'The Voice' Contestant Reagan Strange Defends Coach Adam Levine After Elimination Controversy

The Voice semi-finalist Reagan Strange is maintaining her friendship with both coach Adam Levine and former teammate DeAndre Nico following his controversial elimination last week.

The 14-year-old, prior to being eliminated during Tuesday's semi-finals, told PEOPLE that she and Nico are still "super close," even after he was sent home during the week prior's Instant Save instead of her, despite her inability to perform due to illness.

"We get to talk all the time," she said. "After the show Tuesday night, he came up to my room and we talked. He's so nice and he was like, 'Just go out there and kill it. Kill it for me and you.'"

Both Strange and Nico were fan-favorite contestants on Team Adam, but things got messy when, after learning that the teen would be unable to perform in the Instant Save portion of the show, Levine appeared to advocate for Strange over Nico in a plea to the fans.

"As much as I urge you to vote for this man, I have a hard time right now," Levine said during the show. "I have a very special relationship with Reagan, and I have two little girls at home and the thought of breaking her heart by not urging everyone to give this girl a shot to redeem herself would be too far beneath me."

He continued, addressing Nico, "I want you to know I love you, I appreciate what you've done here tonight and, honestly, I think you should both be there, but I've got to fight for my girl. I've got to make sure I represent her properly in this moment because she didn't get a chance to use her voice tonight, so I am going to use it for her as much as I possibly can."

Following Nico's elimination, the 22-year-old said he felt betrayed by his coach in an interview with 12NewsNow.

"It was just weird," Nico told the local news outlet. "Not being rude, I just felt like he sold me out. And I just don't respect it. I'm just being honest. We did our job, sick or not. I just got over laryngitis and when I came back, I still sang. It wasn't none of that — anxiety or none of that stuff. I know she's a little kid, but it's like, 'Man, you could have put some words in for me. Like something!'"

Monday, Levine addressed the scandal in part, saying in a pre-taped segment, "DeAndre's my boy. I love him. We talked. It's all good."

Strange, for her part, chimed in that Levin had "always been a great coach."

"We're just really close and we're great friends," she continued in Monday's show. "Ever since the blind [auditions], he's always had faith in me and trusted me that I could continue on the show. I think that's what he meant by that."

"He does have two young daughters and in the beginning when me and Emily [Hough] had our battle, he was saying that we reminded him of his daughters and how he wanted them to grow up to be like us one day," she continued. "I think he sees me like that."

The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.


Photo Credit: Instagram/Reagan Strange