s finale, I don’t think having two contestants in the top five will guarantee Blake his eighth Voice victory. While the Season 20 champion could very well be the phenomenal Cam — the contestant that Blake boldly predicted could be the “first superstarThe Voice has ever launched – I wouldn’t rule out Kenzie, who’s likely to be the country finalist that dominates the votes. If Kenzie wins, it will be the third time that Kelly has triumphed over her rival Blake with a country contestant (following Chevel Shepherd and Jake Hoot, the latter of whom actually dueted with Kelly on Tuesday’s results show). 

I think it’s either Kenzie or Cam’s competition to lose now, but without Pia, Gihanna, Dana, or especially Corey, next week’s final showdown will be a little less exciting.

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