On Monday’s episode of NBC’s The Voice, artists from Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Nick Jonas‘ teams went head-to-head in the first night of the battle rounds.
Each coach enlisted the help of a guest adviser during rehearsals: Bebe Rexha for Team Blake; Dua Lipa for Team Kelly; and Ella Mai for Team Legend. Nick enlisted his brothers, Joe and Kevin Jonas.
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. The show added twist this season, which was that judges had to act before the artist stepped off stage — a rule that would prove costly to Kelly.
Here are some of the highlights:
Classic rocker Todd Michael Hall and country rocker Joei Fulco, representing Team Blake, teamed up for Tina Turner‘s “The Best.” Legend marveled at Todd’s “insane” high notes; and Jonas dubbed it a “fun, perfect performance.” Blake had a tough choice, but ended up picking Fulco, who he felt had “so much talent” and “a certain charisma. She moves on to the knockout rounds.
Kelly attempted to steal Hall, but was confused by the rules, thinking she had to wait until after Hall stepped off the stage. By the time she pressed her button, Blake had used his only save to keep Hall on his team.
Team Kelly’s Chelle, 19, battled 16-year-old Anaya Cheyenne on “Scared to be Lonely,” by Clarkson’s team guest advisor, Dua Lipa. Clarkson, addressing the camera during rehearsals, said the match would comes down to which singer displayed the most attitude. Shelton and Legend both thought Anaya won the battle hands-down, but Nick called it a draw. Kelly went with Anaya, calling the teen a “perfect, coachable artist.” She moves on to the knockout rounds, while Chelle was sent home.
Team Nick’s Joana Serenko and Roderick Chambers followed, going head-to-head on an R&B-flavored take on the Billie Eilish hit “When the Party’s Over.” Nick liked the idea of delivering a popular song heard in a new way and predicted it would be the best performance of the battle rounds. He was absolutely correct, as the performance drew a standing ovation from the coaches. Kelly called the battle “flawless,” with Blake adding the two were “more in sync than anyone else.” Nick, calling it “the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life,” chose Roderick for his ability to take direction.
Joana’s time on the show isn’t over yet though, as Legend used his one-and-only steal to get her. John explained that he couldn’t pass up on her “style and grace,” adding that she was “a formidable contender.”
Then it was Legend’s own Mike Jerel and Zach Day taking the stage to trade vocal licks on Miguel‘s “Adorn.”
Afterwards, Nick called it a “true battle,” that was “exhilarating to watch.” Kelly thought Mike’s performance was “fearless,” and surprised by Zach’s. While John felt both artists brought the confidence he wanted to see, he thought Mike’s “swagger” won the night. He advances to the knockouts, and Zach heads home.
Team Blake’s Levi Watkins, 14, and Jamal Corrie squared off on OneRepublic‘s “Counting Stars.” The two Alabama natives had already formed a bond while auditioning for the show, and were a natural combination. The challenge went to Levi, who needed to match Jamal’s incredible range. Levi pulled it off, while Jamal seemed to lose focus while concentrating on his dance moves. Legend said he was waiting for the teen to mess up, but he never did. Blake couldn’t overlook Jamal’s pitch issues and declared Levi the winner, noting there was a lot from him we haven’t heard yet. He moves on to the knockouts, while Jamal was sent packing.
Michael Williams, 18, and Allegra Miles, 17, representing Team Nick, went head-to-head on Sam Smith’s version of Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know” to close out the show. Nick hoped it would give the young artists a chance to show their vulnerability, and boy, did it. Kelly commented afterwards that she was “in love with Allegra’s voice,” calling it a “finale tone.” Blake said it wasn’t a battle, but a great duo. Nick picked Allegra, calling her an “inspiring vocalist” and a “storyteller,” sending her to the knockouts. However, he saved Michael as well.
The Voice returns Monday, March 30, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
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