Taylor Swift's emotional moment with Kelly Clarkson's 'Voice' contestant

Taylor Swift, who served as a guest mentor - and a very astute one at that - on The Voice Season 7, returned to the series this Monday as the Season 17 Knockout Rounds' "Mega-Mentor." 

I’m not sure what exactly that means, and I don’t think Taylor knew either ("I didn't realize that I was now being called a Mega-Mentor; that's really gonna go straight to my head," the 10-time Grammy-winning, 50 million album-selling superstar quipped), but I suppose for a pop icon of Taylor’s caliber, "Key Adviser" was just too lowly a title.

So of course, as the paired-up contestants filed in to the rehearsal room Monday and suddenly spotted Taylor in all her tousled-lobbed, iridescent-pantsuited glory, they all made instantly GIFable surprised-faces that didn’t look all that dissimilar to the gaping-mouthed, Keane-painting-eyed, clasped-hands-to-chest expressions that Taylor usually makes every time she wins another award.

None of these aspiring pop stars felt any need to calm down, understandably. But Taylor, one of the best Key Advisers or Mega-Mentors or whatever-you-want-to-call-'em that The Voice has ever had, did her best to make these aspiring singers feel at ease. And clearly she succeeded, when one of Kelly Clarkson’s hopefuls, Melinda Rodriguez, opened up to Taylor about the health struggles of her brother, Chris - who just so happens to be a mega-Swiftie.

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Taylor Swift out and about in 2019
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Taylor Swift out and about in 2019
PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 09: (EDITORS NOTE: Image approved by Artist) Taylor Swift performs during the "City of Lover" concert at L'Olympia on September 9, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dave Hogan/ABA/Getty Images)
PRUDENTIAL CENTER, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES - 2019/08/26: Taylor Swift attends the 2019 MTV Video Music Video Awards held at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Efren Landaos/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 26: Singer Taylor Swift attends the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards red carpet at Prudential Center on August 26, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 26: (L-R) Bella Hadid, Taylor Swift, and Gigi Hadid attend as Republic Records celebrates The 2019 VMAs at The Fleur Room at Moxy Chelsea on August 26, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Republic Records)
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 26: Taylor Swift performs onstage during the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards at Prudential Center on August 26, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for MTV)
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 23: (L-R) Jeslyn, Eliotte Nicole, Taylor Swift, Melanie Nyema and Kamilah Marshall pose with Spotify Mural on Album Release Day at Kent Avenue and South 1st Street, Williamsburg, on August 23, 2019 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Spotify)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - 8/22/19 Taylor Swift performs live from Central Park on "Good Morning America," Thursday, August 22, 2019, airing on the Walt Disney Television Network. GMA19 (Photo by Paula Lobo/Walt Disney Television) ROBIN ROBERTS, TAYLOR SWIFT
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 22: Taylor Swift visits "Elvis Duran And The Z100 Morning Show" at Z100 Studio on August 22, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for ABA)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 22: Taylor Swift takes a selfie with the cast of "Good Morning America" before performing on ABC's "Good Morning America" at SummerStage at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on August 22, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for ABA)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 22: Taylor Swift performs on ABC's "Good Morning America" at SummerStage at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on August 22, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for ABA)
TEEN CHOICE 2019: Taylor Swift arrives on the blue carpet at TEEN CHOICE 2019 airing Sunday, August 11 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX from Hermosa Beach, CA. (Photo by FOX Image Collection via Getty Images)
TEEN CHOICE 2018: Taylor Swift accepts the Icon Award onstage at TEEN CHOICE 2019 airing Sunday, August 11 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX from Hermosa Beach, CA. (Photo by FOX Image Collection via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 10: Taylor Swift performs onstage as Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, SZA and Becky G perform at The Prime Day concert, presented by Amazon Music at on July 10, 2019 at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Amazon )
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 10: Taylor Swift performs onstage as Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, SZA and Becky G perform at The Prime Day concert, presented by Amazon Music at on July 10, 2019 at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Amazon )
CARSON, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 01: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE) Taylor Swift performs onstage at 2019 iHeartRadio Wango Tango presented by The JUVÉDERM® Collection of Dermal Fillers at Dignity Health Sports Park on June 01, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
CARSON, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 01: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE) Taylor Swift performs onstage at 2019 iHeartRadio Wango Tango presented by The JUVÉDERM® Collection of Dermal Fillers at Dignity Health Sports Park on June 01, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
CARSON, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 01: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE) Taylor Swift performs onstage at 2019 iHeartRadio Wango Tango presented by The JUVÉDERM® Collection of Dermal Fillers at Dignity Health Sports Park on June 01, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
Taylor Swift during the filming of the Graham Norton Show at BBC Studioworks 6, Television Centre, Wood Lane, London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening. (Photo by Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty Images)
(left to right) Sophie Turner, Michael Fassbender, Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy and Taylor Swift during the filming of the Graham Norton Show at BBC Studioworks 6, Television Centre, Wood Lane, London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening. (Photo by Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MAY 01: Taylor Swift performs during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 1, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
THE VOICE -- "Live Finale Results" Episode 1616B -- Pictured: Taylor Swift -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS -- Show Backstage -- 2019 BBMA at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada -- Pictured: (l-r) Halsey, Taylor Swift and Jennifer Hudson -- (Photo by: Todd Williamson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MAY 01: Brendon Urie (L) of Panic! at the Disco and Taylor Swift perform during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 1, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MAY 01: 2019 Taylor Swift arrives at the Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 01, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MAY 01: 2019 Taylor Swift arrives at the Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 01, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - APRIL 25: In advance of her new single 'Me!, Taylor Swift surprises fans at the new Kelsey Montague "What Lifts You Up" Mural on April 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. Swift commissioned the mural and put clues about her upcoming new music in the piece. (Photo by Leah Puttkammer/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - APRIL 25: In advance of her new single 'Me!, Taylor Swift surprises fans at the new Kelsey Montague "What Lifts You Up" Mural on April 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. Swift commissioned the mural and put clues about her upcoming new music in the piece. (Photo by Leah Puttkammer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 23: Taylor Swift performs during the TIME 100 Gala 2019 Dinner at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 23, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: Taylor Swift attends the 2019 Time 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 23, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: Taylor Swift attends the Times 100 Most Influential People red carpet event on April 23, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 22: Taylor Swift seen out and about in Manhattan on April 22, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 14: Taylor Swift arrives at the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards which broadcasted live on FOX at Microsoft Theater on March 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tony Barson/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 14: Taylor Swift arrives at the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards which broadcasted live on FOX at Microsoft Theater on March 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tony Barson/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 14: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE) Taylor Swift on stage at the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards which broadcasted live on FOX at the Microsoft Theater on March 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for iHeartMedia )
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 14: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE) Maren Morris (L) and Taylor Swift attend the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards which broadcasted live on FOX at Microsoft Theater on March 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 10: Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn seen attending the Vogue BAFTA party at Annabel's club in Mayfair on February 10, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by GOR/GC Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 06: Music Artist Taylor Swift attends InStyle And Warner Bros. Golden Globes After Party 2019 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 06, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 06: Taylor Swift attends the 2019 InStyle and Warner Bros. 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards Post-Party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for InStyle)
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Explaining her decision to sing Mariah Carey’s "Always Be My Baby" in the Knockouts, Melinda revealed to Taylor through tears: "I picked this song because of my brother. We love to jam out in the car and just listen to old-school jams, and he is your biggest fan. He has every single one of your album names tattooed on his body.

"He was waiting for a heart transplant, and he just got called yesterday, so he's there [at the hospital] right now."

Melinda, who has a Fearless tattoo on her own body to match Chris’s, further explained the reason she’d stayed on the show: "Literally, he said, 'You can't leave, because what if [the Knockout Rounds mentor] is Taylor Swift?' I'm not even joking right now. He was like, 'Don't be selfish. You're doing it for me, not for you!'"

Taylor stood there in shock, before asking for an address to send Chris some gifts (Taylor is really good at giving gifts) and demanding that she, Melinda, and Kelly engage in an impromptu group hug. "Melinda told me the most touching story, and it was this really unexpected, beautiful moment," Taylor gushed.

Sadly, Melinda did not win her Knockout, even though Kelly gave her a standing ovation. Vocally, I thought Melinda was evenly matched with her opponent, old-school country belter Jake Hoot - but while Jake demonstrated a pure and lovely tone that Kelly declared one of the best country voices she’d heard in the history of the series and high taste level by covering Jason Isbell’s "Cover Me Up," but he lacked stage presence. Taylor had even pointed out and try to correct his distracting tendency to agitatedly sway from side to side.

Meanwhile, Melinda’s breezy, jazzy take on the Mariah ballad was, despite her heavy backstory, full of joy, and she seemed calm and confident onstage. I was certain that one of the rival coaches - probably jazzbo John Legend - would steal this talented song stylist, but instead, Melinda was shockingly eliminated. Now it was my turn to make a GIFable surprised-face.

Still, Melinda did Taylor - and, more importantly, her brother - proud. And now Melinda is reunited with Chris, who underwent successful surgery perhaps buoyed by the strength of having a new direct connection to his idol.

"While I'm super-bummed that I couldn't continue on in the show, I just wanted to let you all know that Chris has since gotten his second heart transplant and is slowly recovering. Thank you to 'The Voice'. This whole experience has been just unlike any other," Melinda said in a follow-up video message to Taylor and the show.

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