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Early 'Voice' favorite mysteriously drops out of the Battle Rounds

Lyndsey Parker

UPDATE: Hannah Goebel has taken to Instagram and Facebook to assure her fans that she is doing well. See her message below.

In a Voice Battle Rounds first this Tuesday, one contestant, Alexa Cappelli, had to go it alone — when her Team Kelly Battle partner, Hannah Goebel, dropped out at seemingly the last minute under mysterious circumstances.

While Hannah appears with Alexa on the studio recording of Sam Smith’s “Pray” that is currently available on iTunes, she did not perform on Tuesday’s episode. “Alexa Cappelli was paired with Hannah Goebel, but, unfortunately, Hannah Goebel had to leave us for personal reasons. So, ladies and gentlemen, give it up for 18-year-old Alexa Cappelli,” host Carson Daly announced, before a brief snippet of Alex singing solo was shown.

NBC representatives for The Voice confirmed to Yahoo Entertainment that Alexa performed her portion of “Pray” solo for the studio audience on the pre-taped episode and advanced (by default) to the Knockout Rounds, but they declined to elaborate on the reasons for Hannah’s shocking departure. As of this writing, Hannah has not posted any updates on social media since March 18.

It’s a shame, whatever the reason for Hannah’s disappearance, as she could have been a major Season 14 player. (Not to sound harsh, but it is highly unlikely that Alexa would have beaten Hannah in a regular Battle.) During the Blind Auditions, Hannah earned a four-chair turn with her powerhouse performance of coach Alicia Keys’s “If I Ain’t Got You,” and she was the contestant that inspired Kelly Clarkson to use her one Block of the season. (Kelly used the Block on Alicia, of course.) Hopefully, Hannah is doing all right and will return to singing very soon.

Diehard Voice viewers may recall a similar situation in Season 8, when contestant Anthony Riley left the competition before Knockouts. (It was later revealed that he had quit to enter rehab.) The show did a three-way Knockout, with two singers advancing and one going home, but no one won by default in that case. I suppose staging a three-way Battle this week would have been too complex. Something like this has never happened in the Battle Rounds before.

Two other odd semi-disappearances this Tuesday were other contestants squeezed into a brief medley with Alexa. Team Adam’s Angel Bonilla was the first transgender contestant in the history of U.S. version of The Voice, yet her Battle with Gary Edwards on “When You Believe” was montaged (as was her audition a few weeks ago). And Team Blake’s Austin Giorgio was a Blinds standout, but this week we only saw a few seconds of his “Me and Mrs. Jones” Battle with Brett Hunter. Austin won his showdown, so he’ll get more screen time in the Knockouts, but Angel lost, so that was the last we will see of her.

In the end, only three full performance aired on Tuesday, the last night of Season 14’s Battles. Here’s how those went:

TEAM ADAM: Stephanie Skipper vs. Jackie Verna, “These Dreams”

Stephanie waffled between committing to the Heart original or the Alison Krauss remake, and that indecision seeped into her agitated, uneasy performance. Her goaty vibrato was out of control, to the point that it was downright distracting, and the lack of connection that had caused Kelly to not turn for Stephanie’s audition of “Piece by Piece” was a problem again tonight. Conversely, Jackie settled easily on the Krauss version, which lent itself well to her pleasant twang. It was no surprise when Adam Levine went with his “intangible feeling” and sent Stephanie home.

WINNER: Jackie

TEAM ALICIA: Livia Faith vs. Terrence Cunningham, “Stars”

I was saddened by this Battles before it even began, because with Alicia being the only coach with a Steal still left in play, it was guaranteed that one of these two exquisite singers would go home. Terrence, my favorite contestant this season, was a natural on the Grace Potter & the Nocturnals song, delivering a tender and tasteful performance, but Livia was a revelation the minute she opened her mouth during the hushed, haunting intro. Together, Terrence and Livia were magic. I don’t want to just download “Stars”; I want a whole duets album from these two. Alicia did the right thing by keeping the more ready-for-prime-time Terrence, but I wish Kelly could’ve stolen the deserving Livia … and sent home Alexa.

WINNER: Terrence

TEAM BLAKE: Dallas Caroline vs. Spensha Baker, “I Could Use a Love Song”

Dallas noticeably struggled with the low notes of this Maren Morris tune, but she hit her stride in the strident chorus, where her classic-country voice sat comfortably. The more seasoned Spensha, however, didn’t struggle at all; her performance was soulful and effortless, the work of a true pro, and her lower register was butter-smooth. Alicia sensed Dallas’s nerves, but said, “I might go with Dallas, because I think that there is real potential, and it would be really incredible to see where that leads you.” That comment, of course, set up a perfect Steal moment to cap off the Battles.

WINNER: Spensha/Dallas moves to Team Alicia

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