‘The Voice’ recap: The battle rounds begin with John Legend and Kelly Clarkson both fighting off attempts to steal their artists
Justin Lubin/NBC(NEW YORK) — On Monday’s episode of The Voice, coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Gwen Stefani rounded out their teams, before heading straight into the battle rounds.
Each coach enlisted the help of a guest adviser during rehearsals: Darius Rucker for Team Blake; Normani for Team Kelly; Usher for Team Legend; and Will.i.am for Team Gwen.
The coaches also got one chance each to either steal an artist from someone else’s team, or save a team member from being stolen.
Here’s are Tuesdays highlights:
The blind auditions:
Nashville R&B, pop and soul singer Zoe Upkins, sang Monica’s 1998 hit, “Angel of Mine,” drawing chair turns from Kelly, John and Blake. Kelly, who reminded Zoe that she won a couple of times with young singers, was in the market for one this season. John noted how much power she had in her voice for someone her age, adding there was also “room to grow.” Blake admitted they’d make a great team, even though the combination “didn’t seem right on paper.” John then resorted to a tactic that worked for him earlier in the competition, launching into an A cappella version of Monica’s “The Boy Is Mine,” reworked to say, “Zoe Is Mine.” It worked again, and Team Legend reached capacity.
Next, Matthew McQueen, no relation to the actor Steve McQueen — and yes, he even searched his family tree, was next. Matthew’s rendition of Lewis Capaldi’s “Someone You Loved,” got Blake to turn around, along with Kelly. Clarkson loved Matthew’s rasp, comparing his voice to Shawn Mendez. Blake pointed to his track record on the show, bragging that he coached six winners and only a handful were country. Explaining that his sister and grandmother both had a dream that Blake would turn around for him, McQueen went with Shelton, whose team was now complete.
Country singer Gracee Shriver from Owasso, Oklahoma is a 16-year-old who made her high school’s varsity tennis team at 13. When she’s not doing that, she’s hitting the books and pursuing her real passion: music. Here take on “Rainbow,” by Kacey Musgraves, convinced Kelly and Gwen to turn their chairs. Kelly called the youngster “super-talented,” while Gwen noted that she too was from Oklahoma. Stefani also got help from her boyfriend Blake, who, after explaining that his team was full and he was unable to fight for her, urging Gracee to “keep it in the family.” Kelly countered that by saying her husband, Brandon Blackstock, manages Blake. Gracee picked Kelly, closing out her team.
That left Gwen as the last available coach, and she was being extra picky. After passing on R&B singer Ty Mauro, whose rendition of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” didn’t cut it for her, she scooped up 16-year-old Caroline Reilly, who belted out the Jefferson Airplane classic, “Somebody to Love.”
The battle rounds:
The first battle of the night pitted youth against experience, as Team Legend’s Upkins, the teen who auditioned with a Monica song earlier in the show went head-to head against the older and more seasoned Khalia Lynee. The two battled on on Monica’s “The Boy Is Mine.” Legend and team adviser, former Voice coach Usher, who led Josh Kaufman to victory in season six, had the same advice for both singers: just cut loose. After the battle, Gwen said she was impressed with Zoe’s stage presence and gave her the edge while Blake favored Khalia. Kelly thought it was a toss-up, and announced that she would try and steal whoever was the loser. Legend chose Lynee.
It didn’t end there for Zoe though, as Legend saved his 16-year-old powerhouse, while Kelly, as well as Gwen, tried to steal her. Upkins stuck with John, who argued that the others’ interest in her was probably due to great coaching.
Next up, representing Team Blake, was Kat Hammock mixing it up with Josie Jones. The two “rootsy” country singers offered a dreamy take on John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads.” Blake and adviser Darius Rucker agreed Kat needed to “project” more, while Josie needed to work on her control. Both, according to Blake, needed to “shake off the nerves.” When it was over, John thought Josie gave the better “technical” performance, while Kat had the more “unique” voice. Kelly agreed. Blake called the battle a tie, but gave the round to Kat. Josie was sent packing.
The night ended with Team Kelly’s Melinda Rodriguez battling Shane Q on Sam Smith’s “Too Good at Goodbyes.” The advice from Kelly and her adviser Normani was for Melinda to “get out of her head,” while Kelly pulled Shane out of his comfort zone by getting him to use his falsetto more. Afterwards, Blake thought the winner of the contest was a tough call, but gave the edge to Shane. Legend agreed, but Kelly settled on Shane, citing his “unexpected” voice.
Melinda got a second chance though, as Legend tried to swipe the artist from Kelly, who used her save to try and keep Rodriguez on her team. Despite of John’s argument that a steal on his part would be an “upgrade,” Melinda stayed with Kelly, who touted her experience at winning another music competition: American Idol.
The battle rounds continue on Tuesday, when The Voice returns with a one-hour episode at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
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