“The Voice” had its first live elimination show Tuesday night turning the Top 12 into the Top 10 and leaving Team Usher and Team Shakira down one artist. Viewers sent home Team Usher’s TJ Wilkins, from Shakira’s, and Dani Moz, who left a career in PR to pursue music.
In a new twist this season, the show now gives the bottom three artists one final chance to win over America’s votes by having them perform and then giving viewers at home five minutes to “instant save” one artist via Twitter. That save this week went to Team Shakira’s Tess Boyer.
Below are exit interviews with TJ Wilkins and Dani Moz.
TJ Wilkins- Team Usher
What was going through your mind during the instant save five minutes and as you were performing your save song?
TJ- I was trying to find my phone number one so I could tweet! (Laughs) And then, probably the next thought that went through my mind was, "Okay, I'm in the bottom three. Number one, don't panic. And then number two, how do you do a great show even though the situation seems unfavorable? How do you still give the people something to remember you by? I immediately started planning my strategy and that took precedence over any other thought. Just cause I'm so invested. Definitely planning my strategy was the main thought.
How did you pick your "Save Me" song?
TJ- The thought process for the save or last chance was really, what song could I connect with emotionally? And I really love "I'll Be" by Ed McCain for so many reasons; mainly because it was one of the first contemporary singer/songwriters that I ever learned that I really liked. And I said wouldn't it be cool to sing that on the show? And lo and behold I got the opportunity. And then it was really cool because I got to hold out a really, long note, so that was awesome!
Did Usher give you any advice afterward?
TJ- Usher is really funny! You wouldn't believe this but we actually shared a laugh! That was really cool. Of course, he expressed his surprise for me not moving on and he told me, "You did a great job. You've really done something spectacular." And then he told me, "It was an honor to work with you." And I said, I think that's the other way around. It was an honor to work with you.
How has this show changed you as an artist? How have you evolved?
TJ- This show has changed me as an artist in the way that I now am very much so in tune to the type of music that I want to do. And then also, I'm very much in tune to the music that I'm singing, in any song that I am singing. I have a greater sense of understanding on how real artistry works. And I definitely give Usher credit for that because he preached and messaged like a reverend all the while that I was on his team. And he always said, you got to connect to the lyrics. You have to believe what you're singing because if you don't believe what you're singing, no one else is going to believe what you're singing. I definitely have learned how to really have more belief in the music.
What's next got you?
TJ- What's next is now building from this moment and from this platform, which I must say is one hell of a platform because I have been able to be on network TV-prime time TV, in front of millions of viewers, singing my heart out, letting them get to see my personality as well as my talent. And I didn't have to pay a cent for it! So with that being said, I look forward to building from this moment as a great recording artist and a great performer, in addition to continuing on in the acting field as well. I definitely love entertaining so when I am able to have those things all work at the same time, you will definitely be seeing me again. That is a fact!
Dani Moz- Team Shakira
Did you have a vision in your head this was how it was going to go tonight?
Dani- You kind of have to go into it thinking the worst because you gotta be prepared to get into the zone and sing for your life. So you definitely warm up, practice the song; we kind of have to get our heads in that mindset. I don't think anyone should ever think they have it in the bag because everyone has got to go home except for one person! So it's tough, but the top 12 is insane. It's a feat that I am so proud to have been able to conquer, I'm all smiles.
What did Shakira say to you afterward?
Dani- She's so sweet. She came over afterwards and I think she was surprised, she believed so whole-heartedly in me and wanted everyone to get on board, but she's nothing but proud. The proud mama! She's just so sweet and she had nothing but amazing things to say. And we're going to keep in touch. So it’s all good!
What's the stand-out moment for you from the season that you're going to walk away with?
Dani- Getting to just sing on that stage every week. I really love that in my playoff performance I was able to show me behind a piano; that's really truly who I am so that fact that I was able to do that before getting sent home- I'm really, really happy that I chose that moment. For me, that was standout. I felt like I had arrived at that moment; being able to do that on national TV in front of millions was just really, really great and special.
How has this show changed you as an artist?
Dani- I think that I am a little more courageous in terms of challenging myself and taking on new challenges, and kind of pushing the boundaries in terms of what I can do as an artist. It's easy for someone to stay within their comfort zone, but there's really no way to excel when you do that and there's really no way to grow. Shakira has instilled the confidence that I have, but she has helped bring it out more and now I know that I can do that and I continue to grow and push myself. So that's more than anything what I am going to be able to take away and do from now on.
What's next for you?
Dani- I have all this of material under and lock and key because everything has been put on hold, so I'm really, really excited to dive back into that, and work with some amazing people and let my music be heard. I have grown so much as an artist, I have original music out there, but it's been an evolution ever since, so I'm really excited to show who the real Dani Moz is.
"The Voice" airs Monday and Tuesday at 8pm EST on NBC.