The Voice season 16 Battle Rounds begin tonight. The coaches will prepare their teams to do battle with the help of celebrity advisors. Adam Levine will work with pop hit maker Charlie Puth, iconic country duo Brooks and Dunn will join forces with Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson has invited tour mate Kelsea Ballerini to help out, and R&B producer/artist Khalid will lend a hand to new kid on the block, John Legend. Carson Daly serves as host.
Team mates are paired up to perform duets. Afterward, the singers’ respective coaches choose a winner who will move on to the next round. The loser is eliminated UNLESS they are stolen by a fellow coach. Each coach gets 2 steals.
I’m not a big of fan of battles, as they can sometimes be unfair pairings but there are STEALS and it’s always entertaining. Who’s ready?
Adam has brought in Charlie Puth as his battle advisor. Chart-topping Kelsea Ballerini is advising Team Kelly. John recruited Grammy nominee Khalib to advise his team. And for Team Blake, he enlisted 18 time CMA award winners Brooks & Dunn. Blake says the battle rounds are the most important because you start to see who is ready for the show. Get Ready America! The Battles start now!
First up Team John. John is happy to have Khalid, because he’s already Grammy nominated at 21 and he thinks he can offer the artists good advise. Khalid likes that he can advise to up and coming advisors.
Up first two four chair turns
Matthew Johnson Jacksonville, FL vs. Shawn Sounds, Houston, TX “Never Too Much”
Shawn says that Matthew is ready and so is he. Flashbacks to both their auditions. Shawn is a teacher by day and singer by night. Matthew is known as Mr. Personality and grew up in church. Matthew says this will be tough. John tells them it was his painful for him to put them against each other but he could hear them both singing this song. Khalid says Shawn is a monster and Matthew’s voice is warm with a riveting tone. During rehearsals, John tells them not to chop the verses so much. Matthew says he’s singing this song for his girlfriend. John tells Shawn not to squeeze too many riffs and runs in, and be more selective. John says they will be one of the best performances of the night. They take the stage. (PS I don’t like this dress Kelly is wearing…)
Who will win this Team Legend battle?
They are color coordinated with Matthew wearing a purplish jacket and Shawn the same color hat. Matthew starts off solo and then Shawn comes in. They both sound so good, Shawn’s voice is deeper and richer but Matthew’s is so pure and smooth. They are working the stage, not just standing in place. Matthew is twirling as they sing. Some big notes from Matthew and a subdued ending from them both. All four judges are standing. They were good. Adam says they are both incredible singers, it was like a tennis match. He loved the energy, can’t pick a winner. Blake said it’s impossible to say anything. Matthew’s dancing is second to none. Kelly tells them they are both phenomenal. Matthew is a light to watch, and Shawn’s runs are crazy, cool. John tells them he loved the energy and love of music that they have. They are both fantastic singers. I think it was close but Shawn should win. John says The winner of this battle is….. Shawn Sounds! John felt like Shawn was a little bit ahead. As Matthew starts to think John, Adam hits the steal button, and then Kelly presses her button too. We have a steal! Adam says he likes to lead by example. Kelly says she likes drama. Adam tells him he was the shining light on that stage. Kelly tells him he’s outstanding. Matthew Johnson is now Team Kelly! Kelly says she has to steal him because he’s so soulful and she couldn’t take her eyes off of him.
The other coaches are giving John a hard time for pitting two four chair turns together.
Next up Team Kelly.
Kelly’s advisor is Kelsea Ballerini, she’s on tour with Kelly right now. Last season she was the coach on The Comeback Stage.
The Bundy’s Nashville TN & Chicago, IL vs Mikaela Astel, Queens, NY “Songbird” by Fleetwood Mac
The Bundy’s are a sibling trio who toured with LeeAnn Rimes and one of them moved to Chicago when she got married. Kelly picked this song because she felt they could have written and recorded the song. Flashbacks of their auditions. Mikaela is the youngest artist at fourteen years old. Kelly says The Bundy’s have a Fleetwood Mac vibe and Mikaela is really cool. Kelly tells Mikaela to have zero hesitancy and Kelsea says make it emotional. Mikaela says her Grandma passed away while ago, and that is her connection to the song. Kelly’s crying now. Kelsea said The Bundy’s really embraced Mikaela and took her under their wing. The Bundy’s says Mikaela is amazing, and they have a lot of work to do. During stage rehearsals Kelly said this is a big deal because there’s never been four people on the stage. The Bundy’s said they aren’t ready to go home but they love Mikaela so much. (Gee wonder who is winning this?) Kelly says it will come down to whoever rises to the top.
Let the Battle Begin…
Me thinks this will be hard for the trio. Mikaela starts off standing at mic wearing pretty lace dress, sounds very pure and angelic. Ryan Bundy is playing the guitar and he has a solo to start off the trio. Great harmonizing. This is a little boring but you can really hear Mikaela’s voice, and The Bundy’s harmonizing. Mikaela hits some high notes but sounds nervous. I don’t think The Bundy’s did enough to win this. Should go to Mikaela. Let’s see what the judges think. John tells them they were great. Mikaela had some nerves, The Bundy’s had gorgeous harmonies. John would give it to The Bundy’s. Adam says Mikaela is so great, so young, and The Bundy’s had a graceful performance. Blake says Mikaela was probably better in rehearsals. He tells her this is what she’s meant to do. Kelly says Mikaela is the youngest on her team, with a big piercing voice. The Bundy’s had beautiful harmonies. The winner of this Battle is….. The Bundy’s! Wow! I’m a little surprised. I thought the youngest artist would win. Mikaela says thank you and when she got up there she got nervous. Kelly told her she she’s so special. Kelly said The Bundy’s were just more ready to move on. Mikaela Astel is eliminated.
Preview of Bebe Rexha and the Come Back Stage…
Now it’s on to Team Blake where is Blake is catching up with legendary duo Brooks & Dunn. Blake says when he was in High School he wanted to be them. Brooks & Dunn say the voice is special because they bring in different components.
Gyth Rigdon, Singer, LA vs. Rod Stokes, Moss Point, MS “Drunk Me” by Mitchell Tenpenny
They both freak out when see the Brooks & Dunn fans. Rod is a simple country boy who works construction and has never been drunk. He’s never sung outside the church. Flashback to their auditions. Gyth is also from a small town raised by a single Dad. Blake gave them the song because it’s a current hit, and country music fans will be able to hear what they are capable of. Gyth says Rod is phenomenal and he’s intimidated. Brooks & Dunn says they both have power and don’t need to drive them so hard all the time. Brooks and Dunn say they perform different based on where they are used to performing. Blake says Gyth loves being on stage and it shows, and Rod has a huge, raspy voice. It’s going to be a hard decision.
Who will win this Team Blake battle?
Gyth starts off, he’s wearing a black leather jacket. Rod has a much more powerful voice. You can tell Gyth is more comfortable on the stage, Rod’s voice is more distinct. They are both doing good. Rod puts some runs in, maybe too many for my taste. Gyth has a desperation to his voice that I like. Hmmm close battle. Not sure who Blake picks but if I had to guess I would say Rod. Kelly tells Rod he has an old school country rasp, and he slayed that stage. Kelly says Gyth is comfortable on the stage. Rod is more her vibe. John says they were both excellent. Rod has an interesting tone, Gyth has the runs. (LOL) and had a good stage presence. John says he would pick Gyth because he has more flexibility. Adam tells them they were even, but Rod has more potential. Blake says it’s sucks it’s an impossible decision. They both gave it 150%, they are not similar vocalists but it worked. The winner of this Battle is…. Gyth Rigdon! Wow, I’m on a roll of picking wrong night. Blake said Gyth really stepped up to the challenge of taking on a bigger singer. As Rod starts to think Blake, WE HAVE A STEAL! Adam uses his steal on his Rod. He says he’s a fan of Rod, and he wants him on his team. Rod Stokes is now Team Adam! Adam says he has power and good control. (Fodder for Team Adam).
Let’s see how Adam prepares his team with advisor Charlie Puth. Everyone knows who Charlie is and what he does. He and Adam hang out a lot. Charlie tells the story of how he and Adam became friends.
Domenic Hayes, Tampa, FL vs. Trey Rose, Hugo, OK “Need a Dollar” by Aloe Blacc
Domenic just graduated High School, got a hamstring injury so he couldn’t continue in sports. Watching their blind auditions clips reminds us that Adam used a block on Domenic. Trey juggles life as a Father and as a musician. Adam picked the song because it’s kind of bluesy. Charlie says Trey isn’t about vocal Olympics but really makes it alone. Adams says they need to do something musically to separate their voices, suggests starting acoustic. Charlie and Adam rearrange the song for them. Charlie says he likes Domenic’s raspy voice. Adam tells him not to overplay his best quality. Charlie says it will come down to whoever makes the biggest splash. Cut to stage rehearsals they are both so excited.
The Battle Starts Now…
Domenic is wearing a velvet beret and Trey is wearing a leather jacket. They are working the stage pretty well. They both sing really good and have different styles. Domenic may be pushing a little too hard at first, and Trey is a little quiet. Trey hits some great falsetto notes and Domenic has a raspy voice that is so distinct. Trey really gets into it and starts to get into it towards the end. Blake says it was an even battle. I agree I think it was even… Blake said Trey has cool falsetto and Domenic plays with the pocket. Blake says he enjoyed Domenic’s performance more. Kelly also says it was even. Trey has range, and Kelly would pick him. John says he wanted Domenic on his team, and he has a different voice. Trey has a dynamic range. Adam tells them they both did everything they adjusted about, Trey had so much energy and Domenic held back. He’s proud of both of them. I am not picking this time because I’ve been wrong all night. The winner of this battle is Domenic! Adam says Domenic is a star. Trey tells Adam thanks for him giving a shot. Trey Rose is eliminated.
John hasn’t used his steal yet. Kelly tells him she has some for him later.
Team Legend is up again!
Savannah Brister, Memphis TN vs Maelyn Jarmon NY “When We Were Young” by Adele
Maelyn is deaf in one ear, she got ear infections around 2 and lost her hearing. She can tell the note based on vibration. Flashback of their blind auditions. This Maelyn’s chance to catapult into doing music for a living. Savannah never imagined she would be doing The Voice her senior year. John gave them this song because it’s powerful and emotional. Khalid says Savannah’s voice is enticing and Maelyn hits you with her voice. John tells Maelyn to make it less conversational. Maelyn has been touring since 13, she’s always been career driven, she needs to strip all that away and connect. Khalid says this is chilling and makes you want to cry. Maelyn is older and more polished but Savannah has a young, raw sound. At the rehearsal, you can tell they love singing together.
Battle is up after the break!
From rehearsals this sounds good so I’m ready! Savannah is wearing a pretty gold jacket and a black hat. Maelyn looks pretty in all black. They both sing so good, and start off strong. Dang, Maelyn’s voice gives me the chills. Savannah has a more powerful voice, but Maelyn’s is more emotional. Best battle of the night so far. Really, really good. Very, quiet tender ending. I give that one to Maelyn, all four coaches on their feet. Deservedly so. Adam said they shared the song with each other, they were both good on a monster song. He would go with Maelyn. Blake said Maelyn reached the bar again, and then Savannah was incredible. Kelly can tell Maelyn is a trained singer, but there is something that is so raw about Savannah. She gives it to Savannah. John loves the love they have for each other, they weren’t trying to out sing each other, subtle and warm. John says the decision comes down to who he thinks will do better in the competition. The winner of this battle is Maelyn! I think that was the right choice. Maelyn slayed that performance. He picked her because she’s accomplished and she will deliver. Savannah says she enjoyed every second and thanked John. Savannah Brister is eliminated.
Surprise! Savannah is the first eliminated artist to be selected for the Come Back Stage. Bebe says her voice is beautiful, and she’s talented. Tune in on the voice app and YouTube to see who Savannah battles. Savannah Brister is the ComeBack artist!
Let’s check in with Kelly and Kelsea for the final pairing of the night.
Beth Griffin-Manley, Detroit, MI vs. Jej Vinson “Jealous” by Labrinth
Jae was 15 when he moved from the Phillipines to the US. Flashbacks to their auditions. Beth has Motown in her blood, her Dad was Johnny Griffith a Motown Brothers. Kelly picked the song because they are both storytellers who want to pour everything out. Kelsea says Jej can do runs likes she has never heard. Beth has energy and you could tell she felt the song. Kelly tells him to cut out some runs, so they have an impact. Beth needs to add ache. Beth connects to the song because she’s felt loss and heartbreak. Kelly tells them to be stage five singers. She says she’s stupid for pairing them.
Let the Battle Begin…
Jej starts with a soft, tender solo. Beth is also subdued in her opening solo. Jej has his signature runs, and Beth has so emotions in this. This is giving me India Carney and her battle partner vibes (sorry I forgot his name). Very understated, yet aching performance. Jejs’ falsetto is insane. Nicely done. Pretty even battle, but I give the edge to Jej. Adam says damn at the end. All four coaches on their feet. John says they both sounded great, he wanted them both on his team. Adam tells them the unison was amazing, there were times that Jej upstaged her, so he would go with Jej. Blake says it’s a hard call. Kelly tells them she’s so excited because they did exactly what she asked. The unison and harmony were note for note on point. The winner of this battle is Jej! Yep, right choice there too. Kelly said it was one of her favorites battles. She picked Jej cause she likes his voice. Beth is immediately stolen by John Legend! John says Beth is soulful, has dignity and she’s going to do well. Beth is Team Legend!
Tune in next Monday to The Voice on NBC!
Rod Stokes (Steal from Team Blake)
Team John Legend:
Beth Griffith-Manley (Steal from Team Kelly)
Matthew Johnson (Steal from Team Legend)
See you next week for more battles!