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How Nini Iris Won Her Knockout With a “Supernatural,” “Pitch Perfect” Performance

Three singers enter, but only one remains.

By Cassidy Ward

We’ve officially entered the Knockout phase of The Voice Season 24, and the competition is fiercer than ever. Like a rapid fire round of musical chairs, the number of available slots on The Voice is rapidly shrinking, and contestants have to earn their keep one song at a time. In Tuesday’s episode, AZÁN, Nini Iris, and Olivia Minogue engaged in choral combat for the glory of Team Niall and for a chance to be crowned winner of The Voice.

How to Watch

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

The three singers took the stage, one at a time, to showcase their vocal talents without the distraction or support of other contestants, like in the Blinds. AZÁN was first up, singing “Caught Up in the Rapture” by Anita Baker in a style both intimate and expansive. Next was Nini Iris with a smoky rendition of Radiohead’s “Karma Police” that was at one moment gentle enough to slip by almost unnoticed and somehow powerful enough to blow your hair back the next. Last up was Olivia Minogue, taking an unconventional approach with the operatic alt rock track “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence.

Nini Iris’ performance of Radiohead’s “Karma Police” carries her through the Knockouts

“You guys are all so incredible,” Gwen Stefani said. “AZÁN, I love that song. Then I was like, ‘God, she’s so good, she can do anything.’ Nini, it must be so fun to be you and be able to sing like that.” While a little short on specifics, you know when Gwen expresses envy at the vocal abilities of someone else, she must have heard something she liked. Reba McEntire dialed in one one thing in particular, noting the way Nini set the bar conservatively before launching it into orbit.

RELATED: Hear Why "Potential Winner" Nini Iris’ 4-Chair Audition Was Named Best of the Night

“Nini, you started out kind of, ‘I’m here… I’m telling this,’ your singing was pitch perfect, and then you got really big. You left it room to grow and I loved that. You ladies are all really, really talented and I’m so glad I get to be part of the audience,” Reba said.

Nini Iris performs on The Voice stage

By his own admission, John Legend went into this Knockout a little bit biased because AZÁN had been on his team earlier in the season. Ultimately, he leaned toward AZÁN as the favorite for this Knockout. Yet, even he had nothing but compliments to shower upon Nini. “AZÁN, you made it your own in a really beautiful way and it was all intelligently done. So good,” John said. “Nini, when you hit those high notes there’s this openness and roundness to your voice that is stunning.”

Finally, there was no one to ask but Coach Niall Horan himself.

RELATED: Everything to Know About The Voice Season 24 Coaches

“I’m actually shaking. I’m holding onto this table to stop the shakes,” Niall said. “Nini, you are so good with tension-filled songs and then you hear this rasp at the end and how round and bold it is. Most people, when they go for the big note, they tighten up. Yours seem to get broader as you go up the scales, which is nuts… why does this not get any easier… Team Niall just slaying all the time, it’s crazy.”

As seems to be the case more often than not, what it came down to was a gut feeling. Forced to choose, Niall ultimately reached deep into the voiceless part of himself and plucked out the person he felt, for abstract reasons too nebulous to vocalize, had the grit to go the distance. That person was Nini.

“I chose Nini as the winner of the Knockout because she’s supernatural,” Niall said. “The things she can do with her voice no one in this competition can do. I actually think Nini could win this whole thing.”

There’s only one way to find out. Catch new episodes of The Voice airing Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock.