If nothing else in entertainment survives 2020 (and much of 2021, we presume), the reality competition genre will remain blissfully afloat thanks to strict COVID protocols. Constant testing, increased sanitization, smaller audiences, controlled “bubbles”—tons of newfangled rules are firmly in place to insure our ability to watch Kelly Clarkson gush over pop hopefuls on The Voice throughout even the most trying of years. One contestant, however, was reportedly ousted for breaking one of the cautiously-laid safety policies, leaving the judge one less singer to mellifluously guide to the finish line.
Ryan Gallagher, who was selected to join Clarkson’s team and was one of four contestants competing for a final spot in the live rounds, was missing from Monday night’s announcement of the winners. Host Carson Daly informed the audience that Gallagher “had to exit the competition,” but did not offer any additional information. The Wrap and Entertainment Tonight report that Gallagher was asked to leave the competition after violating an unspecified COVID-related policy. NBC has not commented on Gallagher’s exit.
At the beginning of the season, Gallagher shared that both his mother and grandmother were hospitalized with COVID-19. Fans were concerned that his absence was linked to their health, however the singer took to his Instagram to confirm that his departure had nothing to do with his family. “Thanks you everybody for your concern for my family,” he said in a quick video. “However everybody’s fine, that’s not the cause of what happened tonight on ‘The Voice.’ I didn’t drop out of the show. Details are still to come, I’ll keep you posted.”