Recap: ‘The Voice’ Shakes Up the Competition in First Night of Playoffs, Team Niall on Chopping Block

The first night of The Voice Playoffs kicked off with a bang Tuesday night (Nov. 21), seeing the initial set of 20 competitors sing it out to get one step closer to the win.

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During this part of the competition, the hopefuls take the stage solo for the first time since their Blind Audition to perform for the coaches. Only three contestants from each team, 12 artists in total, will get to advance to the Live Shows.

From the jump, however, host Carson Daly dropped a bomb on the four coaches – John Legend, Niall Horan, Gwen Stefani, and Reba McEntire – letting them know of a first-time-ever game-changer: the Playoff Super Save. That’s right! Each coach will get to bring back one artist who was previously let go from the competition.

But before viewers got the skinny on who would be picked to return to the show, Team Niall was first up on the chopping block. The coach came into the Playoffs backed by a powerhouse crew: Mara Justine, Nini Iris, Huntley, Claudia B., and Alexa Wildish, and the night saw them belt it out to survive.

Nini Iris came out swinging from the jump with a punchy take on “River” by Bishop Briggs, laying bare her acrobatic vocals. “You’re so gifted. You have such an intuition about yourself,” Gwen said of the performance with John Legend saying he wished the young vocalist was on his team. While Reba wasn’t a fan of the choreography, Nini’s coach was beyond proud of the full-throttle showcase.

Claudia B. followed it up with a striking rendition of Bruno Mars’ “Talking to the Moon.” She gave the already emotive song her all. “You sound as good as ever,” her former coach Legend told her following the display with Reba calling her voice “smooth as butter.”

Huntley was next, ready to show off his steely croon with David Kushner’s “Daylight,” a song the hopeful said was one of his daughter’s favorites. His hearty blues-rock style impressed the coaches once again. “If I had a label I would just snatch you,” Gwen told the vocalist with the other coaches saying they’d love to buy his album.

Before his next singer took the stage, Niall announced his Playoff Super Save was former team member 13-year-old Julia Roome who went home following her performance of Sia’s “Unstoppable” in the final round of Knockouts. She came back for the Playoffs with a skilled take on “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper, a layered showcase that proved her power.

After that game-changer came Mara Justine with “You’ve Got the Love” by Florence & The Machine. The fiery display got coaches on their feet and they had nothing but praise for the soon-to-be-star. “She’s made my decision even tougher,” her coach said.

Alexa Wildish rounded out the performances for Team Niall with “Fields of Gold” by Sting, a song she had experience with before having sung it at her grandmother’s memorial. The moving rendition had the coaches enraptured. “You stand out,” Niall told her, saying “This girl is ridiculously talented.”

Ultimately decision time came for Niall, who now had to whittle his team down from six to three contestants. In the end, he chose Huntley, Nini Iris, and Mara Justine to move on to the Live Shows, eliminating Claudia B., Alexa Wildish, and once again, Julia Roome.. “I have a good feeling the winner of Season 24 is on Team Niall,” the coach said just before the credits rolled. Could he be right?

Keep up with the Playoffs along with us and tune in to The Voice again next Monday night (Nov. 27) on NBC.

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