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Why “One in a Million” Mara Justine’s Playoff Was Named Her Best Moment This Season
A Florence & The Machine classic poignantly reflected Mara Justine's confrontation with her mother's cancer diagnosis.
Season 24 of NBC's The Voice began to near its end Monday evening as the show entered the Playoffs phase. The members of Team Niall took center stage, with Mara Justine ("You've Got the Love" by Florence & The Machine), Huntley (“Running From The Daylight” by Concrete Castles), and Nini Iris ("River" by Bishop Briggs) chosen to move on to the Live Shows.
Niall stated in no uncertain terms that he wants "a strong team of storytellers" moving into the Top 12, and Mara Justine certainly fits the bill. Beyond the fact that it wonderfully suits her vocal abilities, "You've Got the Love" also serves as a poignant reflection of the hopelessness the 21-year-old contestant experienced after learning about the return of her mother's cancer.
Mara Justine sings "You've Got the Love" by Florence & The Machine on The Voice Season 24 Playoffs
“I don’t think a song could suit me more perfectly,” Justine explained during rehearsals. “The message is so impactful because I’m literally feeling every lyric to my core. When my mom gave me the news that they found more cancer, I kind of questioned the meaning of life, to be honest. This song brought me back to that moment … But this journey has been the most incredible blessing ever. She’s seeing me up on this stage just bringing the good news and that literally gives her strength."
Niall provided Justine with a huge compliment by comparing her to one of the biggest pop stars on the planet right now: Olivia Rodrigo. "She’s got that big powerhouse, young, pop voice," he said. "She feels the lyrics, she’s good at telling a story."
Mara's original Coach, John Legend, may have felt a twinge of regret over letting her go during Knockouts when he said: "This was your best moment so far on this show — other than singing a duet with me at the beginning."
Reba McEntire described the performance as "an emotional rollercoaster of excitement," while Gwen Stefani praised Justine for showing a great deal of confidence in her musical identity (a must-have for up-and-coming members of the music industry).
“What I love most about you is just you’re so you," Stefani gushed. "I just think that you’re an amazing star already and I really think it’s a no-brainer to go to the Lives. I think you have what it takes to be a live performer. It’s amazing."
Niall echoed Legend, saying: “That is Mara’s best performance of the whole season.” As such, it was a no-brainer to choose her to move on to the next round alongside Huntley and Nini. “Mara’s perfect for the Live Shows because of the energy she brings," he continued. "The control, the quality of her voice. She’s so exciting for this competition."
With a previous win already under his belt, Horan is confident that his carefully-culled trio has what it takes to bring home the top prize. "Moving into the Live Shows, I think we all know that Team Niall is the team to beat," the One Direction alum concluded just before the credits rolled. "The three moving forward are so strong and also completely different singers. I won Season 23 and I have a good feeling that the winner of Season 24 is on Team Niall."