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TOP 8 Revealed Going to Live Shows on THE VOICE Season 23 Playoffs Week 2 Recap

Pictured: (l-r) ALI, Cait Martin, Holly Brand, Neil Salsich -- Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC

The last week of “The Voice” Playoffs round revealed to fans and viewers the Top 8 artists selected by their coaches to move on to the Live Shows, a.k.a the Semi-Finals round.  The premiere week of the Playoffs had long-time coach Blake Shelton, and new-comer coach Chance the Rapper slashing their Teams down to two members each.  Their results were:  Sorelle, and Ray Uriel representing Team Chance, and Novias and Grace West for Team Blake.

This week, it was another long-time coach Kelly Clarkson, and newbie coach Niall Horan’s turn to make their picks.  On Team Kelly was hearing impaired artist ALI, Soul singer Cait Martin, Playoff Pass winner D. Smooth, Country artist Holly Brand, and Stolen artist Neil Salsich.  

Team Niall’s artists were: musical theater artist Michael B., soft-spoken Gina Miles, Stolen artist Tasha Jessen, Rocker/Country artist Ross Clayton, and 15-year-old Playoff Pass winner Ryley Tate Wilson.

The first performer of the night wasTeam Kelly’s Playoff Pass artist D. Smooth who got to skip the Knockout round.  She told him in that round that she could see him going all the way.

D. SMOOTH (Team Kelly)

Pictured: D.Smooth — Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC

Kelly said D. Smooth’s voice reminds her of the 90s – tell you a story and break your heart.  She called him “my silky smooth singer.” He chose the song “Location.”  Kelly said “it’s a little bit linear for competition” but D. Smooth changed it up. 

D. Smooth said he wants to show America that you can do anything. He’s from a small town, Birmingham.  He said his middle school teacher was the one that motivated him to use his gift of singing.  

Blake reacted that no one has lived up to their name like he has.  Niall said it’s one of those forums that you never do the same thing twice.  Kelly said she’ll move forward with people that inspire her.  Chance said he knows that D. Smooth has a great voice but tonight he got to see who he is.


Niall said Ross has “underrated range.”  Ross chose the song “With or Without You” by U2 which starts out low and ends up in “belterville.” Niall said we’re going to see what Ross can do in this round with this song.

Ross said it’s the perfect song to get him into the live shows.  Before “The Voice” Ross had stopped performing for 4-5 years.  Niall told Ross that this song is in his wheelhouse, and wants him to make it his own.

Kelly said he started out comfortable with a low register and then the thing at the end with him on his knee.  Blake said he doesn’t know why people don’t do this song more on the show.  “It was a powerful moment.”  Chance called it Ross’ best performance on the show.   Chance said he didn’t know the song and joked that he’ll check out this new band U2.  

Niall said Ross is known for Country leaning Rock, but he absolutely nailed this song.  Niall called him “Mr Consistency.”  

CAIT MARTIN (Team Kelly) 

Kelly thought that Cait is one of the greatest singers in the competition and she “likes the big huge songs.”  She’s Kelly’s Pop/Diva.  Cait chose “Alone” by Heart, the Anne Wilson and Celine Dion versions combined.  Cait dedicated her performance to her Mom whom she sings the song with when it comes on the radio. Cait’s mom flew across the Country for her Playoff moment.   After the rehearsal,  Kelly said she didn’t have any notes for Cait. 

During an interview, Kelly said she’d pick the artist who she thinks will compete the best in the Live Shows.  After Cait’s Playoff performance, Niall said when she goes for big notes they’re so pure and clean.  Chance thought she “killed it,” and liked her slow walk.  Blake said the song “is a monster.”  He noted that in some of the runs,the pitch was off. But, he said look at her body of work, she’s awesome. 

Kelly said she was so “stressed out” and Cait has such a huge voice and has to look at who she’s going to be going up against on the other teams.  Kelly called Cait “bad-ass.” She’s solid and did do better in the rehearsal.   Kelly was hating this decision that she would have to make on which team members to cut.

GINA MILES (Team Niall)

Pictured: Gina Miles — Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC

Niall called Gina his “little story teller.”   Gina chose “Wicked Game” and told Niall that she’s sung this song a lot.  Niall said he chose this song on day one for her.  Gina said the song is about longing and that’s how she feels about the competition and she wants it so bad.  

Niall said she almost cried hearing her sing during the rehearsal.  Gina said while working with Niall her confidence has grown so much.  He said she has a round tone that you can’t help but gravitate to. 

Chance reacted that he didn’t know her voice could go that high and that “it was amazing! “What else can I say?” Kelly said it was so cool and mysterious. Gina went high and then low again which is hard to do. 

Blake called it his favorite thing he’s heard in a long time. Niall said Gina has that distinct sound to her voice, like when you hear it on the raido, you know it’s her singing.   He said she tore the roof off this place today.  Kelly predicted that Gina might win the show!  “And she’s 19!”


Neil was newly Stolen by Kelly for this Playoff round. Neil chose the song “Have a Little Faith.”  Kelly called Neil her “pro” because he’s been doing it forever.  Kelly wanted him since the Blinds and was Blocked from him.  She called his sound “a classic sound.”  

Neil said he’s been chasing the dream for a decade now.  He said all of the sacrifice is worth it for a time like this on “the Voice” and said he’s goal was always to get to the Live Shows.

After Neil’s Playoff performance, Niall said Kelly has some tough decisions, and “well done. It was magic.”  Chance said it was a great song choice and he could win the whole thing.  Kelly said she feels that she knows Neil more when seeing him on stage.  “It’s like home for him” and where his purpose is and passion.  She thought he did a great job.  Blake was regretful because Neil was on his Team previously. 


Niall was able to Steal Tasha in the last round from Team Blake. Niall called Tasha the “risk taker” in the group and not afraid to challenge herself.  Niall told her there was no way he was going to let her go.  “Here” by Alessia Cara.  Tasha said the culture shock of it all and being an outcast coming from Pakistan.

Niall told her to work on picking her points to breathe.  In her interview, Tasha reacted that “Niall is so cute!”  and she wants to make him proud.  She told Niall that One Direction taught her music. She was obsessed after finding out that “these things can happen” with One Direction. 

Blake said he loves the challenges that she takes on for herself.  Chance said it started out rocky but then took control over the whole song.  Chance said Niall’s team is stacked and Tasha pulls it every week.  Kelly said the song got away from her a bit.  But, she liked the big notes that she locked in. 

Niall said it got a little bit away but she picked it up.  Niall said she’s an incredible singer and makes his decision hard.  

ALI (Team Kelly)

ALI told Kelly that she was so excited and “I’m not done yet.”  Kelly said ALI sings with her entire body and she called ALI her “inspiring soul singer.”  ALI dedicated her Playoff performance to her passed relatives.  She said she knows they’re singing along with her and telling her that she is special.  The song is “Never Alone” by Tori Kelly.

During their rehearsal, Kelly advised ALI to slow the song down then build it up.  Kelly said ALI’s greatest strength is that not only does she sing it, she feels it. For her Playoff performance, ALI sang while seated on the stage with a guitar player.

After her performance, Niall reacted that his ear goes to that storyteller voice and she’s been a favorite of his and would send her through.  Chance said she does better than he thinks and “fire.”  Blake said there were a few places where he felt it got away from her. But it’s hard to imagine her not going forward and she’s a fan favorite. 

Kelly said she’s fresh and different from anyone else and ALI moves her.  Kelly said ALI does incredible things that she can’t do.  “That makes it really hard.”

MICHAEL B.  (Team Niall)

Pictured: Michael B. — Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC

“Michael B. is one of the stand-out singers in this competition,” said Niall.  He said all of the coaches are starting to take notice, and labeled Michael B., his “theatrical dark horse.”

Michael B. chose Brandi Carlile’s “The Joke” for the people who are under-represented.  He said he couldn’t keep his secret any longer when he came out as gay.  He said he never thought he would get anywhere on a show like “The Voice.”  Niall told Michael B. to sing the verse like he did in the Knockouts – giving it drama. He said Michael is a “rangey singer.” 

After his performance, Kelly went to give Michael B. a hug because he was so emotional afterwards.  She told him that falsetto at the end, “I didn’t even need that but you gave it to me anyway.”  Blake said “that was incredible and I don’t know how you don’t go through.”  Blake also said he hasn’t seen anyone else throw as much of themselves into a performance as Michael B.  Chance told him really good job on doing a different genre this week.

Niall told Michael B. great job and he’s the best.  Niall said his performance speaks for itself, “we were all nearly in tears.”  Niall said he has a close knit team that he’s become friends with. 

HOLLY BRAND (Team Kelly)

Pictured: Holly Brand — Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC

Kelly said Holly Brand is her “Country artist with a twist.”  She’s like a Russian doll who has many layers.  Holly sang “Bring on the Rain.”  Holly said the song is about perseverance and helping people during difficult times.  She thought of her brother who went into the military.  Kelly said Holly has this amazing range and killer tone “but we have yet to see an emotional side” to her.

Kelly cried at the end of Holly’s rehearsal.  Kelly advised Holly that the “whistle stuff” took her out of it.  So, she didn’t end up including that in her Playoff performance.  Holly said she almost didn’t audition for “The Voice” because she felt like she wasn’t good enough. But, Kelly makes her believe in herself.

After her performance, Blake reacted that “it’s a tough part of the competition” and knows Kelly’s going to cry.  He thought she did a killer job.  She changed up the melody.  Niall said he’s a fan of Holly’s and would go with her.  Chance said she has an amazing voice and great control.  He siad Team Kelly is very stacked.  

Kelly said this is getting tough and she showed a different side of her voice. “Great job.” She said Holly can conquer different lanes and is really a capable singer.  Holly said she’s been watching “The Voice” for as long as she can remember and has dreamed of this. 


Ryley Tate was Niall’s Playoff Pass artist.  Niall called him super talented at 15-years-old and sings with the most passion. He called him “future boy.”  Chance said Ryley could win the whole show and is a little worried about him.  Ryley Tate said it was amazing to see everyone perform in the Knockouts.

Ryley Tate sang a Billie Eilish song called “When the Party’s Over.” He said the song is about feeling lonely.  He has four siblings but feels different from all of them because they’re all into sports and he’s into arts.  His siblings are supportive and they’re in the audience cheering him on.  Niall told Ryley Tate that when he soars, his voice cracks.  

The big part is connecting to the song, Niall told him. He can see him being a Popstar and sees glimpses of himself in Ryley. But he’s mature beyond his years, which he wasn’t at his age. 

After Ryley’s flawless and impressive performance, Chance reacted “Wow! You’re amazing” and doesn’t know how he forgets there’s a 15-year-old doing stuff like this on the show. Kelly said she’s normally not afraid of the other Teams, but she is “very, very scared” of him.  Blake called it “unbelievable.”  All the different parts of his voice.  He told Niall, “you know you have to put Ryley through!’  

Niall reacted 15-years-old.  “It’s not easy but Ryley is mature beyond his years…and smashes it every single time.” He said to think that Ryley is 15 is still unbelievable to him.


Team Kelly came out onto the stage first.  Out of her five artists, she could only choose to keep two of them. She told them that “this is not the end. I will support you after the show.”  She said she learned that from Blake, and he will be missed.

Kelly’s first artist moving through to the Live Shows was D. Smooth.  She said from the get-go he’s tugged at special strings and they haven’t had a singer like him in a long time. 

Pictured: (l-r) ALI, Cait Martin, Holly Brand, Neil Salsich — Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC

The second artist moving on from Team Kelly was Holly Brand.  Kelly said Holly has this twist and can do R&B Pop runs.  That meant ALI, Neil, and Cait went home.

Team Niall was next.  Niall told them that he had enjoyed them and was so proud of them.  His first artist moving forward was Ryley Tate Wilson!  Ryley was in tears.  Niall said Ryley Tate has never done a “foot wrong on stage” since day one.

The next artist moving forward was Gina Miles.  Niall said her growth has been so obvious and she’s such a super star.  “She’s going to have an amazing career.”  He said he feels so confident about Team Niall.  “I believe the winner of ‘The Voice’ season 23 is on my Team,” said Niall.


Sorelle & Ray Uriel (Team Chance), Novias & Grace West (Team Blake),  Holly Brand & D. Smooth (Team Kelly), Ryley Tate Wilson & Gina Miles (Team Niall). 


This wrapped Blake’s last taped show ever. Blake said America is going to have as much of a tough time as they did once the Live Shows start Monday, May 15th on NBC.  For the first time ever, “The Voice” will have real-time voting with the results at the end of the performance night shows each Monday.

LIVE voting and Live Results, all in one night!   




  1. Patty Kennedy says:

    Why did you post a picture of Michael B when he was Not in the top 4 picked, yet you do NOT have a picture of Ryley Tate Wilson who was picked?

    • Editor says:

      We try to give all contestants equal coverage. His photo was used multiple times in previous articles this season of “The Voice.” Please check out our interviews with Ryley Tate Wilson on our YouTube channel @hollywoodjunket.

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