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Sexiest Man Alive, Saddest Coach Alive? Highs and lows of 'The Voice's' top 20 results night

Lyndsey Parker
Editor-in-Chief, Music

The actual results of the first results show of The Voice Season 17 were overshadowed Tuesday by a "special announcement" from Blake Shelton, a.k.a. People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive of 2017. Blake revealed during the live telecast that “the man, the myth, the legend” — his fellow coach, John Legend — had just been named People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive of 2019. This makes John the third Voice panelist to receive the honor, following ex-coach Adam Levine in 2013 — but John is only one who’s now a “VEGOTSMA” recipient, having won a Voice trophy, an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, a Tony, and now the People title.

Giving a little acceptance speech for what Voice host Carson Daly this “passing of the sexy torch,” John chuckled: “I don't know what to say. I want to thank People, of course, but mostly I want to thank Blake Shelton, because I sat next to him for the last few months and I learned his sexy ways. I observed every move he made, every utterance that came from his mouth, and I think some of it rubbed off on me. And I think that has everything to do with why we're here today.”

But there was an actual sweet moment, when John revealed that his sassy Twitter-comedian wife, Chrissy Teigen, was genuinely happy about the VEGOTSMA news. “She's proud of me,” he said with a grin. “She makes fun of me all the time, but she hasn't even before snarky about this. She's legit proud of me. I finally impressed my wife.”

Chrissy of course took to Twitter immediately following the announcement, tweeting: "My secret is out. I have fulfilled my dream of having boned @people's sexiest man alive!! an honor!!!!!" — followed by a hilarious video of their kids Luna and Miles giving zero Fs, and then, finally, a typical Teigen tweet, stating: "I cannot WAIT for people to get mad about John being the sexiest man alive. it's my new Starbucks holiday cup."

Unfortunately, it wasn’t all good news for John — or for any of the coaches, really — this Tuesday, as the top 20 became a top 13. Each team had two contestants voted through by America and one saved by the team’s respective coach, with a final, 13th spot filled by the wild-card winner of an Instant Save round. And this led to several disappointing eliminations, particularly for Team Legend. Let’s get to the results, some of which were not very sexy.

TEAM BLAKE RESULTS

These results were surprising to me. America voted for Ricky Duran, who I’d assumed would be doomed by his “death spot” Monday placement and ho-hum John Mellencamp song. (Also, Ricky had posted a plea for votes on social media that was in Comic Sans font, which in my opinion should have meant instant disqualification.) The public’s votes also went to quirky girl Kat Hammock, who I thought had given an intriguing but polarizing performance Monday. Interestingly, Blake’s base did not vote for his one country contestant, Gracee Shriver, and Blake didn’t save her either, going with folk/pop/rock singer Cali Wilson instead.

That left either Gracee and blue-eyed soulman Ricky Braddy, whichever had the highest number of votes, to fight for that lucky 13th spot. Gracee prevailed, which was understandable, but it was a shame to see a singer as spectacular as Ricky leave so soon. He’d been an early favorite on American Idol a decade ago, and it seemed like his time had finally come — but now it had come and gone. 

TEAM GWEN RESULTS

America – and Gwen Stefani — for the most part got this one right. No one could really complain about the top two vote-getters, dynamite diva Rose Short and teen diva Joana Martinez, moving on to the next round. And Gwen’s decision to save another diva, Myracle Holloway, was sound. But Gwen had such a good team this year, that left the fates of her two most interesting contestants, Kyndal Inskeep and Jake Haldenvang, hanging in the balance. 

And while it was good that Jake got enough votes for the wild-card Instant Save round, since he was the only rocker of the entire season, I thought Kyndal was an absolutely magical performer, so this was a major disappointment.

TEAM KELLY RESULTS

I was thrilled that viewers voted for the exquisite Max Boyle, one of my favorite singers of the season. And I wasn’t surprised that they voted for country singer Jake Hoot, even if I find him a bit generic. But the fact that Kelly Clarkson saved the boring, old-fashioned, and downright dinner-theatrical Shane Q over the darkly compelling Damali was just ridiculous. 

And even more ridiculous was the fact that Damali didn’t get more votes that Team Kelly’s other remaining contestant, the not-ready-for-prime-time teen duo, Hello Sunday, and went straight home. 

TEAM LEGEND RESULTS

On Monday, Kelly actually declared quirky troubadour Will Breman the winner of Season 17. Whoops. She was wrong about that one, too. Instead, America voted for powerhouse Katie Kadan – which was totally deserved – and folk-rocker Marybeth Byrd. Thankfully, John saved Will, but given that Will already isn’t raking in enough votes to be at top of the pack, it seems Kelly’s proclamation was premature.

But perhaps the most tragic elimination of the night was that of Khalea Lynee. Every time Khalea hit the Voice stage, she already seemed like a legend, like someone performing on the BET Awards or even the Grammys, displaying a level of sophistication that put her in a league of her own. And this week had been no exception. No dis, of course, to worthy dark-horse contestant Alex Guthrie — who edged Khalea out of the running for the wild card — but this result made me wish there had been no team quotas in effect tonight. John may be the Sexiest Man Alive, but he was probably the Saddest Coach Alive after Khalea left.

INSTANT SAVE RESULTS

Team Blake’s Gracee did Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” and she did it justice. It was beautiful, and seemingly enough to win a possible landslide vote.

Jake, unfortunately, floundered with his Shawn Mendes song, the non-prophetically titled “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back”; he did it straight, totally faithful to the original, in the process losing everything that had been unique about him.

Hello Sunday went with the sort of go-for-broke, go-big-or-go-home song that’s perfect for the Instant Save round, Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself,” but the tearjerker ballad was way too big for them, and they ended up histrionically yelling most of it.

It was nothing less than an aural relief when Alex Guthrie following with his soothingly soulful rendition of Rihanna’s “Stay.”

Based on these performances, I would have gone with Gracee or Alex. But apparently America was suckered by Hello Sunday’s shouty shtick after all. The fact that singers as talented as Kyndal, Alex, Gracee, Ricky B., and especially Khalea are already gone is a huge setback for a season that was shaping up to be a big improvement over the previous two. Oh well. 

But Team Legend still has my favorite, the remarkable Katie... so it’s still possible that John could become a VVEGOTSMA by this season’s end.

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