The Voice Battle Rounds Get Underway with Tough Cuts

The coaches had to pass on some seriously incredible talent.

Written by Tammy Ragusa
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THE VOICE -- “Battle Rounds” Episode 1508 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kymberli Joye, OneUp -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

With the blind auditions behind them, things are only going to get tougher for season 15’s contestants on NBC’s The Voice. However, as coaches Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton led pairs from their respective teams into the battle rounds, it was even harder for the coaches who had to give up such incredible talent.

The night started with a colossal bang as Kimberli Joye and the duo OneUp from Team Kelly faced off. Both extremely soulful and talented acts, they required little guidance from Kelly and her celebrity adviser, Thomas Rhett, who even admitted, “Me and Kelly were just floored by the passion and perfection.”

They took that same passion and perfection to the stage and delivered one of the biggest and most soulful performances of the night with Shawn Mendes’ “Mercy.” And while all of the coaches were shaking their heads in disbelief of the talent, their awestruck team leader, Kelly, said, “You have to bow in that presence.”

Indeed! But she also had the difficult decision of choosing who would stay and who would be sent home. Even pal Jennifer told her, “You have a problem, friend.” With no help from her fellow coaches who were just as torn over the choice ahead, Kelly finally made the brutal first choice of the night and picked Kimberli to continue on to the knock-outs.

Surprisingly, in spite of their rave comments about OneUp, none of the coaches chose to steal them before they left the stage.

Team Adam had its first venture into the battle rounds during the Oct. 16 show. Choosing 15-year-old Anthony Arya and Boston’s Steve Memmolo to face off, the pair first met with Adam and former Voice coach and celebrity advisor CeeLo Green.

Adam chose Pure Prairie League’s “Amie” for their performance, giving each of the competitors ample opportunity to shine vocally. CeeLo also encouraged them each to find their Amie. “Every girl wants to be the muse of a song,” he said.

While Jennifer was leaning toward Anthony and Blake toward Steve when it came to Adam’s thoughts, he said he was so proud of Anthony but he went with the more seasoned artistry of Steve.

Anthony wasn’t finished though. As soon as he had a moment to thank Adam and was giving him a hug, Jennifer pounced on her red button to steal the young man.

Team Adam wasn’t finished either. Pitting Jarred Matthew against Tyke James on the Billy Joel favorite, “She’s Always a Woman,” the coaches were once again awestruck by incredible vocals from both men. “It’s two different approaches to a performance,” Blake said.

It didn’t take long, though, for Adam to choose Tyke to continue on in the competition.

Blake enlisted the help of Keith Urban when it came to advising his team members Chris Kroeze and 17-year-old Mercedes Ferreira-Dias.

“They’re going to be doing ‘Back In the High Life Again’ by Steve Winwood,” Blake explained. “And this song is a great 80s rock song, and I think it works great for both of them because Steve Winwood is kind of bluesy, but he also had his pop moment, too.”

After a performance that had the coaches, once again, divided, Blake had a tough decision to make, but ultimately he chose Chris. “He just has this range. He can sing up in the rafters with almost any female on this show,” Blake said.

Team Blake was back in the spotlight immediately again with electro-pop artist Katrina Cain and his young yodeler Rachel Messer—one husky and smokey, and the other sweet and ethereal.

Performing Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel,” Blake said that his decision would be based on who could make him feel the tender lyrics of the song. When the final note was sung, it was Katrina who kept her spot and Rachel who was sent home.

It wasn’t getting any easier for the coaches as the competition progressed. Fortunately, just one battle was left and Jennifer had chose R&B singer Mike Parker and downtown Nashville performer Natasia Greycloud to go head-to-head.

Choosing John Mayer’s “Gravity,” Jennifer said she picked this particular song to “wring the soul out of both of them.” Mission accomplished.

A performance that had Kelly on the edge of her seat just a few bars in, both Mike and Natasia complimented each other while showcasing each of their own vocal gymnastics and vast ranges. After completing their performance and sharing a warm embrace, Kelly looked at Jennifer and told her, “You’re so screwed!” Even Blake said, “I feel like both of you two stepped up. Great job!”

After pleading, “Oh Lord, help me,” Jennifer announced that the winner was Mike. But before Natasia could leave the stage, Kelly slyly tapped her button to claim the gutsy vocalist.

Next week will be the final battle rounds on The Voice and then it’s off to the knock-outs.