It was a major night on The Voice this past Tuesday (December 8). The hit reality-competition series did something that has never been done before — they eliminated 5 contestants in one night!
America unfortunately said goodbye to Team Adam’s Shelby Brown and Amy Vachal and Team Gwen’s Braiden Sunshine, who were all eliminated at the top of the show due to low vote counts. However, Team Blake‘s Zach Seabaugh and Team Pharrell’s Madi Davis, along with Team Gwen’s Jeffery Austin were able to receive one more chance to compete by singing in the “Twitter Instant Save” sing-off. After all three performances, America chose to keep Team Gwen‘s Jeffrey Austin in the competition after a mind-blowing performance of “Make It Rain.”
We caught up with Amy, Zach, Madi, Braiden, and Shelby after their elimination to talk about their experience on The Voice, and what’s next for them post-competition — make sure to read the Q&A below!
The two-part season nine finale of The Voice airs Monday and Tuesday, December 14th and 15th @ 8PM ET/PT on NBC.
CS4U: Could reflect on your proudest moment of your time on the show?
Zach Seabaugh: “I know for me, probably my proudest moment was, you know, having the courage to step up on that stage in the very beginning of it all. Just to see those chairs turn around validated all the hard work that I put into working on this craft of mine and really just validated everything that I’ve been doing. Having Blake turn around and to have him in my corner the entire show until to help me win my battle, win my knockout, and just move forward in everything up until last night, I’d say that was my proudest moment was just having his support.”
Shelby Brown: “I was proud whenever I got a blind audition. And I think, you know, Adam took a risk pushing for a country singer and I took a risk going with him. He’s kept me during battles and he kept me during knockouts. That was a risk on his part too, to take a country singer into live shows and I think we were both happy with the decisions we made though, so that was my proudest moment; taking a risk and just accepting that it was a risk and being proud of that risk.”
Braiden Sunshine: “The blind audition is an extremely good example because I was actually shaking when I went onstage. So the fact that two people decided to turn their chairs around saying they want me on their team, that was extremely – I mean, the feeling that you get at that point is hard to describe. But you can see it if you watch the tapes. You can see me starting to get misty eyed. That one kind of explains itself at that point. I think that’s one of my proudest moments. I think the topper is the knockout round because that’s a style of music I’ve always wanted to do but always been afraid to do because that’s where like really good singers go. That’s, you know, if you’re not a super good singer, you usually don’t want to dabble in the crooning stuff. I decided to give it a shot because I love that type of music, and the fact that it turned out the way I wanted it to, I was really proud of that. So I think that one was my favorite.”
CS4U: If you guys can collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
Amy Vachal: “I would love to collaborate with Ryan Tedder. I think he’s just the most talented producer, singer/songwriter, just, you know, the triple threat. I’ve always dreamed about working with him and I think he’s really talented at seeing the possibility with really combining different genres in a really special way. So yes, he would be my dream collaboration.
Braiden Sunshine: “John Mayer – I love his songs. I love the way he writes, and he writes a lot of intricate things as well. Like his guitar work is amazing and his lyrics, they actually have a deeper meaning other than just like pop music if you listen to if over again. So I mean, he’s an extremely good musician. I would love to get a chance to work with him.”
CS4U: Amy, you mentioned a debut album or an album you’re hoping to release. How do you think it will compare to the music you’ve already released? Because you’ve got two EPs that you had put out before The Voice.
Amy Vachal: “Yes. Well, you know, I think it takes a long time to develop your sound and the kind of album you want to make. And coming into this, you’re right — I had a couple of EPs up there, but they’re more or less really stripped down. They were intended that way just so that they could single out the vocal and I could continue developing what I really wanted to be my sound for a potential full length. At this point, after going through this incredible journey on The Voice and getting the coaching that we’ve been able to get, and you know, just really searching out who we are and really honing in on our craft, I’ve learned so much about who I believe to be I am as an artist. And I know that’s going to be huge in releasing this next album. I am so inspired at this point — especially today, after a day like yesterday, to write a lot about this experience. But I already have so many songs that I’m still working through and I’m just so ready to get to work. And I think what’s going to come after this is going to be influenced very much by who I was before the show, but I think even more after going through the show – on the show.”
CS4U: Do you look at other contestants and say, maybe I should try to change up a little bit to try to win this thing?
Madi Davis: “That’s something that we all struggle with throughout this entire process. There is a certain pull to do what the people like to win. But at the end of the day, my goal was never to win. My goal was just to make it as far as I could do what I love and doing the music that I wanted to do. There were a couple of times, especially in this last round, where I was like well maybe just this once I could sing a song that I hate to make America happy.
But at the end of the day, that’s not who I am and that’s not the kind of artist that I want to be. And I think the rest of us will kind of say the same thing, because I know Shelby in particular sang her favorite song, and I sang my favorite song. I think all that you should do in this instance is change the kind of artist that you want to be or become a country artist so that you can win. What you should do is be the person that you are an be the artist that you are and sing the songs that you want to sing, because that is what will make you happy and that’s what will make you proud of yourself when you get eliminated.”
Shelby Brown: “Yes. I just want to tag off of what Madi’s saying. I want to say I personally don’t regret any move I made on the show, and I hope to God no one does. But my thing is, is — this is kind of tagging off of what Madi said — if you go out and sing something that your heart’s not in, then people are going to see that. And you don’t want to go out and just conform to what people want to hear to get votes. When you have a platform like this, you want to show who you want to be as an artist because if you’re doing things that you wouldn’t do, when you finish the show and if you’re not doing stuff that isn’t similar to what you would want to release on an album, you’re not representing yourself correctly. For example, when you leave the show, you may have all this success doing things that you didn’t like, but when you go to release something that you do like and what you didn’t do on the show, it’s going to be a completely different slap in the face to people, because it’s not truly representing yourself. So I personally feel like I represented myself how I wanted to as an artist. I sang songs that were from my heart and I sang songs that I love. And the people who connected with that, connected with that. And you know, you can’t make everybody happy but I feel if you’re making yourself happy, at the end of the day you’re successful. And I’m just going to leave it at that.
CS4U: Zach, last night, Blake told you that you have a lot of star potential and he kind of made it clear that this is not the end of your friendship. So what does that mean for you?
Zach Seabaugh: “Yes, it means a lot to me to have Blake say that, especially on live TV. But I definitely think that of all the contestants that have been on this show in past seasons, I know that Blake is really good about sticking with some of his closest team members. And I really hope that he holds me to that. I’m sure he has a lot of things in store for me as well as the other people on my team. We’ve got to get through this show for right now, and then whatever happens in the future happens. And I’m just hoping for the best and that it all works out.”
CS4U: If you could describe your experience on The Voice in one word, what would it be?
Madi Davis: “I’ll give one! Mine would be life-changing — with a hyphen it is still one word!”
Zach Seabaugh: “My one word would be memorable.”
Braiden Sunshine: “Does eye-opening count? The whole thing is so amazing. It’s hard to, you know, sum it up in one word. We can have like a couple of words. That would work.”
Amy Vachal: “I feel like we’ve been lucid dreaming, like this has been one big dream and I feel like we’ve just been somehow participating in it. So lucid-dreaming.”
CS4U: What’s next for you guys?
Braiden Sunshine: “So pretty much for at least me, I know that I’m going to go home and start playing gigs and use the exposure we’ve gotten from jumping off of an opportunity to try to expand what I can do career-wise. I’ve gotten a couple of offers from people back home for like really cool gigs and management deals. And I’m really excited to see where it leads. I’m extremely excited for the future.”
Zach Seabaugh: “Yes, I know for me I’m just going to take what I’ve learned from this whole opportunity and keep building on my career. And I’m going to try to stick with Blake for as long as I can past this show and try to make the best of everything and with all of the huge fan base that I’ve gained from this show, I just want to continue with him and have him by side and put out some new music that they will purchase.”
Madi Davis: “Yes, I think – yes. It’s Madi now. Ok. I think now we just kind of have to see what happens next and see who, you know, contacts us as far as like record labels go. And it’s hard to know what’s going to happen in the future, but, you know, like Braiden said I’m excited for it and this isn’t the end. It’s just the beginning. And we all have bright futures ahead of us. So there’s no need for us to be sad that this is over, except for the fact that it was so much fun, so.”