It was a crazy night on NBC’s The Voice as coaches Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton completed their teams, then enlisted the help of some of their musical pals to advise contestants for the start of the battle rounds.
The final blind auditions started with sweet 16-year-old Emily Hough from tiny Petersburg, Illinois. In a calico blouse and jeans, look every bit a country girl, Emily admitted that her mom might be mad if she didn’t pick Blake because everyone in her town listens to country music. She confessed that she’s much more a fan of the Beatles.
Performing Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” for her audition, first Adam, then Blake and, finally, Jennifer all turned to see where the sweet and pure voice was coming from. And, in spite of what her mother may have preferred, Emily chose Adam, which finished out his team.
Since season 15 began, Kelly and Jennifer have been discussing the types of voices they were hoping to secure for their respective teams and it turns out, the two are similar, so when they both turned for 20-year-old Josh Davis from Cleveland, Tennessee, it wasn’t too surprising. His performance of Sam Smith’s “Too Good at Goodbyes” revealed an incredible falsetto and, as Kelly mentioned, effortless runs.
As Josh listened to Kelly and Jennifer compliment each other and commiserate in how difficult his decision must be, Blake and Adam attempted to demonstrate how a fight between the two pals should go. Unfortunately, they discovered that it wasn’t easy since both of their fellow coaches are pretty incredible and Adam finally admitted, “You’re right, it’s hard.” Then comparing it to his spats with Blake, he added, “It’s easy for me to tell him he looks like a giant pair of jeans.”
Ultimately, Josh picked Kelly, which she considered divine intervention. “I wanted a pop soulful voice and I wanted it to be male. I asked God for Josh and he gave me Josh,” she said.
Monday night’s contestants were full of surprises. Electro-pop performer Katrina Cain of Denton, Texas canceled her honeymoon to audition for the popular show, and then gave her moody, earthy version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon.” Her take on the hit song inspired both Jennifer and Blake to turn almost simultaneously and then proceed to verbally spar for the beautiful 29-year-old. And, much like country girl Emily, who chose Adam, Katrina went against what was expected to go with Team Blake.
It didn’t take very long for Jennifer to finish her team. Staunton, Virginia’s Matt Johnson showcased his hefty vocal with a cover of Luther Vandross’ “Never Too Much.” After he secured his spot on Jennifer’s team, he revealed that he had been auditioning for a spot on The Voice since season one. He also told the coaches that he was thrilled that his mother was able to witness him finally securing a spot on the show since she is battling stage four metastatic breast cancer.
With all of the teams complete, that wrapped the blind auditions and began the battle rounds.
Kelly kicked things off with celebrity advisor Thomas Rhett. She selected Chicago’s SandyRedd and Seattle’s Cody Ray to go head to head because they were her two most powerful vocalists. She also challenged them with the gutsy Solomon Burke smash “Cry to Me” for their battle. Thomas Rhett didn’t have to coach them up much and actually compared SandyRedd to Aretha Franklin and Cody Ray to Chris Stapleton. He did, however, encourage the Chicagoan to explore her lower register for the performance.
Talk about starting off with a bang! Each of their vocals was so stellar it cause Kelly to lament, “This is stressful. I need food” and Adam to exclaim, “I’m excited because I get to try to pick one of y’all up because she can’t take you both.”
Because she had no one else like him on her team, Kelly chose Cody Ray, but as soon as host Carson Daly declared that SandyRedd was available to steal, the three remaining coaches were on their buttons. “I gotta take it home,” she said before announcing that she would go with fellow Chicagoan Jennifer.
Blake enlisted the help of former reality show judge Keith Urban when it came to advising Michael Lee and Joey Green in their face-off. Both from Texas, the competitors had become friends before the show after meeting each other in the regional music scene, and that may have made their battle even more difficult.
Both playing guitar and singing Bonnie Raitt’s “A Thing Called Love,” they each showed very different styles, a conflicted Blake selected bluesy Michael to go on in the competition. However, offstage, the winner thoughtfully commented, “I think I picked the right coach from the beginning, but I’m worried about my friend” and on stage, Blake shoots his head and said, “I’m super sad right now. No one out-sang the other.”
It was Jennifer’s turn next, and her contestant’s advice came from Halsey, but again, both Colton Smith’s and Patrique Fortson’s vocal ability was so grand and so comparable, there wasn’t a lot of coaching up to do. The gentlemen did express a concern in Jennifer’s song selection—the Blake Shelton hit, “God Gave Me You,” originally written and recorded by Dave Barnes. Not familiar with singing country music, Jennifer told the gents, “Here at J-Hud Productions, we don’t believe in boxes.”
The performance was, arguably, the finest and closest of the night, with both of the performers showing outstanding ranges and impressive vocal runs, but as difficult as the decision was, Jennifer selected Patrique to continue on her team.
As Colton was saying his goodbyes, though, Blake hit his button to steal the young man from Alabama.
That may have been it for the televised battle rounds, but Kelsea Ballerini was coaching her own face-off between Ayanna Joni and Madison Cain on the YouTube Comeback Stage. Rest assured, being online instead of on television doesn’t mean these women were any less talented. In fact, they were both dazzling, but Kelsea selected Ayanna to continue in the competition. Be sure to check out what their battle round in the video above.