I went a little cray with this one oof

spoilers for the voice Season 21* 

A quick credential breakdown for this strong opinion in the singing competition show world— I have seen: at least 15 seasons of American Idol (including the crucial first 12) at least 15 seasons of The Voice US (with some international versions not included its soooo global) all three seasons of X-Factor US, several AGT/BGT singing acts, and OF COURSE every season of The Sing-Off (if you know you know) All that being said, I can pretty confidently say— there is not another season of ANY reality singing competition season that is as good as this particular season of The Voice. 


Reality singing competitions have drawn stars from all over the world to be judges or mentors. The Voice (US) has managed to nab some of the biggest names in music over its now 15-year run. 


Blake Shelton 

Adam Levine 

Christina Aguilera 

CeeLo Green



Gwen Stefani

 Pharrell Williams

 Miley Cyrus

 Alicia Keys

 Jennifer Hudson

 Kelly Clarkson

 John Legend 

Nick Jonas

 Ariana Grande

 Camila Cabello

 Chance the Rapper

 Niall Horan

 Reba McEntire

 Dan + Shay


The Voice adapts a “judging” model that is different from other singing competition shows, (mainly Idol) in a way that the “judges” take a coaching role. Now, you might be thinking “but X-Factor has judge teams and coaching as well” and YES, they do. HOWEVER, The Voice USA came before X-Factor USA (they both came in 2011 which is crazy). American Idol and “judging” became synonymous with Simon Cowell and the criticism-based approach. But after almost a decade of snark (deserved and not) people seemed to want a different relationship and feel between contestants and a judge.

It starts with the push of a button—and with a revolutionary new format, judges became coaches. 


Those are the words that glow as a coach’s chair turns once, they hear a voice they want to add to their team. This is a huge change from the traditional “stand on that mark and sing to the judging panel acapella or single instrument accompaniment”. On The Voice stage, those auditioning get to do a full performance to try and get the ear of the coaches. Due to this, those auditioning are (usually) very talented or even veterans in the music industry. (No montages of awful singers here) It is also a very small number of contestants as only 48 make it past the auditions (12 per team).  The second round is “the battles” each team is paired within itself, and they duet a song chosen by their coach. They advance 6 and then they have an additional save (battle loss from their own team) plus a steal (battle loss from another team) taking 8 into the next round. The last round before live shows is called “the knockouts”. Once again, teams are paired within themselves but this time they sing their own chosen song solo. Each coach was allowed one final save to create their top 5 to enter the top 20 for the next round— “live playoffs”. The top 20 (+ 1 wildcard) perform live, and it is a combination of their vote and the coach’s choice as to who makes the next round (only 3 per team). This is now where it begins to wind down as 20 becomes 13, then 11, then 10, then 8, then finale. 

Yes, the finale is 5 people.

There is obviously more but those are the basics!

This season separated itself a bit within the normal structure of the show as they added more weeks to the live shows (which has always been my biggest beef that we get like 4 live shows only and this season we got 6)


Let’s take you back it’s September 20,2021 and you’re sat to watch the voice with its most iconic judging panel yet. (Which is a HIGH bar) Returning for his 21st consecutive season, Blake Shelton was joined by fan-favorites John Legend and Kelly Clarkson to round out retuning judges. They were joined (literally still can’t believe it) by none other than Ariana Grande to complete the panel for this season. 

The show opens with an electrifying and dynamic mashup of “Hold On, I’m Comin” by Sam & Dave (sang by John and Blake) and “Respect” by Aretha Franklin (slayed by Ari and Kelly) John brought the soul and Blake brought the tone (+ twang) in the opener. They sound INCREDIBLE together and the band is BANDING. The music drops into R.E.S.P.E.C.T. as the ladies hit the stage. I literally got chills to see Kelly Clarkson perform this song on a stage again. (S/o idol) AND FREAKING ARIANA GRANDE— in a cowboy hat. They gave vocalssss. The boys re-entered singing while the queens continued, and all 4 coaches shinned ending with riffs and high notes and mighty applause. 

*It is Voice tradition for the four coaches to sing together to open the show, and this performance outshines all the rest to date. (S/o “Dream On” from 2016) 

Last little note—

I have included “coach reactions” in all of these performances because they add so much to the experience for me. I am very animated and feel respect for artistry in the same way the coaches do. It feels cool to see them impressed and rowdy just like I am when I watch—ESPECIALLY in this season… Kelly John and Ari encompass all of my emotions. 


-Top Auditions-

Girl Named Tom- Singing: “Helplessly Hoping” by Crosby, Stills & Nash

Turn Order: Kelly, John, Blake, Ari

Coach Reactions: “Please, please, pleasee pick me” from Kelly, a harmony from John, and chills from Ari.

My reaction: THE HARMONIES AND BLEND. SO GENTLE. We don’t get many groups on The Voice and they are soo good.

Team Selected: Kelly

THE VOICE — “Blind Auditions” Episode 2101 — Pictured: Wendy Moten — (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

Wendy Moten- Singing: “We Can Work It Out” by The Beetles  

Turn order: Blake John Ari Kelly

Coach Reactions: Stank face from Ari John was on his feet gave a “SING” and a “oh really” look and a smile from ear to ear on Blake.

My Reaction: Fulll voice—HER UPPER REGISTER. BYE. THE POWER YET CONTROL. Imma stop yelling. This woman can sing. 

Team Selected: Blake

Judge Action: Blake blocked John

Holly Forbes- Singing: “Rocket Man” by Elton John 

Turn order: Ari John Kelly Blake

Coach Reactions: Kelly shocked face- whoops and cheers and Ari was on her feet, and praise hands from John 

Standing Ovation

My Reaction: PRETTY VOICE. LOVE HER CHOICES. She picked the perfect song to show off her strengths.

Team Selected: Kelly

Judge Action: Ari blocked John

Gymani- Singing: “pov”- by Arianna Grande 

Turn order: Blake Ari John Kelly

Coach Reactions: Ari shook the whole time “that’s your song now take it”— John was grooving and gave a “SING” while both judges were on their feet.

Standing ovation 

My Reaction: This is NOT an easy song to make a vocal show of, but SHE TOOK US THERE. Her tone and the growl! Shes singing Ari to Ari like whatttt.

Team Selected: Kelly

BrittneyBree- Singing: “Call out my Name” by The Weekend. 

Turn order: John Ari Kelly Blake

Coach Reactions: Whoops from Ari and praise hands from John both were on their feet- a impressed smirk from Blake to end it.

My Reaction: CHURCH CHURCHHHH! SHE BETTER SING. The texture of her voice, the technique is next level. WOW.

Team Selected: John

S/o Jershika Maple- Singing: “Can You Stand the Rain” by New Edition.–SANG GIRL 2 CHAIRS IS CRAZY// Team Selected: Kelly

S/o Paris Winningham- Singing: “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder. –DESERVED MORE THAN 2 CHAIRS MY GODD// Team Selected: John

S/o Carson Peters- Singing: “Tulsa Time” by Don Williams– 4 chair turn// LOVE THE TWANG AND GRIT THAT’S A NICE COUNTRY VOICE// Team Selected: Blake

-Top battles-

Jershika Maple vs Jeremy Rosado- Singing: “Hold On” by Justin Bieber – Team Kelly

Coach Reactions: John Kelly and Ari were on their feet quickly- delighted shrieks from Ari and run mimics from Kelly.

My Reaction: Both have such powerful voices whilst also beautifully restrained. RANGE and RUNS showed up and showed out.

Winner: Jeremy 

Judge Action: Jershika stolen by John 

Jonathan Mouton vs Paris Winningham – Singing: “Here and Now” by Luther Vandross- Team John

Coach Reactions: Wows, shrieks, and mouth open from Ari- a run mimic from Kelly, John was grooving and pleased.

My Reaction: OH MY GOD! Literally sooo  soulful and smooth and silky.  I LOVE THIS SONG. Those harmonies oooo THEY BOTH DID THAT FORREAL.

 Winner: Paris

 Judge Action: Jonathan stolen by Blake. 

Bella DeNapoli vs Katie Rae- Singing: “No More Tears” (Enough is Enoughby Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer – Team Ari

Coach Reactions: Big eyes from Kelly- Praise hands from John, Ari was up dancing and gave a shriek.

My Reaction: Dynamic! Dramatic! A clash of styles and sounds – WHAT AN OPENING BATTLE OF THE SEASON! So much shown off on the upper and lower registers.

 Winner: Katie

Judge Action: Bella saved by Ari

THE VOICE — “Battle Rounds” Episode 2107 — Pictured: (l-r) KJ Jennings, Samuel Harness — (Photo by: Greg Gayne/NBC)

KJ Jennings vs Samuel Harness “I Know What You Did Last Summer” by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello-Team John

Coach Reactions: John head groovin- Blake leaned in and focused, Ari gave whoops and cheers.

My Reaction: They sounded SO good together- more like a duet than a battle they complimented each other well! A real clash of tones that gave to the story of the lyric.

Winner: Samuel

BrittanyBree vs Samara Brown- Singing: “Give Him Something He Can Feel” by Aretha Franklin-Team John

Coach Reactions: Double praise hands from John whoops and hollers from Kelly, John, and Ari—all three were on their feet feeling ittt. Blake was even head bobbin.

My Reaction: WOWWWW THEY BOTH WALKED ON THIS SONG.  different vocal approaches that just make this song feel so full. This was such a brilliant song choice, it gave them so much space to show off!

Winner: BrittanyBree

Girl Named Tom vs Kinsey Rose “Seven Bridges Road” by Steve Young – Team Kelly

Coach Reactions: “Gorgeous” and “Sing girl” from John and Kelly was up clapping and cheering. Nods from Blake and shook hands from Ari.

My Reaction: THE HARMONIES I MEAN WOW.  They sound like they’ve all been performing together for years. Its difficult to make a group against an individual work but man this was good.

Winner: Girl Names Tom

Judge Action: Kinsey saved by Kelly

S/o Haley Mia vs Raquel Trinidad- Singing: “Car Wash” by Rose Royce – Team Ari–SONG CHOICE— THEY ATE THIS UP// Winner Raquel- Haley stolen by Kelly. 

S/o The Cunningham Sisters vs Parker McKay- Singing: “It’s My Party” by Lesley Gore Team Kelly –THE HARMONIES- THE CHOICES // Winner The Cunningham Sisters

Notable Battles Losses: Parker McKay, Manny Keith, and KJ Jennings 

Top 5 Knockouts 

Wendy Moten- Singing: “Ain’t No Way” by Aretha Franklin vs Jonathan Mouton- Singing: “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash // Team Blake

My Reaction: W: A performance that truly STUNS. “THE VOICE” mic drop moment. 

J: Literally a spectacular vocal so beautiful -SO CLEAR. AN A CAPELLA OPENER! <3 . His only downfall was facing Wendy.

Coach Reactions: W: THEY ATE UP EVERY NOTE. Judges on their feet with Blake shaking his head in disbelief with a huge smile. PRAISE HANDS and whoops from John— Kelly hid behind her hands—shocked Ari pose + shocked Kelly pose #2 combo.

J: Harmonies from John and Kelly was up cheering and clapping. Ari shook hands + head shake.

Winner: Wendy 

THE VOICE — “Knockout Rounds” Episode 2113 — Pictured: (l-r) Jershika Maple, Paris Winningham — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)

Paris Winningham – Singing: “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton vs Jershika Maple- Singing: “Inseparable”by Natalie Cole //Team John

My Reaction: J: A VOCAL MASTERCLASS. HER RUNS ARE YOU KIDDING??? Her technical ability mixed with her big voice— what a gift.

P: THIS MAN IS SINGING. THE TONE IS INSANE— Song choiceee–He chose his moments perfectly with this dynamic performance.

Coach Reactions: J: “SING JERSHIKA” from John with various praise hands, shook Ari hands to the head, Amazed Kelly face—all three were UP

P: Blake was dialed in for this one extra as Ari was also mesmerized. Whoops and harmonies from John and “Oh My Godd” from Kelly 

Winner: Jershika

Judge Action: Paris stolen by Blake

Libianca- Singing: “Everything I Wanted” by Billie Eilish vs Hailey Green- Singing: “God’s Country” by Blake Shelton// Team Blake

My Reaction: H: I LOVE HER VOICE! A nice low register and that gravely tone! No one else was in her lane in this competition and she sang Blake’s song to him. 

L: LITERALLY STILL GET CHILLS. What a cool and flowing vocal! She is able to deliver a really wavey performance with a song that doesn’t give a lot of space. SO SO SO impressed by her. 

Coach Reactions: H: Blake was dialed in and grinning, shook Ari moment and she was on her feet. John gave an “okayyy Hailey”.

L: Ari amazed lean in- her and John were on their feet. Impressed head nods and silent “ooos” from Kelly.

Winner: Libianca 

BrittnanyBree- Singing: “Best Part” by Daniel Caesar (ft H.E.R.) vs Samuel Harness- Singing “Bruises” by Lewis Capaldi //Team John

My Reaction: BB: I LOVE HER CHOICES SO MUCH—She takes a way more gospel approach to these mainstream songs! She is just ale to create space and color effortlessly. 

S: STORYTELLER TONE. He sings with so much intensity and emotion. Smart song choice! He sneaks in some vibratos and runs that are so nice with his voice. 

Coach Reactions: BB: John was feelin it swaying and “yeaaah’s” we got a shook Ari + John standing moment and a Kelly riff mimic.

S: All the judges were locked in and nodding–taking it all in. Shook Ari hands. “Yeaaaaaaahs” from John.

Winner: Samuel 

Holly Forbes- Singing: “Superstar” by Delaney & Bonnie vs Girl Named Tom- Singing: Wichita Lineman” by Glen Campbell // Team Kelly

My Reaction: H: SOULFUL! She picks such good songs that start slow and grow. I Love her soft soothing almost floaty head voice combined with strong belts.

GNT: ETHEREAL. PEACEFUL. FLOATY. THE DYNAMICS ARE SHOCKING. Its not just the harmonies—it’s the movement—the volume and note changes. IN AWE. 

Coach Reactions: H: Amazed Ari stare and shook hands to the head. John was on his feet “sing” and “yessss” and praisesss from John– “wow’s” from Kelly.

GNT: “Beautiful” from John and a whoop from Blake. All the coaches were entranced. 

Winner: Girl Named Tom

Judge Action: Holly stolen by Ari

S/o Hailey Mia- Singing: “Arcade” by Duncan Laurence, Jonathan Vacanti- Singing; “Falling” by Harry Styles David Vogel- Singing: “Lose You to Love Me” by Selena Gomez, Gymani- Singing: “Pillowtalk” by Zayn Raquel Trinidad- Singing: “Valerie” by Mark Ronson ft Amy Winehouse, Shadale- Singing: “Impossible” by Shontelle & Jeremy Rosado- Singing: “Run to You” by Whitney Houston

All incredible performances & deserved wins

Notable Losses: Jonathan Mouton, BrittanyBree, and Hailey Green

They all were fantastic and lost tough knockouts

SOOOOO—since this is so much longer than I could have ever expected…. Here are some of my faves from the six weeks of the “lives”. You can stream any of these on Spotify or Apple Music if you are more interested 

Top live performances (Top 21 Onward)

Week 1 (Top 21)

Jim & Sasha Allen- Singing: “Hey Jude” by The Beatles

Hailey Mia- Singing: “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri

Week 2 (Top 13)

Girl Named Tom- Singing: “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas

Jeremy Rosado- Singing: “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion

Wendy Moten- Singing: “Blue Bayou” by Linda Ronstadt

Week 3 (Top 11)

Haley Mia- Singing: “Elastic Heart” by Sia

Joshua Vacanti- Singing: “The Show Must Go On” by Queen

Gymani- Singing: “Diamonds” by Rihanna 

Week 4 (Top 10)

Paris Winningham- Singing: “Amazed” by Lonestar

Girl Named Tom- Singing: “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay 

Lana Scott- Singing: “The One That Got Away” by Katy Perry

Jershika Maple- Singing: “What is Love” by V. Bozeman

Week 5 (Semi Final- Top 8)

Girl Named Tom- Singing: “River” by Joni Mitchell 

Jershika Maple- Singing: “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” by Elton John

Week 6 (Finale)

Paris Winningham- Singing: “Me and Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul

 Wendy Moten- Singing: “Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland

s/o all the other great performances just couldn’t list them all.


I loved this season. I loved the diversity of contestants, voices, and genres. There was so much talent—such a stacked group each round was so competitive. Amazing performances and a lot of vocals that have not been topped since for me. Very pleased with the Top 5, any of them could have won and that would have been okay… which is the sign of a well-rounded season.

Here is a helpful little graphic I pinched to breakdown how the top 21 and the live shows went!

Artists Week 1 PlayoffsWeek 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Finale 
Girl Named TomSafe Safe Safe Safe Safe Winner
Wendy MotenSafe Safe Safe Safe Safe Runner-up 
Paris Winningham Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe 3rd place 
Hailey Mia Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe 4th place 
Jershika Maple Safe Safe Safe Safe Safe 5th place 
Jim & Sasha Allen Safe Safe Safe Safe Eliminated Eliminated (Week 5) 
Joshua Vacanti Safe Safe Safe Safe Eliminated 
Lana Scott Safe Safe Safe Safe Eliminated 
Holly Forbes Safe Safe Safe Eliminated Eliminated (Week 4) 
Jeremy RosadoSafe Safe Safe Eliminated 
Gymani Safe Safe Eliminated Eliminated (Week 3) 
Ryleigh Plank Safe Eliminated Eliminated (Week 2) 
Shadale Safe Eliminated 
Bella DeNapoli Eliminated Eliminated (Week 1) 
Peedy Chavis Eliminated 
Samuel Harness Eliminated 
Vaughn Mugol Eliminated 
David Vogel Eliminated 
Katie Rae Eliminated 
Raquel TrinidadEliminated 


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