New answers tagged patching-drywall
As long as you disconnect the wiring to them, nothing says that they can't just stay in the ceiling. I'd try reaching through the hole with a flatbar to detach them from the framing, disconnect any wiring, and then just push them out of the way.
I'd widen the hole as big as you need to get the job done right, remove the cans, and patch the drywall when you're done. Alternatively, you can hide the hole (or a sloppy drywall patch) with a ceiling medallion and mount your pendents to that.
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