Each coach now has the chance to bring back an eliminated artist ahead of the Lives.
The Voice season 24 apparently has another change in store outside of bringing in Queen of Country Reba McEntire to take over original coach Blake Shelton’s empty red chair — and they saved it for the Playoffs, which kicked off tonight.
In season 23, The Voice gave us “the Playoff Pass,” which basically gave one artist on each team a free pass from the Battles straight into the Playoffs, bypassing Knockouts. This season, things are a little different. Instead, each coach gets one “Super Save.” The Super Save lets Reba, John Legend, Gwen Stefani, and Niall Horan each choose one previously eliminated artist to return to the show to perform in the Playoffs — and that eliminated artist can be from any team. So, if any coach is feeling extra guilty about someone having been cut, even if they weren’t one of their artists, they can bestow upon them one last shot at making the Live Rounds. We won’t learn who each coach decided to save until their team performs in the Playoffs. The Super Save is a great moment of redemption for artists and coaches, but it also means that the coaches will have to cut three people from their teams of six in order to send just three artists each through to Lives. It might end up making their jobs harder in the end.
Niall is the first to give the Super Save a go, as it is his team up first on the Playoffs Premiere. Joining Team Niall’s post-Knockouts crew of Huntley, Alexa Wildish, Nini Iris, Claudia B., and Mara Justine, is 13-year-old power vocalist Julia Roome. Julia was a member of Team Niall up until the Knockouts — if you recall, her version of Sia’s “Unstoppable” impressed, but there was just no beating Alexa Wildish’s emotional cover of Cher’s “Believe.” Niall didn’t have a “save” left at the time, but he makes up for it by giving Julia a call and inviting her back on the show. She’ll have one last chance to earn one of the three spots open on Team Niall. “Would you like to go back to eighth grade or come back to The Voice?” he asks her. The choice is obvious.
While Julia gives it all she’s got, Niall’s choice of “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper doesn’t really resonate as much as “Unstoppable” did. She seems a little off, especially in the more tender, quieter moments of the verses. Plus, Niall has a pretty stacked team. In the end, and after a whole lot of angsting (even Gwen tells Niall she feels nauseous on his behalf), Niall makes his selection. First, Niall picks Huntley — perhaps the most obvious choice of the evening — who once again wows all four coaches, this time with his version of “Daylight” by David Kushner. Words like “flawless” are tossed around all over the place and Gwen can’t believe he hasn’t been signed to a label yet.
Next, Niall chooses Nini Iris and her big, booming rocker voice after her performance of Bishop Briggs’s “River.” Gwen loves how she builds her songs to big moments, while John calls her “a real star.” After selecting her to move on, Niall says that Nini is an artist who “knows who she is” and that she “can win this whole thing.” No pressure.
Team Niall’s third and final spot goes to Mara Justine, his most recent steal (from Team Legend), and an artist he’s been wanting to work with since the Blind Auditions. He gives her a perfect song for her voice in Florence & the Machine’s “You’ve Got the Love.” Niall picks her because aside from her great vocals, he believes she has the type of “energy” that will serve her well in a live performance. This means, however, that Alexa Wildish (who performed Sting’s “Fields of Gold), Claudia B. (she performed “Talking to the Moon” by Bruno Mars), and yes, Super Save Julia Roome, are eliminated. We’ll see if the Super Save plays out differently for the artists selected to return to Team Reba, Team Gwen, and Team Legend as the Playoffs continue.
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC.
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