‘The Voice’ Team Niall & Team Kelly Playoffs Recap: Who Made the Semifinals

Kelly Clarkson and Niall Horan


The four coaches on “The Voice” have done their part in constructing their respective teams. The May 8 episode saw Kelly Clarkson and Niall Horan make their final cuts, taking their teams from five down to two singers.

In the May 1 episode, Blake Shelton and Chance The Rapper were the first to select their two to advance into the live semifinals. Shelton went with NOIVAS and Grace West while and Ray Uriel.

The ‘Stacked’ Team Kelly Receives High Praise in the Playoffs

D. Smooth, 25, from Birmingham, Alabama: D. Smooth, who received Team Kelly’s playoff pass, is someone that Clarkson said “reminds me of the 90s.” He took on Khalid’s “Location” which went over well with the judges.

Chance called it “insane” and that he’s worried about Team Kelly more than any other team. Shelton pointed out the “trickery” he did with the mic. Horan said it was his best performance, while his coach agreed, “That was my favorite thing you’ve ever done on the show.”

Cait Martin, 22, from Norcross, Georgia: Martin was the second one to go for Team Kelly. She sang Celine Dion’s “Alone.”

Horan said it was a “phenomenal song choice.” Chance and Shelton applauded her big notes though the latter did mention some pitch occurred.

Clarkson said she believes she can sing a high note like nobody else in the field, “I don’t know if there’s anyone in the competition that can really nail a song like you.”

Neil Salsich, 34, from St. Louis, Missouri: Clarkson saw her third singer come out with his rendition of John Hiatt’s “Have A Little Faith In Me.”

The former Team Blake member received high praise from his old coach, “All you ever do is come out here and be great.” He called him the “most consistent player” of the season.

Horan was a fan of the runs he executed. Chance said he “rocks” with him and that he could win it all. Clarkson

ALI, 24, from Walnut, California: The soul singer went with Tori Kelly and Kirk Franklin’s “Never Alone.”

Horan said that he appreciates the “storytelling” in her voice. Chance continues to be a fan of ALI as he said each time he’s “impressed so much.”

Pointing out that she’s become a fan favorite, Shelton did say he felt the song “got away” in “just a few places.” Despite his critique, he said it’s hard to imagine her not in the semifinals.

Holly Brand, 22, from Meridan, Mississippi: The lone country artist on Team Kelly opted for Jo Dee Messina’s “Bring On The Rain.”

Shelton said she “did a killer job” and Horan remained on her side as he told Clarkson he’d be her pick. Chance said he “feels bad for Kelly” after not realizing “how stacked” her team was.

Clarkson said her “voice is ridiculous.”

Team Niall Shows Off its Young Talent

Ross Clayton, 33, from Evanston, Illinois: Ross Clayton chose to go with U2’s “With Or Without You” as a way to show a new side of himself. Horan agreed with the selection as he believed it would set up him up for success.

Clarkson said she “loved it” while Shelton gave Horan some advice, “Come on Niall, you know you’ve gotta put Ross through.” Chance added that it was “his best performance on the show.”

His coach said he was “proud” of him and that his performance means Horan has “some tough decisions to make.”

Gina Miles, 18, from Paxton, Illinois: Horan said he had a song picked out for Miles for later in the show which she broke out in the playoffs. She took his suggestion of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” and ran with it. Clarkson, Shelton, and Horan all stood up after her performance with Shelton saying “Wow” multiple times.

Chance said he didn’t know she had that much control in her lower register. Shelton looked over at Horan with a clear message.

“If you don’t put her through, you are not only fired from this show, you are not my son anymore,” Shelton said.

Her coach said he has “goosebumps” that were still with him after her performance.

Tasha Jessen, 21, from Faisalabad, Pakistan: A recent steal of Horan’s, she chose Alessia Cara’s “Here” for her playoff performance. Shelton, who previously had her, asked if she was at him for letting her go before praising her ability to take on big challenges.

Chance said it started off “a little rocky” but that she regained control which he said shows her confidence. Clarkson was in a similar boat, “With this, I didn’t feel like it was your best performance only because the song got away from you a little bit.”

Her coach said he knew it was a “big task” and admitted “it got away” before “she got back on board” and delivered a strong second half to her performance.

Michael B., 29, from Tulsa, Oklahoma: The Joke” by Brandi Carlile was the choice for Michael B..

As soon as he finished up his song, Clarkson walked up to him and gave him a hug, “That was so crazy… I’m trying not to cry.”

Shelton said it was “incredible” and that he hasn’t seen put more of themselves in a performance like his. Chance also enjoyed the effort as he second Shelton’s request to “send him through.”

Ryley Tate Wilson, 15, from Montgomery, Alabama: Team Horan’s playoff pass recipient whom Horan calls “Future Boy” took on “when the party’s over” by Billie Eilish.

The 15-year-old earned a standing ovation from all four judges in the last performance of the episode.

“I think it would be a shame if you didn’t move onto the next round,” said Chance The Rapper. “I’m in full support of you.”

Clarkson said he’s someone she’s “afraid of” as he could win the show. Shelton called the song “unbelievable” and doubled down on Chance’s statement to put him through.

Team Kelly and Team Niall Make Their Final Picks

Team Kelly

Trae Patton/NBCTeam Kelly’s five remaining singers awaited the decision by Kelly Clarkson.

Going first in narrowing down her team was Clarkson. She gave the good news first to D. Smooth.

“I honestly went with D. Smooth because from the get-go he’s tugged at the strings in my heart and I’ve loved him since the blinds,” Clarkson said afterward. “He has such a cool gift, y’all.”

Her second and final selection was Holly Brand, “She’s got like this old twist, she can do whistle notes, she can do R&B pop runs. There’s just something super special about her.”

For Team Niall, the two picks were Ryley Tate Wilson and Gina Miles.

Horan called Wilson “an incredible talent” and said “he’s the future of our music industry.” With Miles, the first-year coach said “her growth has been so obvious.” He feels she is a “superstar.”

“The Voice” will air its first live episode on May 15 as the Top 8 begin the semifinals.

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