Warning! The following contains spoilers to The Voice Season 18's First Knockout Round. Read at your own risk!
The Voice Season 18 began its Knockout Rounds in its latest episode, and while the fandom has seemingly largely agreed with the decisions the coaches have made so far, nothing stays golden. Especially on a singing competition, where it's only a matter of time before a deserving contestant is sent home for reasons the viewers at home can't understand. The first casualty this season was Darious Lyles, who got sent off after a questionable Team Legend showdown.
Darious Lyles went head-to-head with Team Legend powerhouse Mike Jerel, as the two R&B singers went in on two classics. Coach John Legend had quite a decision on his hands, especially when it seemed like Lyles slid in out of nowhere and dominated the Knockout round over the four-chair turn Jerel.
To me, and many others on the internet, it seemed clear what happened. Mike Jerel gambled and lost on the talented Bruno Mars' "Versace On The Floor," and fell short of Darious Lyle's rendition of "Me And Mrs. Jones." It was disappointing that Jerel really just had a bad song choice, but hey, that's a part of The Voice.
Things took an unexpected turn though as John Legend didn't quite see things the same way others watching did. He declared Mike Jerel the winner, and jaws were on the floor as Darious Lyles was eliminated from The Voice.
Darious Lyle's loss was shocking enough, though not quite as shocking as what came next. It felt like, while Lyle got an unfair shake, he'd get the save and re-join the show either through John Legend's intervention or another coach.
Unfortunately, the window typically reserved for contestants to say goodbye and coaches to save was cut short, as The Voice went into commercial. Darious Lyle was left on stage at the break, and when the show returned, he was gone.
The elimination was shocking, albeit not a phenomena entirely new to The Voice. While the "fighter" John Legend didn't explicitly say it, coaches in the past have justified dicey calls in situations like these by evaluating the overall quality of each singer. It feels like this is what may have happened in this Knockout, because there's no denying this was not Mike Jerel's best song.
Legend probably knew that, and was willing to let it slide for now. As for Darious Lyles, The Voice Season 18 contestant thanked his coach for the journey on social media, and is already looking ahead to the future.
Darious Lyles is looking ahead, and Mike Jerel is on to The Voice's live shows. Of course, there's still no word on when exactly those live rounds will take place, which may play to Jerel's advantage and allow him to re-think future song choices. His past work has shown he is much better than that one performance, and one more mistake like that, he may not be so lucky to advance.
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