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 series’ lowest moments overall.
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 one 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.
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’d been able and allowed. But I didn’t think this was exactly fair. After all, I certainly 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, calling him "savage." Coming back from the break, with Reagan actually leading in the votes, Kelly Clarkson tried to defend Adam (but, 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.”
But then, Adam continued to make himself look like 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’d 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 replied to Adam, unsmilingly and unconvincingly, ”Thank you for your support and everything you've done so far.”
Anyway, when the results were tallied, Reagan edged out DeAndre -- but only by one percent of the vote (the 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.