Alex Whalen on The Voice

We have unfortunate news for Team Blake. Country singer Alex Whalen has left The Voice ahead of his Battle Round performance with Neil Salsich. Now, we all want to know: What happened to Alex Whalen on The Voice and why the fan-favorite contestant on Team Blake left?

The Voice is NBC’s reality singing competition where undiscovered singers compete against each other to win $100,000 and a record deal with Universal Music Group. Each singer is mentored by the biggest musical icons of today (the Season 23 judges include Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, Niall Horan and Chance the Rapper). The show begins with blind auditions, where the coaches and artists select their teams. When the each singer performs, the judges can hit a button and turn around for the artists they are interested in. Then, in return, the contestants select the team they want to be on. (But if none of the coaches turn around, the artist is eliminated from the competition). After blind auditions, the show goes into battle rounds, knockouts, playoffs and then the live performance shows.

Season 23 premiered on Monday, March 6, 2023. One of the contestants was London-born country artist, Alex Whalen. For his audition, Whalen chose to perform “Help Me Make It Through the Night” by Sammi Smith. Whalen’s country voice is right down Blake’s alley, and both Blake and Chance wanted a chance at representing the singer. Ultimately, Whalen chose to join Blake’s team. “In all these years, I’ve never had a chance to work with a country singer from London,” Shelton told the rising star. “And you’ve braided your beard nicely for television. I mean, you just look bada**. Listen, man. I’m going to go ahead and say it…this is my last season as a coach on this show, and I want you on my last team.” Shelton is leaving The Voice after appearing in 23 seasons since 2013.

So, what happened to Alex Whalen and why did he decide to exit The Voice at this point in the competition? Keep reading to learn more.

What happened to Alex Whalen on The Voice?

The Voice Season 23 Judges: Kelly Clarkson, Chance the Rapper, Niall Horan and Blake Shelton

What happened to Alex Whalen on The Voice and why did he leave? Whalen exited The Voice after he tested positive for COVID-19, but the cause of Whalen’s exit was initially unknown. The Voice host Carson Daley told the audience during the April 4, 2023, episode that Whalen “could not be with us tonight.” Shelton briefly touched on Whalen’s absence in the episode. “Alex had personal reasons that he had to bow out of the competition.” His former coach continued: “It’s never easy to see artists going home, but Neil has a ton of charisma. He did a great job today.”

On Wednesday, April 5, 2023, Whalen posted a YouTube video explaining why he left The Voice so suddenly. “Unfortunately, I woke up this morning to a positive COVID test, which unfortunately is going to end my participation in The Voice Season 23. I feel fine. I’m asymptomatic — at least for right now. It’s unfortunate, but it is life,” he said in the three-minute video. “I do plan on doing everything I can to come back as soon as possible. I’m very excited to do that.”

Whalen also thanked Blake for the opportunity to be on his team. “I’d like to say thank you to Blake, obviously, for giving me a shot at this…It’s really unfortunate I couldn’t continue. And it was cool that I got to be on Blake’s last team. It’s just a shame I didn’t get to go as far as I’d liked to have. And thank you to team Blake, you guys have been great, and it’s been really fun hanging out with you guys. I know a lot of things get lost in translation because of the varying times that we grew up, but it’s been really fun, and I wish you all the best,” he said.

He also gave his best wishes to fellow competitor Neil Salsich, who had to perform solo as a result of Whalen’s exit. “And Neil, mate, knock ‘em dead man, it’s been fun hanging out and working with you. I’m so sorry that we couldn’t get through this together, but you’re gonna do great mate,” he added.

Whalen isn’t the first contestant to leave a singing show prematurely in 2023. On April 3, 2023, Kayla Stewart left American Idol before she was supposed to perform a duet with fellow competitor, Fire Wilmore. Stewart left to also work through an illness she was battling and decided to leave the show for good to get better. The day prior, another contestant, Sara Beth Liebe, quit the show early to be with her three children.

The Voice airs on Mondays at 8 p.m. and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

For more on primetime shows, check out our photo gallery on the best nighttime soaps ranked