7:22pm PT by Ashley Lee
'The Voice' Recap: Final Battles Wrap With a 'Climax'
The Voice finished trimming its current season of singers down to a top 20 on Monday night, with the help of mentor Chris Martin of Coldplay. In the rebooted battles round, the coaches still pick who performs in each sudden-death duet, and the contestants must agree on a song from their coach's shortlist that not only showcases each of their strengths, but also gives them the opportunity to potentially outshine the other.
With the only remaining steal belong to Shelton, the final victors of the second battle rounds were revealed:
Team Shakira's Clarissa Serna vs. Dani Moz
The two singers were on point when rehearsing the Pink hit, so Martin had them focus their efforts on mapping stage movements that evoke the message of the pop anthem. In the battle, they both initially started out noticeably nervous, but Shelton played Moz' soft but powerful voice, which Usher called "unwavering." In the end, Shakira moved Moz forward.
Team Adam's Kat Perkins vs. Dawn & Hawkes
Song: "Suddenly I See"
The rocker and the folk duo met in the middle with the KT Tunstall track, but Levine had to discourage Perkins from trying to sing over the duo in rehearsals, while also reminding Dawn & Hawkes to evoke the chemistry that first won him over. Opening with a single acoustic guitar, the battle's call-and-response structure felt occasionally awkward with such contrasting acts, especially with the duo stationed at mic stands like a backup act as Perkins worked the stage. Usher and Shelton both preferred Perkins, as did Levine.
Team Usher's Melissa Jimenez vs. Music Box
Song: "Girl on Fire"
The divas met their match on the Alicia Keys hit, and Martin advised both to sing it as if they wrote it, and not overwork their voices throughout the early parts of the demanding track. Onstage, the battle was a bit shaky on both ends -- Levine noted that Jimenez had more moments, but Shakira and Shelton commended Music Box. Still, Usher went with Jimenez.
Team Blake's Kaleigh Glanton vs. Ryan Whyte Maloney
Shelton's singers settled on the Rascal Flatts and Natasha Bedingfield breakup track, and in rehearsals, Glanton connected with the lyrics more visibly. But in the battle, though the two seemed to support each other emotionally and vocally, Maloney effortlessly showcased his expansive range, as Usher noticed that Glanton didn't sing to her top potential. Shelton then declared the winner of the battle to be Maloney.
Team Adam's Jake Barker vs. Brittnee Camelle
The Team Usher castoffs went with the hit by their former coach, but rehearsals brought on pitch problems, plus Barker's general inexperience when performing. While the battle came down to a matter of taste, Shelton and Shakira preferred Barker's "gravelly falsetto," while Usher acknowledged that it's one of the most challenging songs he's ever tackled in his career. Levine agreed with the other two judges and moved Barker forward.
Team Usher's Bria Kelly vs. Madilyn Paige
Song: "I’ll Stand By You"
The two young powerhouse singers went with the Pretenders ballad, only needing to indulge in a few breathing exercises led by Martin during rehearsals. The battle itself was an even match -- no one particularly stood out, possibly because of the straightforward song choice -- and came down to a contrast of tones. Usher declared Kelly the winner, and Shelton then stole Paige away.
The playoffs play out on Tuesday at 8 p.m. on NBC.
What do you think of the new battle round? Were the right singers sent home tonight? Sound off in the comments below!