And then there were 10…

By Amanda Bell
November 23, 2016 at 02:50 AM EST
Tyler Golden/NBC
S11 E20
  • TV Show

Welp. Tonight’s elimination-round results for The Voice‘s Top 11 might not come as too much of a gut-punch to audiences at home, but having two contestants in the bottom two fighting for their future on the show has gotta be tough stuff for any coach to endure, especially a newbie.

As the election results slowly trickle in, Blake assembles his lone Avenger (his nickname for Austin Allsup) and the rest of his squad to treat everyone to a jaunty, albeit scattered, performance of Huey Lewis and the News’ “The Heart of Rock and Roll,” while Alicia Keys calls up Christian Cuevas and Wé McDonald to do their substantially more collected bidding at the mic with the Chamber Brothers’ “People Get Ready.” Season 9 winner Jordan Smith also drops in to promote his new Christmas album with a clean, if slightly attached, rendition of “O Holy Night,” and the coaches join their contestants for a Thanksgiving-themed webisode filled with turkey imitations and trial runs on vegan food (spoiler alert: both events go over with about the same level of purposeful awkwardness). So, you know, good times all around…but those good, gracious feelings aren’t meant to last on an elimination night like this.

In order of when they’re called, here’s who America chooses to advance without having to bother with a save-me duel this week:

  1. Sundance Head (Team Blake)
  2. Wé McDonald (Team Alicia)
  3. Ali Caldwell (Team Miley)
  4. Billy Gilman (Team Adam)
  5. Austin Allsup (Team Blake)
  6. Brendan Fletcher (Team Adam)
  7. Christian Cuevas (Team Alicia)
  8. Courtney Harrell (Team Blake)
  9. Josh Gallagher (Team Adam)
  10. That, of course, means Miley Cyrus is looking at not one, but two of her hopefuls in the bottom two: Darby Walker and Aaron Gibson. For Aaron, this is familiar territory, since he was in this exact same position last week; Darby’s no stranger to having one foot out the door of this thing, either.

    But the nerves do seem to get to her a little more than him. Despite the fact Darby’s got the far superior song choice of the night — who doesn’t love a good Elton John classic? — Aaron’s much calmer and more self-assured on the stage during his performance of George Ezra’s “Budapest” than Darby is during her delivery of “Your Song.”

    Also to Aaron’s credit, the song choice is a remarkable change of pace from what he did before — consider this weird pep anthem next to last night’s “Hurt” and you’ll see what I mean — and he’s got in his corner Miley’s absolute befuddlement over his being chosen for the bottom two at all. She tells him, with palpable agitation directed at anyone listening, that she and the rest of the coaches absolutely gushed about how great he was last night. “I don’t know what everyone else was watching, but I saw perfection last night,” she says before promising his future in the business will be guided by her own hand after this thing is done, if need be.

    Judging from the percentages that stay firmly in place during commercials, with Aaron earning a whopping three-fourths of the viral save votes, it’s not even a close call when Carson Daly announces he’s the one who’ll go through to next week. And with that, we say goodbye to Darby Walker…and parting is obviously such sweet sorrow for Miley, who’s groomed Darby to be her little rainbow-slinging mini-me since the beginning of the season.

    It’s…the right call. Next week, we’re really off to the races as the competition intensifies. Of the lot that’s left, there are certainly a couple of frontrunners for the finals — namely Wé McDonald and Billy Gilman. So the rest, Aaron Gibson in particular, are gonna have to bring some extra “wow” factor if they hope to keep ranks with those two ’til the end.


    Team Adam — Billy Gilman, Josh Gallagher, Brendan Fletcher

    Team Alicia — Christian Cuevas, Wé McDonald

    Team Blake — Sundance Head, Austin Allsup, Courtney Harrell

    Team Miley — Aaron Gibson, Ali Caldwell

    Coaching ribs of the night:

    • Blake: “I think Miley would make the worst Thanksgiving meal. I think it would be cereal.”
    • Blake: “Miley made this? [It has the] flavor of dog poop.”
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