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Why Reba Cried After Sending Home Crystal Nicole (Whose Battle “Filled Up the Room”)

Team Reba is forging musical bonds that are proving tough to break.

By Benjamin Bullard

If Carson Daly hadn’t been there to prod her toward a final decision, Reba McEntire might still be trying to choose the winner of a tough and emotional Battles-round duo between The Voice Artists Crystal Nicole and eventual victor Caitlin Quisenberry.

How to Watch

Watch The Voice Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock. 

Dabbing a tissue at her eyes and admitting “I didn’t think it would hit me that hard — but it did,” the Queen of Country had a hard time sending Crystal home after both Artists shined in a standout singing duet of Trisha Yearwood’s “The Song Remembers When.”

RELATED: Every Winner from The Voice Season 24 Battles

Even though Caitlin’s Nashville-honed craft as a country singer-songwriter gave her the slight edge in this Battles round, it didn’t help Reba’s decision that Crystal Nicole brought 20 years’ worth of music industry experience to the stage — or that she took her razor-thin loss with such grace.

“Coach Reba, don’t feel bad!” Crystal assured, thanking McEntire for her musical mentorship: “...I’ve gained so much from this experience.”

Crystal Nicole and Caitlin Quisenberry sing Trisha Yearwood’s “’The Song Remembers When” on The Voice Season 24 Battles

Caitlin Quisenberry performs on the voice season 24 episode 13

McEntire definitely had her work cut out for her after both Artists showed off their distinctive vocal strengths. Niall Horan summarized the conundrum while finding praise for each one.

“Your voice, Crystal, is just so ‘round,’” he said. “And you have one of those voices that just, like, fill up the room and make people feel warm and fuzzy inside. And Caitlin, ‘familiarity’ is the word that comes to mind… I think [I’m] leaning towards Caitlin for me, because it’s just the storytelling of it. And you gave across a flawless vocal — not that Crystal didn’t, to be honest, by the way. This is like a 50/50 Battle!”

Reba was the only Coach to turn for Crystal during Blind Auditions, which featured Nicole singing Rihanna’s “Only Girl (In the World),” the Grammy-winning song that Nicole herself co-wrote nearly 15 years ago — but had never performed in public before.

Crystal Nicole performs on the voice season 24 episode 13

That early bond between Crystal and The Queen made Reba’s final decision even tougher, especially with Crystal finding deeper meaning in her Battles-round song choice. “This song is tied to a lot of memory,” she confessed of “The Song Remembers When,” explaining that it brought back memories of her late mother.

“…[W]hen I hear certain types of music, it’s like she’s kind of with me,” said Nicole, whose mother passed away from ovarian cancer five years ago. “It was probably the most devastating thing in my life. She was a fan of The Voice. She absolutely loved Reba. It’s good to know that she would approve of me being here and of Reba choosing me, and — it’s a bittersweet blessing.”

RELATED: An Official Recap of Team Reba on The Voice Season 24

If Reba felt bad about sending Crystal home, at least Caitlin’s country-cool voice and performance-perfect stage presence gave her something to look forward to in the show’s Knockout rounds.

“Oh, Caitlin and Crystal were really hard for me,” she admitted. “Crystal is so good. But Caitlin! — The way she expresses herself, she’s not only country; she’s kind of a country-pop Artist. So I think it’ll be a lot of fun to get to pick songs for her.”

How far can Caitlin Quisenberry go as the competition continues? Find out by watching The Voice Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock.