The Voice 23 Battle: A STEAL and a Playoff Pass!
The Voice season 23 Battles Week 2 kicked off on Monday night featuring a few nice country battles in addition to soulful matchups which resulted in a few playoff passes.
This new twist still feels awkward, as technically it advances the losing singer past the Knockouts into the Playoffs. In the meantime the “winner” still has to battle in the Knockouts to make the Playoffs. One of the Playoff passes of the night came out of Team Kelly Clarkson with a battle between soul singers ALI and D. Smooth.
Kelly teases the Playoff Pass
Kelly teases that she may use the Playoff pass if both singers kill it. A video clip reminds viewers that Kelly turned right away for D. Smooth’s audition of “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran. He shares that he grew up, “living paycheck to paycheck” and that’s why he connects to the song. ALI, who was born deaf performed an impactful rendition of “Killing Me Softly” in the Blinds. Kelly wouldn’t know that ALI is hard of hearing due to how intricate her runs are, the coach says. She loves D. Smooth’s passion. The duet impresses Kelly in rehearsal, but she advises them to take it to the next level in the bridge.
ALI and D. Smooth sing “Unaware” by Allen Stone for their battle. This song has become a favorite of singing shows, and one of my all-time favorite renditions was performed by Hannah Huston in her blind audition. She finished season 10 in 3rd place.
The song and pairing made a lot of sense, as both artists display a contemporary and soulful style. ALI starts the battle off with a lot more confidence than her audition, where she sounded a bit unsure of herself. D. Smooth’s vocal possesses a smooth power, and his big notes are very clear. ALI seems to pour more emotion into her parts, but D. Smooth’s control on his runs are a bit cleaner. It’s more or less a wash on who should win. The two blend really nicely on the “push and pull” parts, but they could have reined it in and performed fewers runs. Some of them felt unnecessary, and even led to uneven harmonies. All in all, the two did turn in a successful soulful battle.
The battle reminds Blake that he’ll miss The Voice
The battle stuns the panel. Blake Shelton said, “that was just music,” calling this job listening to “some of the best concerts” he’s ever seen. That’s why he loves this job and will miss it. He likes ALI’s “confidence and fun and joy” in her performance, and he describes himself as a fan of D. Smooth, saying he would choose him. Niall Horan calls it “an unbelievable duet,” and says he would lean towards ALI. Chance the Rapper calls it “crazy good,” believing that either could win it. But he would choose ALI. Kelly calls them “world-class singers,” and Grammy-level. Kelly says, “I haven’t heard a dude sing like that since the 90s” when talking about D. Smooth, and she calls ALI’s runs and voice a “God-given talent.”
Kelly foils Chance’s attempt to steal D. Smooth!
Kelly chooses ALI as the winner of the battle. Chance attempts to steal D. Smooth, saying “finally, I get to take someone from Kelly,” but Kelly jumps in and uses her playoff pass, preventing D. Smooth from going to Team Chance. She says, “I kind of feel bad because you might want to work with him, but I don’t care.” D. Smooth advances to the Playoffs as a part of Team Kelly, and ALI will compete on Team Kelly for the Knockouts.
Other than this battle, there were a few other matchups that impressed me and the coaches. Team Kelly’s Holly Brand and Katie Beth Forakis blended beautifully on a country ballad, Team Chance’s NariYella and Chloe Abbott were soulful and smooth, and Team Niall’s Michael B. and Ryley Tate Wilson resulted in a playoff pass for Ryley on a stunning pop soul ballad.