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Why Kelly Clarkson is “Very Scared” of Ryley Tate Wilson After His “Unbelievable” Playoff

“I get asked every season, ‘Who are you afraid of on the other team?’ and I’m normally like, ‘I’m not afraid,’” said The Voice Coach. But not this time.

By Joe Dziemianowicz

On the second night of Playoffs on The Voice, Coach Niall Horan called Ryley Tate Wilson “Future Boy.”

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Before performing “when the party’s over” by Billie Eilish, the 15-year-old from Montgomery, AL gazed inward, not ahead, to connect with all of his emotions tied to the song.  

“This song is really about feeling lonely. I have four siblings. I feel different from a lot of them,” Ryley Tate said. “They all like to do sports … and I’m more on the arts side of things. I can definitely feel distance sometimes when they're doing their things and I'm doing mine.”

At the same time, he added, “My siblings are definitely very supportive. With a lot of my performances I’ve done they are in the audience cheering me on and I really appreciate them for that.” 

Ryley Tate earned a coveted Playoff Pass so he skipped a round of the competitions. Horan noted that he’d really need “to turn it up this week and put on his best performance.”

His advice to the teen about the challenging song: “Don’t overthink it.” 

When Ryley Tate finished the song, there was a party mood, one filled with standing ovations and superlatives from Horan’s fellow Coaches.

“Ryley Tate, you’re amazing, dude. I think that was the greatest show of control so far,” said Chance the Rapper.

Kelly Clarkson admitted that the performance left her shaking in her boots. “I get asked every season, ‘Who are you afraid of on the other team?’ and I’m normally like, ‘I’m not afraid.' But I’m very, very, very, very, very scared of you,” she told Ryley Tate.

Between his technical skills and the “drama” he musters, she simply gushed, “You are so good.”

Blake Shelton echoed that sentiment. “All the different parts of your voice are just incredible,” he said. 

Speaking directly to Horan, Shelton said, “Stop experimenting. This is not the time to goof around. Put Ryley through.”

Horan auditioned on The X Factor UK when he was 16. It’s not a surprise that when he watches Ryley Tate “singing and performing,” he said, “I can see glimpses of myself.”

“I remember being on a show with all the lights, the cameras,” said Horan. “It’s not easy.”

“Ryley’s mature beyond his years and puts in performances of someone who’s been doing it for 20 years,” he raved. “And he smashes it every single time.”

As he grappled with which team members would advance, Horan acknowledged that he “would have to break some hearts.”

He ultimately selected Ryley Tate Wilson and Gina Miles to move onto Top 8 Live Semifinals to represent his team. They’re the youngest team remaining in the competition.

At the end of the Playoffs Round, Clarkson picked D. Smooth and Holly Brand to advance. “Y’all, my team is so good,” she said.

But here’s the thing: The other three Coaches can say exactly the same thing. 

To see who viewers advance in the Live Semifinals, tune in to The Voice on Mondays at 8/7c on NBC and the next day on Peacock.